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Membership Management

Build Member Personas for Your Association: 8 Questions to Ask

MemberClicks Avatar MemberClicks July 12, 2018
Table of Contents
3 min read


Before you can start marketing directly to your target audience, you have to first understand what your ideal association member looks like. If you’re wondering where to start, we have two words for you: Member personas!

Building member personas (AKA “fake” members established from research) will help you start thinking of new ways to appeal to your potential and existing members. To collect the necessary information for these personas, start with asking the right questions to your existing member base so you can start defining your “typical” member.

Check out these eight questions you should ask your current members to collect the best information for your association’s member personas.

1. What’s your job title? 

Think of this question as your key identifier for your research. By grouping your participants by job title, you’re organizing your data to give you the ability to establish several member personas (think: student members, affiliate members, professional members, etc).

2. Who do you report to? (or Who reports to you?)

It’s always beneficial to understand your potential member’s staff hierarchy. This knowledge will provide you context on how your member’s organization runs and overall will inform you of all the hurdles they must go through to get approval for certain initiatives.

3. What’s your age (or education level)?

Depending on your association, it can be truly valuable for you to know the general age and/or education level of your existing members to get an idea of how to create more appealing marketing campaigns to varying generations. As we often promote on the blog, not all marketing campaigns will work to all types of potential members, so it’s key that you consider this when establishing your member personas.

4. What passion points do you have in your position? What pain points do you have in your position?

This question is twofold and it’s key to understanding your typical member’s day-to-day operations in order to paint a picture of how your association can help improve their everyday experience. By asking this question, you can help understand where your association can fill in the gaps and supplement some much needed help. Keep in mind that these passion and pain points may change daily, monthly, quarterly, and even yearly. It’ll be more helpful overall if you make sure to be specific about these time frames, especially if you’re looking for particular information when building your member personas.

5. How do you learn about new information for your position / industry?

Ever wonder where your member’s get updates for their industry? Just ask them! By keeping track of your member’s most popular resources, you’re actually creating a list of potential marketing options that your association could take advantage of. You could consider offering suggestions by listing options such as:

  • Blogs
  • Luncheons
  • Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts

6. What appeals to you most about joining an association?

This is one of your more important questions, as it will help you uncover what drives your “member persona” to join your association. If you want to limit your answers, think about using keywords such as:

  • Networking
  • Continuing Education
  • Building Credibility
  • Volunteering
  • Mentorship

7. What other associations or networks do you belong to?

Asking your members what other groups they are involved in could help uncover connections that you can work to your association’s advantage. It will also help you establish a more realistic vision of your member persona to work off of for your marketing efforts.

Remember: Your members are the lifeblood of your organization. So it’s no wonder membership recruitment is a top priority. If you’re looking to get those recruitment rates up, check out our guide, Best Practices for Online Member Acquisition!

Free Member Retention Guide

Ready to retain members and keep them coming back forever and ever? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about member retention. We cover all the basics, like the first steps to member retention and how to map out your member journey. From there, we dive a bit deeper into retention tips.