Top 5 Communication Tips for Trade Associations

By Sarah Miller
June 21, 2019

When it comes to engaging current members and recruiting new members, communication is key. Establishing a communications plan will help your organization increase engagement and grow your professional member database. Get started by implementing these tips and tricks into your plan:

  1. Personalize – Whenever possible, personalize your communication pieces to each, individual member. A personalized email or subject line is 22.2% more likely to be opened and it makes your member feel valued that you put in the effort to mention them specifically. And feeling valued will ultimately make them a more engaged member. This may seem like a daunting task, especially with a large member database but tools like the merge function in Word can make this task much simpler.
  2. Variety of Platforms – Members will have different preferences on how they want to receive information from your organization. This could all be dependent on their age, preferences and habits so it’s important to know the different demographics of your member-base. Take time to review the demographics of your members and consider what platforms you should be using.

Younger members may utilize platforms like Instagram and YouTube more often while older members may prefer email, LinkedIn, or Facebook. Other platforms to consider are your website, newsletters, magazines, blogs and podcasts. Make sure all platforms are accessible from your website and email communication pieces.

  1. Variety of Content – Whatever platforms you choose, you should offer a wide variety of content to your members via those outlets. Considering that the usage rates of those platforms will vary greatly among your members, it’s important to tailor the content to a specific audience on each platform. Members using Instagram will find quick, to-the-point info with a nice visual to be more engaging. While other members may prefer lengthier content in a blog on your website. A podcast or video allows for busy professionals to listen to what you have to share while they work or travel.
  2. Share Benefits of Membership – Don’t be shy. It’s ok to brag about your organization. Members should know, (and be reminded of), how their membership benefits them professionally. Be sure to share the benefits across all platforms and whenever possible. Remind your members of exclusive member opportunities such as continuing education, networking events, etc. These reminders will help with retention, as members will be more likely to remember all the ways your association helped them when it comes time to renew their commitment.
  3. Ask for feedback – Reach out to your members and ask their opinion on what you’re doing right and what you could do better. Asking for their thoughts shows that you truly value their insights and because of that, they will likely be happy to share their opinions. Be sure to include new members in your survey as they are ones most at risk for non-renewal.

Ask questions about what platforms they prefer when communicating with your association, how often they use those tools, what they like to read and what they don’t, etc. After your survey is complete, assess the results and make an action plan. Keep your members informed on the process and let them know how much you appreciate their time in providing feedback.

By implementing these tips into your plan and keeping the needs of your members at the forefront of your communication, your members will stay informed and engaged - which will lead to the growth of your membership and association.