Why isn’t your membership growing?
You started some sort of club or association years ago and got a bunch of members right out of the gate. But ever since, new members have just been trickling in.
Don’t lose hope—you’re not alone! Over 1,000 new clubs and associations are started every year, and the vast majority run into this at some point.
Here are five surefire tips at your disposal to help you get started on your path to growth. Keep in mind that these tips are based on the assumption that you already offer a clear benefit that prospective members value.
1) Contact members many times and in many ways for renewals.
Ask yourself: who is likely not to renew? What is my outreach to them? Formulate a strict outreach plan to reach these people. No longer do you just give three renewal notices and that’s it: you should have a complete renewal system that includes e-mail, mail, phone, and any other types of channels you can think of. Ideally you should have at least ten renewal contacts in order to get those renewals. Offering incentives and discounts is another way to go about it—this is discussed briefly in a Membership Renewal Guide by Wild Apricot.
2) Use best practices for membership marketing.
What you shouldn’t do is create new membership marketing strategies—there are time-tested tactics that have been growing memberships for years. While your organization may have challenges specific to you, that doesn’t mean strategies that have stood the test of time won’t work for you—set aside a few minutes to understand them and use those best practices. Here are five important elements to building a membership recruitment strategy:
- Target Market: who you want to reach
- Membership Offer: what a member will receive
- Marketing Message: why a member should join
- Promotional Tactics: how a member will be reached
- Testing and Tracking: where to take future efforts
3) Track all of your membership marketing activities.
Even if you’re doing all the right things in terms of membership marketing, it will not make a difference if you don’t track it. Measuring results carefully allows the correct allocation of marketing funds as well as the best return for the money spent. There are many solutions, such as these, that help you track these marketing activities: marketing budget, resources, contacts, efficiency, and more. Using these tools will make tracking your marketing activities a breeze. There are also specific tactics such as setting up a landing page and using a dedicated phone number that can help you as well. Here are some more campaign management and marketing management solutions for you to check out.
4) Encourage a second interaction.
The more personal your follow-ups are with a new member, the more likely that member is to renew their membership. Encourage more interactions between new members and your association—getting any interaction from a new member, whether by phone, e-mail, completing a survey and the like, will increase the chances of renewal. There are great tips in the Membership Renewal Guide by Wild Apricot—it discusses how to manage membership renewal, and also showcases different tools and automated renewal processes that are useful, including the kinds of tools that their software (and most membership management software ) offers.
5) Use software to recruit members.
Even if you have a great retention program, members will still leave—it is crucial that your top priority be recruiting over retaining. The Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report shows that associations that prioritize acquisition over retention are more likely to grow their memberships.
You can use your membership management software to aid in recruitment. For example, you can integrate with social media, and public and private blogs can also help you to spread the word about your organization. Here are some more online community features that can improve your member recruitment and retention:
- Member Self-Service Website—having a dynamic and interactive website is important—keep it interesting, update information, and allow members to be involved—this will keep them interested, engaged, and talking about it to other people.
- Content Management System—it’s important to be posting great content and having an efficient way to handle it—keep your members excited and impressed with awesome posts, and inspire more good content—this can lead to more traffic and also more members.
- E-mail marketing—make sure that you send out e-mail blasts and keep in touch with your members via e-mail—this will help you to develop a more personal relationship with your members and give them the opportunity to respond to you directly.
- Public and Private Blogs—your members are going to have opinions about the industry, thought leaders, and more—so why not have a place for them to write about these things within your online member community so other members can easily access, read, and share them?
Know of any other best practices for growing membership? Add them in the comments below!
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