What Conversion Means for Your Association

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 20, 2017 8:30:00 AM

In today’s world, conversion doesn’t just refer to a religious experience. Online conversions happen any time someone performs a desired action on your website, whether that’s purchasing a product, scheduling a consultation, or filling out a form to download a piece of content.  

But for many types of nonprofits and member-based organizations, a purchase or download isn’t the end-goal in mind. No matter what industry your organization operates in, it’s important to recognize what conversion means for your association.

For an association, the biggest conversions you will want to focus on are when:

  1. Existing members renew membership and pay their dues
  2. Prospective members join your association

Why are these your most important conversions? Because your current members are the backbone of your association. These are the people you’ve already converted: they download your content, attend your conferences, and take advantage of your CLE opportunities. But you want to take steps to encourage them to come back. If your existing members don’t renew, you’ll lose out on a valuable piece of what keeps your association alive.

Prospective members are also essential since they signify your potential for growth. When potential members successfully convert, they provide your organization with a source of future thought leaders and active community members.

These are two groups of people your association’s marketing team should be actively trying to convert.

Conversion rate optimization is the science of making small changes to your existing website in order to better engage with your visitors and get them to take an action, or make a conversion.


For your current members, you can optimize your website for conversions by making it as simple as possible to renew membership and pay dues. Make sure there are clear calls-to-action to encourage your members to renew sooner rather than later, and check that the navigation path to the renewal page is intuitive and easy-to-follow.

Your website also needs to demonstrate your value to prospective members, those people you are trying to engage into action and bring into the fold. Your website should explain why they need to join and demonstrate how they can join with minimal hassle involved.

While these are two of the most-significant conversions that your association needs to prioritize, that isn’t to say that your conversion rate optimization efforts should focus solely on those two activities.

You may encounter visitors to your website who aren’t quite ready to take the plunge and become full-fledged members. Does that mean you should give up on them? Heck, no!

When prospective members are still somewhere in the beginning or middle of their buyer’s journey, a great step is to entice them with content. Optimize your website to allow them to download several pieces of premium content. This way, you can nurture their interest and demonstrate your association’s value. Most associations set up a landing page with a form so that prospective members must provide a little bit of information about themselves, like their name and email address, in order to access premium content that may have previously been gated.

When a potential member downloads a research report, whitepaper, or eBook, they are gaining value from your association. These mini-conversions can help them keep your association in mind and encourage them to become members later on.

Hopefully this has provided a brief overview of what conversion means for your association. Depending on your individual organization, there may be additional conversion opportunities you can focus on. Since there’s no ideal conversion rate, you’ll need to implement a conversion plan that best suits your association’s individual needs.

For more information on how the modern marketing world has changed, download our eBook Surviving the Future.

Survive the Future


Topics: associations, Conversion, conversion rate optimization

Jessica Hirsch

Written by Jessica Hirsch