Perhaps the single biggest impediment to launching a membership recruitment effort is the “paralysis of analysis.” Some associations spend so much time and effort researching, debating, and planning that a program is delayed or, in some cases, never implemented.
Getting started with a recruitment effort does not require knowing all of the answers up front and documenting them in a massive marketing plan. Ideally, successful marketing efforts are dynamic and should be continually adapted based on feedback from the marketplace. Instead, a simple, one-page membership recruitment plan may be all that is needed to launch your program.
Creating Your One-Page Recruitment Plan
We recommend using this simple Membership Recruitment Marketing Matrix. It includes each of the critical coordinates for creating an effective plan by connecting each potential membership segment with the proper channels, value proposition, offers, messages, and frequency.
Defining the market segments that you want to reach is the first step in the planning process. Your target market can be visualized as a pyramid. To use the matrix, start by listing your market segments–from most productive to least productive. Along with the name of the market segment, you can also list the estimated quantity of prospects in that group. The top layer includes the very best candidates, and each lower layer displays less-qualified options sequentially. The bottom layer can represent entirely new membership markets that you are trying to reach.
Most associations will find that their very best performing potential prospects include recently lapsed members, followed by non-member customers. So, these prospects will go in the top segments. Outside marketing lists and databases will invariably fall to the lower layers of your target market pyramid.
With a good understanding of the segments in your target market, you can devise the most effective strategies based on where the prospects fall in your pyramid by aligning them with the adjacent matrix.
Recently Lapsed Members Example
Here’s an example of how to use the matrix for one segment–recently lapsed members.
Following the example above, complete your plan by filling in each column of the matrix for each segment. When completed, you will have a viable, working recruitment marketing plan and can get started testing and optimizing it over time.
More Guidance on Membership Recruitment
For more details on how to build a membership recruitment plan, read the book Membership Recruitment.
If you would like to discuss strategies to grow your membership, contact Tony Rossell at Tony@marketinggeneral.com or 703.706.0360.