Creating Member Profiles for Your Association

Whether you’re writing a brochure or a Tweet, you need to have a good handle on who you are talking to when you send messages of any kind. At first it seems easy: “I’m talking to my association members” or “I’m talking to new prospects who I hope will become association members.” Really knowing your audience goes deeper than that, though. You need to dig deep into the needs and wants of the people you are talking to, learning to speak their language so you can craft messages that inspire them to take the action you want. Member profiles will help you do just that.

What are Member Profiles?

A member profile is a set of information that gives you detailed insights into your target or ideal member. A good member profile covers two areas:

  1. Demographics – age, gender, location, income, occupation
  2. Psychographics – values, hobbies, interests, concerns, lifestyle

Why Do They Matter?

Member profiles give you deeper insight into the people you are talking to, meaning you are better placed to really understand them. You can then put together materials that are more attention-grabbing, more appealing, and more likely to inspire the recipient to take action.

How Do I Build Them?

To build a good member profile, you need information. The basic question you are looking to answer is “who are my members and what do they need?” Some sources you can use are:

  • Member files
  • Online forms or mailing lists
  • Customer Relationship Management systems
  • Google Analytics and website reports
  • Facebook Insights
  • Feedback forms
  • Surveys
  • Social media

How Many Do I Need?

To really make the most of member profiles, it’s a good idea to build different profiles for different segments of your market. “Engineers aged 20-60 who are either members or potential members of our association” is a bit vague. Instead, separate out “experienced engineers who haven’t joined a trade association before” and “newly subscribed members who are at the beginning of their career.”

Using different profiles means your association can laser focus its messages for different segments of your market, instead of using a catch-all approach that comes with the danger of addressing all and appealing to none.

How Do I Use Them for My Association?

Once you have your member profiles, you can start putting them to use for your association. When you are about to put together marketing materials, blog posts or social media updates, figure out which of your ideal members or prospects you’re talking to. Then, you can build your message around them. Address their concerns and use language that will appeal to them.

Member profiles are tools that help you demonstrate how much your association understands its members, which translates to more engagement and a stronger membership.