Marketing for Millennial Association Membership: Form the Perfect Campaign through Social Media

form the perfect campaign through social media when marketing association membership

Member Engagement Strategies for Connecting, Recruiting, and Marketing Association Membership

Before we get into marketing association membership for millennials, it’s important to know who millennials are. Millennials are the people who were born between the years 1977 and 2000. They make up 25% of the U.S. population, and now they’re old enough to become the driving force behind many markets. They’re tech-savvy adults who want to feel a peace of mind about where their hard-earned money is going.

Millennials receive a lot of bad press. They’re called entitled, lazy, and selfish. But oftentimes, so-called “millennials” are mislabeled and miscategorized.

While millennials often receive a bad rap, in reality, millennials are discerning, adaptive, and strive to become successful adults. They are changing, and yet, at their core, want the same things any other generation wants. So how can you market association membership to this fluid demographic while still staying true to the needs and values your association already has?

create the best strategy for marketing association membership to millennials

The key to coming up with a marketing association membership strategy geared towards millennials is to understand who they are and what they want from an association. And most importantly, it is to understand what your association can offer millennials that they can’t get somewhere else.

Think about how to reach this demographic on their own terms. More than any previous generation, millennials are highly in tune with the world of social media.

So here’s the million-dollar question: how can associations utilize social media to recruit this next generation of potential members to join your association?

Understanding Millennials Will Help Market Association Membership

marketing association membership to millennials means staying aware of their need to save money

Millennials Want to Save Money

Millennials make up a huge portion of the working population, yet studies show that they are making 20% less money than their parents did at the same age. Consequently, they also own less property and are much more likely to be renting apartments or homes.

One way to make a millennial an engaged member of your association is to speak to them on terms that are important to them. How can your association help them save or invest money? How can you help them plan for their long term future?

The greatest benefit of using social media as a way to garner the attention of younger members is that it is essentially “free”. While millennials are already paying for internet service and data plans for their mobile devices, it doesn’t necessarily cost them more to see and use Facebook, or YouTube, or access their email.

Marketing association membership using social media as an engagement point for interaction can be key because you’re meeting millennials where they already are.

millennials want to get recommendations when marketing association membership

Millennials Want Recommendations

Very closely associated with the idea of saving money, millennials want to know where their money is being spent. That’s why unboxing videos are so incredibly popular. Millennials are reading reviews, and getting recommendations from friends and family. They’re making less money, so they want to be sure that when they spend it, they’re getting what they want.

When using social media to reach your target audience, instead of using a call to action like “buy now” to link to your blog post or website, invite them to “learn more”. Millennials want to trust that their money is going to something they believe in, and something they actually desire, so make sure to speak to that need when marketing association membership.

when marketing association membership to millennials, consider their desire for incentives

Millennials Like Incentives

Another way to bolster your engagement with would-be millennial members is to incentivize them to recruit more assciation members for you. Give them a chance to win a prize, or just give them a prize, for referrals to new members. Everyone wants to be part of a community, no matter what age.

Motivate them to help create this community and simultaneously give prospective members something to believe in, like the judgment of their peers. A huge amount of millennials (84%!) say that user-generated content, rather than advertising, influences how they spend their money. Use this knowledge to your advantage when marketing association membership!

millennials want to be engaged with, not advertised to when creating a strategy for marketing association membership

Millennials Want to be Engaged With, Not Advertised To

Millennials are a very savvy group. They have a great sense of when they are being marketed to, and they’re not fans of it. They are 247% more likely to be persuaded by blogs or social-networking sites than baby boomers are. This is because they view these online communities as trustworthy. And, in a sense, they are right to believe this. In this day and age, social media is the democratic voice of the people; it’s 2019, which is reason enough for associations to strengthen their social media presence.

What they don’t respond to is traditional advertising in newspapers, commercials, etc. Millennials would much rather recommend their friends to read an informative blog post than show them a newspaper advertisement.

This goes back to their desire to save money. Millennials don’t want to feel like they are being sold something, rather they want to feel like they are becoming part of something. If emails are still a large part of your marketing association membership strategy, tailor it to the millennial mindset.

“Click-bait” subject lines are likely going to get your emails forwarded straight to the spam folder. Send an email that invites both your prospects and your new members to partake. Invite them to share, and become part of the front-running team. Use an email campaign that doesn’t make your members feel like customers, but makes them feel like they’re part of a community that cares about them and their individual beliefs.

An Engagement Plan for the Next Generation

form the perfect plan for marketing association membership through a strong social media presence targeting millennials

Membership Organization for Millennials

We can’t expect to continue with the same marketing association membership strategies forever if we wish to grow our membership base with the coming generations. Millennials want to make money, they want to be engaged, and they want to invest in the things that matter to them. This might sound like every generation, but the ways in which they try to achieve these goals are substantially different than Gen Xer’s or Baby Boomers.

