Make it Easy for Prospective Members to Apply to Your Association

Once your website or social media content has convinced a prospect that your association is for them, your conversion-to-member process needs to succeed in keeping that excited momentum going. Your member application shouldn’t cause stumping or stumbling. On the contrary, it should maintain the new applicant’s urge to join and empower them to become a full-fledged member as efficiently as possible.

Provided below are a handful of tips your association will want to consider when implementing, revising or reviewing your member application. There are many nuances when it comes to crafting an effective application, but the following high level tips are always important to keep in mind.

Keep it Short and Sweet
The first thing anyone does when looking at an application form is to scroll to the bottom – to see how long it is. The reality is that almost nobody likes completing forms. It’s a monotonous and robotic task. So, the key is to keep the application process as brief as is reasonable. Make sure you get the information you need, but consider how best to present the content so the process can be expedited and seem less cumbersome. Sometimes, just the way you ask for information can either encourage or discourage the prospect. Keep things upbeat and fun instead of bland and interrogative.
Don’t Bombard Them
Following from the above tip, ask for the information you need, but don’t pile on questions that are unnecessary. Be very critical about the questions you include. The greater the number of questions, the greater the chance the prospect will get annoyed and give up on their application. Anytime someone starts down a new path, even willingly, it can become overwhelming pretty quickly. The application shouldn’t contribute to this. Get them in and out of the application process as quickly as possible.
What’s Valuable to Them?
People find it difficult to get invested in the boring, but necessary, application questions. Providing your name, age, email and phone number isn’t the most enthralling exercise. However, there are questions you can ask that prospects will find more rewarding than the common rigmarole. Ask questions that will allow your association to pick a prospect’s brain on what they interpret as valuable. Doing this sets a precedent right off the bat that your association wants to hear from its membership and cares whether they find the community beneficial. What’s more, when you ask a new member what they would find valuable, you’re getting incredible feedback straight from the horse’s mouth. This information puts your association at an advantage as you will have insider information on what your members are looking for when it comes to value proposition.
Eliminate Distractions
In this digital, instant gratification age, we are each of us like a dog chasing its tail. It doesn’t take much for us to get distracted from the task we are attempting to complete. That’s why it’s so important to ensure the design of your application process is clean and uncluttered. Elements that could potentially distract the prospect from completing the required fields should be eliminated.
Make it a Breeze
Confusion is the very last thing you want from your prospective members attempting to complete an application. There are many ways to usher your prospects through their application. How ever you do it, make sure it is seamless. If the process is clunky or (in a nightmare scenario) needs troubleshooting, there is little chance the prospect will be successfully converted to a member. And, if by some miracle the prospect has the fortitude to get through a scattered application, you’ve set a very poor precedent for the association right at the beginning of the member’s tenure. Make sure the transition from capturing prospects, qualifying them, facilitating their application and confirming them as a full-fledged member is as smooth as possible. Don’t let prospects ever get to the point of second-guessing. An AMS is a great bridge between your website and your member-area. With a comprehensive association management system, you can make your application process easy. Guild is an AMS built by a team with unique experience creating cohesion between websites and online communities. To speak with a Guild representative, or schedule a live demo of our solution, click here.

The application process shouldn’t be a task – it should be the exact opposite. An effective application process will get the information necessary without prompting the applicant to pay mind to the process. They should pass through the application in an almost unconscious way. If your application is forcing them to figure something out or to think, “why on earth would they set up the application this way”, you aren’t successfully presenting the process. Get them in, get what you need, and get them into the fold of your association.