Membership

The VMAE Marketing Task Force and consultant Christopher O’Toole of Breightly developed value proposition statements about VMA membership that all VMAE members can incorporate into their communications and membership renewal messaging points.

Renewal Messaging

VMAE members expressed concerns expressed about the potential impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on members’ clinics and subsequently on their VMAs so VMAE engaged Christopher O’Toole, of Breightly.com, to articulate sensitive yet confident key messages for membership renewal.

With feedback from a member focus group Chris has finalized the letter, which you can download below in both Word and PDF formats for your use. Also available is a variation of the letter tailored for use with prospective members.

Chris provided these helpful comments to elaborate on the tone and approach of the letter and to provide some ideas on ways you can tailor the messaging:

There are 6 principles to creating an effective membership letter. If you follow all 6, your letter will be successful. The more you deviate, the less successful it will be. The attached membership letter was designed to be as flexible as possible while still following all 6 principles. The below bullet points will describe the attributes of the letter and how you can make it your own.

Principles of an Effective Membership Letter

  1. Keep it to a single page
    Your membership letter is your elevator pitch. Increasing the number of pages significantly decreases the chances of your reader seeing the call-to-action. Stay away from doing things like shrinking the font size to fit everything onto one page. Shrinking the font size on a letter is the equivalent of just talking faster. Just because you get more words in doesn’t mean you get your point across. In this case, less is more (effective).
  2. Have anchor points to scan
    The first thing you do when you pick up a letter is scan it. The text in bold is intentional as it gives your reader anchor points to easily scan. The bold text highlights the path we want them to follow: introduction, value points, call-to-action.
  3. Prove you understand their pain points
    A letter introduction must accomplish two things: draw the reader in with a strong opening statement and establish credibility with empathy. Your audience won’t believe you can provide solutions if you can’t first describe their problems.   
  4. No more than 4 ‘value’ points
    For an elevator pitch, three value points are great – four is your max. Any more than four, will significantly reduce the chances they read your call-to-action. These value points are open to any changes you feel need to be made to fit your organization better. You can change the order, adjust the wording, or even replace them with your own value points. Great replacement examples would include: ‘Access to our knowledgeable support staff’ or ‘Providing premium live and on-demand webinar series’.
  5. Give them a plan to follow
    A call-to-action all by itself is rarely successful. Your reader needs a plan to follow. A three step plan helps remove any hesitation the reader might be experiencing. We remove the mystery of the unknown with simple instructions that reinforce our value points.
  6. Make it personal
    Finally, we don’t want this to sound like a sales letter. By having the letter come from your President rather than from you, it will resemble more of a powerful recommendation rather than a sales pitch. It helps build trust when the person sending this letter isn’t financially benefiting from the action they are asking you to take. 
Starting the Conversation

Starting
the
Conversation

VMAE’s Marketing Task Force worked with marketing expert Chris O’Toole of Breightly to develop Value Proposition Statements that veterinary medical associations can use to market their organizations. These are easy to use statements and images that can be incorporated into website home pages, marketing emails, post cards, flyers or social media promotions. The four areas in which the statements were developed are Purpose, Community, Advocacy and Education. The intent of the statements, along with supporting text and great imagery, is to evoke a positive emotional feeling for the viewer. Scroll down to see the statements and mock-ups to give you great ideas on how to use them.

Additional resources are also available to guide you through initiating your marketing strategy. At VMAE’s July CE program in Denver, Chris presented the Value Proposition Statements and taught us the importance of showcasing our “Why” and how the statements and text can be used to effectively promote our organizations and to create brand loyalty. A video of his presentation is below along with accompanying slides.

Also included below are suggested stock images along with a list of image websites.

VMA Value Proposition Statements

01. Purpose

/ A
We believe that being a veterinarian is more than just a job.

– – – –

SUPPORTING TEXT
To us this is more than a career choice, it’s who we are.

We are a community of individuals who are committed to advancing the cause of organized veterinary medicine in our state.

This is our profession. This is our cause. Come join us.

Our profession. Our cause. &VMA.

– – – –

TONE
Personal, Inspired, Compassion.

02. Community

/ B
We believe success starts with your connection to community.

/ C
We believe profession = community.

– – – –

SUPPORTING TEXT
Come join us.

This is our profession. This is our community. Come join us.

Our profession. Our community. &VMA.

– – – –

TONE
Connection, Joy, Friendship, Fun

03. Advocacy

/ D
Veterinary medicine is a 
cause worth advancing.

/ E
All medicine is not the same.

– – – –

SUPPORTING TEXT
We believe it is vital for our profession to have a voice. Don’t you? Come join us!

We advocate for change that moves veterinary medicine and animal health forward.

Your &VMA membership gives a voice to our profession. Together, we’re continuing to advance the cause.

This is our profession. This is our cause. Come join us.

Our profession. Our cause. &VMA.

– – – –

TONE
Advancement, Direct, Sense of Urgency

04. Education

/ F
It’s more than just CE, it’s:

finding balance;
creating opportunity;
igniting purpose;
inspiring innovation;
discovering community;

– – – –

SUPPORTING TEXT
In every aspiration, we have you covered.

&VMA
Education for the Complete Veterinarian.

This is our profession. This is our cause. Come join us.

Our profession. Our cause. &VMA.

– – – –

TONE
Innovation, Purpose-Driven, Connection