6 Must-Do Membership Retention Strategies

Need help retaining more of your members?

While most businesses spend a great deal of time and resources into recruiting new members, it’s crucial that you sharpen up your retention strategy as well. Retention requires just as much, if not more, attention as recruiting because what good is getting new members if you can’t keep them?

The goal is to create an engaged community of members who are invested in your organization. Committed and excited members attract even more members through social proof and word of mouth marketing.

So how exactly do you create such members?

In this post, we’ll take a look at 6 amazing strategies for improving your membership retention. These time-tested strategies will work across multiple types of organizations. Let’s get started.

Here’s a downloadable list of additional membership retention strategies.

1. Market to the Proper Audience

Start by asking yourself, who will benefit the most from my organization?

A common mistake to avoid is incorrect targeting. Instead of narrowing down their scope, many organizations market to a wide variety of prospective members. This eventually leads to churn. Why?

New members join up with the wrong expectations. Perhaps drawn in by well-meaning but somewhat inaccurate marketing promises, the new member quickly becomes disillusioned with your organization because it’s not addressing their true needs. They’ll eventually leave and you’ll be left wondering why you couldn’t retain them.

To put it simply, your organization wasn’t the right fit. It’s a painful truth but ultimately freeing once you realize that by not targeting everyone, you’re able to actually target the perfect prospects.

It’s important that you market to those who are most likely to:

A)See the value of joining and aligning with your organization
B)Get active in your organization

To find these prospects, you’ll have to get clear with your marketing message. When marketing your membership, explain the following:

  • Who you are
  • Why you are
  • How you help
  • Who you help
  • What you do

2. Focus on Benefits

Connected to the above point, emphasize your membership benefits to both current and prospective members.

Start off by writing a list of benefits that your members enjoy. List everything from mentorship to special discounts to exclusive access to your large library of resources.

Next, decide how you’re going to highlight these benefits to your members.

For prospective members, you’ll use convey benefits through your marketing materials. For example, you may push them to download a case study from your website. Such a case study would show the benefits of your membership in action in a real life situation.

The best way to keep members engaged is to keep them informed. Click To Tweet

For current members, you can gently remind them of your membership benefits by sending congratulatory emails whenever the member reaches a specific milestone. In this email, celebrate the progress your member has made and tie this progress back to membership in your organization.

3. Segment Your Members

People join an organization for different reasons. Make a list of the reasons you think people would join your organization. (Hint: These reasons are likely to mirror the same benefits listed above.)

Here’s a partial list of the end goals your members are hoping to accomplish by joining your organization:

  • Network with other professionals in the industry
  • Have access to a library of relevant resources
  • Obtain an industry-valued certification
  • Get exclusive discounts
  • Marketing helps and resources
  • Become a member of an active community

Once you’ve made an exhaustive list of reasons why prospective members would be attracted to your organization, turn it into a survey. Ask new members why they joined your organization and present this multiple choice survey. Be sure to include a space for “other” along with a prompt for them to elaborate because there may be a reason you hadn’t considered before.

Allow them to self-identify based on their individual needs and interests.

This survey is key to your retention strategy because it allows you to set the member on the right path. For each reason, you’ll create a member journey and profile. This will inform what type of emails you’ll push to the member. For example, if your member wants to network, you can send local or regional events and offer advice on how to successfully connect with others.

While you may also send emails from different categories (i.e. promotions for your certification course or special discounts), you’ll focus on providing targeted resources that help them accomplish their end goal.

Remember that your goal is to help the member reach their goal, and to do this successfully, you’ll need to be completely focused on what content you provide. You definitely don’t want to send irrelevant content. It translates to inbox clutter and eventually member churn.

4. Make Onboarding a Priority

To retain more of your members, you must focus on onboarding. Get them acclimated to your organization. Set expectations for how often you’ll be in touch and what type of content to expect.

The best way to do this is to create a starter kit for new members. This starter kit may be a downloadable PDF file, a dedicated “start here” webpage, or a set of resources that you actually mail out to your new members.

Your starter kit is likely to vary based on each member’s intended end goal. You should create multiple starter kits based on each type of member that you anticipate and also a general starter kit for members who click “other” in your self-filtering survey.

Here are a few ideas on what you may include in your starter kit:

  • A brief history of your organization with emphasis on your vision and how you help members succeed
  • A tutorial of how to use your website, including how to access your member resources
  • An overview of what courses you offer
  • A list of ways to contact you (i.e. email, phone, social media)

5. Ask for Testimonials

Testimonials are the lifeblood of every organization. They provide much needed social proof for prospective members.

However, testimonials are also great for retention purposes. Consider sending a new batch of testimonials to your members every six months or every year. These testimonials should be selected for their diversity, showing the multiple ways that your members have benefited from your organization. These types of testimonials are inspirational and it prompts your members to think of how they’ve also grown and progressed by becoming a member of your organization.

6. Create an Easy Renewal Program

Is it easy for members to renew their membership?

A complicated renewal process is a major contributor to member churn. Here’s a few renewal reasons that may lead to churn:

  • Not keeping a credit card on file and then asking the renewing member to re-enter their credit card information
  • Asking the renewing member to choose their membership plan for the upcoming year
  • Asking members to upgrade or tack on additional benefits
  • Taking too many steps or pages to renew

Every question you ask will increase resistance to the process, so simplify your approach. Instead, consider continual enrollment. When new members join, inform them that you provide continual enrollment (i.e. their membership will continue in perpetuity and you’ll charge their card on file automatically).

This way, you won’t have to interrupt the experience with your organization to ask for dues or if they’d like to continue with their membership.

Final Thoughts

To be successful in the long run, your organization must develop a retention strategy. Before you go, be sure to download 11 additional retention strategies below.

Download 11 additional membership retention strategies here!

 

Mark is a tech entrepreneur passionate about solving problems through software, and is currently the Marketing Lead at Accredible. If he's not working he's probably running or enjoying craft beer.

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