One of the biggest challenges non-profits and other small to mid-size businesses face is converting leads to sales, or for non-profits, a common challenge is to convert prospects to members. There are many different ways to approach this issue but they usually have a few things in common.
If you have a good list of well-qualified prospects, compiled recently, with a high-deliverability quotient, and fresh information, you’re already halfway there. If not, but wish to start compiling one, there are several good ways to do that, including referrals from current members, industry indexes and directories, publication lists, and prospecting campaigns at tradeshows.
If you have e-mail addresses, this might be the least expensive place to start. If not, you’re left with mail or phone campaigns to reach out to prospective members. If you have a really solid profile of your members, based on research, and can categorize them accurately into industry segments, title profiles and other segmentation to make your communications more specific. One factor to consider when making your selection is based on that profile, how do your current members like to be communicated with? Are they tech savvy, do they stay at their desks all day and have constant access to e-mail or social media? Do they only read e-mail at home? Do they get their mail at the office or did they give you a home address? The method deserves almost as much consideration as the message, in these highly overloaded, busy times. It’s to easy to delete, discard or filter out messages delivered in inconvenient ways.
Once you’ve decided on the best medium, now you have to craft a message that resonates with this group or groups. Your research profile will be of great use here, as it tells you what they are likely to be concerned about, what issues hit home for them, what keeps them up at night. Once you’ve discovered that key issue, now you can formulate a message to deliver that shows how their membership will take care of that pesky problem, solve that challenge, meet that need and make joining a solid investment. Solve a problem, and you’ll get them to join up just for that – show them the unique value of your organization in solving that problem, they’ll stay members for years.
Now you just have to mate the message with the right medium at the right time and deliver it cleanly, accurately and in timely fashion. But before you hit that “send” button or pull the trigger on the mail drop, make sure your customer response, receipt, fulfillment and registration infrastructure is in place, and ready to accept the new influx of calls/e-mails/hits/members – there’s nothing more frustrating than receiving inquiries or orders and not being able to activate them or monetize them – it’s a woeful tale of opportunity lost. It’s not overly optimistic to expect good response to your offer after taking the time to craft it so thoroughly and specifically. The better your homework and more thorough your preparation, the more likely you are to generate significant response and you have to have the structure in place to accept them.
Find your best list, do your homework, know your prospect, find out what they need, show how your organization can solve their problems and make life easier, get them the message in a form they’re receptive to, and make sure you can accommodate all the requests quickly and efficiently. If you can pull those elements together, your chances of success soar, and so will your organization!
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