Membership Management – Top 10 Retention Tactics

membership management

We’ve talked in a previous article about the issue of acquisition Vs. retention and your need to decide which area to focus on based on what stage your organisation is at. So today we’re going to take a look at what to do when your focus is on retaining members.

We’ve already established that retention is almost always more cost effective and requires less effort than acquisition. And just as importantly retention is also key to the consistency and stability of your membership management. That being the case, let’s take a look at 10 things you can do to keep your retention rate high.

10 Ways to Keep Your Retention Rate High

1. Meet or exceed expectations

The number one factor in whether a member will renew their membership is whether they feel you’ve met their expectations. ie. have you provided them with the service they were expecting? Sometimes you may even exceed their expectations and often the ensuing delight leads not only to retaining that member but to new members coming from enthusiastic referrals.

2. Be honest in your marketing

This again speaks to meeting your members expectations. There is very little in life that’s more disappointing than feeling you’ve been duped or misled. And a disappointed member will not stay a member for long. When you present your marketing messages it’s normal to present yourself in the best light possible but make sure you provide what you promise and aren’t just misleading people.

3. Ongoing communication throughout the year

Repeated, regular communication is absolutely essential. Your members will need ongoing support and advice of various kinds. Email is a great format to do this. It can be automated and scheduled, sent to many people, tracked and most importantly it is a direct line of communication between you and your members.

4. Communicate through preferred channels

Almost everyone uses email and this will likely be your main communication tool. However, sometimes communication through other channels will be necessary. Depending on your membership demographic there may be a majority for one thing or another and in this modern age, social media has certainly become a major player. But do be sure to assess your membership demographic and decide what are the most relevant channels to your members.

5. Add value through additional services & events

Adding value is a great way to exceed the expectations of your members. For instance you might create regular competitions, events or celebrations that add to the community feel. Throughout the year you should listen to feedback and see if there is a consensus on what your members would really like.

6. Build community

Get your members talking to one another and helping each other. This might be via your own forum at your website or via a private Facebook group. Very few members will be inclined to a leave a community that they feel a valuable part of and that is genuinely supporting them.

7. Send multiple reminders in lead up to renewal

When it comes to the practicality of renewal time, make sure you have a renewal cycle that begins well in advance. Typically this cycle should be triggered by a date and take them through a journey of reminding them what benefits they get from being a member and what they can look forward to if they continue. PaySubsOnline’s membership management software makes renewal cycles easy and all communications can be automated to go out on set dates.

8. Make renewal automatic

One certain way to help boost retention rates is to make renewals automatic, requiring a positive ‘opt-out’ from members if they want to finish their membership. PaySubsOnline.com helps facilitate this by giving your organisation the ability to require members to pre-authorise future payments so each time payment is due, the system will collect it automatically.  If you choose this approach it is essential to make sure you are clear that this is how your membership is set up and you will still need to put them in an renewal cycle to be sure they are aware of what’s happening.

9. Additional offers

You may be able to offer additional services to encourage members to continue. Often this is a better approach than offering a discount to members who are ‘sitting on the fence’. Wherever possible see if you can add value to your service rather than discounting the cost, but do bear in mind that at times a discount may be just what’s needed.

10. Personalise

Talk to your members as individuals. Even with mass mailing via email you can still be sure their name is used automatically. If you’re using membership software to manage and collect relevant information on your members, you’ll be able to segment them into smaller, more specialised categories and talk with more relevance to them.

Ultimately, meeting or exceeding the expectations of your members will be the most effective way you have of retaining your members. Be sure you know what they are expecting by asking questions throughout the year and make sure you provide what you say you’ll provide.

And for those members who decide to leave, do continue to communicate with them, often ongoing communications about your organisation are still of relevance and interest. You may be able to find out their reasons for leaving and woo them back.

To understand more about PaySubsOnline.com’s software can help with retention rates, and to discover more useful membership management features, why not take a free trial and see it in action?

 

Generating and Nurturing Leads With Membership Software

membership software

In this modern age almost every organisation has a website to show what they do. It’s become a ‘must-have’ resource where interested people can delve deeper into understanding your organisation; from services and costs, to ethos and new events. Even if a potential lead has found out about you through offline means and word of mouth, they’re highly likely to take time getting to know you via your website.

