Using Inbound Marketing to Drive Membership Growth
A key part of growing your membership base is building relationships with new contacts. Many associations focus on direct mail and telemarketing as a way to foster relationships with potential members, however you may be missing out on a very inexpensive, yet effective marketing method – inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is the process of using content, social media, search engine optimisation, email marketing and lead nurturing to attract and retain customers. It can be an extremely efficient form of marketing, because as opposed to telemarketing and direct mail (which are traditionally interruption based marketing techniques), inbound marketing waits for the prospect member to contact you directly. So no time or money is wasted on people that have no intention, desire or requirement for your membership services. Instead they contact you when they are ready, and you can start to build the relationship on this positive note.
The main goal is to get prospects to give you their contact information as well as their permission for you to contact them. This is mainly done through offering free information that entices the prospect member to give you their details in exchange for this free content.
Some examples of free content you may want to promote are:
- A free whitepaper with useful, practical information
- A free webinar which helps advise/educate your target audience on a specific member related issue/area
- An invitation to access a special social network and/or forum
- A monthly email newsletter with offers and useful information
- Online tools, such as membership retention calculators
- Access to an online video bank full of educational webinars and other interesting videos
- A free research report giving the results and evaluation on a piece of industry research
Once the prospect has given you their contact details in exchange for this content, you can start to regularly communicate with them. By adding their details into your membership software solution or CRM, you can effectively track the process of lead nurturing – from initial contact through to new member status.
Being able to track the activity of the prospect can help you target them with more effective communication which will help to convert them into a fully-fledged member of your association.
Once they become a member you can continue to track them in your membership management solution or CRM system. Having a complete view of that member’s activity throughout their entire time they’ve been engaging with you is an extremely valuable asset.
You can see what events they’ve registered for, what training they’re undertaking, if that training was successful, what online activities the member has taken, what special interest groups and committees they’re a member of… and much, much more. All from one centralised, single view.
Having access to this level of member insight can help you market to them with relevant messages, understand their level of engagement with you, and ultimately provide them with greater value from their membership subscription.