Having a plan to boost member retention is one of the most cost effective ways to keep your association membership thriving. Data suggests that it costs 5 to 25 percent more to attract a new member than to keep an existing member, so any effort put into keeping your members is energy, time, and money well spent. In fact, if you are going to focus on one aspect of your membership, member retention is a great place to start.
As always, our goal is to break things down in easy-to-understand terms with actionable steps, so here are the top four simple tips to boost member retention. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these steps will give you a solid foundation to build upon.
1. Know why members are joining and why they are leaving.
Even if you don’t have a robust onboarding and offboarding process, implementing a quick and easy entry and exit survey to send to members can pay off big time. Even asking 3 or 5 questions allows you to collect valuable data about why members are joining or leaving. You can then use the data to troubleshoot issues or amp up the aspects of your membership that are most appealing to your members.
If you have the bandwidth for it, having a conversation with new and exiting members can offer even more information and provides the added bonus of creating connections with members. With an exit conversation, you may also be able to offer options to your members that would encourage them to stay. Keep reading to get some ideas about how to do that.
2. Offer flexibility.
When you understand your members’ reasons for leaving, you can provide options for them that may alleviate their concerns and allow them to continue with their membership. Consider ways to support members who may need a break or need different payment options. Depending on the nature of your association, you could offer a 1-month, 3-month or even a one year “sabbatical” for members in good standing. Sometimes life circumstances may warrant a break with an easy way to join back in without completely leaving the membership.
Adjustable payment options are another great way to provide flexibility to members. Breaking up annual membership fees into monthly or quarterly payments ease potential payment burden and open the door to members who may not be able to afford to join your association otherwise.
3. Make sure your membership is valuable.
In order to create loyalty among your membership, you have to create something valuable. It’s probably not surprising that loyal members will be more likely to stay. Again, asking your members what is valuable to them is one of the best ways to start, but once you have the information you need, make sure you follow up and implement the valuable features or benefits your audience is seeking. Our Affinity Programs are especially beneficial to your members because they are customized and relevant to your specific organization.
But we don’t stop there. At Core Affinity, we also know how important it is to identify what is working (or not working) in your membership, so we offer tools to make collecting and analyzing that information as easy as possible. With our Perks Marketplace, you can gain insight into which benefits your members use most, collect ratings and feedback, and learn how and when your benefits are utilized. Data such as unique clicks, benefit rating, and popularity will help you optimize your offerings.
4. Remind your members of the value.
This tip may seem like it isn’t necessary, but it is! Your members are bombarded with information and advertisements, and even though you are constantly hyper aware of your memberships and the value it provides, you members are likely not thinking about your membership at all hours of the day. So, you have to remind them of the value and you probably need to remind them more often than you think. Include value posts in your regular communication plan and remember that utilizing social media and email marketing is just as much to stay front of mind with existing members as it is for attracting new ones.
With everything on your to-do list, it may be tempting to let “boost member retention” fall to the bottom, but don’t let it. A few small strategic steps can have a huge impact on your organization and keeping members engaged and on board.