Associations will live or die by the success of the membership program
If you’re responsible for acquiring new members, and retaining the existing ones, you may be on the lookout for some new ideas to beef up the program. The tips that follow may be just the boost you need to ensure your program is headed in the right direction.
Back to basics
Evaluate why members joined initially, and use this as a narrative in your communications. It’s important that you don’t just assume you know the answer to this one. While that may be easier, you could be surprised about the reasons a member originally had for signing up. Interview or survey existing members. If possible, reach out to recent former members and see why they didn’t rejoin. Use an online tool like SurveyMonkey to make this process easier and organized.
Provide a personalized membership card
In doing this you are telling the member they are part of something bigger, something special. Send the card and be sure to include other useful items in the welcome kit, like discount coupons and membership event reminders. Doing this will remind your member about the benefits to their membership all year long.
Send a thank you gift
Use the early days of membership as an opportunity to send a branded gift item to provide a constant reminder of your association. Some of my favorites include calendars, clothing and mugs. Each of these has longevity to keep your association brand in front of the member. It costs a little more, but if you personalize it, it will create a significantly higher value.
Start renewing from day one
It’s really important that a member sees the benefit to membership, and making sure they see why they have joined from day one will create a positive, lasting impression. A last minute message asking a member to renew right before they expire may ring of insincerity. Also, beginning early means you’re less likely to see attrition due to your communication being overlooked or forgotten. Make it really easy to renew. How many times have you been thwarted by a poorly designed checkout? Give your members an easy process.
Provide a ‘members only’ resource website
New and useful content targeted specifically to your audience, along with content sharing tools where members can really engage with each other, promotes a sense of community. Message boards, job listings, tips from the experts and a marketplace to buy and sell specialized equipment will give your members a real tangible benefit that may otherwise be unavailable. People love to talk about what they know well, provide that forum.
Reach out and connect often and regularly
With the wealth of tools at our disposal, there’s no excuse. Reach out to your membership on a regular basis. Be clear that it shouldn’t be a one size fits all approach. Mix up the ways you communicate by incorporating email, real old fashioned mail and even the phone to really make your member feel special. If they see the value, and feel valued, they will keep coming back.
Use a Lifetime Membership program
Send a special direct mail invitation to current annual members asking them to upgrade to a life membership. Offer a loyalty discount to add incentive. Membership retention solved. These types of programs have been reported to do very well (See “The 2016 Membership Marketing Benchmark Report” – Marketing General, pg.26).
Use this sample outreach timetable to get you started, tweak to make it your own.
Within 24 Hours
At 2 weeks
At 1 month
At 3 months
At 4 months
At 6 months
At 8 months
At 10 months
At 11 months
After 1 year
INTEGRAM will help you reach your goals and move your acquisition and retention program into the green. We help improve awareness, drive recruitment and engagement, create interdependence and promote higher renewals. Plan a constant, consistent engagement with INTEGRAM – the solution you need.