- People like me follow an association like this.
- People like me connect to an association like this.
- People like me join an association like this.
- People like me contribute to an association like this.
As association marketers this is our job. Our job is to connect those people like me to our association. It’s an iterative process. First we gain awareness, then interest, then purchase, and then engagement. At every stage we’re telling the stories that our members need to hear so they an follow, connect to, join, and contribute to their association.
People like me follow an association like this
At this very early stage potential members are just becoming aware of your association. They are wondering if they should even spend a bit of their most valuable resource on you, their attention. What catches their attention is the match of their worldview to the worldview of the association. What are the problems that are nagging them? What do they think about in their spare time? What kind of people are they? When you’ve shown them that people like them follow an association like this you’ve gained awareness and a tiny bit of affinity.
People like me connect to an association like this
Now that a potential member is aware of your association you can help them move to the people like me connect to an association like this phase. This happens not through selling membership, benefits or events. This happens by marketing experiences. What is it like being a member? What are other members like? What is their background? Are they like me? If they think that there are others like them these potential members start to reach out and connect. Perhaps they subscribe to the blog or newsletter, or talk to a colleague who is a member or call the association directly. When they connect to your association and stay actively connected you’ve gained affinity.
People like me join an association like this
You have gained awareness and affinity by matching their world view and showing them what the member experience is like. When the time is right and if there is enough value for them, they will join. Notice you are marketing emotion and facts. Experiences, world views and member benefits. We tend to fall back on the benefits list but that is not persuasive enough to commit money, attention and future time. Keep sharing member experiences and world views. Once they join the marketing is still not done, you hope they stay joined and eventually contribute.
People like me contribute to an association like this
Members contribute in all different ways at all different levels. They contribute by attending a conference, speaking at a conference or organizing a conference. They contribute by adding content from as simple as retweeting to being interviewed to authoring articles. Members can micro-volunteer or sign up for a board position. Members will know that people like them contribute to their association when they see others contributing, see their experience and understand how to contribute in a way that suits them. The more they contribute the more affinity they feel toward the association and the more opportunity for others to see…
… that people like me follow an association like this.
As association staff we tend to want to tell the story we want to tell. The story that will interest and engage members is the story they need to hear. Find out more about association story telling from Amanda Kaiser on her blog www.SmoothThePath.net and follow her on Twitter @SmoothThePath.