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Why associations need to understand their member voice

by | Aug 25, 2020 | Marketing

As an association, your job is to do three things for your members: serve them, offer connections and make them better at what they do.

To do that, you must have a keen understanding of what they need, what they want and what they want to work on.

An association that has tapped into their member voice and is able to serve the needs, wants and goals of their members will outperform others in the marketplace.

Defining who your members are and what they want is similar to the customer avatar exercise marketing professionals use to gain a sense of their target customers. You can use an adapted version of the customer avatar for your members.

Customer avatar worksheets are typically divided into several boxes where you list things including challenges and pain points, goals and values and sources of information.

Knowing what challenges your members are looking to overcome, their goals and how they prefer to receive information will allow you to create content, courses and events that appeal to them.

It will also ensure your members are satisfied because it will allow you to give them exactly what they want. Satisfied members will become your best marketing channel when they refer their friends and colleagues to the association. Nothing is more powerful than word of mouth.

Questions to ask in a member interview to help create an avatar include:

  • What stage of your career are you in?
  • What is your current job title? Or, if you are currently looking for a new position in the field, what is your target job title?
  • What is your educational background? Please list any and all degrees, certifications, and training.
  • What kinds of content would you enjoy seeing from the association? (Trade journals, videos, webinars, blogs, scholarly articles, etc.)
  • What sorts of events would you attend? (Conferences, keynotes, panels, training, courses, etc.)
  • Which topics do you want to learn more about?
  • What’s a problem at your association that you can’t seem to solve?

Since you can’t sit down with all of your members for a one-on-one interview, you’ll have to do your research in other ways.

Some tools you can use to discover important member attributes include:

  • Data collected from devices at conferences
  • Surveys
  • VIP groups
  • Special member groups
  • Panels 
  • LinkedIn
  • Association-tied groups on social media, like private Facebook groups
  • Data tied to what members read most on your website or interact with most on social media

Organize this data and look for patterns. Once you have a cohesive picture of who your members are and what they need from your association, use that data to inform your decisions and expand your offerings.

To maximize member value, you need to maximize your organization’s culture. The first step: hiring the very best people. Learn how to find them with our FREE guide from author and business coach John Spence: 6 keys to attracting and retaining top talent. Download it now.

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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.

Sidecar Staff

At Sidecar, we create the professional development tools a leader needs to grow their career and their purpose-driven membership organization, like associations and nonprofits. The skills you’ll learn within our growing community, interactive workshops and from our step-by-step courses will drive innovation, empower strategic thinking and institute cultural changes wherever your career takes you.

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