Marketing your association starts with understanding your audience.  

Consider these ideas about developing and using personas to understand your audiences and optimize your marketing efforts. 


By Christine Bergeron, Marketing Coordinator, Community Brands



Marketing your association effectively starts with understanding your audience. It’s important to communicate your association’s membership, programs, and resources in a way that appeals to members and prospective members across diverse job roles, experience levels, and generations.  

And one of the best ways to know your audience better is to develop personas. 

What are member personas? 

Member personas are fictional, generalized characters that represent your audience’s various demographics, needs, goals, and challenges. They can help you think of your members as groups of people with similar characteristics so you can design content and programs for and market to them in ways that catch their attention and deliver maximum value. 

To develop personas, you create fictional characters that represent groups of prospective and current members you are targeting. Then, keep these personas in mind (just as you would think about a friend as you write a letter to them) as you develop marketing content. 

How to use personas for more effective marketing for your association 

While you can use personas across your organization to develop membership programs, events, and other offerings, they can be especially useful for marketing. Here are some tips for how to use personas in your association’s marketing: 

Marketing channels – Think about each persona as you consider which marketing channels (such as website, email, social media, and online community) you will be using and which you will focus on more than others. For example, if you know your audience personas are more tech-savvy and like to interact a lot, you might emphasize social media  and your online community in your marketing plans for them. For personas who want to consume a lot of content, you might spend more time developing your organization’s blog.

Marketing content  Use your personas to ensure you deliver the most effective content to attract new members and provide value to current members. A couple of ideas:

  • Perform a content audit. Before developing new content, look at what you already have. Think about how you might re-use or re-purpose content, or even use it as a launching point for new content, that addresses the needs and goals of each persona.
  • Brainstorm new content ideas. Think about what’s happening in your industry and what will be most relevant to each of your personas. Consider any recent industry research you can share. Or, think about conducting your own. Just keep in mind what might interest your personas most based on their specific needs.

Content purpose and frequency  For each of your personas, create a plan for content with varying purposes – such as providing industry information, starting a conversation, or entertaining – and determine the frequency for sharing each associated content type. Use your marketing channels (website, email, social media, online community, and other channels) to share content regularly.

Here’s an example of a plan for content purpose and frequency that’s focused on driving member engagement.  

YourMembership Blog - Content frequency and purpose

This example isn’t meant to be a precise formula. It’s more of a directional roadmap. Each association’s content map will look different, depending on personas as well as industry, staff, budget, member preferences, and other factors.  

The key is to make sure you are thinking about your personas while defining what your specific content is doing and how frequently you’re sharing it with your various audiences. 

Learn more.
Personas are a powerful tool for marketing your association and delivering greater overall member value. Learn more about creating personas: Read the guide, How to Develop Personas to Deliver Greater Member Value. 

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