Members are the most valuable resource in a membership organization. They have a responsibility to protect it. This means that they must not only find and recruit members, but also ensure they offer a high-quality service with clear benefits in order to retain the members they have.
These are our top 10 tips to help you manage your membership to make sure you get the renewals that you need to allow your organization to thrive.
1. Priority should always be given to value
Value is, without a doubt a greater driver than cost for members who subscribe to your organization. While you should keep your costs within the market, the key element to attracting and retaining the right members will be the value of the service that you offer.
It means that you give your members the best advice, support, and industry information possible. This will make them proud to be members and keep them loyal to your organization. You can offer CPD to your members by using the membership management support service.
2. Deliver on your benefits
Your members will have already been informed about the benefits available. However, it is crucial that these materials are organized and delivered in a timely manner to ensure your success as well as retention and recruitment. You may offer member events, support, group responses, consultations, or PR opportunities depending on your industry. You’ll see your reputation and membership grow organically and robustly if you focus on the delivery of this service.
You can find many ways to retain members, but a focus on providing high-value, quantifiable benefits is the best.
3. A balanced budgeting strategy is essential
False economy is when a budget favors acquisition over retention and value. It is important to attract new members to the organization, but it is equally important to provide high-quality services to existing members in order to retain those members you already have.
You should plan for a realistic budget split between retention, growth and acquisition. The lion’s portion of the budget should be used to keep your existing members happy. This will make it easier to attract new members to your organisation.
4. Employers need to be aware of your recruitment strategies
You can make your recruitment budget more flexible and effective by allocating a portion to research and development of your overall strategy. It is crucial to understand your target audience and how you can reach them. Make sure to allocate plenty of resources and time to research and strategy development.
In general, smaller organizations will find that electronic communications are the most cost-effective and easiest to manage. If you are at the top of the market with a membership base exceeding 5,000 members, you may want to consider physical mail to strengthen your position as an organization of excellence. In a benchmarking survey, over 5,000 members favored direct mail over all other methods for managing their membership. This was because it produced the best results.
You should be cautious when planning and executing any email campaign to recruit new members. Your email must be well-designed and targeted to avoid spam filters. To target and find the most beneficial members of your organization, use social media or industry-related forums.
5. Remind, repeat and reiterate
You shouldn’t leave renewal up to chance. Your members should be given ample warning and have a structured reminder schedule so they are prepared for renewal. According to the 2010 Benchmarking Report, membership organizations were more likely have a high retention rate if their renewal program was well-structured and automatic renewals were possible.
6. Speak their language
Many members see the communication you provide as the most important reminder of the importance of your organization and their membership. You must understand their preferences for communication methods and demographics to ensure that this happens.
Your communications should reflect the investment level and expectations of your members. Make sure they receive a monthly newsletter if they ask. Make sure your communications are of high quality and free from spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. If necessary, you can get the help of professionals or join a membership management program to give your communications an edge over the rest.
7. Networking niceties
Everyone is so focused on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter these days to communicate and market to their target audiences. It is vital to be present on these social media platforms if you want your business to stay ahead of the rest.
The 2010 Benchmarking Report revealed that many member organizations found that private, members-only networking services and industry-specific forums were more beneficial than others.
LinkedIn allows you to create a discussion group based on your industry if you don’t have the resources to host your own forum. This is an excellent tool for membership retention strategies. Members will be able make new connections, share business ideas, and possibly generate revenue all because you initiated the service. Non-members can also join these groups, making them an attractive tool in your arsenal of recruitment tools.
8. It’s easy… it’s attractive
While many membership organizations shy away from discounts and reductions, it is worth considering if you’re looking at the best ways to retain your membership. Offerings like early renewal discounts and second/third year reductions can help you secure your memberships when you most need them.
Although you may not be interested in reducing the cost of membership, it is important to make it easy for members to renew. To make it easier for members to renew, you can offer web-based renewal packages or payment by installments. You might even want to retain credit card details to allow automatic renewal each year.
9. To understand, analyse
It pays to do your research. It is a great idea to identify which segments of your membership are most likely to renew when you’re deciding where to spend your money and time. You can create a picture of which segment is most likely to leave the organization by performing basic analytics on data from past renewals. These groups will allow you to invest more in their renewal and reap the benefits of your investment in growth next year.
10. Make ‘official’ membership retention strategies
Do not leave anything up to chance. You should put the same effort into planning and strategizing as you do in providing excellent member service. These points can be applied to your organization and goals to help you develop your own membership management strategy to maximize the potential.
Silverbear Membership Management software is part the Silverbear Ltd. range. It supports businesses in building, defining, examining, educating, and communicating with members.