Annual conferences are something many professionals and long-time members look forward to. However, new members may be questioning whether they should attend. Here are four selling points that could help you convince new members to give your annual conference a try:
Annual conference is full of professionals in the same field. Where else can your new members get so many connections in so little time? More experienced members can be an incredibly valuable resource and there is no better place to get to know them than at conference. They have years of knowledge and experience in the industry, as well as a vast knowledge of the association’s history and benefits. Promote the networking opportunities planned for conference because new members already know how important networking is, they just need to know where to go to find it.
Annual conference offers education from industry-leading professionals and is the place to find out what is happening in your industry. Many new members to the association are also new to the industry or beginning to take the next steps in their careers. Don’t just promise education. Create a detailed agenda so they can see what they are signing up for. Annual conference is the place to find out the latest news and innovations in each industry, so as a conference organizer it is your job to provide compelling education that will truly benefit your members.
Earning special certifications is an important step in a lot of industries. Do you offer continuing education credits (CEUs) and programs for special certifications at conference each year? The fact that members can gain a certification while attending education sessions and networking with peers all at one event can be a big selling point. New members are likely joining to advance in their career or take it more seriously. Opportunities to gain a certification or complete required CEUs to keep a certification are a must for conference.
Travel is another opportunity annual conference offers its members. Each city that is chosen to host the conference offers unique amenities and experiences that should already be set up by the conference planning team. Plan a social event at a local restaurant or an outdoors outing near the conference center. These special events can be simple to set up and be a big draw to new members. Not only is it fun, it also offers even more networking.
Annual conference attendance is an important part of association membership. As association staff and volunteers, we know this. It’s up to us to let our new members know it. The opportunities outlined above are only a few of the benefits to attending. Each conference is different, so make sure to pitch what makes your conference unique along with these selling points. Next time your annual conference rolls around, remember to focus marketing efforts on returning members and new members alike.