Growing your association’s membership is one of the most important things you can do for its development, matched only by nurturing the relationships you have with your existing members.
Of all the development tools you have at your disposal to do this, there’s one that tops all the others in cost-effectiveness and influence: interviewing your members and collecting their testimonials.
Interviewing your members enables you to:
- – Engage prospective members on an intellectual and an emotional level
- – Communicate the value of membership in your association
- – Spread your association’s success stories
- – Engage your members in a new way
In a nutshell, testimonials show your prospects what your organization can do for them, and the interview itself is a great way to increase the engagement level of your existing members.
Members Keep Your Association Alive
Members are to associations what customers are to businesses. If they didn’t exist, your organization wouldn’t, either.
All of your association’s decisions should come from a commitment to its membership. The relationship goes both ways; your members are your most valuable resource as well as your most important responsibility. Why would you confine your outreach to content that you create yourself when you have people who will happily create it with you?
The association and non-profit model is much like the business-to-business (B2B) model. You provide a service to people who then provide a product or service to others.
Of course, your members are much more important than customers. They are your partners in everything you do, and they share your goal of helping your field or industry thrive. However, it’s important to recognize that when new members join, they have to commit to paying dues. That’s essentially a purchase decision.
When you think of your members as customers, the value offered by interviewing them is easy to see. There’s ample research out there showing that customer testimonials are effective:
- 1. Reviews can increase organizations’ conversion rates by up to 270%
- 2. Peer recommendations are one of the most influential factors in driving sales
- 3. 97% of consumers say that reviews influence their decision to buy
- 4. 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to make a purchase after reading a review posted by someone they trust
Interviews Feel More Genuine
Any organization will have plenty to say about the value that it offers members, but the same information means more when it comes from the actual people who receive those services.
Your members can tell others in their communities or industries how they’ve benefited from belonging to your association. Potential members can see the benefits they’ll receive in the stories your existing members tell, making them more likely to join.
Interviews Create Emotional Connections
Although everyone has their own process for making decisions, emotions tend to tip the scales in most decision-making processes. When a member speaks about the value of belonging to your association, they share their emotions as well as facts. These might include:
- – The pride they take in their success
- – Their gratitude for belonging to a professional network
- – The satisfaction of advancing their passion and supporting their profession
Interviews give your members a chance to communicate these feelings clearly. Video interviews are particularly effective, as seeing and hearing members talk makes their emotions much more apparent to viewers than text does.
Every association has a core of extremely enthusiastic members. Think of the people in your organization who always want to help out. They’re the perfect candidates for video interviews. You want to interview someone whose excitement will be contagious.
Interviews Strengthen Member Relationships
When you interview a member, they will feel an increased sense of loyalty to your organization. Inviting them to an interview shows your confidence in them and your pride in having them as a member, and gives them a chance to show the pride they feel from belonging.
A Final Word
Development is challenging work. Your organization needs a healthy membership to thrive, and there are many other organizations competing for your audience’s attention. Member interviews help you stand out from the crowd by showing potential candidates that you care about the people who make up your association. If you are ready to dive in and start gathering testimonial and interview content, be sure to check out these resources to help you:
How to Interview Anyone
How to Gather Effective Testimonials from Your Members
How to Direct Your Camera Talent