8 Ways to Grow Your Memberships
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8 Ways to Grow Your Memberships

8 Ways to Grow Your Memberships

Monday, January 23, 2023 / Michael Kettenring

If you run a member-based organization, then membership growth will most probably be one of the key KPI’s. This puts member recruitment front and center unless the main source of income is non-member dues related.

Most successful membership organizations find a specific set of tools that works really well for them, and these will often be specific to that club or association. So, the best advice is to learn by trial and error. If something doesn’t work, then move on to the next tool until you find a few things that work particularly well for you.

Here are some tools which can work in synergy. This cheat list should simply be inspirational.

Publish high quality content on your website

Publishing content has become a successful tool in the pull-marketing tool set. Whether your team is creating the content, or your members contribute, there are many ways to source great articles that are relevant to your readers, your target audience, and your members.

Key is to not be too general. Don’t be afraid of segmenting your audience into clusters and write content for the specific clusters. This will only increase the relevance and value in the eyes of the reader when done right.

As a long-term goal it makes sense to formulate a website or member portal strategy. The times of publishing simple WordPress websites are over once the online presence becomes more sophisticated or member focused.

Turn your website into a community hub

Let’s unpack this. It really refers to two distinct projects starting by creating a community of members in which members engage with the organization and among themselves. To make this a reality you need the right technology – a hub – supporting all the many ways of communication within a community. This is what differentiates a WordPress website from a member portal or hub.

Let’s just think of members only content by member type, or a secure “my Account” access to financial information. Maybe you want to elevate the website to become a true member hub; an interactive video library, an operational tool to automate payments, or foster member engagement. The possibilities are endless. Regardless of your approach, elevating a website into a professional online destination will be a central piece of the puzzle for brand awareness and reputation.

Get testimonials from existing members

This idea works well for membership schemes that provide a particular benefit for the member. Testimonials make fantastic case studies to be recorded as a video or white paper. Then publish them on the website in strategic places, so they become an anchor for visitors to go to. There is no more powerful tool you can find to boost credibility and create confidence to potential members.

Send out email newsletters

Next is to create email newsletters and send them out to the matching target audience. Embed the testimonials and teasers of high-quality content as a snippet to create excitementEmail Newsletter and inspire readers to click-through to read more. This endeavor is not as easy as it looks on paper. First, it requires a long-term commitment. The marketing rule of 7 says that recipients of emails do not recognize or act until they see your newsletter with consistent fresh content in their inbox 7 times. This leads to consistent content creation as the second requirement. Because nothing gets old faster than reading the news from yesterday.

Once you have content, match it with the right audience. Only then will the email be considered relevant. Otherwise, people will unsubscribe quickly. Of course, this requires that you have identified your core target audience. Please read our articles about market segmentation strategies if this interests you.

Social media advertising

Google Ads, retargeting ads and social media posts can also be extremely effective parts of your push-marketing strategy. It really depends on the industry, and the media behavior of the users.

Pay-per-click advertising has proven to be a reliable lead generation tool in many industries. Unfortunately, it has lost some of its appeal for smaller organizations with tighter budgets due to increased competition and higher costs of keywords.

If someone has visited your website, then it is a fair bet that they are interested in what you have to say. This leads us to retargeting ads to show up on the social media and other websites that users visit when they have already been to your site. Use this with some great content to drive sign-ups.

Posting news on social media are mostly free of charge, but more labor-intense and provide less outreach. Find the right media-mix, get the media types (written posts, video, live stream) right, and publish to the right audience may be one of the most powerful tools in your tool set.

But be careful: Tic-Toc may not be the right media channel for a 55+ membership audience. Teenagers on the other hand may not be the perfect LinkedIn user.

Offer ‘Freemiums”

What is a freemium? Offer a free subscription to get started, limited in terms and scope, and offer payable upsells thereafter. This will give initially insecure members the chance to feel you out without you giving away the bank.

Provide perks to referring members

The strongest sales team you have available are your current happy members. Ask them to reach out to their peers and friends. Give them a “3-months free” bonus for new members or some other value that will inspire them to act on your behalf.

Reach out to former members

Very often people who are looking to grow their membership concentrate on brand new members but there is a rich source of potential sign-ups already existing in previous member list.

Users don’t always leave because they don’t like what you are offering, often it is because their circumstances have changed, or they simply don’t have the time or money at that point to take advantage of what you provide.

But that doesn’t mean that this will always be the case. Reach out to your former members with a great rejoining offer and see your membership list expand.


Often organizations think many of the mentioned tools are beyond reach either financially or technologically. They are not! Why? Because we built an all-in-one software solution to empower organizations to do exactly this! Contact us to find out how to turn your member growth objectives into operational projects. We specialize in member-based software solutions and services that are affordable and easy-to-use.

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