Top half of the old site's member benefits page

Before we implemented the redesigned offer.

A Challenging Situation

Leadership in the Endourological Society approached us about a website redesign. After a few conversations, it became clear that they were facing similar challenges to most societies and associations around engaging members and communicating value.

In one painful admission, they said, “...members perceive us as journal with a society attached.”

This was a particularly sore point because the society had made contributions to their field that had forever changed medicine and improved the lives of millions of people. The caliber of members and information in the society was exceptional, but they weren’t communicating that well.

An additional obstacle was that the annual event was a primary means of recruiting members. However, this limited the amount of people they could sell membership too, because most prospective members wouldn’t pay the cost to travel to an international event.

To address this, we recommended improving their website's membership offer to drive recruitment. We wanted them to have a clear and highly engaging reason for a member anywhere in the world to join them.

Results From The Completed Project

Once completed, this work had a dramatic impact on how they gain members:

  • After re-launching their website with the updated offers, they saw more than a 380% increase in new member registrations online
  • The society made their money back on the Membership Offer Blueprint and a much larger website redesign project in 4.5 months. 
  • They gained a better understanding of who they serve, what they value, and how to commuicate why they matter to members.
  • They gained a tool that enabled them to drive recruitment year round and independent of their annual event.

These numbers are solely from changes in online registration and don't include lifetime value of new members.

Additionally, there were a host of other benefits they gained through the larger website redesign project that further magnify this value.

Starting With Data

To start the engagement, we analyzed their analytics, conducted research, and talked with their members and committees.

Through this, we identified three different kinds of members that the Society was currently serving:

  • Academic urologists
  • Community or "non-academic" urologists
  • Urologists in training

Each lived and worked in different situations and had different goals.

Crafting a Personalized Offer

Personalization is a sexy topic in technology. However, we all experience personalization through choice. For example, when you order from a menu at a restaurant, you’re effectively personalizing your dining experience. This is distinct from, say, dining at a friend’s home where you better eat what they give you (with a smile on your face.)

When you speak specifically to someone’s needs you create a much more persuasive pitch.

For our restaurant example, this is like you telling the waiter, “I’m a vegetarian,” and they say, “Okay, well from our entire menu, what you’ll like most is the eggplant parmesan and the wild mushroom fettuccine.”

This is the impact of relevance and why it forms the base of the Member Magnet Framework.

Offer structure showing two different kinds of members.

We enabled prospective members to personalize the offer to their own needs.

In the Society’s offer, we accomplished the same thing by directing people interested in joining to a landing page allowing them to self-identify what mattered to them based on their segment of interest as academic or practicing urologists (we had to leave urologists in training out because of external obstacles.)

What is Value?

The Society felt a bit limited in what they could offer of value because they primarily had their journals and their annual event (which not all members attended.) Part of the larger website redesign project would build value into their website, but those were the primary mechanisms that they currently provided value.

The truth is:

It can be scary or feel impossible to communicate value when you only have 1 - 2 ways you do it.... But this isn’t an accurate way to perceive your situation.

You can get lots of different kinds of value from just one “thing.”

In the Society’s case, from a journal, you might gain value by:

  • Keeping up-to-date.
  • Learning alternative techniques.
  • Impressing your boss with your dedication to the field.
  • Adding to a library of resources for you to reference.

If you’re an academic urologist you might:

  • Identify other urologists to collaborate with.
  • Get ideas to conduct research on.

If you’re a practicing urologist you might:

  • Brush up on best practices for less common techniques.
  • Identify specialists to refer difficult cases too.

It turns out one “thing” can provide lots of different kind of value. Additionally, how much that value matters and how it matters depends a lot on who and where you are- context.

Rather than focus on the “things,” you need to focus on how your different kinds of members benefit and communicate that.

Organization

We provided potential members a birds eye view of the benefits from the benefits landing page.

Then we dove deeper into highly relevant offers to each member type, using data and insights we’d generated through our conversations with members.

Membership benefits page headline and 3 supporting value metrics

Note that none of this is focusing on things members got (journals, discounts, etc.) Rather we communicated what members desired to get from that stuff.

To communicate that value we started with a headline speaking to each type of member’s main driving desires.

Then we listed three key points of value for that kind of member.

Beneath each, we explained in a bit more detail some of the ways that the society supported that value.

For example, for Academics we got their attention with a headline:

“Streamlined Access to Quality Research Gives You More Time to Focus on Patients, Teaching, and Your Personal Life”

Then we listed the primary value of membership as:

  • Get High Quality Research with Clinical Implications
  • Collaborate with Innovative Members from Around the Globe
  • Join an Inclusive Community of Expert Urologists

All of these have to do with specific pain points and desires of academics.

They also emphasize strategic differentiators that the Society has by being global, the caliber of members, and being inclusive.

What’s not on this list?

“3 Online and Print Journals” or “25% Discount to our Annual Event.”

Instead, we emphasized what members valued, not the things they got. Those “things” or features of membership were used instead as supporting evidence.

Second half of the member benefits page.

The second half of the member benefits page.

Following this was:

  • A call to action to join with a button,
  • A testimonial providing social proof from a member in that segment who had received a lot of value from the Society.
  • Pricing and a call to action to join.
  • The features of membership listed out— all that stuff members would get that we hadn't highlighted above.
  • A final call to action to join.

Making the Offer

How would potential members find out about these benefits though?

We emphasized the value of being a member throughout the website design in a variety of ways.

Links to membership benefits page

The member benefits page is easy to find with multiple ways to encounter it. This significantly increases the odds that visitors will view it and be aware of the benefits of membership.

On the homepage, we lead with a banner in their slider telling people to “Learn More” about membership on a button. We also used a call out showing some of the features of membership and asking for members to login to access them... or join.

Both “Learn More” and “Join” both lead to the “Member Benefits” landing page.

Non-logged in visitors saw the “Member Benefits” page as the first item under the “Member Resources.” (This menu changes for logged in members to more relevant information for them.)

Additionally, we put a button in the top right corner of every page that says “Join.” This is a key focal point for visitor attention and draws people to the “Member Benefits” landing page.

By giving potential members multiple routes to learn about the benefits of membership we increased the likelihood they would understand the value and be exposed to situations to consider joining.

A picture of two buttons from the short version of the memberhsip offer

Presenting an option to immediately register for the already convinced buyer or to be persuaded to sign up via the member benefits page.

Finally, on the landing page itself we used a ghost button without a background to let people who were already sold immediately start registration. Urologists who needed more convincing could learn more by visiting focused membership offers.

7 Ideas You Can Steal

If you’re trying to improve how well you sell membership, here are some key points from this case study that you can steal:

  1. Gather data on what matters to your members.
  2. Know who you serve. I guarantee that you do not have a homogenous group of members who all have the same desires and pains.
  3. Sell membership benefits to only one kind of member at a time.
  4. Use social proof with testimonials from people who represent the kinds of members you serve.
  5. Focus on value, not features of membership.
  6. Emphasize what makes your association’s value unique.
  7. Make it easy for potential members to enter your recruitment conversation.

Want More Insight on How to Improve Your Offers?

Download our free guide on membership growth in the below section.