Lead Magnets

Amongst all the great information you present about your organisation you’ll need to offer what we call ‘Lead Magnets’. If you’re not familiar with this term, in essence it is something of value to potential leads/website visitors which you offer in return for their contact information (typically an email address). There are various types of lead magnets, here are a few to get your ideas flowing:

  • An e-book.
  • A downloadable “kit”.
  • A video mini-series.
  • A free consultation.
  • An education email series.
  • A free trial.
  • A free invite to a live webinar

You’ll need to choose 1-3 lead magnets that best compliment your services and ones that you are able to create to a good standard. For instance, writing an email series may be much easier for you than producing a video series (or visa versa). Always take into account your monetary and human resources along with the time frames you’ve set for your goals, when choosing which lead magnet to create.

The good thing about this approach is that it is very easy to set up a lead capture form on your web page. So once your lead magnet is ready, get the signup form on your website and start collecting emails!

Generating Leads – A Quick Guide

Obviously the key element of this approach is driving as much relevant ‘traffic’ to your website as possible. Here’s a brief outline of the main channels you might use to bring leads to your website.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

In the good old days of web search, your website would be pretty much ranked highest if you had the highest number of links from other websites to your website for your particular search term. This was how Google decided whether your website was relevant to the searcher or not. Although this still plays a key part, these days Google define your website’s relevance by taking into account many more parameters. As part of this you’ll need to consider onsite and offsite optimisation and you’ll need to have a clear plan for generating genuinely useful content. It’s definitely worth talking to an expert on this topic to be sure you’re on the right track.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Google advertising

PPC can be a great way of targeting your audience if your current organic search ranking isn’t particularly high. You’ll be able to target geographically and for key search terms and of course you’ll only pay for actual clicks that have been made!

Facebook advertising

This is a very similar approach to PPC but due to the huge amount of information Facebook collects on its members you’ll be able to target your advertising even more precisely, including gender, age range, interests and other key parameters.

Social Media

More recently social media plays a strong role in creating your online presence. You’ll be able to engage with potential leads via your own social channels and very often can offer your lead magnet from forms or links directly within your social pages or interactions.

Of course, all of this is always in conjunction with your offline promotional activities too. Whether that’s free events in the local community or leafleting and advertising in local publications. Always be telling others about what you do and wherever the opportunity arises, make sure you ask for their email address and give them your web address.

How to Nurture Your Leads

Once you’ve had someone sign up for your ‘lead magnet’ it’s safe to call them a warm lead and if you’ve automated your system they’ll immediately receive the free item you’ve offered them.  But don’t stop there, this is only the beginning of your relationship with them. You’ve now got permission to talk directly to them about your organisation and how you can make their life better! You’ll want to take steps to nurture these warm leads with the end goal of getting them signed up as members. Here are some ways that might make this easier for you:

Ask questions

Find out more about them by sending them a short survey, or simply send them an email asking more about their interests.

Segment your leads

Use the uniformation you have about your leads to segment them into different categories. For instance, gender, age, interests? The answers to your survey and segmentation will help you to communicate with them more appropriately.

Create relevance

If they’ve given you permission to talk to them via email be sure you continue to do so in a way that clearly represents what you do and the benefits of being a member. You can also discuss topics and send advice that may be supplementary to your organisation’s area of expertise.

Provide ongoing value

You’ve already sent a valuable lead magnet that your lead will be benefiting from. What could you do to provide ongoing value? Perhaps you could follow up with an additional series of emails that are supplementary to your initial offering.

Personalise messages

Make sure you speak directly to your leads. Use their name and use the information you have about them to talk directly to their interests.

Key Factors to Your Success

Finally, keep reminding your leads of your value and communicate and engage with them constantly, so that you remain on their mind. Make sure you reiterate the positive aspects and benefits of being a member and at times remind them of what they’re missing out on! Make sure you have a system in place that uses as much automation as possible, it may take a little while to set up but once the system is in place you’ll reap the benefits. And finally, be absolutely sure that at key points in your communication you make your offer and make it easy for your lead to buy!

How PaySubsOnline.com Can Help

PaySubsOnline.com’s membership software allows you to build online forms that you can link to your ‘Lead magnet’ content. So as they click to download the content, the user is prompted to complete the form where you can capture specific interests (useful for providing relevant follow-up content).  After submission the system will automatically send the requested content by email and add the lead  to your online membership database where their interests are segmented based on the answers they gave on the registration form.

