5 Steps to Increase Membership Retention: The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Posted by Curt Moss on Jun 10, 2013 11:43:00 PM

Recruit to retain your membersIf you are looking to increase member retention, why not start by recruiting the members who are most likely to renew in the first place? Since, you are going to spend money, intellectual effort and time on member sales and retention anyhow, why not make sure you maximize your ROI by targeting prospective members who are similar to your existing members and who already renew at a high rate?

You’re probably thinking that sure sounds great, but where should you start?  It all begins with member intelligence driven by solid association membership software.

Step 1. Collect data on your current members. Using your association membership software, collect as much data as you can about your members. Where are they located? How many employees do they have?  What business category are they in?  How long have then been in business?  How much revenue do they generate? Who are their customers? Who is the owner or executive? Why did they join your organization? What were the main benefits they hoped to receive? Think about the ways you could segment your members into groups, to understand their retention behavior and predict future retention rates.  

Step 2. Identify which members are most likely to renew based on real data. Run retention reports or exports from your membership management system including the data in Step 1. Slice and dice your data to look for segments of members who renew at high rate.  For example, companies who have been in business for less than two years probably will not renew at the same rate as more established businesses. Or, you may find that companies with 25-50 employees renew at a higher rate than any other segment.   

Step 3. Understand why those businesses choose to renew at a high rate.  Again, using the data you’ve collected on why members join, you can begin to understand their retention behavior. You should interview or survey these members to gain additional insights into why they find so much value in your association. Now, you’ve got your profile of an ideal member and you know why they join and renew.  Let’s go get some new members!

Step 4. Craft a campaign targeting prospects who match your ideal member profile. Hopefully, you’re keeping all your prospects in the same database as your current and past members. Using the criteria for your ideal member, find all the non-members in your database and create campaigns and plans to recruit them. Again, the best defense is a good offense. Why focus retention efforts on members that are not generating you the most revenue? Let attrition take its natural course and replace your non-performing members with prospects matching the profile of your ideal members. These new member “matches” will likely transform into high revenue members, like your ideal members.

Step 5. Measure the results and optimize your campaigns accordingly. You will not achieve any progress unless you know where you are going and how you are getting there. Regarding your retention efforts, you will not know what is working unless you measure your results. This is made very easy with solid association membership software to track sales with respect to member segments and marketing messages to figure out the correct message to the correct member.

What methods have worked for your association when targeting high-value prospects?  Let us know in the comments below.

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Topics: Membership Marketing & Technology