By Guest Blogger:

Stuart Palmer, Managing Director

Eyes Down

Whether your membership organisation is thriving or you’re struggling to grow the membership, there is always action you can take to push joining rates up and ensure existing members stay engaged.

Here are 6 strategies which we have to be effective:

1. Simplify your joining and renewal processes

Simplicity has its own beauty and the simpler a task is to do, the more likely someone is to complete it.

Make sure your membership website includes the following:

  • Clear signposting to join the organisation.
  • Clear pricing. Avoid complicated concessions where possible.
  • A simple onsite payment system (avoid having the visitor redirected to a third-party payment merchant).
  • Auto-renewal. Direct debit and recurring card payments are the best options. Alternatively, generate automatic renewal reminders.

2. Survey your newest members

The best way to find out if your membership website is engaging and user-friendly is to ask those who have just signed up as members.

Ask them how they found the joining process and whether there are areas that need improving. Most new members will be happy to help and there are third party plugins to make this easy.

Also consider surveying lapsed members. Their feedback might help you to minimise churn.

3. Clearly communicate your unique benefits

Rather than passively waiting for prospective and new members to discover what’s great about your membership website, actively promote the benefits.

Make sure you present your unique selling proposition (USP) in a simple, concise way using visuals where you can. For example, publish screenshots of your members’ area plus conference agendas and other benefits.

Social media, email newsletters and even traditional word-of-mouth are great platforms for showcasing your benefits.

4. Make sure your site is optimised

If your membership website is running more slowly than it used to, it could be in need of optimisation. This will also help it to rank well in search.

Steps to optimise your website include:

  • Reducing the file size of images.
  • Removing plug-ins and other features you never use.
  • Ensuring your website theme works well on mobile devices. Logging in and paying should be as simple using a mobile handset as it is using a laptop or desktop computer.

You should also make sure your content is optimised for search engines as well as human readers.

5. Combine your website and CRM

Do you have a customer relationship management (CRM) system which is managed independently from your website? Integrating them could be as simple as finding a decent plug-in or API. This will take out those extra manual steps which can lead to data loss, poor user experience and cancelled memberships.

By connecting your CRM and website, you can promote tailored content to each of your members and improve the value which membership brings them.

6. Make your website a fantastic resource

It sounds obvious, but the more useful and relevant your membership website is, the more attractive it will be to new and existing members. Some ideas for increasing the value of your membership site include:

  • Creating or improving your members-only section with high quality and exclusive content.
  • Targeting members with relevant content based on their preferences.
  • Including a ‘good news’ section and keeping this updated on a regular basis.
  • Showcase members’ events so that members use your site for their own publicity.

Give away some content for all users so that prospective members can see what they are going to get.

Eyes Down is a digital agency working in the charity, membership organisation and subscription sectors. They design and create beautiful, mobile friendly websites, intranets and CRM tools for professional associations, charities, sports clubs and other membership organisations.