Adding value to your membership programs
Do you know the lifetime value of your members? Do you know how much it costs to recruit a new member vs the cost of retaining members? According to the Memberwise Digital Excellence Report 2019, member retention is in the top three goals for organisations.
Many associations struggle with adding a value to their prospects and membership. According to the Harvard Business Review, “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.” Why? Because it costs you more in time and resources to find and convince a new member to join your organisation than to keep your current members engaged.
However, continually demonstrating your value to members can be easier said than done. Here are our top considerations for supporting your member retention efforts.
Make accessing your benefits easy, and online
This is a big one. If you haven’t already brought your offering for members online, then you really need to. Is getting started with your association easy, like setting up an account with a smart banking app, or ordering from Amazon in two clicks? Or does it take three weeks to apply for membership ? Modern members have huge expectations, and have little tolerance for slow service or complicated processes. Internally, if you’re still storing your member data on spreadsheets, then you’re putting yourself at a huge disadvantage, and other organisations using smarter software are going to overtake you.
A membership CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software system puts your data to work, and helps you keep on top of your relationships with past, current and future members. If you’re already using software to run your organisation, review its performance regularly, and assess whether its functionality can still provide everything you need.
Find out WHY they joined – and repeat!
If you’re not collecting data on why members are joining you, you could be missing out on key insights to support membership growth! By analysing why your members joined, you can make sure you’re servicing their core needs. How are you currently gathering data insights? Think about your joining process and your member comms; what insight are you gathering with each communication you send? More importantly, is the data you’re gathering being fed into your CRM system? Do you know what your members’ journey looks like?
If you don’t have a clear picture of how you want members to engage with your organisation, then you can’t expect your members to. How many member touchpoints do you have? What goals have you set for each of these touchpoints? What does a successful journey look like and how does this benefit your members?
Keep your program benefits front of mind
You’ve found out why they joined – now how are you communicating the value of your membership and all the benefits you offer? How often do you communicate with your members? Have you automated this process?
Automating your membership comms process may help support your membership retention efforts by sending periodic messages promoting the benefits of membership throughout the year instead of waiting for renewal time! According to the Memberwise Global Member Insight Report 2019, the UK has the most loyal members, with 69% being members for 3+ years – tap into this! Automating your basic processes will free up your team’s time to focus on other campaigns.
Assess how easy it is for members to contact you
How many clicks does it take for a member to get what they want? Can they get a quick response from social media? Or is it long waits on the phone? Some software systems enable you to set up member portals, where members can self-serve for smaller admin tasks such as annual renewals, membership upgrades, event registration, and communications opt-ins. In an online and increasingly autonomous world, modern members want as few hoops to jump through as possible to get what they want – make sure you fit the bill.
Keep an eye on the less engaged
Use your data to find out who isn’t engaged and could be at risk of lapsing. Track members who aren’t opening or clicking on your emails, registering for events, visiting your website, or accessing their benefits. Your member data isn’t meant to be just stored – you need to USE it. Is your CRM servicing your needs? A good membership CRM will be able to provide you with smart insights into member behaviour with easy and accurate reporting. With these insights you can create an informed plan of action for you to reach out to your less engaged members with a targeted campaign to reduce the risk of lapsing their membership.
Automate your renewals
If you haven’t already, you need to offer an online renewals service – post or telephone only isn’t going to cut it anymore. Can your members pay by Direct Debit? Allowing direct debit payments could improve your member retention rate as it helps reduce the number of failed payments, (around 5-10% of all monthly membership payments don’t go through).
By sending automated reminders with a link to an online renewal service, you’ll free up precious resource to focus on other member services, knowing that your recurring revenue is in hand.
Get feedback from lapsed members
Sometimes members leave, no matter what you do. As long as you’re learning from each experience then it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Reach out to your lapsed members and ask for feedback. You can automate this process as mentioned previously. The insights you gather can be used to improve your member offerings or services, and you never know, this proactive step may encourage them to re-join in the future.
If you’re struggling to get the most out of your systems, book a free health check with one of our experienced membership consultants and see how you score.