Social media is where the younger generation lives, so use this new medium to speak to your new audience. Millennials are diverse, and fluid. It can be hard to market your association to target them because they are truly such a diverse crowd. But the first trick to catching a fish is knowing where to find it, so get your waders on and hop into the river.

The Secret to Retaining Millennial Memberships in Associations

continue to build the value of association membership

Continuing to Build the Value of an Association Membership

Associations have been providing value to industry professionals for decades. Today, Millennials make up a huge percentage of the workforce. As a result, many associations are being updated to meet the needs of this growing demographic. By this point, you may have found ways to promote your association to Millennials and increase young memberships. Retaining millennial memberships is the next step to association success.

Using social media, association newsfeeds, and email marketing, associations can attract new, young industry professionals to join. How can associations delight this new member base, and build successful long term member/association relationships?

Millennials are a generation that cares about community involvement. They are service-oriented, which means they like to spend their time helping others. At the same time, Millennials are used to a world in which they can access unlimited information at their fingertips. For this reason, this demographic expects fast information and short response times. As a result, Associations must both become more efficient and more community-based. Here are a few ways that associations can achieve this feat.

Building an E-Community for Millennials

e-community for millennials

While Millennials do have a preference for a close-knit community, it doesn’t mean the same thing today. In the past, building a community meant bringing people together in person for meetings and networking events. Today, a community can be a virtual experience. For example, many of today’s young professionals connect via social media. Job searches, professional industry chat groups, and one on one communication is all done online. Associations have a bad reputation of being stuck in the past, unwilling to evolve into the world of social media engagement and mobile compatibility.

The solution is simple. If associations can re-think their business model to become more technology focused, Millennials will be more delighted with membership. As an association executive would know, a delighted member is a long term member.

A few ways that associations can meet young members where they are is by:

  • Building an association mobile app
  • Creating member chat groups (Facebook group, slack, Gmail chat, etc)
  • Hosting private facebook events: volunteering and networking
  • Sending an E-Newsletter with all community information
  • Showing Millennial members how to become Instagram ambassadors for the association
  • Hosting online webinars for members to participate in together

By making it easier for young members to connect with other professionals across the country, associations build a greater and more connected membership. The internet is the perfect tool for associations to take advantage of, so why not use it? If time is a potential issue, there are plenty of streamlining services that can make this process much more efficient.

Retaining Millennial Memberships Through Volunteer Work

retaining millennial memberships

As mentioned earlier, Millennials are very service oriented. They have an interest in sharing crowdfunding campaigns on social media, donating to local causes, participating in charity events, and building experience assisting non-profits. They like to help create positive change for their community.

Associations by nature are a service-oriented community, which makes them perfectly suited for this new generation of young professionals. If associations can hone in on this aspect of membership, then retaining millennial memberships should be a piece of cake.

Some examples of this could be:

  • Hosting or connecting members to nearby charity events
  • Providing consistent volunteering opportunities
  • Crowdfunding with members to donate to industry relevant nonprofits
  • Share examples of the association’s community involvement in an e-newsletter

Giving these opportunities to young members will increase member engagement, help them build a strong resume, and fulfill that desire for community involvement. Plus, organizing these nonprofit fundraisers for members looks excellent when recruiting new members to join your association.

Use Technology to Become Faster and More Responsive

association member retention

For a generation that relies on instant information, being fast and responsive is extremely important. Where older generations used the library for research, today’s generation has had the internet. In conversation, Millennials are quick to pull out the smartphone and google a question to get an immediate answer.

Alternatively, for customer service, the younger generation is quick to use a company’s chat service for a quick response. Unfortunately, associations have difficulty adjusting to this “quick information” era. Resources consist of lengthy white papers and response time take a few business days. As a result, retaining millennial memberships may be a more difficult task.

This is where associations must evolve and put in the leg work to prove a new responsive nature. There are a few ways that associations can become more responsive for members and focus on retaining millennial memberships.

This includes:

  • Adding a chatbot to your website so association employees can respond quickly to members
  • Responding to messages and comments on social media
  • Responding to comments on the association blog
  • Answering any questions via email
  • A phone line to call during business hours
industry associations

In addition to being responsive, Millennials appreciate quick information that answers questions they may have in a short period of time. This doesn’t mean get rid of case studies and white papers! Plenty of members still appreciate an in-depth and industry-focused piece of writing.

It appears that to help with retaining millennial memberships, associations can create short videos, FAQ articles, listicles, and slideshow-style posts that get straight to the point. This type of writing is increasingly taking over the market, both for younger and older audiences.

Using streamlining services like AI, you can focus more on retaining Millennial memberships and creating healthy association/member relationships. Spend less time choosing posts for social media, deciding what news to add to your website, or what content to add to the e-newsletter with technology that makes the process efficient.

