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Attract New Members with a New Hook

Terry Ibele  19 April 2016  0 comments

hookHow many membership growth ideas have you tried that never really worked? 

A tennis club we know struggled for years to revive their sagging membership. That was until a new membership manager stepped in and turned everything around with one simple marketing tactic called a hook. 


Hooks Defined

A hook is how you capture the interest of prospective members.

Say you're like our tennis club example. Your purpose is offering a space for members to play tennis, whereas your hook can be a number of things:

  • You’re a tennis club exclusively for women
  • Every Friday you hold “Singles” night for young adults
  • You hold a Tennis Boot Camp, with the goal of playing tennis to lose weight
  • You give tennis lessons to kids
  • Being a member gets you discounts to tennis merchandise
  • Every month you have a different tennis pro come and do a talk
You can easily see how a different hook might be attractive to different people, but essentially your purpose is always the same: playing tennis.

Coming up with a unique hook is key, because it will help your organization stay current and attract more people.

Imagine our tennis club started as a tennis club for kids. Well, maybe 10 years have passed and suddenly the demographic of the region has changed. All the kids have grown up and now they’re young adults.

In this case, a tennis club for kids might struggle if no new families move into the area, but a tennis club for single, young adults might do really great.

This is exactly what our tennis club did, and the results were phenomenal. By changing their hook from a kid's tennis club to an adult tennis club, they were able to keep up with their local demographic, which resulted in 20% growth by the end of the year.


How to Find Your Hook

If you’re considering changing your hook, do some research. Talk to your current members and ask people in your network what kind of hook your organization could have. 

To do a simple test, try making a specific event for your hook. 

For example, our tennis club, which mainly teaches tennis to kids can hold a young adult “Singles” night to reach a new demographic. They can advertise this event to all their current members as well as others within their community through social media. If turnout to this event is great, that’s proof that this might be a good hook!


The Key to Hooks

The key is to be persistent. If a new hook fails once, don’t give up! Perhaps no one shows up to our tennis club’s “Singles” night. Well, maybe the word just didn’t get out properly, or there was another popular event that night. It might even take a few months for word to spread before our tennis club has a full roster of new members. Again, the key here is to be persistent. 


Hooks & Triggers Expanded with an Effective Membership Model


In this 1 hour expert webinar (from our 2016 Membership Growth Summit) Robbie Kellman Baxter, author the The Membership Economy gives her own take on Hooks & Triggers and goes even deeper into:

  • How to find and refine your membership "hook" to keep members for life
  • How to develop more effective onboarding processes for new members 
  • How to tap into your "best members" and demonstrate the value of your membership


Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Posted by Terry Ibele [Learning Apricot]

Published Tuesday, 19 April 2016 at 8:30 AM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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