When it comes to showing members the value of their investment in your organization, we’re sure you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Does one of those tricks include talking about their online directory placement?

If not, it should! Your online directory is often overlooked by members, but there are a lot of hidden secrets about this benefit – and ways that you can demonstrate that value! Take a look:

Hidden directory benefits

  • Free advertising: The number one sleeper benefit to being listed on your online directory is the advertising that comes with it, whether that’s on a business level or self-promotional! Anything that can point to your expertise is always a huge plus.

  • Endorsement: The fact that you’re willing to put a member and their information on your website means you back their expertise and you’re willing to stick your neck out for them. Talk about credibility!

  • More leads: Your online directory likely includes some context for each member, like their website, phone number, some background information, etc. As people search your directory to form business partnerships, fill open positions, and solicit individual expertise, you’re sending traffic (and leads) straight to your members!
  • Increased website traffic: Website traffic is a valuable commodity in today’s online centric world, so it’s a huge benefit to have their website URL listed on your website. (For both traffic, and to build SEO!) And for individual members: Are you linking to their LinkedIn profile? Make it easy for potential employers and business partners to find them!

Demonstrating directory value

  • Give referral reports: Those leads we talked about? You HAVE to share those with your members! Otherwise, they may never know that those leads are coming from you. If your association management system has some kind of referral reporting, make regular practice of pulling and sharing this information.
  • Share testimonials: Giving members a real-life, successful case study to associate with the benefit will only increase their understanding of its value. Find a few members who’ve had great success come directly from their directory listing and put together some collateral you can share at meetings, in your newsletter, at renewal time, etc.
  • Use it for prospecting: Demonstrate the value of your directory to non-members, too! There are a few ways to tackle this: 1) Show them those testimonials; 2) Take a look at the business categories or member types that are getting the most referrals, and target those kinds of potential new members; 3) Consider including non-members in your directory (with a basic listing) for some time to show them what they’re missing!

Beyond being a member benefit, your online directory can serve as a benefit to your organization by generating non-dues revenue! Take a look at how in our guide, Getting the Most Out of Your Online Directory.