- First, ask yourself three questions: What do I want? Who can give it to me? Why should they? I am assuming the answers are: Retaining members and recruiting new members. People in my industry. Because they want to grow their network, be more successful, make more money. You can’t succeed at anything until you know the answers to these questions. It is the foundation of your plan to move forward and succeed. Get your organization’s leadership together and answer these questions, especially the last one. You can’t do a thing until you have a good answer for that last one.
- Take a good, hard look at your regular meetings. When is the last time you changed the way you do things? I am often asked to speak at conferences, corporate meetings, association gatherings and more. I am stunned almost each and every time; at no matter how much meeting organizers know what doesn’t work at a meeting, they repeat the same things over and over. Long boring speeches, wordy power points, over scheduling the event – you name it – the same mistakes over and over. People are tired of the same old thing and they only have so much time to give up for meetings. Make it worth their valuable time to attend. “We’ve always done it this way” will no longer fly.
- Communicate with your members and the people you want as members in the way they receive and send information, not your way. If you are looking to recruit younger members, you have to be using Facebook, Twitter, and texting. Period. If you are using email, keep it brief and relevant. If your membership is made up of several generations, you will have to communicate in several different ways, running the gamut from social media to the good old fashioned telephone call. Give your members a choice of how they want to receive your information.
- If you are using newsletters, keep them brief and relevant. I received an email from an association that had 18 – count’em – 18 paragraphs. I could not hit the delete button fast enough. A recent study stated we are inundated with over 200,000 pieces of information every single day from ads, billboards, emails, television, radio, texts, social media – the list goes on. Keep this in mind when you put together your newsletter and website. Brief and to the point is better. There are just not enough hours in the day for all of us to absorb all of this information, make yours stand out and memorable.
- Last, and this is from my own personal soapbox, please watch what you are serving at your events. Cut the sugar and carbs, stop the madness! You will have a much more alert and engaged group at any time of day if you do this. It may be a little more expensive but your members will be more successful in the long run. (See Cut The Carbs, Save Your Conference from FastCompany.com)
In everything you do – your communication, your decisions, your meetings – communicate what is in it for the member, not the organization. The bottom line is you must deliver on what you promise – growing a member’s network, helping them up the ladder of success, and making them more money!