Communicating member value: Features vs. benefits

Tirrah Switzer, Senior Product Marketing Manager

April 20, 2021

    “I don’t need to increase retention rates or recruit new members.” – said no association professional ever.

    Most association are focused on improving member retention and increasing membership, even when membership times are good. Over the last year, associations have reinvented themselves and created amazing member value. And, members agree. According to Community Brands research, half of Members believe their organization is more important since the pandemic. Now, you have to continue to deliver and prove that value.

    Offering unique benefits that deliver member value. Check. Your association delivers in spades. Great – you’re halfway to member growth.

    The effectiveness of your association’s growth depends on your ability to communicate member value. How are you communicating your member value? Have you updated how you’re communicating your member value since last year?

    Successful associations go beyond a laundry list of what’s included with a membership. Instead, they share a vision of how membership will improve a members’ career and life (aka the benefits).

    Keep in mind: Features tell, benefits sell.

    Although features and benefits are linked, try to think of them separately. A feature is something your  association has (membership), whereas a benefit is the outcome and value of being a member.

    Think of it this way, features are logical while benefits are emotional. For example: people don’t typically want to purchase a bed. They want a good night sleep. Members don’t typically want to purchase continuing education. They want to enhance their skills to advance their careers.

    How well do you know your lapsed members?

    Check out the research into why members lapse and how you can bring them back.

    When you focus on the benefits, you can turn a prospective member into a member and retain more members.

    Here are two tips to communicating member value:

    Beware of the laundry list.

    Communicate the value and benefits of membership. Build compelling messages that are about the member, not your organization. Put yourself in your members’ shoes and address WIIFM (what’s in it for me.) Use the information from your member surveys and lapsed member surveys to showcase your value.

    Don’t discount features.

    It’s still important for features to tell. Features are the “proof” of your benefits and can often connect the dots for members. Once you sell your member on the benefits, features tell the member how those benefits will happen.

    Members must justify their membership dues, either to themselves or someone at their organization. Part of that justification is effectively communicating your features and benefits. When you’re able to identify and express the emotions associated with your benefits, you’re well on your way to growing your association.

    Is your current association management system helping you grow or is it becoming a perpetual roadblock?

    Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how Nimble AMS on Salesforce can help you grow.

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