Four Ways to Use Your Association's Story as a Marketing Tool

Van Gronigen_storytelling for mktg September 30, 2022 By: Javan Van Gronigen

No matter your organization’s focus, there’s one thing all associations have in common: You’re built on a story. Your members have joined for a reason, and it’s up to you to use it to reach a wider audience. Here are some tips to leverage your story to gain more members.

The best asset your association has at its disposal is your story. It’s what defines who you are as an organization, who your members are, and what your goals are. All of your members joined because of your story, so you should incorporate it into your marketing efforts. 

Packaging your story with an evocative exterior is a great way to get prospects invested in your organization’s success and interested in joining. Here are four ways you can attract more members with your association’s story.

Integrate Traits of a Great Story

It’s easy to hear a great story and retell it, but it’s harder to create a story that gets people listening. That’s why you should use common storytelling strategies while crafting your association’s narrative. Some traits of a compelling story include intriguing, informative, optimistic, empowering, and poignant. 

Work with your marketing team to tell your story in a way that incorporates these characteristics to make more people want to learn about your association and, eventually, join your membership base.

Use Digital Elements

One of the crucial elements of marketing is knowing how to reach your target audience. In the digital age, the answer is likely the internet. According to Fifty & Fifty, your association should learn how to include your story in your digital marketing strategy to reach the most prospects. Here are some media worth pursuing:

  • Photos and videos. These are powerful tools because they can transcend words and language barriers. This means that you can access untapped audiences that hear your association’s story and want to join in. Consider investing more time into capturing high-quality images that convey parts of your story.
  • Web design. Adapting your story to your website is a must. Include an “About Us” tab where newcomers can learn more about your association’s history and how they can get involved. 
  • Social media. There’s no better way to expand your reach than through social media. Decide which platforms your target audience uses the most, and intertwine your story in your posts. Consider creating specific social media marketing campaigns centered around your story, whether it’s your association’s history or your mission. 

Whichever avenues you pursue, don’t forget to incorporate the traits of a great story throughout the process and you’ll surely catch your prospects’ attention.

Let Members Tell Their Stories

As an association, your members are the largest beneficiaries of your programs and services. They all have unique experiences and can give your prospects a first-hand look at how the association has enriched their professional and personal lives. 

Recruit your most loyal supporters to speak on behalf of your association to weave their individual stories into yours. You can do this through social media, professional webinars and panels, and blog posts.

Leverage Supporting Data

No matter your association’s focus, your success should be a major part of your story and marketing. A great way to do this is by supporting your claims with compelling data. Allowing your numbers to do the talking for you will convince more prospects that your organization is worth investigating and joining. To do this, practice good data hygiene habits and tidy your CRM so that it’s easier to pull information from it in the future. 

Ultimately, your association was built by like-minded people with a passion and purpose. You’ll find similar people to join you if you leverage what makes your association stand out. Work with your team to shape your marketing strategy around your story and the value you have to offer–and people are bound to notice.

Javan Van Gronigen

Javan Van Gronigen is creative director and founder of Fifty & Fifty.