It’s not just a form! Your association’s or chamber’s online membership application is a cornerstone piece of your website. Built and optimized well, it can be your best tool for acquiring – and immediately engaging – your new members.

Is it time to tweak your membership application? Or are you starting from scratch? Either way, we have a few tips that’ll help make your online membership application as effective as possible:

  1. Ask for the easy stuff first
    Best practice is to make any form as short as possible, making it more appealing to complete. But, your membership form, on the other hand, is going to have to be a little longer because this is your chance to collect important information. That said, put the easy stuff at the beginning to get a little buy in from your (almost) new member first.

  2. Tailor their experience
    What do you need in order to give them the member experience they want? Like we said, this is your chance to gather valuable information. The more that you can learn about your members as individuals, the better you can provide the benefits and services that they joined for. (And probably some they didn’t even know they wanted!)

  3. Don’t require too much
    That said, be selective with what information you require your (almost) new member to submit. The typical stuff – name, email, address, etc. – should definitely be required. And you may require two to three secondarily important items in the name of giving them that tailored experience. But everything else? Keep it optional.

  4. Include JUST the form
    If you can help it, make sure the only thing on your online membership application page is the application form itself. Avoid adding anything that can be clicked besides the “submit” button, cluttering it with too much imagery, and adding more copy than needed.

    Note: If you need to add a ton of instruction, the form may be too complicated to complete. That’s a good indication that you should go back and test it for clarity.

  5. Give them a seamless experience
    So they’ve filled out the membership application…then what? Make sure you have an email that’ll automatically go out the second they hit submit, confirming receipt and thanking them for their membership. And the first step in your new member onboarding plan should follow shortly after!

  6. Ask someone else to test it
    When you first set up your form or make a big change, see if another staff member (or even someone outside of your organization) can submit a test application to ensure everything looks and acts the way it’s supposed to. That includes your automated emails! In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to let them go through your entire new member onboarding process (or at least a portion of it) to test all that out, too.

Your online membership application can truly make or break not only the member join and onboarding process, but their entire member experience! And there’s a lot to think about when it comes to making your website an engaging place for members. Lucky for you, we’ve written an entire guide all about it! Download yours below: