The key to association membership growth is looking at the members you already have. This is for two reasons. The first: keeping them happy is the key to retention. It’s a lot easier to grow when your current memberships aren’t deflating. Second: by paying careful attention to your members, you can learn what they like and don’t like about your association. You can then adapt and market accordingly. Following are several ways you can increase membership by looking at your current members.
To prevent any membership declines, let’s first focus on keeping current members around.
Pay Special Attention to New Members
New members are the ones most at-risk of leaving, so pay close attention to them and communicate frequently; they’ll be more likely to stick around.
Communication is an extremely important aspect to remember. Members that you’re not engaging with are much more likely to leave. Also, you want them to see the value in your association, so encourage them to use your services.
Have an onboarding program in place during the first couple of weeks. This will help them learn the ropes and teach them to make the most out of their membership. Make sure to then touch base at 3 and 6 months. Finally, towards the end of their first year, remind them to renew frequently and early (read more on that on tip 5 here).
Always add a personal touch, too, by including their name in emails and on a new member kit. Having top-level executives of the association meeting with them is also a great touch. Read more on personalization in tip 4 here.
Finally, always ask for feedback. 9 months is a great point to ask for this. You can learn what you need to do to keep them around and how to improve retention for future members.
Ensure Current Members are Happy
Through feedback, determine why members like your business. Work to enhance that and regularly communicate those particular benefits. Also, work to improve common complaints. If it irritates your current members, it may lead to cancellation at some point; you wouldn’t want that.
There are plenty of ways to reach out to your members: email, direct mail, at events, social media, and more. You want to stay top-of-mind and continuously strengthen your relationship with them; they’ll be more likely to stay.
Use Member Insights to Attract New Customers
The best way to target new members is to understand your current ones.
Market Where Members Hang Out
What kind of association are you? Where do members of your industry typically hang out? Talk to your current members and find out where they discovered you. Use this information to take advantage of the best marketing channels. Did they find you at another event? Is your SEO good enough that they discovered you through Google? What search query? Did they find your discussion boards on LinkedIn?
Current members may even have ideas of new places you can attract members. If they hang out in this place and know that other similar individuals do as well, that may be a great place to target.
Analyze Your Engagement Data
Find a way to capture engagement data. How much do they volunteer? Attend events? Use their member benefits and services? Respond to email? These are all important points to keep at the forefront of your member engagement analysis. You’ll learn what they’re using the membership for and how involved they are with the company itself. From this data, you can adjust the association to fit their behavior.
Retention and Insights Increase Association Membership
Providing the highest value to your members should always be top priority. Provide them what they want. Add personal touches. Actively work to improve. Communicate frequently. These are ways to keep members. Selling what your members love, in places where potential members hang out, will help you bring in new members and keep your membership steadily rising. With the great competition among associations, they only way to survive is to keep growing.