Pam Williams is the VP of Membership for AMA Triangle, a large chapter of the American Marketing Association based out of North Carolina.

She consulted with us as part of a membership drive, looking for ways to make their digital strategy more effective.

Her membership offer was a point of leverage in her campaign because it was the pitch she was giving to all the potential members they were marketing too. However, it had some issues that were common to associations.

Old membership offer from the association's benefits page

The association's old pitch from their member benefits page.

Their offer is above— can you spot the problems?

The Problems With Their Membership Offer

The glaring problems with this offer are that:

  • It’s focused on stuff, not speaking to potential member’s goals, desires, or pains.
  • It doesn’t speak to anyone in particular, preventing it from being really persuasive.
  • It offers no proof.
  • It doesn’t list pricing. Potential members can’t evaluate the value versus the cost to make a buying decision.

An Example of How to Fix It

We gave Pam several tools and recommendations to help her improve her offer and drive recruitment in our consultation. One of the things we provided her was an example mockup of how she could re-form the offer on their website to make it more effective (below.)

A simple redesign of their member benefits page

A simple mockup of how they might improve their member benefits page.

This would be one of several pages speaking to different kinds of members- in this case young professionals.

Pam’s Solution

Ultimately though, Pam was in a tricky situation. Her national organization was already making changes to the website and things were in limbo. She had to rely upon volunteers to make changes and she wasn’t confident things would get done as well as they needed to be.

I encouraged her to focus on what she could do, even if she couldn’t implement everything at once.

Later, when I checked in with her to see how the drive unfolded, she shared the following one pager that she created:

A screenshot of Pam's offer

This is the top 1/3 of the one pager Pam created to pitch membership

Wow! How great is this!?

Can you see the huge difference between the two offers?

  • She has an attention grabbing headline that matches why people care about individual member organizations like the AMA. “Invest in you!”
  • She speaks to one kind of potential member at a time (the full sheet has 2 other kinds of members listed.)
  • She leads with potential members real goals, not stuff. “Advance your career, enhance your resume, increase your visibility with hiring manager, impress your boss, build professional relationships.”
  • She uses scarcity and a bonus in this offer, giving people on the fence a little nudge by offering a complimentary pass to the January only luncheon.
  • She has a clear call to action in JOIN US
  • She uses a testimonial. (Though I would tweak this and leave out the past president bit and replace it with something identifiable and relatable- e.g. “Stan Phelps, member and founder of The Purple Goldfish, a marketing consulting firm.”)

Do What You Can, Where You Are

Pam did lots of things well in her rebuilt pitch, but perhaps the most important lesson here is that she took action.

She could have used a lot of excuses to keep from improving their offers:

  • The parent association was making changes.
  • They lost a key member in their marketing leadership.
  • She didn’t have the volunteer support she needed.

Instead of just putting it off though, she did what she could, with what she had.

You know that your situation is never going to be perfect.

You’re not going to get the budget you want, the staff to make changes, and a month to do it all at the same time. Rather than waiting around for the stars to align, follow Pam’s lead and do what you can with where you are.

John Hooley
President, Steward

John is a graduate of 10,000 Small Businesses, a certified Customer Acquisition Specialist, and a Zend Certified Engineer. He speaks and writes on connecting digital strategy to association goals. Outside of work he's an avid traveler, climber, diver, and a burgeoning sailor. He also volunteers with Rotary and Big Brothers Big Sisters.