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Making the Biggest Membership Marketing Impact With Limited Resources

Lori Halley 12 May 2014 0 comments

This is a guest post by Amanda Kaiser (SmoothThePath.net).

Do you feel pressure to grow but with not enough resources? One of the biggest challenges for marketing membership, products and events in a smaller organization is finding the time to do it. So how do you make the biggest impact with very limited resources? First get the message right. Then make sure your members see that message. 

It’s all in the storytelling 

Many organizations write marketing copy focusing on the price. We offer CAE credits for less. This short conference won’t take up much time and is at an affordable price. Our membership is half the national organization’s rate…. (yawn!) Yes, price is part of the story but not the whole story. When you are too focused on selling low prices you may be in what Seth Godin calls the race to the bottom

Instead before you even start creating marketing copy think about these questions:

  • Who exactly are we serving? What niche of our membership?
  • What problem does this offering solve for them?
  • How will this offering make our members feel? 

Are you making it very clear to the people you want to serve what is in it for them? Once you have a compelling story you then have to get it in front of them. 

Are they seeing your story? 

“Is a 30% email open rate good?” asks one association staffer. Maybe it is, maybe not. More importantly, is the communication piece getting you the results you are looking for over time? If purchase or registration are low and you think you have the right message you may need to get your story in front of your audience more often and in different ways. 


Are you sending the same email with the same subject line out every week? Try to at least change the subject line. To be CAN-SPAM compliant the subject line has to reflect the body copy but there are small tweaks you can make to see if one version is more enticing than another. Are you selling a complicated offering like a conference that may have broader appeal? Try a few different messages to see what sticks. 

Social Media

Do you have social media accounts but are not using them? Many organizations set them up and then let them lay fallow until the next annual conference. These channels can be great for getting more eyeballs on your promotions year-round. Are you using Twitter? Amplify your messages by using hashtags. Schedule posts regularly, at different times and with different messages. You’ll be surprised to see which attract the most interest. 


When you have sponsors, speakers, contributors, vendors or partners collaborating they want to attract a large audience as well. Invite them to promote to their audience. Give them the core message you want to convey. Marketing through partners will not only allow you to reach new people but you will increase the number of times your members get the message as well.

When you are short on time you can ultimately save time by having effective marketing working for you. Create a compelling message and get that message in front of members many times and in multiple ways. 



Amanda Kaiser helps associations and member organizations with modern member marketing. Learn more about moving membership from a transaction to an experience on http://www.smooththepath.net where she also writes about story-telling and innovation. Find Amanda on Twitter at @SmoothThePath.



Image source:  "Make an Impact..." - courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 12 May 2014 at 8:30 AM
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