Covid put a sizable dent in every social process, and association recruiting was no exception. So now that the pandemic is winding down, we can go back to business as usual and focus on in-person recruiting events, right?
Not really. First, Covid is still a problem, and a high-risk proposition for some potential recruits. Second, many of the habits and practices developed over the past two years aren’t going away, and successful recruiters will meet potential members where they are.
The obvious option is to lean into online promotion, and that is central to a successful strategy in this current environment. But how you do so—and what you add to that effort—is what will really make a difference.
Let’s review some strategies for recruiting in this new era
Survey current members
Find out what drew them to the association in the first place and what makes them loyal members now. Chances are you will gain a great deal of insight that helps you build new appeals to potential members.
Segment your marketing
It’s likely your potential recruits will be at different career stages and represent a wide demographic spectrum. Consider segmenting your marketing to appeal to these diverse groups. Career stage serves well as a divider for professional organizations, since candidates in each stage will want different things from their association.
Review your online marketing, website, and social media
Make sure your website is optimized for recruiting. It should have a dedicated recruiting section on the home page, with a call to action that leads to an easy sign-up. Streamline the application process as much as possible. Consider adding a recruiting landing page as well, which can make a single compelling membership offer and be linked from social media and emails.
Make sure you have a single, simple, benefit-focused message (or one such message for each segment) across all your platforms.
Social proof is just a new term for what we’ve always known: People believe people more than they believe marketing. Video or written testimonials can build a great deal of trust and should be presented on your site, landing page, and in social media.
Consider adding new member perks, especially a job board
You might ask, “A job board? In this economy?” It’s true that at the time of this writing there is a serious labor shortage, but conditions change. A job board is a simple, low-cost, powerful benefit to offer your members. Plus, imagine the great testimonials you can build from it in the future: “Our association helped me get a new job, and it was life changing.”
Other new member perks could range from mentorship programs to discounts on dues or services, and every little bit helps recruiting. One potential “perk” is to give them a free trial membership. Most who sign up will stay.
Ally with companies in your industry
If your organization is a professional association, work with companies (or governments, institutions, etc.) in your segment to get your recruiting message in front of their employees. This gives them a way to offer your benefits of membership to employees at no-cost and increasing your membership can strengthen their industry overall.
Consider hybrid recruiting events, or incorporate time for recruits into webinars and conferences
Hybrid conferences are becoming the norm, so why not hold hybrid recruiting events, with limited in-person attendance and a program for online attendees? You can also add a free portion for potential recruits to your webinars and conferences.
Could Your Recruiting Benefit with Help from an Association Management Company?
At V2, we’ve provided full service and outsourced services for national associations for many years and can deliver the resources and expertise that help you thrive. Get in touch with us today, and let’s see how we can improve your marketing and recruiting strategies together.