Make the Most Out of Your Association’s Website: Leveraging Landing Pages and Best Practices for Marketing Success

By Zach French • September 22, 2022

Whether your association is using association management software (AMS) for web development or not, there are plenty of challenges in managing an association website. It can get even trickier when it comes to including components of your website in your day-to-day marketing or even a specific marketing campaign. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re following best practices to ensure your online presence stands out and is a glowing representation of your association.

For a successful marketing strategy, there are some critical considerations and general best practices when it comes to managing your online presence, particularly with your web development and the creation and deployment of landing pages.

Web Development Ain’t Easy: Here’s What to Focus on

Let’s be honest, your association’s website probably isn’t going to win any Webby Awards, and the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t need to. You serve niche, specific users. However, you do need to appeal to and cater to your members, potential new members, job seekers, employers, advertisers, sponsors and more. If you have a poorly executed website or landing page that looks amateurish, confusing or outdated, it can turn them away, lead to attrition and affect your bottom line.

Organizations big and small often struggle with a few common website specifics that you will want to avoid: 

  • Page clutter: Too many boxes opening up, too many graphics or overly designed pages that look busy. It doesn’t need to be sterile, but it should be clean and organized — just like you’d want your room to be.
  • Unclear messaging: Don’t try to pack too much copy into your page header or anything that’s “above the fold” (the fold is anything that’s immediately visible without scrolling down the page). Reduce what you do into one or two impactful statements that solve a problem and hint at a solution. 
  • Lack of mobile optimization: Your website should be as easy to navigate on mobile as it is on desktop because 90 percent of the global internet population uses a mobile device to go online, according to Statista. 
  • Confusing navigation, unreadable text or un-clickable buttons: Don’t give someone visiting your website any reason to navigate away. Make sure each component of your website is sound and in working order. 

Imagine if you go to buy airline tickets with a new airline because you saw a good price, but when you got to their website, the “Purchase Tickets” button wouldn’t work after inputting your credit card. Would that give you pause?

For your association to have the best chance at capturing and keeping attention so that you can gain new members and awareness, your website should be:

  • Well-designed and functional
  • Easy to use
  • Optimized for mobile
  • Regularly updated with fresh, quality content
  • Readily accessible contact information
  • Clear on its calls to action
  • Optimized for search and social media

The Importance of Landing Pages for Associations

Associations tend to overlook landing pages as an important aspect of their web development and marketing. Think of potential members as being lost out in the wilderness of cyberspace. They may not know it, but to you, the association, they are on a journey and you want to guide them carefully to your website. When they receive and open a marketing email from your association that offers some exciting piece of content and they then click through it, or, conversely, are just casually surfing the web and Googling services that your association offers, that’s their journey to your association. Whether they know it or not, that journey has been designed by your marketing strategy to land them in a funnel that leads them to click a button to contact you, download an asset or become a member. It’s your job to make it as easy as possible to say “yes” to your offer. That’s where the landing page comes in.

The landing page is where they are taken when they click through on the email, click the ad, or the search result. Landing pages are like a welcoming front door to your association that solves a problem that they’ve been searching for. They’re eye-catching in design, clear, direct and have a light amount of copy that is very compelling. However, unlike a home page, they’re not designed to tell your entire story as an association; they’re designed for straightforward conversion. 

Landing pages are:

  • Focused on a specific outcome
  • Highly targeted; either used in marketing campaigns or are found in organic search
  • An entry point for new members to get comfortable with your association
  • Stimulating to fulfill a predetermined action using compelling copy to persuade a user to act
  • Where someone can download your guide, report, eBook, whitepaper or some other asset
  • Where someone can book a meeting, consultation or get more information about joining your association
  • Where the prospective member’s journey ends and gets converted into a member

As you can see, when landing pages are optimized, they play a pivotal role in marketing. It’s where prospects convert. 

Your Association Website May Look Good, But Does it Work?

There’s a lot that can be done to enhance your association’s website, regardless if you’re happy with “how it looks.” And between creating landing pages for the content assets that you want to market and making sure your site is functional, clean and professional, you can have a major impact on your position as an industry leader. At the end of the day, you want your association’s website to:

  • Stand out and look great 
  • Gain more traffic and increase lead generation
  • Rank higher for keyword searches
  • Offer quality content that is fresh and engaging

And, whether it’s for your landing page or your homepage, there are two golden rules to remember:

  1. Make sure you lead with a benefit-focused headline that speaks to the target audience.
  2. Always have a highly visible CTA above the fold on both desktop and mobile.

If your associations could use a little website refresh, need smaller elements like your career center moved around, or help with SEO or need landing pages written, designed and deployed for a specific marketing campaign, the Naylor team is ready to talk about how our expertise and best practices can help your association.

About The Author

Zach French is VP of marketing production corporate marketing at Gabriel Marketing Group. Reach him at [email protected].