Membership Marketing & Technology

Three Types of Members That Join Associations And How To Retain Them

Business associations and chambers of commerce spend precious time and money recruiting new members and trying to retain existing members.

3 Types of Members that Join AssociationsBut some members are naturally more inclined to renew based on how they feel about your association BEFORE they join.  You'll create greater chances for success at renewing these members if you can identify them before they join so you can:

  1. Capture details needed to demonstrate value in your membership management database
  2. Try to "convert" them to a type of member who is more likely to renew


The Want Tos

These are the business that to WANT to join your association or chamber of commerce.  They already believe your organization will provide them with benefits.  That's great!  They will probably be an easy sale.

But, don't let their eagerness to join fool you into thinking they'll be an "automatic" renewal.   Because these members have pre-existing opinions of how your organization will benefit them, you'll need to make sure you're delivering on those expectations.

First, be sure to track the reasons why they join in your membership management database.  By referencing this information in your membership database, you'll be able to create relevant communications for those members. Be sure to communicate with them throughout the year - not just when they are up for renewal - to reinforce what your asociation is doing to deliver value based on THEIR reasons for joining.


The Ought Tos

These are the businesses who feel they really SHOULD join your association or chamber of commerce because they think they should network more, find additional educational opportunities or simply because it's the "right thing to do."

These types of members aren't sure if they will see benefits by joining your association, so it will be your job to help them understand the benefit and move them towards a "Want To."

Of course, understanding exactly what those expectations are is key to indentifying other potential benefits for those members.

Again, tracking their reasons for joining or their business concerns in you member management software is key.  But this group may need a slightly different approach.  Yes, you'll still need to show them how you're delivering value based on the information you've stored in your membership software.  However, they will still have some doubts, so create a proactive plan to discover their additional concerns, overcome them and communicate the value your organization delivers.  Eseentially, you'll be working to convert them to a "Want To."

If your membership management system can help you create tasks or plans related to your members, that's even better.  All the information you need to retain that member will be one place so your staff work efficienctly and collobarate with each other.


The Have Tos

Businesses that "have to" join your association or chamber of commerce feel like they have no other choice if they want to receive certain benefits such as health insurance, licensing, certifications or some other service.

While this can be nice to help fuel membership sales, it makes it difficult to create a favorable member experience since they didn't really want to join in the first place.  If these members find benefits from our sources, they will be less likely to renew.

Your challenge here is to find some pain or problem for these businesses that your organization can solve for them - in addition to the reasons they feel like they have to join.

Yes, this is additional work and retaining this member will require a dedicated, year-long communication plan.  But, these members can become some of your biggest sales people, referring other members to the association.  Imagine someone who joined because they had to, but found so much benefit that they now want to renew each year - and told other businesses about their experience!


How do you know which type of member they might be?  Ask them!  And, track their responses in your association's database.

Find out exactly why they want to join your association and uncover their expectations.  Set up "Join Reason" codes in your membership management database to track why business join your association.  Take lots of notes!

If you don't have easy ways of recording this information in you membership management system, it will be difficult for you staff to share and use that information to deliver value to your members.  Having everyone in one system will make everyone's job easier as you work together.

And, create plans to communicate with each of these types of members in different ways to improve their chances of renewing and helping you attract more members.


How has your organization worked to convert "Ought Tos" and "Have Tos" into "Want Tos"?



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