We talk to a lot of associations and hear many versions of essentially the same problem, “Our membership is steady, but we’re having trouble attracting younger members.”
Sound familiar? It’s true; the millennial generation seems as excited about professional membership as they are about their student loans. “Content marketing” is typically offered up as a solution to the quandary. And it’s true—you can entice millennials to stick around by providing these fickle digital consumers with valuable, engaging content. But have you evaluated your channels of content delivery lately?
Forget blog posts and white papers. Millennials are a generation of individuals used to consuming content in tiny, multimedia-saturated bites – think YouTube shorts, Instagram posts, Tweets, and SnapChats that disappear after five seconds. Social media has made content more ubiquitous and available on demand and in shorter bursts, and many associations have yet to align their communications and offerings to capture the fragmented attentions of millennials.
Where do you start? Put yourself in your tech savvy prospective member’s shoes. Better yet, actually get someone who fits the profile to help with your communication to this group. This isn’t to say that you need someone under 30 to run your social media or engagement marketing, but someone on that team should be paying attention to the forward-facing aspects that resonate with millennials like digital design, User Experience (UX), and multimedia presentation.
Think of how your website answers the simple question, “Why should someone join my association?” If your website’s answer is to make users click to download a mostly-text PDF that offers a bulleted list of member benefits, chances are you’re already turning off millennials.
Could you convey the same message in a video featuring real members, some of whom are young professionals? Or could you create an infographic that uses slick visualizations to highlight the benefits of membership instead of relying on your audience to slog through a document paragraph by paragraph?
Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts to get you thinking about millennial engagement:
- DO tailor your membership message to them by including the top 3-5 services/benefits your current young members utilize.
- DON’T rely on the written word to convey your member benefits – mix it up with images, infographic and video.
- DO show case studies featuring real millennials making a real impact in the industry and deriving value from the association.
- DON’T make it about the transaction. Yes we know that revenue is important, but if you show your prospective millennial members a bit of value early on, you can grow with them and cultivate a real community.
- DO incentivize current millennial members to refer others to your organization. This generation distrusts traditional advertising and relies heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations and reviews from trusted friends and colleagues.
Have any other suggestions for engaging with millennials? We’d love to hear them in the Comments section.