The best way to grow memberships is often debated, and many believe that driving new sales is the way to go. However, keep in mind that “an association that adds 5,000 new members a year and maintains a 75% renewal rate will grow to 20,000 members. While an association that adds the same 5,000 new members but maintains an 85% renewal rate will grow to 33,000 members.” (T. Rossell, 2012)
Here are some member retention ideas for keeping your members, and keeping them happy:
Spread the News of Your Improvements.
Communication is one of the key pillars of retention. When you make improvements, achieve big milestones, or have new information that will be helpful to members, be sure to share it with the right people. Wherever possible, segment and personalize your communications so that your members get the information that really matters to them.
Turn Up Your Reminder Frequency.
You don’t want to annoy your members, but it’s a fact that a lot of people simply forget to renew their memberships. Experts are now suggesting that seven is the most effective number of renewal reminders. If you don’t have good membership management software this task can be difficult – a good reason to look into low-cost technology options that will enable you to automate your renewal reminders.
Offer Online Membership Payment Options.
If you haven’t started accepting online member payments, you should make this a priority. It is becoming the preferred method of payment for many people, and user-friendly processes are great for member retention. As a bonus, it will cut the time you spend manually processing payments down significantly.
Offering a discount for early membership renewals can give your members a good reason to submit payments right away, instead of pushing the task to the bottom of their to-do list.
Use Multiple Marketing Channels.
Don’t rely on email or your website alone. Send your members news and information through your website, social media, postcards, newsletters, and even contact key members by phone to remind them of deadlines. To keep your members engaged, your marketing strategy should include multiple tactics.
Highlight Non-Member Prices.
On all of your products, events, and services, make it a point to remind your members of the value of their benefits by publishing non-member prices.
Keep your eyes open for potential partnership opportunities with other organizations that will be mutually beneficial. Often, you can tee up arrangements that will bring added benefits to your members, and make them more likely to value their memberships.
Review Your Member Welcome/Orientation Program.
Inviting new members to free orientation events where they can meet their colleagues is a great way of building the sense of community that is necessary for member retention. If you don’t have the time or budget for that, send them a welcome pack or give them a personal welcome phone call at the very least.