1 Top 10 Tips to Ensure Membership Renewal
2 Membership organisations have a duty to protect their most valuable resource: their members. And this means not only finding and recruiting members for their groups, but also ensuring they provide a high quality service with clear benefits to ensure retention of the members they already have. Here are our top 10 tips for membership management to ensure you get the renewals you need for your organisation to flourish. 1. Value is always top priority Without a doubt, value is now a far bigger driver than cost for any member considering a subscription to your organisation. Although you will need to keep your costs in line with the marketplace, the critical element that will ensure you recruit and retain the members you need will lie in the value of the service you provide. Key features like integration with your website and finance system means a lot of processes can be automated, saving the membership manager huge amounts of time. This means giving your members the very best you can provide in terms of advice, support and industry information, all of which will ensure they feel proud to be a member and to be loyal to your organisation. By using a membership management support service such as SBMembership, you can even offer CPD and qualifications to members through their easy to use management software solution. 2. Deliver on your benefits You will already have set out the benefits that are available to your members, but ensuring these are delivered in a high quality and organised manner is critical to your success and to your retention and recruitment of members. Depending on your industry and structure, you may be offering posted or ed materials, member events, support or group responses to consultations or even PR opportunities for your members. Focus on the delivery of this service and you ll find your membership and reputation grows in an organic and robust manner. Of all the membership retention strategies you can adopt, a focus on high value, quantifiable benefits to member s ranks up there 1
3 with the most important of all. For help in delivering this to an organised, proficient standard, SBMembership offers a great solution for hassle free, professional membership management from events to marketing and much more. 3. Create a balanced budgeting strategy Setting a budget that favours the acquisition of new members over the provision of value and retention of existing members is a false economy. Whilst it is certainly important to drive new members to the organisation, it is also important to ensure you are providing high value to your existing members to ensure retention of those you have already engaged. Plan for a realistic split of budget between acquisition, retention and growth, with the lion s share being allocated to keeping your existing members happy. When your current member s think highly of your service, your reputation will precede you and new members will be drawn to the organisation with less effort and expense on your part. 4. Be savvy with recruitment strategies To make your recruitment budget stretch further and become more effective, you need to allocate a good proportion of it to research and development of your overarching strategy. Understanding who your target audience are and how to reach them is critical to your success, so make sure you build in plenty of time and resources to strategy development and research. As a general rule, smaller organisations will find electronic methods of communications to be the most cost effective and easy to manage of the options available. However, if you are at the top end of the market or have a membership base in excess of 5,000, then you might want to consider physical direct mail as an option to cement your position as an organisation of excellence. A 2010 benchmarking survey found the majority of organisations with over 5,000 member s favoured direct mail over other methods of membership management as this was deemed to produce the best results. If you intend using or other electronic methods to recruit new members, be 2
4 careful in the planning and execution of this activity. With so many users receiving junk mail in their inbox, your will have to be highly developed and targeted in order to pass the spam filters, and ideally will not be unsolicited. Use social networks or industry related forums to find and target the people who will benefit most from membership of your organisation. 5. Remind, repeat and reiterate Don t leave renewal to chance. Make sure there is plenty of warning for your members, and a wellstructured reminder schedule to ensure they are well 3 prepared for their renewal date. The 2010 Benchmarking Report showed that membership organisations were more likely to enjoy a high retention of members when the renewal programme was well structured and, if possible, when automatic renewals were enabled. 6. Speak their language For many members, the main reminder of the value of your organisation and their membership of it is the regular and high quality communications that they receive from you. To ensure this works for them, you need to understand your demographic and their preference for communication modes and methods from the outset. The means and regularity of your communications should directly reflect the level of investment and the expectations you have already given you existing members. If they expect a monthly newsletter, make sure it happens. Ensure your communications are high quality with no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors and, if needs be, enlist the support of a professional or sign up to a membership management package such as SBMembership to help give your communications the edge over your competitors.
5 tools, which can send personalised e-invites that are also likely to increase attendance. As many software packages now offer the opportunity to create event microsites, it is possible to increase promotional materials in a professional and speedy manner. Microsites are branded, SEO friendly, and can be built per event. Not only does this provide a professional image, it also means that it is easy for those who have been invited to access all the information they need in one place. Easy access to information in itself is a great way to ensure that clarity is delivered, making people more comfortable with attending. Summary When it comes to member management, the use of software will ensure that attendance increases. Thanks to the use of features such as microsites and website integration, it is easier than ever for member associations to deliver clarity and draw in attendees when it comes to events. In addition to this, the financial records associated with events can be streamlined, allowing for each one to fall within a set budget and provide up-to-date data. As far as membership software features are concerned, there are ways to track data and use it in order to make future events more effective. The changing landscape of associations means that knowledge is the key to future success, and by tracking data such as who has responded and who attends, it is easier to evaluate how successful the marketing of events has been. In addition to this, allowing those who attend to manage their own invites increases the likelihood of attendance. For more information on using SBMembership to manage your membership recruitment, renewal and management, please get in touch. We can arrange for a custom one-to-one demo to help illustrate how we can help your association specifically. 3 Call or us on Alternatively, contact us online.