Remember pitching all of your great benefits to your prospective members? Now is the time to deliver! Offering members-only content on your association’s website is a great way to provide your members with added value.
But in order for members-only content to be effective, it must be well executed. If you’re not sure where to begin, take a look at these quick tips for levelling up your members-only content!
What is members-only content?
Members-only content is exactly what it is called: content on your website that is only available to members of your association. If you have an online portal or login space, then members would have to login in order to view any of this content.
3 reasons why members-only content matters
There are a few reasons that having members-only content is beneficial both to you and your members.
1. It’s a value point for your members
Having content that is only available to your you members is a selling point for sure for people who are thinking of joining your association. Of course, WHAT you include in your members-only content is what determines the value of it. We’ll get into what you can include in this gated content later.
2. It can help generate revenue for you
Member-only content can be a place you sell ad space or sponsorship to help you earn some extra revenue. You can also host things like an online community or job board which can also be a source of income for you through sponsorships or by selling space to your members.
3. It gives you a place to keep your assets
You don’t want to put all your member resources online in a place that any competitors, other associations or non-members can find. Your member directory, contact info, information about events etc. are all things that you want visible and available to your members, but probably not to the general public.
What you can have in your members-only content
There are LOTS of things you can have as members-only content. As a general rule, you can make ANYTHING member-only content. And if you think it up, then you can post it in your member-only portal. This list is just some ideas to get your gears turning and creativity flowing.
Member event calendar: A living calendar that you update with any important dates, must-attend lunch and learns, in person and virtual events and any key communications for your members.
Job board: A place your members can post or search for jobs. You can sell job postings to local companies, sponsors, etc depending on if you are a trade or professional association.
Online community: An online community is a forum space for all your members to ask questions, network, chat with each other, host forums and polls and more. Having your online community for members-only lets you control the space, set rules and monitor how people engage with each other on behalf of your association.
List of member benefits: One place to list all your benefits so your members can easily review their benefits and get the most of their membership.
Membership directory: A place for members to review other members’ information and contact anyone they may want to network with.
Learning systems and courses: Using a learning management system (LMS), you can build courses and training for your members. Whether you host your own learning courses with an LMS or recommend courses on a list to your members, this is something else you can share in your members-only content.
A blog or article forum: Depending on your association and needs of your members, you may want to write and post informational or thought leadership articles. Interviews with other professionals or highlighting engaged members are also content pieces that may live on your members-only content.
How to level up your members-only content
Here are the top ways to make the most of your content.
Maintain your content
In order to provide your members with ongoing value, it’s crucial that you keep your members-only section active. Otherwise, what incentive are you giving members to stay? To keep your site fresh, try creating a schedule of new content for your members-only section. This will give you an opportunity to reach out to members on a regular basis and remind them of the great value your organization is providing.
Provide context for each content piece
By including a mini introduction for each content piece, you’re allowing your members to pick and choose what materials speak to them and their needs. In addition, it will ultimately save them a lot of time as they won’t have to jump into each piece to see if it’s relevant to them. It’s key that you keep this introduction pretty short: think two to three sentences max to get the best engagement.
Focus on their needs
While it’s important to keep your members-only section active, don’t just fill it with useless content. It’s much better to have 10 pieces of really great content than it is to have 50 subpar items. Not sure what type of content your members find valuable? Try conducting a brief online member survey to find out!
Make it easy to navigate
Having great content means nothing if your members can’t easily find it. If you have a lot of content on your website, provide your members with an easy way to browse. That being said, if you only have a few pieces of content on your site, don’t over-complicate things by creating a complex classification scheme. Just put them all on one page until you’re able to add more.
Sharing your members-only content [email templace]
All of this content lives in your members-only portal. But, they can’t view and use all this incredible content unless they actually login and make the most of it. Getting your members to login and use their member portal can be challenging.
The best thing you can do? Make sure your members know 1) that there’s plenty of content to explore in your members portal and 2) how to login and access it all.
That’s why we put together a template for telling your members exactly why they should take advantage of this tool. This email template can be used when onboarding new members or as a mass email blast to educate current members.
Dear [FIRST NAME] –
Your members-only portal is your one-stop-shop for all things related to [ORGANIZATION NAME]. It houses all of your unique membership information, giving you the tools you need to learn, connect, and grow within the organization.
In fact, we’ll break down the most popular items for you:
- Financial information
See a detailed history of transactions you’ve made with [ORGANIZATION NAME], as well as any open invoices for dues, event registration, and more.
- Dues renewal
Can’t remember your dues renewal date? Find it, and payment amount, in your members-only portal! You can even make your payment or view any recurring payment setup here, too.
- Event information
View and register for upcoming events, review your event attendance and payment history, and connect with other members attending the same upcoming events.
- Personal and professional updates
Role change? New address? Keep us up-to-date so we can provide you with the benefits and communications that you care about.
- Message and form submission history
Review any communications between you and [ORGANIZATION NAME], as well as the information you’ve shared with us by submitting forms. (Join form, event registration, volunteer sign-ups, etc.)
- Member directory
Access our dynamic member directory through the members-only portal, and make connections with your peers and potential business partners!
- News and important announcements
Your members-only portal is where you’ll find important updates about [ORGANIZATION NAME] and your membership as a whole. We regularly include information that is not open to the public, so be sure to check back often.
Need we say more? Log in today by visiting: [MEMBERS-ONLY PORTAL LINK].
Of course, the items you’ll include all depend on what you have behind your members-only portal, and how you’d like members to use it. Your membership directory, for example, may be public! And there may even be things you’d want to include that we didn’t mention.
But before you can use this template to encourage inactive members to sign in, you have to make sure the portal is good to go. That starts with determining what would make your members-only setup valuable to your members.
Don’t let your member portal be a dead space. You can and should be using members-only content to build deeper relationships, help your members get the most of their membership and help turn your members into lifelong members.
If you are looking for membership management software that can help you build a members only portal that does more, book a call with our team and see how MemberClicks can help you.