One of the greatest challenges for member-based organizations is membership retention, especially during uncertain times. The long-term success of any membership site depends on member retention. Now, more than ever, as the nation faces an usual crisis that we have never encountered before, remaining calm and making every effort to continue business as usual is very critical. Nationwide measures have been taken to deal with this crisis. Schools have closed. Sports have been suspended. Multitude of events have been cancelled. People have been ordered to stay home. Both in our personal lives and in the business world, there’s a general sense of uncertainty. The French symbolist writer, Auguste de Villiers de l’Isle-Adam said “Uncertainty is a quality to be cherished, therefore – if not for it, who would dare to undertake anything?” Times like these provide an opportunity to think creatively and endeavor to keep the wheels turning. For a membership organization, this means to implement strategies for retaining members. Whether you operate a chamber of commerce or a trade association, here are a few tips and strategies that will help your organization improve membership retention during these times.
Reward and Incentivise Your Current User Base
You may already have rewards and incentives for potential new members. This is great as it motivates prospects to sign up for a membership. However, you should keep in mind that when it comes time to renew membership, those members might be discouraged by the idea of not being able to enjoy the same incentives as before. Maybe they had a discounted price, and now they have to pay full-price for the membership. Also, the long-time members might feel some unfairness between their loyalty to you and the benefits that new members are enjoying. Be mindful of this, and focus on rewarding / incentivizing your current, loyal members as much as you reward new ones. You can offer your user base additional services with their membership or renewal. This is where bundling your membership with other great items such as a magazine subscription or an exclusive instructional video series can prove to be very helpful. Our flagship membership management software, MemberBoss has a fantastic bundling function already built-in. Get creative and bring more value to your members with rewards and incentives that are very hard to pass up.
Have an Onboarding Process
Once a prospect signs up for a new membership, you should begin developing a solid relationship with them through an onboarding process that allows you to assess the new member’s interests, needs, and goals. The first year of membership is crucial to keeping that member around for years to come. By identifying what their interests, needs and goals are you will be able to personalize and guide the new member in a way for them to gain the most value from your organization. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through a drip campaign, which is also built-in to our membership management software, MemberBoss. With a simple series of emails you’ll be able to not only engage your new member right away, but you’ll also gain some insights that will help keep your new members around for years to come. Also, do not fail to show them that your organization appreciates their business.
Survey Current Members
It’s very easy to assume that you know exactly what your members need, want, and expect from their membership. This can lead to a disparity between what your members acquire from their membership and the value your organization perceives to be offering. Sending out surveys to your current member list helps to mitigate this disparity. Send surveys to current members to find out what their preferences are, what they wish would improve, what sort of things would increase their engagement, etc. Send different surveys for different types of members. New members will show you if they see value in being part of your organization. Loyal members will show you what works and what doesn’t. Also, send out surveys to past members who have cancelled their subscription to find out more about what led to them opting out. Once you’ve received their feedback, you can adjust accordingly. Everything you find out will allow you to keep doing what works and to fix problems that lower membership retention.
Prevent Membership Cancellations
In times like these, it is very easy for a member to want to cancel their membership. Difficult times have a funny way of making people re-evaluate everything, from their priorities to where they spend their money, and rightfully so. You can expect this to happen, but instead of staying still, go on the offensive by preventing cancellations. Offering the option to pause membership is a great way to keep someone from completely leaving, especially if their decision is a knee-jerk reaction to what is happening in their surroundings. Not only does it show that you are not completely oblivious to what they are going through, but it also leaves the door open for when things come back to normal and business as usual resumes. You can also offer shorter time-frame membership for potential new members. Doing so would allow those who are on the fence because of the unfavorable climate to sign up for membership at a lower risk.
Take Advantage of a Membership Management Software
It goes without saying that using a great Membership Management Software helps increase member engagement. During these times, take full advantage of a Membership Management Software like MemberBoss. Not only does it allow you to manage your members (among other things), but it also helps with communicating with your members. With the email marketing feature you can start a series of branded, engaging emails that will keep your organization in the mind of your members. You can also take advantage of the blog feature to write relevant articles for your members to read while they’re at home. This cloud-based platform makes it easy to keep your members feeling a personal connection to your organization.
One thing about uncertain times like these is that they do not last forever, but this doesn’t mean that losing members should be ok. Stay ahead of the curve and implement the above strategies in your organization. If you’d like to learn more about MemberBoss, feel free to Book A Demo. Oh, and of course, don’t forget to subscribe to The Boss Blog to get more riveting tips and tricks for your organization!