The internet is filled with a plethora of blog posts and articles dedicated solely to tips and tools that help event planners to increase the number of attendees for their events. But, converting these attendees into members who readily attend every subsequent event and be a part of your community is a tall order.
Increasing membership numbers is not a one-time job; it’s a continuous process. And work doesn’t end at getting members; you have to keep working to retain them. Is it difficult? Absolutely. Is it impossible? Not at all. And we’ll show you how:
A community can only be established if there exists a constant, two-way interaction between you and your potential and existing members. People are becoming increasingly active on social media platforms, predominantly Facebook, and these platforms allow you to form groups and communities within them. So, you are saved the trouble of building your own platform from scratch. Create a members only group on Facebook to interact with them.
But, an online interaction alone will not hold your members together. You need to conduct real meetings and gatherings for your members so that they can know you and each other better. You can also involve them in focus groups so that they feel more privileged as members of your community.
- Be a Problem Solver
There are two approaches to landing members – one, by offering them your friendship, that is, by giving them certain benefits; and two, by offering to solve their problems. People tend to trust those who help them out in times of need, and they stay loyal to them. Gaining and retaining members is no different. If you know the kind of audience you are targeting, list out the problems that they might be facing in their professional lives, and provide solutions to these problems. Your members are not going to stay by your side because you’re offering them discount coupons and premiere tickets, but because you’re offering them real solutions to real problems.
In order to be a problem solver, you first need to understand your audience. Whenever you interact with them, be it through social media or feedback forms, you gather vital information about your audience that will help you curate more customized solutions for them. There are a multitude of platforms that can help you log details about your targeted members, including CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Systems, where a big database of your audience’s information can be maintained. There are hundreds of CRM applications that you can get installed and maintained by software providers.
- Like Meets Like
Instead of building a community from ground up, you could tap into existing communities that share a common goal or vision. When you find such communities, offer them benefits for sharing their members with you so that it’s a win-win situation for the both of you.
- Visibility vs. Accessibility
Marketing lives by one mantra – Curiosity is the best tool. If you are sending out membership requests to your audience via an email that contains the perks they’ll be receiving as members and also a link to your website, they are definitely going to click on your website link and look around. Instead of classifying this as nosiness, use it to your advantage. Fill your website up with interesting content, but only make snippets of it available to visitors, while the entire thing stays accessible to members only. This will make them curious, and they’ll be more inclined to becoming members in order to have full access to your website content.
- Tales & Testimonials
A potential member will only become a member after confirming the benefits from current members. So, make this process easier for them by showcasing your existing members’ stories, testimonials, and achievements on your website and pages for your potential members to see. Also, make sure it’s not just words. Pictures of your members, or even video clips, add to their credibility. Investing in good media peripherals will maximize your ROI in terms of membership numbers.
In conclusion, make your potential members feel that you’re not just building a community based on mutual benefits, but a family based on the foundation of trust and belonging. Again, ensure consistency when it comes to interacting with them, and always put your members first.