Manage Your Buyer’s Guide for Non-Dues Revenue

generate ideas to gain more non-dues revenue for your association

Non-Dues Revenue-Generating Ideas for Associations

Your association’s buyer’s guide is a great tool for disseminating information and products to your association members. But if you’re using it only to sell your members on retaining their membership, you’re selling yourself short when generating ideas for non-dues revenue.

So how can your association use its buyer’s guide to generate additional revenue for your association? Well, first, we need to talk about what kind of buyer’s guide we have already.

Tailor-Making Your Buyer’s Guide

We all know the old adage, “know your audience”. And it’s an important thing to keep in mind for your association. Especially when we’re thinking about ways to generate additional value that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the core values of your association.

But perhaps you’re not even trying to reach your loyal association members. These are all key ideas to consider when we’re talking about buyer’s guides and their ability to add to your total revenue.

Different Types of Buyer’s Guides

consider first-time buyers when creating buyer's guides

Long-Time-First-Time

The first type of buyer’s guide for your association to consider is one for a first-time buyer. What can you offer a member who has never purchased any of your association’s goods or services?

We want to clearly and concisely lay out the process and benefits of everything that we have to offer our members. What can we tell them without overloading? Think of how you sell at trade shows. What is your elevator pitch?

compare and contrast member benefits when creating buyer's guides

Compare and Contrast

Of course, you have more to offer your members than a single product or service. But we know that perhaps, what’s right for some, isn’t right for all. Here’s your chance to go a little more in depth with what you can offer. What additional member benefits are you able to provide? What are the benefits of one product or service in comparison to another?

This is your opportunity to show that you can understand your members on a personal basis. Show that you understand what makes your base diverse, as well as unified.

Product Add-Ons

show your association members how your products surpass what other associations can offer in their buyer's guides

Here’s another idea that is not unfamiliar: upselling. If you’ve got your members in the door already, you know that you’ve got something they want. Hopefully, it’s also something that no one else can offer them. If you’re offering branded merchandise, it is likely that this is the case.

So what can you do to further separate your association from the herd and become a front runner? You need to show your audience that your products and services are not the end of the road. What can we tack on to further the experience of inclusion and membership?

Post-Purchase Help

make sure members are provided a buyer's guide that works as a manual for the members who have opted in

We want our members to feel that we are with them every step of the way. So our buyer’s guides shouldn’t stop once the check is cleared. For members who have opted in, provide a buyer’s guide that acts as an instructional manual.

Show them how to use your products and services, but don’t let it stop right there. Show your gratitude for your members’ continued patronage (especially outside of simply paying their membership dues). If possible, offer certifications to your members through your buyer’s guides. This will bolster that feeling of inclusion, which is exactly where we’d like to stay.

Formatting Tips for Any Type of Buyer’s Guides

when creating your buyer's guides, make sure they are clear and concise

No matter if we’re writing guides for first-time buyers, or people who have had our products or services for years, you want your guide to be simple. This doesn’t mean simply using monosyllabic phrases, but again being clear and concise.

Avoid long-winded phrases and too much jargon. We want this to be something anyone could use to help them. Even if someone were to pick your buyer’s guide up off the street, they should be able to take a clear understanding from it.

It can also be very helpful to break up your guides into small paragraphs with lots of appropriate headings. Long paragraphs are sure to have your members losing their place. And more importantly, they’re going to lose interest and stop reading.

We live in a fast-paced world, and part of understanding that is having information readily available. Use a content page or bold headers to easily direct your members to the information they need and want see most.

Be Authentic

create authentic buyer's guides for your association members

According to a poll by Association Adviser, more than half of associations believed that sources of non-dues revenue accounted for 25-50% of their gross revenue stream every year. Clearly, there is a lot of money to be made in creating non-dues revenue.

If you’re successfully selling something you and your members believe in, you’ll be able to create an increase in non-dues revenue. Whether you’re using advertising sales, retail sales, merchandise sales, or providing services, make sure it aligns with the values and needs of your members. Think of the reasons why your members invest time and money into your association and follow that line of thought.

Put it Into Practice

find the right venue when putting your buyer's guides into practice

So now that we’ve talked about the different kinds of buyer’s guides, and what makes a good one, so it’s time to think about how you’re putting it into practice. What’s going to be your venue for these buyer’s guides?

If you have a lot of physical interaction with your members, maybe you want to have that physical buyer’s guide. However, increasingly we live in a digital world. If you have a strong social media presence, don’t ignore it!

This can be a great place to reach a really wide audience. Social media has the added benefit of allowing your members to easily help you share your goods and information with friends and colleagues who might be equally interested.

generating non-dues revenue has a lot to do with the buyer's guide

Generating Non-Dues Revenue

No matter how you plan to generate revenue outside of membership dues, always stay true to your association. There’s nothing that can turn an audience quicker than feeling like they’ve been lied to. So don’t lie to yourself either. There is easy money out there to be made, but you don’t have to do it at the expense of your association’s integrity, or your members’.