With the segmented prospect lists, you can nurture those leads by sending laser guided follow up emails using the group email tool.

If you would like to see an online demo of how PaySubsOnline.com can help you manage leads and members, click here to book your free consultation.

 

Monitoring Member Satisfaction with Club Software

club software

In a previous post we discussed the importance of understanding member acquisition and retention. Some of that discussion revolved around the idea that it’s easier (and potentially less costly) to retain a satisfied member than it is to retain a dis-satisfied member. That being understood, we’re sure you’ll also see why it’s vital to satisfy a member over the entire course of their membership and not just make an attempt at satisfying them at the point of renewal (which can often appear as a cynical attempt to continue taking their money rather than to provide them with the service they’re looking for).

Managing Membership Applications and Renewals with Club Software

Club Software

It goes without say that running your club efficiently and effectively will save you both time and money. But to do so you’ll need to consider ditching your old club software and instead adopting an integrated/end-to-end subscription management system. Because to effectively manage your membership you’ll need something that takes a new lead from initial interest through to signing up, payment, service provision and, when the time comes, renewal.

Exploring the Subscription Management Conundrum: Member Retention or Member Acquisition?

Subscription Management

If you’re running a membership based organisation we’re certain that at some point you’ll be asking the important question of where to focus your time and resources when it comes to member acquisition and retention. Your focus will be different at different stages in your development but in a nutshell, for ongoing growth, you’ll almost always need the number of members who leave your organisation to be less than the number of new arrivals.

In the beginning stages of growth (starting from zero) you’ll need to focus almost entirely on acquisition and getting new members signed up, which can be costly and time consuming, but for obvious reasons is essential. However, as you start to get people through your door there will come a point where you can shift your focus to retaining the members you’ve acquired. In this post we will have a brief look at subscription management for both acquisition and retention, and how to decide which is more important for your given circumstances.

In essence making the decision of which to focus on will require you to have some clear answers to certain questions. Let’s cover the key questions now.

Avoid Member Record Errors With Online Club Management Software

Club management

Do you find keeping your membership records up-to date a challenge? Traditional club management software, such as spreadsheets and desktop databases, can provide way too much scope for errors and mis-entries. Missing info, spelling mistakes and outdated records are just some of the frustrations faced from trying to manage member information manually.

In this post we will explore how moving to an all-round online system to manage your membership records can help improve not only member records, but communications and club finances as well.

Membership Management – The Importance of Creating Content

Membership Management

When it comes to creating a presence online, content is king. While you can have a flashy website, fully branded with your logo and colours, it is the content you publish there that will drive people to visit your website and engage with you further.

Creating interesting, insightful, funny and informative content will help foster loyalty from your existing members and help nurture future prospects into exploring your offerings further. In this post we will look at why you need content, the types of content you should adopt and how to leverage it to help meet your membership management objectives.

Club Management – How To Manage Price Increases

club management

Price increases, sadly, are an inevitable part of running a club. Inflation, running costs, low member numbers, large or unexpected outlays, are all factors when it comes setting club fees, and will continue to impact the figure set.

It goes without saying that the fees you charge need to cover your club outgoings and expenses, all of which can rise without warning at any time. And an important part of your club management is the ability to cope with price hikes.

The aim of this post is to help you manage price increases and how to communicate an increase to your members.

New Membership Software For The New Year?

Membership Software

Hopefully by now your festive hangovers have cleared and you are ready to implement all those new year resolutions you made. The start of a new year is often a good time to reflect on where things can be improved. Not just personally, but professionally as well. The same is true of your club or member organisation.

For many organisations, the new year begins with a raft of resolutions such as increasing member numbers, retaining existing ones and raising funds. Two key areas most will want to improve are administration and payment collections. Both of which can often be achieved through the adoption of membership software.

In this post we will look at why implementing such software should be top of your list and how it can help you better manage your membership.

Membership Management Tips: Attracting Younger Members

membership management

How much focus are you giving to younger members? Has your organisation included recruiting and engaging with younger people in their membership management plans? While it is easy to say ‘but we are open to all’, when it comes to recruiting new members and engaging existing ones, there is definitely not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Especially when it comes to those younger than 30.

In this post we will explore the reasons why you need to adopt a different approach when it comes to marketing to younger members. And why Generation Y are integral to the future success of your organisation.