Many trade associations are seeing a decline in millennial membership, and the conclusion may seem obvious—millennials are simply not interested in joining associations or other professional organizations.
The reality is, however, that most millennials strongly value the benefits that associations provide—like career resources, networking opportunities, and a sense of community.
Much more frequently, the problem is that the association’s millennial membership recruitment and retention strategy is not aligned with what millennials value.
The American Optometric Association recognized the opportunity that growing millennial membership provide for their organization, so Dovetail recently completed a membership recruitment campaign specifically targeting millennial non-members. We worked with the AOA to develop a recruitment and retention strategy that would be perceived as valuable to millennial optometrists nationwide.
When targeting millennial members, ask yourself the following five questions to be sure you’re positioning your organization as a valuable resource versus an unnecessary expense.
Beyond age demographics, it is important to develop a clear ‘persona’ of your millennial member. Ask yourself the following questions—or better yet, ask them directly through market research:
Is your millennial target optimistic about their career prospects? What sorts of sources or websites do they consume for information? Do they tend to live in urban communities, rural communities, or both? What excites them, and what worries them?
For our AOA recruitment campaign, we began our efforts with a quantitative research study in the form of an online survey, which allowed us to narrowly define the millennial non-member target in order to develop the most effective messaging strategies to reach them.
You may even consider a slightly different messaging campaign or slogan in your millennial-targeted communication.
Our campaign concept for the AOA, “United in Possibilities,” projected a feeling of hope to which millennial optometrists were naturally drawn.
For the AOA membership recruitment campaign, we assisted in creating a Young Member Committee. This group was tasked with reaching out, forming connections, and above all communicating with prospective members. They explained why membership was important to them, with talking points that aligned with our campaign concept.
Using official talking points can help keep conversations on message and flowing naturally.
Not sure what your millennial target is searching for? Use free keyword research tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to investigate.
For the AOA recruitment campaign, we found that young optometrists were searching for keywords such as, “how to reduce student debt,” and, “where to find optometrist continuing education.” Dovetail created content optimized for those keywords using SEO best practices to draw prospective members to a landing page geared for membership conversion.
For our campaign with the AOA, we used email, direct mail, social media, and events—with all creative work grounded in our strong campaign concept.
Utilize a mix of media to communicate with millennials and break through the clutter. Ground all communication in a consistent campaign concept to amplify your message.