The Missing Ingredient in Association Websites

Associations contribute largely to the fabric of DC culture. Take a 10-minute stroll down K Street and you’ll see impressive buildings filled with smart, passionate people fighting for what they believe in most. But while their presence within the Beltway may be prominent as ever, the impact of associations online doesn’t pack nearly the same punch, and it all comes down to a single missing ingredient: the why.

Getting to the Core of Why

In Simon Sinek’s legendary TED Talk on the Golden Circle, the renowned author and speaker illustrates the typical strategy for brands to communicate what they do, followed by how they do it. What so few brands, associations, and even leaders fail to touch upon, however, is why they do it. This core foundation of purpose is what speaks to people’s deepest mindset and something that guides the best brands in the world. 

The “Why Join” Page

Now that we know the importance of “why,” let’s apply it to associations and how they garner membership.

Membership is key for associations. And because only a handful of prospects actually live in DC where headquarters have set up shop, association websites need to do much of the heavy lifting.

If you look at the current landscape of association websites, many have pages breaking down different levels of membership and the benefits that come with each echelon, but very rarely do these associations clearly and concisely communicate to users why they should join. By adding this simple, yet fundamental element to your association’s website, you could be doing wonders for your membership gains, and even better, a service to your cause.

Keep It Simple

A “Why Join” page doesn’t need to be complicated. It should be easy to find in main navigation—not buried in a membership page. It explains your association’s purpose and mission, tells the reader why membership matters to this mission, and outlines very clearly what they get out of joining your association. Follow this up with a clear call to action, and you’ve just created a very simple journey that turns users into members.

Just remember to be concise. While it may be tempting to list every little membership benefit that your association has to offer, if a user cannot digest the information, they cannot act on it.

Mike Kapetanovic

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