Christine Hassall, Marketing Executive
Associations often spend valuable time and resources trying to persuade industry professionals to become members of their organisation. Existing member engagement is the association sector’s key goal in 2017. As a web agency who guides these organisations through every step of web development, from the initial specification to the final project launch and beyond, we know that the whole design and structure of a website is usually aimed at persuading visitors to join.
After so long ushering in your next generation of members, there’s no time to take your foot off the gas. Just as much energy and effort should be invested into retaining members as was spent on gaining them in the first place. We’ve spoken to our clients and members of the team who have years of experience working for the membership community and discovered there is more you can do.
These three Rs will help you improve member retention:
- Reward: Offer incentives to keep your members happy
- Reach out: Ensure you stay in contact with members
- Regiment: Make sure you stay on top of renewals with planning
Why you should encourage word of mouth
The ‘refer a friend’ incentive is valuable to help an organisation grow. Offering perks to members who recommend your organisation to a colleague or company is a great way to foster strong, long-lasting relationships. These gestures and freebies will foster enough good will to lead to our second point:
Should you reward your members?
Rewarding loyalty is important and there are simple things you can do to reward those members who have renewed with you. Rewards can be as small as 10% off your resources for signing up to your mailing list, or as large as a year’s free membership for a member who has renewed for the nth time. Speaking of renewals:
How to keep on top of renewals
How much time do you give your members when it comes to renewals? Yearly renewals, as an example, should be trailed from around the seven month mark, with an automatic email reminding them when exactly renewals will be occurring. You could also add a countdown clock to your website or each member’s individual member area so they’re 100% clear that they won’t miss the date. Offering money off for early bird renewals is also a great incentive to get those renewals coming. To do this you’ll need:
How a CRM can help with renewals
CRMs are a great way to stay on top of your renewals, but not all of them have this functionality, so you’ll need a sophisticated one (like RiverCRM). When your member joins, your CRM should log the date and certain emails – like the ones in the flow chart – should be automatically scheduled to go out periodically. This will save you admin time when you need it most, as renewals are a busy time!
It’s important to keep in touch with your members. A steady flow of conversation should help you troubleshoot issues along the way. Your CRM should be able to tell you which of your members haven’t renewed. This will help you identify them and get in touch to see if there are any issues they experienced that you need to iron out, which at worst will help with future member retention and at best will show the person who didn’t renew that you care about their opinion and are an organisation who looks to change and grow for the better
We’ve got a wealth of tips on how to reduce your membership churn, what you can do to encourage referrals and making your renewals easier, so take a look at those previous articles. You can also get in touch if you have a project or comment below and let us know if you found this article helpful.
Senior Internet are fully equipped to supply your organisation with these features and many more. They already have a community of membership, non-profit, charitable and trade associations and have made good use of their 17 years’ industry experience to help