Stop talking about your association (Your members will engage twice as much if you do)


You want more engagement with members but it’s not always easy. Many of our clients have tried to connect and engage with the latest technology or tricks only to fail. The real problem was that they kept talking about themselves.

Have you ever been to a party and get stuck talking to the one person who can’t seem to ask any questions? Instead this person drones on and on about his interests and what he’s doing, never once pausing to engage you other than say, “Don’t you agree?” No one likes talking to that person but everyone suffers through it.

In short, don’t be that guy. Most marketing resembles this mad attempt to engage someone else by talking about yourself. Your marketing and communications are always about your association’s programs, or your history, or your mission. The problem is that your members only care about themselves. Once your marketing and brand message focuses exclusively on the members, you’ll see a dramatic increase in engagement and retention rates.

A good example is your About page on your website. Most About pages talk about the association, how it came to be, about the staff, and sometimes even include nice shots of the glass walled exterior of the corporate offices. The problem is that your members don’t care about all that.

As counterintuitive as it might seem, your website’s About page should focus on your members. More specifically, it should focus on how your association’s efforts will help your members solve their problems. It helps to add the phrase “so that means” after each attribute of your company, for example, “We’ve been operating for more than 100 years so that means we know exactly how to serve your needs and fight for your interests in the legislature.” Obviously you can’t add “so that means” over and over, but you can use that idea in all of your branding.

When you shift away from focusing on yourself, to focusing on your members, you make them the hero of their story. If you try to make your association the hero, about how the organization will swoop in and save the member from certain doom, then the member won’t respond as well. If you don’t save them in exactly the way you say, they will be disappointed and leave.

Instead, you make your members the heroes of your marketing story. They are struggling with a problem, and your association is there to help advise and guide them towards a solution. When you have a plan for them to solve their problems, not necessarily promising to solve it for them, you’ll find that members want to engage more with your association.

Go through your marketing and branding materials to find all the “me” and “us” language and change it to be more member centric, focusing on using “you” and “your” more often. It might be difficult at first to figure out how to change them around, but it will get easier with time. This simple idea will increase your engagement and retention far more than any modern day trick.

If you want help with clarifying your message to members and saying the right words every time, then schedule an appointment today for a free consultation.