Many analysts believe that the risk of a new recession is at a six-year high. Recent data has placed the chance of a recession at 23.6% in the next twelve months. Although this does not sound bad, the reality is that even if the chances aren’t above 50%, a recession is still likely. The likelihood of a recession hasn’t been above 50% since the 1980s, and yet, there have been three recessions since.The biggest problem for associations during a recession is retaining membership. When money is tight, members will want to re-examine if their membership is worthwhile. You may have many reasons why your association is still useful during a recession, but these reasons mean nothing if you cannot effectively communicate them.
Essentially, the answer to retaining memberships and gaining new ones is the same. Potential members are out there, along with old members who are just waiting for a reason to stay. All you have to do is find those people, and provide them with the right information.
Typically, one of the first things to be cut is marketing. But this shouldn’t be the default reaction. Instead, during a time of economic downturn you actually need better marketing. In addition, you have to target with greater efficiency so that you are squeezing the most out of your marketing budget.
How to prepare for the next recession includes getting ready for a decrease in growth during economic downturns. So you’ll need to start now by focusing your efforts on how to retain old memberships and gain new ones while the economy is in your favour. You can ask current members for feedback on how to improve your association’s services so they’ll stick around.
Consider developing personas of the people most likely to be interested in your association. This is an inbound marketing technique that works to great effect at reaching interested parties. Developing personas helps when potential members are from all different areas, and have different needs from your association. With inbound marketing, you can use these profiles to target interested parties with specific online content tailored to their persona, their job, and how interested they are in your association.
Inbound marketing is both more efficient and less costly than traditional marketing, because it takes fewer people to run, develops leads organically, and old content continues to attract new leads long after it is written. Switching to inbound marketing can be a daunting task if you’re used to more traditional methods. Luckily, you can hire an inbound marketing agency to guide you through the process. Even with the cost of an agency, inbound marketing is still substantially less expensive than traditional marketing, and easy to justify before or during a recession.
It’s the best way to recession-proof your association. Really.