Enhance Your Association Website With One Quick Fix

Membership. The core of every association. No matter if you’re composed of scientists, teachers, or people over the age of fifty, your membership (and for many, events) is your bread and butter. But as I browse through association websites, the majority forgets a simple item that helps increase membership exponentially.

What are (most) all of these association websites missing? A call to action (CTA) button encouraging people to join that is visible throughout all the pages of the website.

This simple addition streamlines the path to membership. As users learn more about your organization through your website and become interested in what you have to offer, joining is always in their eyesight. Many association websites place the join option in a subpage under “Membership.” This is a big mistake. Don’t make potential members take multiple steps or bury the join link from view. 

Here are a few tips for this all-important CTA button on your association website:

  • Be Clear and Concise. “Why Join” and “Join” can’t be much clearer and are extremely effective.
  • Pay Attention To Positioning. The join link or button should be placed in the global navigation, accessible regardless of whatever page the association website user is viewing. Two options are the primary navigation, generally at the top of the website consisting of the navigation bar, or the utility navigation, often in the top right hand corner, which includes the search bar and/or a member login. While both work, I recommend the utility navigation placement because it stands out. Especially if there are a lot of other options in the primary navigation bar, you don’t want the CTA button to get muted in the mix.

  • Focus on Treatment. ​When associations add the join link to the primary navigation, much of the time it’s the same color and font as the rest of the labels. Or, if it’s in the utility navigation, the button is small and not bright enough to attract the eye. A couple ideas to draw attention to the CTA: use a contrasting background color/texture treatment and/or enlarged, capitalized, or bolded text. (If using a button, be sure to use text within a graphic container versus having a single graphic element consisting of the background and text. This will help accessibility and search). 

Is your search bar bigger and brighter than your join button? Does your join link look exactly the same as the rest of your navigation bar? Make your join button pop and watch your membership grow.   

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Mike Kapetanovic

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