For many associations, it’s easy to get caught up in the marketing efforts associated with attracting new members. But as important as membership growth is, renewal is key. The membership renewal process requires a bit more effort though than just sending out emails. By following a few best practices, you can actually increase the likelihood that members will rejoin. Take a look:
Best practice #1: Begin your efforts early
According to Marketing General Incorporated’s (MGI) 2014 Membership Marketing Benchmark Report, associations that start their renewal efforts three or more months prior to expiration are significantly more likely to have an 80 percent or higher renewal rate. That alone is reason enough start your renewal efforts early.
But if you’re unsure about where to focus your efforts, consider this: According to MGI, email marketing, direct mail, and staff phone calls generate more membership renewals than any other marketing channels. So if you’re looking to boost your membership renewal rates (and who isn’t?), consider launching an email marketing campaign one to three months prior to membership expiration. You’re more likely to end up with higher renewal rates.
Best practice #2: Make it easy
The more complicated your renewal process, the less likely members are to complete it. If you’re using paper form renewals, provide members with a pre-addressed envelope to simplify the return process. However, if you’re looking for an even easier way to manage membership renewals, consider utilizing an association management system. An AMS will enable you to automatically send out reminder emails when members get close to expiration. Additionally, an association management system will pre-populate online renewal fields with information from the year before, making it easier for members to complete all of the forms they need.
Best practice #3: Take the pain out of payment
Members don’t pay dues for a variety of reasons, but sometimes it’s because they’re just plain busy. So before you deny them their member benefits altogether, consider offering a grace period of some sort. According to MGI’s Marketing Benchmark Report, the most common grace period for associations is two to three months. This time frame is a fairly good balance between trying to bring back lapsed members and ensuring paying members aren’t being short-changed.
For more helpful tips on member retention, download our free guide below!