As an association, you want to keep your members around for as long as you possibly can. A loyal member is the best kind of member to have.
But keeping your members on board can be a tough challenge to tackle.
So far, our Membership Monday series has taught you how to attract young professionals, effectively onboard new members, and create long-term engagement. So, I think it’s time we talk about member retention.
If you’re looking for ways to innovate your association and keep your member retention rates up, we’ve got you covered. In our fourth and final installment of Membership Monday, we’re giving tips to keep members on board. Keep reading to find out more!
1. Strategize your win-back method
If you want to win your members back for the long haul, you’ve got to have a plan. A strong and strategized retention method will keep your association on its toes.
A win-back campaign is pretty straightforward. The end goal is to attract those members that have lapsed or left the association using a variety of marketing tools. There are many ways your association can create a win-back campaign based on your member preferences. However, the main focus of a win-back campaign is to get your less engaged members back on track to renew in the long run.
So, how do you get started creating a win-back campaign of your own? Find communication methods that matter most to your members and create a retention plan around those methods.
For example, your association can create an email blast. Strategize an email campaign that works with your members to reel them back in. Then, create an email schedule to send out your emails at the right time for maximum email engagement.
You could also send out a survey asking members how you can get them back on board. Include questions asking members what they’d like to see more of from your association, and what they can do without.
2. Acknowledge important milestones
If there are two things nearly all people like, it’s accomplishing something and being acknowledged. That said, when your members reach a certain milestone - five years with your association, 10 years with your association, etc. - let that be known! Feature them in your organization’s newsletter. Recognize them at your next event. Reward them with a certificate, even. (A certificate of achievement on 10 years of membership.)
While it might seem like a small or silly gesture, we bet you just about everyone on the receiving end will appreciate it.
How does this help with membership retention, you ask? Well, once people feel like they’ve come so far, they’re reluctant to then give that up. If you treat it as an achievement, your members will view it as an achievement - and they’ll want to carry that out.
3. Encourage members to take on leadership positions
You already know engagement directly impacts membership retention. And one of the best ways to engage your members, particularly your long-standing members, is by encouraging them to take on leadership roles.
Now you may market your leadership roles fairly regularly, but do you have any special campaigns targeting your long-term members exclusively (those who’ve been members for 5+ years, for example)? If not, that’s a tactic we highly recommend. And don’t just limit those requests to email. Pick up the phone and call those members! Thank them for their long-term dedication to your association and explain to them how you’d love to help them develop professionally even more.
Once people take on a leadership role, they feel a certain commitment to people - and projects. And commitment fuels membership retention.
4. Offer discounts and special perks for long-time members
Who doesn’t love a good discount?! Or special perks?! We ALL do, so use that as an added benefit for your long-term members.
For example, for members who’ve been involved in your association for a certain period of time, offer them discounted event registration. Or access to a VIP lounge at your annual event. Or front-row seating during keynotes/educational sessions. Little perks like that lead to a better membership experience, and the better people’s experience, the more they’ll want to stick with it.
5. Pick up the phone more!
Sometimes, the best ideas are the simplest. And picking up the phone more can make a big impact on member retention.
Personal contact through phone calls helps your members experience genuine engagement as opposed to emails. While emailing remains important for opening up communication with members, as well as an invaluable resource for marketing, phone calls are less easily ignored and a faster source of this communication.
Phone calls are also a great way to enhance member engagement. Communicating with members over the phone can accomplish a lot as far as member satisfaction goes, and a satisfied member is an engaged member.
For every association - regardless of size or industry - retention is the key to growth and overall success. Want more tips for boosting membership retention at your association? Check out our free guide below!