Knowing how to effectively manage your membership renewal timing can be a bit of a game.
When do start talking renewal?
How often do you reach out?
How do you reach out? (As in, what communication channels.)
It’s a bit of trial and error. Effectiveness can even differ from member to member! But, according to Marketing General Incorporated’s 2018 Membership Marketing Benchmark Report, there are a few statistics that we think point to an approach to hone your renewal process in on:
1. “Associations with a renewal rate of less than 80% are significantly more likely to wait until the 3 month mark to begin [their renewal efforts] (50% vs. 36%).
2. “Associations with an 80% or higher renewal rate are significantly more likely to offer a grace period (88% vs. 79%)."
3. “Associations with 80% or higher renewal rates are significantly more likely to offer installment renewal payment plans (47% vs. 23%).”
So what does that all boil down to?
To me, it means your association will likely see higher renewal rates with a combination of these three things: Starting your renewal efforts sooner rather than later, being understanding by offering a grace period, and accommodating member finances with payment plans.
The report also included a list of the top marketing channels for renewals, and three stood out by a far margin: email marketing, direct mail, and staff phone calls. How can you use these channels to your advantage? Here are a few things to try in each channel:Renewal email tactics
- Attach a personalized report showing what benefits they used over the last year. You might also include what they didn’t, but could if they renew!
- Point links to testimonials, event photos, a list of members who you’ve helped earn industry certifications - anything that’ll showcase the value your long-time members have found in their membership.
- Embed a chart with dues payment plan options. (Consider saving this one for when you’re a little closer to their renewal date.)
- Send them some association-branded swag and a cute note. Make sure the swag is something fun and practical that they won’t immediately toss, like a calendar and a note that says “We’re here for you 365 days a year!”
- Does your association do any kind of mailed newsletter, magazine, or notice? Keep non-renewing members on your mailing list through (or even slightly beyond) your grace period. It’ll serve as a consistent reminder of what they’re missing!
- Ask your president, executive director, and other prominent staff members to reach out directly and chat about their membership. (Provide them with talking points and the member’s engagement report!)
- Reach out from a place of education and service: Ask them point blank what you can do to help and what benefits would make their membership more valuable. You may find that they have a need they didn’t know you could fulfill!
Really, your renewal efforts would benefit from some consistency and automation. We put together a Membership Retention Kit that’ll help you do just that, complete with tips, timelines, and templates! Download the free kit and see how you can use it to form a process that works for YOUR membership.