Connecting with members to deliver something of value. That’s pretty much sums up the BIG PICTURE mission of any association’s work. If you really, truly connect with your members, great things can happen: members will be more successful, you will sell more services, members will be more involved in political advocacy, and on and on. The mechanism behind all this is a connection with your target audience.
Wait…who’s the target audience? While its easy (and tempting) to say “all members,” this leads to thinking that is very general, which in turn can result in generic messaging. (Worse, it could lead to generic products and services—nice enough offerings that appeal somewhat to most members, but aren’t highly meaningful to any one group.)
You have many member segments and some are more important than others to the overall health and strength of the organization. I typically ask association staff to list all the possible member groups that exist inside your membership. Then prioritize three that are especially important to your future. They become the target audience for whatever marketing project you undertake, including your communications. Consider one or more of these groups with every communication and ask yourself the question “So What?”
Market to them when you create content. Since your communications are a collection of ideas, ask yourself:
- What ideas (topics) are most relevant to our target audience?
- What information or news can we provide to them to be their go-to source?
- What are their big concerns and what information can we provide that will help overcome them?
Follow three steps to help plan more relevant communications with your members and prospective members:
- Select your important member segments (target audiences). >> Learn more
- When you conduct member research collect preferences from two of your target segments. Choose a survey tool that allows you to compare your overall membership to your target audiences.
- Involve your target audience in planning. If want the result of a new program to be relevant to a particular member segment, include them in the planning process!
Now go forth and connect!