There are several benefits to starting your own business association. It gives you the opportunity to network, you get access to specific services and resources, and you can build a solid reputation. However, the key to creating a notable association is attracting as many members as possible. And your website can play a big role in this. Let’s take a look at what elements you need to include on your website. But first, you need to know what challenges you can expect to face with this industry.
5 Challenges that Business Associations Face
Whether public or private, most organizations face a few external and internal challenges. But some issues are common than others. Below is a list of the top five problems that associations tend to face.
1. Dues and Fees
Most associations are funded by the members. However, with each passing year, it gets harder to define what constitutes value and if the members are getting a return on their investments. Fewer people are willing to pay to belong to a certain group. In fact, these changes have inspired many to seek out new membership models and consider changing their annual dues to a model that is user-based.
2. Changing Value Propositions
While in the past the core value proposition was advocacy, this is changing. The next generation is not as interested in organizations managing advocacy for them as they are in engaging in advocacy themselves. They actually want to be apart of the process and create awareness about certain policies on their own. And this can have a big impact on larger groups who have a hard time creating a cohesive goal and one voice for the organization.
3. Multiple Viewpoints
Many of today’s organizations haven’t invested the time to understand their members. Sure, they have a general understanding of the demographic but when it comes to the attitudes and motivation of their member base, they’re clueless. This makes it harder to focus on the issues that matter to the association as a whole. Instead, they’re left to rely on various viewpoints.
Organizations often find themselves in need of CEOS and directors. Specifically, they need individuals with a significant amount of experience. This lack of talent can negatively impact the outlook of the association. The association is typically left with a staff that resists change and bases its decisions on the culture and legacy.
In the past, associations were known for having a certain monopoly on resources. And this meant they had a lot to offer their members–exclusive content and perks. However, the internet allows anyone to start a business and offer the same types of perks to your membership.
7 Essential Web Design Elements
With all of the challenges that business associations are facing, it’s a good idea to be familiar with what can make yours stand out. Since a lot of your members will be doing business online, you can use your website as your number one marketing tool. Here are a few elements to include on your site.
One of the first things you need to do is let your visitors know exactly who you are by including an About page. Are you a not for profit association? What community do you serve specifically? How long has your organization been around? How many members do you currently have? What organizations do you currently work or partner with? What is your motto? The more questions you have the more insight you give into your association and the more likely people are to join.
Not only will your potential members be interested in who you are, but they’ll also want to know the benefits of joining your association. That’s why it’s a good idea to include a benefits page on your website. By becoming a member do they gain access to certain health benefits? Do you offer scholarship programs? Do you get discounts for certain hotels, car rentals, and restaurants? Be as thorough as possible when it comes to discussing the perks.
Another great way to entice people to join your organization is to include an events page. The events page can outline all of the activities that you have lined up for your members within the next few months. This will give your visitors an idea of the things that they could look forward to if they joined.
If you would like to send your members special updates then you should include a page that encourages them to sign up for your newsletter. The newsletter may feature updates about your members and what they’re doing for the association. You may send out polls in order to get your members’ opinions on an upcoming event that you’re planning. You may even send out special offerings and perks simply for signing up for the newsletter. Just make sure that the page explains the benefits of becoming a subscriber. You should also make sure that the sign-up process is easy and doesn’t require a lot of information.
Do you have some exciting news that you would like to share with both members and non-members? Perhaps you would like to share a special recognition that your association has just received. Maybe you’re going to be featured in the media and would like everyone to tune in. Were you quoted on a well-known industry blog? Will you be featured in an industry magazine? If so, you need to let people know about it.
In this case, you should include a press page. The best thing about creating a press page is that it helps you to further build your credibility. And this leads to growth in your membership.
There’s always a chance that your visitors could have a question about your association, the membership requirements, fees, or benefits. So it’s best to have a page that’s dedicated to your contact details. This page should include the basic information that will help your members get in touch with you. Include your email address, phone number, a physical address to your headquarters. You may even include a form that allows them to send their messages directly from your website.
Now that your visitors know more about you and what they can gain from becoming a member of your association, you need to make sure that they know how to sign up. Include a join page on your website so that registration is as quick and easy as possible. Make sure that your page includes the fees and dues they are expected to pay. Also, make sure that you lay out the guidelines and requirements for membership.
Building a successful business association takes a significant amount of work and dedication. However, if you’re diligent about creating a reputable organization you’ll become a pillar of your industry and well-respected in the community. It’s important that you design a website that reflects the amount of work that you’re putting into the association. The best websites are those that persuade people to join you in a pursuit to become leaders in your industry. It also highlights the benefits that they will accumulate along the way.