Big brands love it when consumers make positive associations. Sports brands race to sponsor premier athletes and the next up-and-comers. Fashion brands deck out the stars for free. Restaurants comp meals for celebrities.
They know that for every pair of skis they give away thousands of potential customers are thinking, “if these skis are good enough for [famous skier’s name here] they are good for me.”
This same tactic can work for associations. Each industry has well-known and well-respected experts. When new members see that these industry celebrities get value from the association or that they contribute time to the association, new members assume they will eventually receive value too even if they don’t know what that value will be. Here are some ideas for getting your industry’s celebrities out in front.
Testimonials are Good
But writing testimonials is challenging and time-consuming so even the most engaged long-time members may put off writing one. Make it easy for them by requesting a 15-minute phone conversation where you ask them a series of questions about why they are involved with the association, why they are a member now, and what value they received early in their career. Write their responses into a cohesive testimonial and ask for them to review and approve it. Post the copy with their photo. Or catch industry celebrities at the conference and ask to shoot a 30-second video testimonial.
Leverage the Board Member’s Celebrity Status
There may be industry celebrities on the board. Some board members might be willing to make calls to new members who have not yet taken advantage of any of the association’s offerings. For those that don’t have time, you can still leverage their celebrity status. Have one or two of these well-known members welcome new members at your conference’s first-time attendee orientation and ask them to reflect back on what the association meant to them early in their career. Add some color to the board member listing on your website. Along with their name, title and organization include years in the industry or profession and ask them to provide a one sentence explanation about why they feel strongly about serving on the board or remaining engaged with the association.
Name Drop in Onboarding Calls
Does a new member know that the top earner in her company is also a member? Can you find a long-time member success story to share? How about well-known organization names in the industry? Do you have members from MIT, Amazon or the Mayo Clinic?
Help new members think, “if [industry celebrity name here] finds value in this association, I am sure I will too!”