Put Your Best Foot Forward with an Impressive Member Website

Set the tone for your association with a first class website.

There’s no doubt – a comprehensive and customized membership management system is one of, if not the most empowering and substantial tools your association can employ. It’s undeniable how much ease an AMS can introduce into your association (both for administrators and members). However, powerful though it may be, your association management system will not be optimized if your membership isn’t continually growing. And, in order for it to grow, prospective members need to be able to find your community. So, how best to draw in those potential additions to your association?

Web presence is everything in this digital age. You need to know where your demographic spends its time online. Are they on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat? Or, are they somewhere else? First, identify that social space they choose to occupy, infiltrate it with interesting content and have that content point them toward your website. If you succeed in getting them to this point, this is the critical step.

Your member website has to effectively tell your association’s story and grab visitors visually. Not only that, people need to come to your site (having never been there before) and know how to navigate it easily – without having to figure it out. The slightest hiccup can be an unforgivable offense on the internet. It’s incredible how petty people are when it comes to user experience online. However, we are all guilty of this. So, when it comes to the importance of website design – we should all be going in with eyes wide open. It’s not news that a visitor’s experience, while reviewing your website, has to be effective. They won’t be there long, so you need to deliver that critical messaging in a quickly consumable fashion.

Visitors need to know who your association is, what they are about, what value you provide, why the prospective member should join and how. And, all that needs to be accomplished in a clear and concise manner – if you don’t want it to be all for not. Below are some of the elements that need to be integrated into your member website to ensure visitors can find your association and are empowered to make an informed decision in whether they should join your community.

Your member website has to be familiar and understandable. Familiarity may seem like a strange trait since many prospects you draw to your site will have never been there before. However, their experience while on your site must seem recognizable. The method of navigating the website and accessing key information must be so straightforward that the visitor doesn’t even register that they are successfully finding what they need. A strong design that allows prospective members to enjoy their visit to your website is integral in getting them to that next step – deciding that becoming a full-fledged member of you’re your association is worthwhile.
Social networking is vital in driving people to your website. Your member website has to be on point but your association also needs to maintain a presence in the spaces your target audience frequents. Furthermore, the messaging on your social networking accounts needs to match the tone and delivery of the content on your website. Otherwise, this lack of continuity will make prospective members feel leery on joining your association.
The pathway to your website must be visible. If prospective members aren’t seeing you show up in the same location other communities similar to you are, they won’t visit your website. Your content needs to be keyword integrated so that it matches up with the terms prospective members are using to find what they are looking for. Doing this will ensure your association gets the same kick at the can that competitors do. All that will be left to do is to successfully convince the prospect that your association is the right one for them, as opposed to others.
Your member website content needs to accomplish many things, but its most important job is to tell your association’s story in a genuine, interesting and comprehensive way. Every word needs to positively encourage prospective members in their decision-making process. Your website’s messaging has to be crafted in such a way that visitors will be able to consume the information they need to determine whether your association’s value proposition will benefit them.
Brand Identity
All of your member website’s creative (content, audio, video and visual elements) has to seem congruent to the visitor. If any of these elements do not match up with one another, this disjointedness can damage the effort of communicating who your association is. Visitors to your member website must sense a discernable and harmonious identity that is unique to your association. If a prospective member can’t get a feel for your brand, they can’t imagine how they may fit into your community – which will dissuade them from following through on membership. Ensure visitors know why your association exists and its story, so they can evaluate how it meets their idea of a value proposition.
Member Portal / Registration
When your member website is firing on all cylinders – people are finding you, they are able to easily access the information they are looking for, they understand what you provide and they are hooked on your content – the only thing left for the prospective member is to become an actual member. At this point in the decision-making process, you just want to be able to get out of their way as much as possible. Give them the information and pathway and they should be off to the races in becoming a registered member of your association. It’s the pathway to registration that is key. If this is at all convoluted, all of the great effort and perfectly placed website elements will be rendered nil should the interested party have issues understanding how to join. It is for this reason why it is so powerful to have a registration portal connected to your member website. It makes the time spent and distance travelled between a prospective member liking what they are seeing from your website and becoming a member much more condensed. Anyone who is capable of finding your member website should also be very familiar with a simple online registration process. An easy to locate and use registration portal will prevent any last minute trip-ups that a prospective member could have – making becoming a full-fledged member just a couple of clicks away.

First impressions are everything. Make sure your member website is projecting an image that is honest and endears prospective members to the value you provide. It would be a shame for potential community members to miss out on all your association has to offer just because they were mislead by a poorly strategized website.