Your website is more than just the voice of your membership association. If you’re not using your site to bring your members closer, you’re probably pushing them away from your organization and from each other. One of the reasons people join member-based organizations to be a part of a community, so it’s your job to make sure your community meets their needs.
Your website could be failing your members if you:
- Show them a bunch of text. Try using fewer words and more pictures to get your point across. Nobody wants to feel like they’re cramming for a test.
- Don’t update your site. If everything looks the same every time a member stops by, what’s their motivation to come back?
- Make it boring. Would you hang out at a party where nobody’s eating, drinking, talking or dancing? Me neither. And I wouldn’t go to a website where nothing was going on either. If you’re not giving people something to do, they’re not going to stay.
- Don’t engage your current members. Membership organizations are always looking for new members with new talents, and your website is a wonderful recruiting tool, especially as it relates to Millennials. Just don’t forget the members you already have. Make sure your website offers something for everyone.
Here’s how to use your website to help you make things right for your current and future association members:
- Publish valuable content. Think about what your members care about. What do they want to learn? What are their challenges? And then provide them with updated content whether it’s a blog post, picture, video or infographic.
- Make your content shareable. As much as you want them to, your members aren’t checking your website every single day. But if you make your content shareable, your members can help spread your message to members that they’re connected to on social media—and can even help you attract new members who are their connections on social media sites.
- Make it interactive. Give people something to do on your website. A few ways you can do that are with:
- Member profiles. Show profiles of your members so they can learn more about each other.
- Forums or groups. Let your members talk to each other by providing a forum where they can discuss ideas and share experiences. Bringing members closer to each other will keep them closer to your organization.
- Surveys. Let your members vote on the location of your next meeting or event. Ask their opinion on key issues and then share the results.
- Real-time updates. If fundraising is key to your organization, show updates of money raised. Highlight stand-out volunteers. Basically, show them that their efforts are making a difference.
A lot of membership management software solutions offer customizable website designs and tools to help you manage content and provide an exciting experience for your members.
Here are a few of my favorite interactive member-based sites:
What are your favorite association or member-based websites?