Memberships & Associations
October 12, 2023

10 Strategies to Boost Membership Acquisition

Membership Acquisition


Welcome to our latest blog about effective ways to boost membership acquisition.

Today, we’re looking at the ever-evolving landscape of membership organisations, and how acquisition strategies lead to sustainable growth. At the end of this blog, you’ll have 10 more acquisition strategies in your repertoire. Use each one to gain new members, expand your organisation, and ensure long-lasting success.


Memberships & Associations Guide to Increasing Acquisition, Engagement & Retention


Why are Acquisition Strategies Important? 

Acquisition strategies ensure sustainable growth, financial stability, and your marketing efforts have a wider impact. A growing membership base provides a reliable source of revenue. This enables your organisation to cover operational costs whilst supporting initiatives that boost  member engagement and member retention. 

Acquisition strategies also enhance your organisation's influence and credibility within its community or industry. After all, new members bring diverse expertise and perspectives, fostering innovation and stronger bonds in your organisation. Not to mention the central role that trust and credibility play in successful referrals.  

Additionally, a larger member base is an extensive resource pool for your organisation. The impact of member advocacy isn’t just gaining more qualified leads. Positive feedback from new members helps your organisation be more flexible and adjust to changes and challenges in its mission. 

That’s why attracting and onboarding new members will help your membership organisation thrive and fulfil its purpose.

Keeping an eye on the latest membership trends
will also provide some additional inspiration on how to get more members


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Strategy 1: Targeted Marketing Campaigns 

Email marketing is one the most effective acquisition channels. Oberlo, sharing a stat from Emarsys, claims that 81% of SMBs rely on email as their main acquisition tool. Regardless of your organisation’s size, delivering targeted market campaigns via email is a great way to acquire new members.



There’s several options for delivering a targeted marketing campaign. More often than not, businesses use a combination of these. They vary from Pay-per-click (PPC), affiliate marketing, content marketing, and many more marketing strategies. Email campaigns are a great acquisition channel to start with because of their cost-effectiveness. 

Personalised email campaigns are much more economical to maintain compared to PPC and yield significantly more ROI. In addition, there’s no print or delivery costs as seen in direct mail campaigns. 



Personalisation enhances the effectiveness of targeted marketing campaigns. PPC certainly has the ability to target potential leads by tracking browser behaviour. However, the ad is rarely personalised to the user. Not to mention the increasing prevalence of ad-blockers hinders PPC’s ability to reach target audiences. 

Email marketing circumvents these barriers, hand in hand with personalisation. Your membership organisation can send a personalised email to potential members and instantly drive engagement and communication that stands out.

Of course, all you need is a lead generation tool. For example a landing page to capture email addresses. You’ll need a channel to direct prospective members to the landing page. 



With all that in place, eventually you’ll be in a position to segment your target audience based on various criteria. Segmented lists boost click-through-rates (CTRs) by 50%.

Consider what type of content interests them? Does the email messaging resonate with them? What are their goals if they choose to become a member of the organisation? What aspects of your organisation are they passionate about? 

With these reference points you’ll be in a suitable position to send them content tailored specifically to them. 


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Strategy 2: Compelling Value Proposition

The messaging in your targeted marketing should focus on conveying your value proposition. As most competitors will probably have weaved their own value proposition in their marketing.

Revert to the "why" behind your organisation; what’s its mission? Why was it created in the first place and who was it created for? New members want to know what they will gain. This is the most important factor in deciding if they will join or not.

Answering these questions leads you back to the benefits of your organisation. As well as informs the angles and hooks to use in your campaign messaging. In your value proposition, highlight the unique benefits and advantages of membership. This could include access to exclusive resources, networking opportunities, professional development, or cost savings.  

Clearly explaining why new members should join your organisation will increase the number of people who join. This is because it will clearly show what makes your organisation unique.
Additionally, potential members will understand its worth. Remember to use persuasive, emotive language to keep potential members engaged, and keep the call to action simple!


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Strategy 3: Member Referral Programmes 

With the downward trend in member acquisition and renewals, membership organisations need a solution to restore growth. That solution is referral programmes. Most customers trust recommendations from friends and family and are four times more likely to buy something. 

Trust and credibility are fundamental for healthy acquisition. If your organisation has strong member retention and your members are satisfied, you have already built trust. A referral programme uses the trust, positive feelings, excitement, and loyalty of your current members to attract new ones. 

This highlights the important relationship between member retention and acquisition. With happy customers already in tow, you've got brand advocates ready to refer others to your organisation! Consider offering incentives for members who refer others to your organisation. This could be a discount on membership fees or recognition in your member directory. 

Membership reward programmes contribute to your member value proposition, and when promoted through the right channels, can also entice new prospective members to sign up.

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Strategy 4: Online Presence and SEO

A strong online presence is vital for acquisition of new members in today’s digital age. Search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques as well as an optimised website ensures potential new members find your organisation online. A good SEO strategy will help your organisation appear at the top of search engine results. This happens when people search for information related to what you do. 

Improved visibility casts the net wider online. Combining SEO with compelling value propositions and targeted marketing, positions your membership organisation as a well-established authority in its niche. 

SEO is one of the better acquisition channels for cost-effectiveness. It will allow your membership organisation to tap into a steady stream of highly qualified and interested leads.

