Online Marketing

Digital Marketing for Unions: Leveraging Modern Strategies to Grow Membership

12 minute read

Unions have long stood as pillars of support for workers’ rights, fair wages, and safe working conditions. The landscape of union membership has shifted dramatically in recent decades, however, with a marked decline across the United States. Traditional channels of communication and recruitment are no longer enough to engage potential members that are spending more and more time online.

To thrive in the digital age, unions need to adapt and embrace modern digital marketing strategies. This article will dive into the current state of union membership in the US, and explore proven digital marketing tactics that help unions grow their membership and strengthen their influence online.

The Current Landscape of Union Membership

One of the most pressing concerns for the labor movement over the last number of decades is the clear decline in union membership. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership has been on a steady decline, dropping from 20.1% in 1983 to just 10.3% in 2021. This drop in membership numbers has impactful implications for unions’ ability to bargain, making it increasingly difficult to advocate for tangible, meaningful changes for the workers they represent.

There is no single reason for the membership decline, but contributing factors include shifts in the economy, changes in labor laws, and the rise of gig and freelance work. On top of this, the traditional approach to outreach and recruitment adopted by many unions means they have failed to engage the evolving preferences of younger generations who demand digital interactions. To buck this trend, unions must adopt new approaches to communication and recruitment by leveraging smart digital marketing practices.

Digital Marketing Strategies for Union Recruitment

Thanks to their huge audiences ready to be interacted with, leveraging online platforms is crucial to reach and engage potential union members. Here are some effective marketing tactics that will boost union recruitment efforts online:

Content Marketing: Educate and Engage

Few digital marketing strategies are as consistent as content marketing. Unions can educate and engage potential and current members by crafting and sharing informative, engaging content about workers’ issues. This content can take many forms, including blog posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts, and it will attract individuals with an interest in or passion for labor rights.

  • Blog Posts: Write articles on current labor issues, success stories, and union activities to provide valuable insights to readers and establish the union as an authority in its industry. Blog posts offer a non-confrontational space to introduce topics such as workers’ rights, fair wages, and safety regulations, which are highly relevant to union members and prospects.
  • Videos: Produce engaging videos that showcase union efforts, member testimonials, and educational content relating to workers’ rights to reach a wider audience. Videos are particularly effective on social media platforms, where visual content consistently outperforms written content.
  • Infographics: Create stunning infographics that explain complex labor issues in a clear, understandable format to help simplify information and make it more accessible. Infographics can be shared on social media, included in blog posts or guest blogs, and used in email marketing campaigns.

Social Media: Build Your Community

Social media platforms are some of the most popular websites available and their vast reach provides opportunities for unions to connect with potential members on a more personal level. By sharing updates, relevant news, and success stories, unions can nurture a community of loyal supporters and engage in meaningful, topical discussions. Effective social media strategies for unions include:

  • Regular Updates: Post frequently about union activities, achievements, and news related to workers’ rights to make sure you keep followers informed and engaged. Regular updates help maintain visibility, create a sense of reliability, and keep followers updated on the union’s ongoing efforts.
  • Engagement: Interact with followers by responding to comments and direct messages, and participating in discussions to foster a strong sense of community and build trust among followers.
  • Campaigns: Run social media campaigns to raise awareness about specific labor issues or union initiatives to drive engagement and attract new followers. Campaigns can be centered around events, petitions, or calls to action, and each campaign will encourage followers to get involved.

Targeted Advertising: Reach the Right Audience

Targeted advertising allows unions to reach specific demographics and individuals who they’ve identified as likely to be interested in joining. Tailoring ads according to demographics, interests, and even online behavior lets unions increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their recruitment efforts. Key aspects of targeted advertising include:

  • Demographic Targeting: Create ads tailored to specific age groups, professions, or geographic locations to ensure that the union’s message reaches the appropriate audience. 
  • Behavioral Targeting: Craft ads based on the online behavior and interests of users to enhance the relevance of your ads. Such actions include targeting individuals who have visited the union’s website or users that have engaged with related content online.
  • Retargeting: Run remarketing campaigns to re-engage users who have shown interest in the union’s services or visited the website. Remarketing ads serve as reminders and increase the likelihood of conversion. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Enhance Visibility

Optimizing union websites for search engines is a must. This ensures the union website will appear prominently in search results when people seek information about labor rights and unions. This increased visibility makes it easier to find, engage with, and be found by potential members. Here are some proven SEO strategies for unions:

  • Keyword Research: Identify and use relevant keywords that people are likely to search for to improve search engine rankings. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and Ahrefs will enable unions to identify high-value keywords related to union activities and labor rights that can then be included in content.
  • On-Page SEO: Optimize website content, meta descriptions, headers, and images to boost search engine visibility. Use keywords naturally within content, ensure meta descriptions are compelling and accurate, and optimize images with alt text.
  • Local SEO: Ensure the union appears in local search results to make it easy for searchers in specific areas to find the union. To do this, create and optimize Google My Business profiles, obtain local backlinks, and include local keywords in website content.

