The membership descriptions you put onto your website and marketing materials can do a lot more than just inform prospects as to the benefits of membership.
Written well, and with the right tactics in mind, they can have a big impact on new applications.
Written poorly, they’ll undermine every effort you make throughout the year to boost the size of your membership.
To help you get the most out of your membership descriptions, we’ve put together a list of some of the ‘secret’ techniques of professional copywriters that you use can use to make your readers do more than learn. With these easy-to-follow principles, you can make them act and drive applications through tactically written copy!
1. Know your goal
‘Know your goal’ might sound a little basic, but it is the most important part of writing copy that converts.
Most start writing under the implicit assumption that the goal of their membership description is to inform a reader as to what membership is all about.
The goal of your membership description should not be to inform readers, but to convert readers to applicants!
Informing is certainly something that membership descriptions do, but it’s not why we write them. We write to them to generate new applicants!
An adequate membership description gives a reader the details of membership. A great description compels them to sign up! It creates positive emotions in our readers, making them excited, curious, and motivated to sign up.
Before we put pen to paper (or fingers to our keyboard), we should know why we’re writing! When it comes to membership descriptions, our goal is to compel readers to click ‘Sign up’.
2. Plan to measure
How do we know if our descriptions are any good?
We can read them ourselves and make a personal judgment call, but that doesn’t tell us if our descriptions are good. It only tells us if we like them. It is tough to have real confidence in the quality of our copy unless we’re measuring in an unbiased way.
What we should be doing is measuring the impact of our copy on something objective, like the conversion rates of membership pages.
Measuring conversion rates
‘Conversion’ is whenever someone does what we want them to.
In this case, we want visitors to our membership pages to click the ‘Sign up’ button. When they do, we say they have ‘converted’ from Visitors to Applicants.
Take the total number of visitors to a page in a given period, say a month. Now compare that to the total number of conversions or the number of visitors that clicked ‘sign up’.
Say we had 1000 visitors to a membership page in a given month. Of those 1000, 10 clicked ‘Sign up’. Because 1% of your total visitors signed up, you would say your membership page had a conversion rate of 1%.
Measuring copy quality
Now that we have your conversion rate established, we want to measure the quality of your new membership description.
To do so, we would change the only copy on your membership page, leave it for a month (or any period of time you decide), and see if there has been an impact on your conversion rate.
Even a minor change in conversion rates can have a big impact on applications. Changing a header alone might lead to a 2% boost to your conversion rate, meaning 30 applications instead of 10. That’s a boost of 200% to applications!
3. Know your audience: Wants, Needs, and Expectations
Making changes to copy and testing is helpful, but how do you know which changes you can expect to lead to positive results?
This starts by thinking about your audience. It’s helpful to brainstorm and physically write-down aspects of their character that might be helpful in writing descriptions that fit.
Maybe your audience is full of professionals in a given industry. They have wants, such as the desire to grow their business, develop professionally, make connections with helpful partners, etc.
They have needs. For our professionals, this might have to do with certifications and licensing they need to stay in businesses that they can get through membership in your organization.
They also have expectations. Maybe our hypothetical audience contains only lawyers. This group has high standards for formality. Comedians, on the other hand, might expect a light-hearted tone and voice from your copy.
Use your audience persona
After writing down even a few items under ‘needs’, ‘wants’, and ‘expectations’ – you’ve assembled what professional copywriters call an audience persona. This is a tool you can use as a compass to direct the way you write your description copy.
Does your copy specifically touch upon the needs, wants, and expectations you’ve included in your persona? If it doesn’t, writing to emphasize these details can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your membership description. Even if it does, write copy that emphasizes different combinations of these needs, wants, and expectations and measure its impact on conversions to determine which are most important to your audience.
Go Beyond Membership Descriptions
Membership descriptions are a fundamental part of any strategy to drive membership applications. Write them with these tactics in mind and you’ll measurably boost application rates.
But the benefits don’t start there.
The lessons you learn by measuring the impact of your membership description copy can be applied all throughout your organization’s materials.
If you discover that, for example, emphasizing certain needs/wants/expectations leads to improved results, you can take what you learned writing your description and apply it everywhere you find that audience. Event invites, renewal emails, product pages, etc. can all benefit from the insights you reveal after writing like a professional!