National Associations: 3 Ways to Engage Your Members

As the staff of any national association knows, it is important to keep members informed, motivated and remind them of the importance/relevance of the association they belong to. Engaged members are members who care. Importantly, this engagement can also support your organization’s continued relevance and value to its members.

Though many members of associations automatically become members by default, meaning they don’t need to be persuaded to join or to remain members, associations should nevertheless strive to continuously prove their value to members. All members should feel like the association they are a part of is invested in them and that they matter. Further, it is important to provide members, new and old, with easy ways to relate to your association and find their place within it. Read on for three ways to engage members with their association.



1)   Use Social Media to Create an Engaged Community

The power of simple, instant communication afforded by social media to bring people together is incredibly impressive. A key strength of social media is that it enables the creation of communities  united by a commonality, in this case, a shared membership to an association. Your national association should see social media as an opportunity to create a community of engaged members.

Maintaining your social media accounts, with the help of a sound strategy, of course, will also aid your federation in appearing (and being) more relevant and approachable.

Once you’ve (a) made your social media accounts easy to find and (b) maintained activity on these accounts, you open the door for members to engage with you directly in an easy and convenient manner. Make sure to respond in a timely manner to show members that their national association values their input and cares about their needs.


2) Produce Visual Content to Engage

Large associations can seem complex to outsiders — even to their own members!

Infographics are able to both clarify and disseminate sometimes complex information while engaging the reader. They do this by delivering valuable information such as statistics and facts in an organized, efficient, and visually engaging way. Breaking down the association’s key functions or highlighting achievements (for example), into simple, well-branded visuals can effectively present how the organization works and benefits its membership. Done properly, infographics have the remarkable ability to make potentially confusing or bland information nearly painless and even enjoyable to consume!

The advantages of infographics for national associations are clear: from highlighting membership benefits to sharing important news or history.

Unlike a blog article (which has its own list of virtues), infographics are more immediately immersive. A well-designed visual arrangement of information will immediately create an appealing environment for the reader and requires less of a mental investment than multiple paragraphs of words on a page.

There is a reason infographics have been trending for a long time: they are easy to share on social media. People like them because they are seen as low-effort/high-pay-off pieces to both consume and share. For that reason they are also a great way to extend your message to places it hasn’t been before. Strong brand awareness for any national association is an on-going concern.


3) De-clutter Your Website for More Engagement

Try visiting (nearly) any national association’s homepage — choose one you have never visited before. How do you feel? A little overwhelmed?

If you don’t know exactly where to look and what you want, you’ll find that navigating many association websites can be overwhelming. There is often so much depth and breadth of information in such a compact space, that it can be difficult to figure out where to begin. Imagine how someone must feel who knows little about your organization. Pairing things down and organizing information in a clean and logical fashion makes good sense.(Not everything needs to be immediately accessible from your homepage.).



By using social media to nurture a stronger sense of community, infographics to communicate important information clearly and appealingly, and an easy to use and informative website, you will be more successful at engaging your members than ever before.

Content in Action: Growing Your Business

Content generation can show the world that your company is an authority in your niche. While this is an important step in establishing your online brand, sooner or later you are going to want to see a return on investment. Growth from new business is what it’s all about.

Person charting business growth

Strategy will drive the process of putting your content in action to grow your business. Your business is unique, as are your customers, so some degree of customization is needed. That being said there are resources that can be used to put it all together.


Inbound Methodology

Inbound marketing is the buzz phrase everyone has heard of but may not fully understand. Simplified, it is a method to attract online visitors and help turn them into happy customers.

HubSpot breaks the method down into 4 basic phases; Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.

Your compelling content fits into the Attract phase. Blog posts, ebooks, and videos provide useful information and answer questions that your prospects are asking. Tools such as SEO and social media help to amplify your message.

Developing a relationship by engaging with your prospects, along with more targeted content, make up the Convertphase. This phase will help your prospects to a consideration point where they become qualified leads.

The Close phase goes without saying and arguably it’s the most important part. The most fun part, for sure.

Delight ensures your customer buys again, and recommends your business to others.


Consistency is King

The key is to consider the above as a method. As a method, every phase, and the tactics to deliver every phase, should be followed religiously. For every online visitor. If you miss anything your valuable prospects, leads, and customers will likely disappear. There is no second chance with most online visitors. They came to you, after-all.

With the number of visitors that arrive at your website and with the need to run the rest of your business, you can appreciate what a challenge it is to follow a necessary structured method of running an online business. Fortunately there is an app for that!


Marketing Automation

The implementation of marketing automation software, such as SharpSpring, will ensure that all visitors to your website have the same consistent experience. Every phase of the inbound method is managed automatically. The software provides you tools for attracting visitors and turning them into customers.

For example, marketing automation helps to identify visitors to your website. It tells you what pages they visited and how long they spent there. The software manages the content they consume and collects contact details.

Following up, based on a visitor’s actions at your site, result in a likelihood of converting the contact to a lead. Timing is everything.

Personal emails are automatically dispatched at key times, allowing the crucial engagement necessary to form a relationship with prospects. Emails can contain access to more of your great content; providing your prospects with relevant information about your product or service at the right time in their buyer’s journey. Are they at a decision stage? How about a well-timed testimonial or purchasing incentive?

Marketing automation notifies you of key events such as when a lead reaches a certain status in their online activities. Your sales staff can then facilitate a sale with a truly qualified lead.



Inbound is the methodology you use to put your content into action to grow your business. Marketing automation tools are what we use to deliver the necessary tactics to gain new customers.

Together they provide an efficient and effective combination to achieve the most from your online marketing.