October 4, 2021
Does your association have member personas that are well-known throughout the organization? If not, it’s time to build some!
Having clearly defined member personas will help you better target and personalize your content so that you can best serve your audience every time. They help you internalize and understand your ideal members so you can better communicate with them and recruit more members who are represented by that particular persona.
A persona is an imaginary representation of your ideal member. Personas contain detailed information on who the member is, along with their goals and challenges. Because your association appeals to many different types of people, you will have more than one persona that represents your ideal member. For example, your ideal student member is not the same person as your ideal professional member. Each needs to be addressed and marketed to in distinct ways, and having defined personas can help you do so.
Customer personas should include the following information:
Creating member personas helps you empathize with your members and leads, thereby building better connections. Personas should inform your marketing and communication strategies and can be applied in a number of ways, such as:
Creating member personas for your association isn’t a guessing game. Instead, it’s backed by real data and insights. Follow these steps to learn how to effectively create member personas that reflect your ideal members.
Dig through your applications and CRM software to glean demographic information and common recurring patterns. In addition to demographic information, review surveys to find out why they said they joined your association.
Ask employees on the member recruiting and engagement teams for details on the type of leads they interact with most, and what insights they have based on their experience.
Don’t forget to dig into your digital data, too! Google Analytics, Google Ads, and social media marketing tools are gold mines for unlocking audience insights. You can collect interesting demographic, behavioral, and affinity information from these platforms.
Go straight to the source. Line up interviews with some of your current members to learn about their goals and pain points. Ask them about why they joined, how they found you, where they get their industry resources from, and what they like and don’t like about your association. Though it might be a more difficult conversation, be sure to speak with members who are less engaged, recently left, or aren’t as happy with your organization as others. This will unlock some valuable insights into their challenges as well as opportunities for your association to improve.
Consolidate and categorize the data you’ve collected, and break them into about 3-5 segments. The different segments you create will become your individual personas. Go ahead and give each persona a name — this helps with both humanization and recall.
Create a layout for your personas in a visual tool that’s easy to edit and update — slide decks work great for this, as you can have an individual slide for each persona. Your layout should include areas for a name, photo, background information, demographics, motivations, challenges, and a quote.
See this example member persona from Adobe for inspiration:
This is where you flesh out all of the information you learned from your data collection and interviews to create well-rounded personas and define who each of your personas truly is. Here’s an example:
Mallory the Young Professional
Mallory the Young Professional and Bob the Business Owner are not the same people, and the way you address each should reflect that. Once you’ve developed your member personas, write a short elevator pitch for your association that will resonate with each specific persona, speaking to their motivations and pain points.
Now that you’ve built your personas, the next thing to do is put them into action. The better you know your audience, the better you can serve and communicate with them. Keep your personas in mind for all of your sales and marketing activities, from content planning to converting new members.
If you’re ready to increase your membership organization’s revenue, connect with an entire community of purpose-driven leaders and grow yourself, we’re ready to help you do it.Learn More
Emily Herrington is a New Orleans-based digital marketer specializing in SEO, content, and pay-per-click advertising. She can usually be found at her desk obsessing over data and rankings, or in the kitchen covered in flour.