The golden ratio for SEO is 5:1. This means that for every pound you spend, you get five back with the right strategies. Therefore, ensure that you regularly update your website content and apply SEO best practices


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Strategy 5: Social Media Engagement 

People are at the heart of membership organisations whether it’s a professional association or charity. All of them aim to improve opportunities for people or have some other form of positive impact on their lives. Social media allows you to connect with current and potential members in a friendly and personal manner. This is crucial for developing strong customer relationships.

The ability of social media platforms to engage in this way that retains members and attracts new ones. After all, it gives membership organisations like yours, to share valuable and informative content that showcases:


  • Your organisation’s expertise.

  • Milestones reached in your mission.

  • The latest developments in your industry, niche or social issues that you address. 


In addition to this, social media allows you to directly engage with your members and leads. Thereby You can answer their questions, celebrate their achievements, and engage with them to stay in their thoughts. After all, the average person spends two hours and twenty four minutes on social media. Also the amount of social media users means you’ll reach a wider demographic of potential leads. 


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Strategy 6: Collaborations and Partnerships

Your organisation could also increase subscription sales using collaborations or partnerships. Other organisations or B2C and B2B businesses from various sectors are all great options as potential partners. 

Working together and forming partnerships can help you attract new members by creating a unique selling point. Especially when your offers are a unique combination of your services and a partner's product or service.

Teaming up with complementary entities also means your organisation accesses their audiences. Potentially new members who didn’t know your organisation existed prior to the partnership. This will expand your organisation's reach and boost credibility by associating with partners and benefiting from their brand equity and audience. 


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Strategy 7: Membership Tiers and Incentives 

One of the largest inhibitors of growth for membership associations or organisations is the participation cost barrier. Perhaps more so for professional associations, as their members need to pay more to access benefits and rewards in membership programmes. 

Membership levels and rewards are important for attracting new members. They consider the diverse situations and needs of individuals. This is why they are significant.
Someone more advanced in their career might be able to afford memberships. Whereas someone just starting, keen to develop their career and network, may struggle to meet the costs.

Different tiers cater to the various needs and budgets of all your members - ensuring that your organisation is inclusive and actively promotes its mission in a fair way. 

You can structure tiers so that they increasingly offer access to resources, greater networking opportunities, and exclusive content. Create a members registration process that allows people to choose a tier tailored to their preferences, budget, and goals. 

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Strategy 8: Content Marketing and Thought Leadership 

Potential members closely align their personal values or interests with the mission of your membership organisation. Therefore, to get them onboard, you need to demonstrate that your association is the best at what it does. 

Content marketing allows you to advertise your expertise in the space. In other words, establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field. Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant content, such as:


  • Articles

  • Blogs

  • White papers

  • Webinars 

Providing valuable insights and information to your target audience attracts potential members who seek knowledge and professional growth. Thought leadership builds trust ( crucial acquisition ingredients!) and positions your organisation as a credible source within your industry. Keep in mind that implementing the aforementioned SEO strategy will help spread your expertise far and wide. 


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Strategy 9: Data-Driven Decision Making 

Data analysis is a crucial part of member acquisition. To make informed decisions and improve your strategies, you need to gather, analyse and act upon datasets. A software solution designed to help you manage your members, can help you collect and leverage collected data. Enabling you to fine-tune improvements. 

Membership organisations face challenges with legacy tech. The result of which has led to a downward trend in acquisition of new members and retention. By collecting data about acquisition initiatives and your existing membership base, you’ll learn more about your target audience and demographics.

Measuring the success of acquisition strategies reveals what resonated with new leads. This allows for more accurate and effective optimisation of acquisition strategies that will help you overcome your most pressing challenges.  


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Strategy 10: Continuous Evaluation and Optimisation

The last but certainly not least of our ten acquisition strategies; continuous evaluation and optimisation. Long term success of implemented acquisition strategies rely on continual support, evaluation and optimisation. The challenges membership organisation face, such as: 


  • Failing to attract younger demographics.

  • Enhancing value and experiences for members.

  • Engage and retain existing members.

  • Data protection. 

All require dynamic, evergreen solutions that continue to evolve as your industry changes. Acquisition strategies require consistent assessment of key performance indicators (KPIs).

Are you seeing an increase in membership numbers? Are you retaining your members effectively? Do you have a strong online presence?

Does feedback indicate that newcomers to the organisation perceive a personalised experience? Is your communication up to scratch? 

Regularly review your data, gather feedback from members, and make improvements accordingly to keep track of your strategies. 


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Grow Your Membership Organisation Today 

Effective acquisition strategies are the lifeblood of your membership organisations. Adopting even one of these ten strategies will set you on the road for future success in attracting new members. To grow your customer base, target potential customers, make attractive offers, and encourage current members to refer others. This will increase your conversion rate and bottom line.  

To reach your target audience, it is important to have a strong online presence. You can achieve this through active social media involvement and interesting partnerships. Encourage user generated content and promote it on your socials.

Additionally, positioning your membership organisation as a thought leader can also help in reaching your target audience. Regularly contacting potential leads and sharing case studies shows that your organisation is active and knowledgeable. Data-driven decision making ensures your acquisition efforts are always effective and continuous evaluation and optimisation are essential for enduring success. 

Drive growth, strengthen your community and ensure long-term sustainability with Propello today.


Memberships & Associations Guide to Increasing Acquisition, Engagement & Retention




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