Email Marketing: Direct Communication

Building and maintaining an email list allows unions to communicate directly with members and potential recruits. Members remain informed and engaged when they receive regular updates, newsletters, and exclusive content directly to their email inbox. Key elements of email marketing include:

  • Regular Newsletters: Send updates on union activities, achievements, and other relevant news to keep members and prospects engaged. Newsletters can include articles, upcoming events, and calls to action that can encourage readers to sign petitions or attend meetings.
  • Targeted Emails: Create personalized emails for different segments of the email list according to interests and demographics to increase engagement. Send custom messages to new members, long-term members, or recent event attendees.
  • Engagement: Encourage recipients to interact with the content by including calls-to-action that nudge them to sign up for events, take part in surveys, or share their feedback.

Website Design: Creating an Intuitive Experience

Nowadays, a well-designed, user-friendly website is essential to attract and retain members. An intuitive layout, clear navigation, and compelling content make it simple for users to learn about the union, its missions, and how to get involved. Important aspects of quality website design include:

  • User Experience (UX): Ensure the website is easy to navigate and provides a seamless user experience by including intuitive menus, clear calls-to-action, and fast-loading pages.
  • Mobile Optimization: Design the website to be mobile-friendly to make sure the high proportion of users that exclusively browse from mobile devices can use the site. 
  • Compelling Content: Include detailed information about the union, its goals and progress in achieving them, and how potential members can join or support the cause in the form of member testimonials, case studies, and success stories that highlight the union’s impact.

Pro Tip

Utilize traditional AND modern communication channels to keep your member base engaged while broadening the scope to grab the attention of younger generations.

Case Studies: Success Stories in Digital Marketing

Many unions have already reaped the rewards of robust, professional digital marketing strategies. Here are two of the standout examples of unions embracing modern digital marketing and reaping the benefits:

Workers Credit Union Case Study

Partnering with inSegment, Workers Credit Union saw remarkable growth in their online conversions and engagement. With the custom digital marketing campaign, Workers achieved:

  • 631% Increase in Organic Conversions: A significant rise in conversions from organic search traffic, driven by effective SEO strategies and compelling content that attracted and engaged visitors.
  • 230% Growth in Google Ads Conversions: Enhanced effectiveness of paid advertising campaigns by optimizing ad placements and targeting relevant keywords.
  • 226% Boost in Social Ads Conversions: Increased engagement and conversion rates from social media ads thanks to strategic ad placements on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

ElevatorInfo Case Study

ElevatorInfo also implemented digital marketing campaigns spearheaded by inSegment’s team of experts to expand its online presence and grow its follower base. These campaigns resulted in:

  • 547% Growth in Facebook Page Visits: A substantial increase in engagement on ElevatorInfo’s Facebook page due to increased sharing of engaging content running of targeted ad campaigns.
  • 148% Increase in LinkedIn Followers: Growth in professional network and engagement on LinkedIn was achieved through regular posting of relevant content and targeted ads aimed at industry professionals.
  • 200% Boost in YouTube Subscribers: Enhanced reach, engagement, and follower growth thanks to captivating, educational video content that addressed industry topics and provided value to viewers.

The Future of Union Recruitment

Leveraging digital marketing strategies for union recruitment efforts is vital to increase membership and strengthen the labor movement in these challenging times. Only by embracing modern aspects of outreach including content marketing, social media engagement, targeted advertising, SEO, website design, and email marketing, can unions effectively engage and retain members in the digital age.

inSegment’s outstanding strategies brought about the success stories of Workers Credit Union and ElevatorInfo, demonstrating the value brought by digital marketing to unions that are looking to continue to advocate for workers’ rights and grow their influence online. By incorporating these modern strategies, unions can stop the trend of declining membership and continue playing a crucial role in protecting workers across the United States.

Embracing digital marketing is not just about adopting tools, it’s about transforming the way unions communicate, engage, and mobilize their members. It’s about building a community and choosing the right partners and approaches to make sure that community continues to grow into the future. 

Contact inSegment today and transform your union’s digital efforts.