Club Member Recruitment
Craigslist a unique approach to finding new members
October 29, 2010
Germantown, Wis. - As with many clubs, the Germantown SnoDrifters, had been languishing with marginal membership rates for more than 5 years. Our well-established, 40+ year-old club, just north of Milwaukee, had been hovering around 34 primary (adult) members for years. By the end of the 2009 season we were still a small club at just 38 members. |
It was obvious we needed to approach new members differently. Our elected board brainstormed and discussed traditional recruitment methods; postcard mailings, relying on word of mouth, stuffing flyers at local sled stops, paid ads in local papers and more.
Our final answer was actually a very simple, NO COST approach. We placed an ad on Craigslist!
Craigslist.org is a FREE and simple to use web marketplace. Soon Craigslist became our most important new member marketing tool.
Our club VP, me (Joe “Polari” Lauerman) started by writing a somewhat snarky posting on Craigslist. I stated the obvious, “Without clubs and club members being active participants in the fight to keep trails open, marked, cleared, accessible, etc… those on the “other side” will attempt to systematically dismantle our sport. From excessive rules, to inhibiting our ability to ride in certain parks, to farcical, intrusive, laws – “the others” will constantly try to take away our ability to do what we love. We NEED to be united and show we care and that the vast majority of us snowmobilers uphold all the positive aspects of snowmobiling.”
By inserting keywords, we made sure our ad would pop up as people searched for all makes of snowmobiles. Once posted, our board knew the work was just starting. All the respondents (possible new members) to the ad were immediately contacted in a professional manner and given an application and then re-contacted with multiple follow-up calls or emails.
Our club also wanted to keep our members once we got them to show up to a meeting as retention is key to a club’s continued success. So, our club made sure to create a welcoming, open, energized and FUN meeting environment. We also made sure our meetings solicited input from ALL members and that humor certainly was allowed and encouraged. A club should be fun right?
What were the results of using Craigslist as a new marketing tool? Our Germantown SnoDrifters club had a 65% increase in membership last season and had 63 total members by season’s end!
Our future goal? 100 members in two years … and I think that’s possible. What we like best is our club is on a roll and to help keep it going, we are offering a “half off” sale on our new members bringing in a new filled out application to our October club meeting.
For more info on this and possible membership ideas email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To list your own snowmobiling club on AmSnow’s website, or to search for a club in your area, or a state or national association, please go to www.AmSnow.com/clubs.