New Membership Software For The New Year?

2016 membership management goals

 

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.

Are You Considering Adopting Membership Management Software in 2016?

membership management software

At time of writing 2016 is fast approaching, and no doubt your organisation’s thoughts are turning to what the New Year might bring. I’ll take a guess that improving membership management is high on your wish list, along with increasing numbers and improving engagement throughout the organisation.

Adopting membership management software is one way you can help meet all three of these goals, so it makes sense to put this at the top of your New Year To-Do list. However, convincing everyone it is a good move, might take some work.

How To Leverage Your Membership Database to Re-acquire Lapsed Members

membership database

It’s a natural part of member organisation management to see members coming and going, so you shouldn’t worry about this natural ebb and flow. But for a stable membership organisation it’s important to keep this “churn” as low as possible. So today we’re going to take a look at what you can do to re acquire some of those lapsed-members.

To begin with it’s worth remembering that as a lapsed-member it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to stop hearing from you. It’s ok for you to send targeted, relevant information and as it’s likely you still have their information (eg. contact details and activity profile) you’ll be able to write to them in a way that continues to be relevant. Of course it is worth pointing out that if they’ve specifically requested their information be deleted from your membership database or they simply don’t want to hear from you any longer, then you do need to honour their request.

But in general, a lapsed member is someone who has bought from you previously, so are potentially easier to re-acquire than a completely new member.

How To Increase New Member Engagement Through Better Membership Management

membership management

For many member organisations, renewal rates among their newest members are often the lowest across the entire member pool. Some stats indicate that renewals among this group are often 20% lower than those among longer-term members.

Improving retention rates is something we have discussed before, with the underlying message that retention rates are often linked to your members perception of the value of your organisation. Discounts and incentives all play a role in encouraging members to renew, but they only go so far. If you really want to improve your retention rates, then you need to improve member engagement – especially among your newest members.

In today’s post we will look at how better membership management can help increase engagement amongst new members and reduce the chance of them opting out after the 1st year.

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?

 

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.

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.

5 Membership Management New Year Resolutions You Need To Keep

membership management

New Year resolutions – not the first thing you would consider planning for your membership organisation. Usually we associate them with personal goals and targets for the coming year. But resolutions can be a great way to drive forward plans and goals for your organisation. Come January 1st you should be looking at how your membership management can be improved, how you can work more efficiently and how you can grow your organisation.

Here at PaySubsOnline.com we are already thinking about how we can improve our service to our members come the New Year. So we thought we would help you get started with 5 resolutions you need to keep in 2015. Let us know in the comments section below what your organisation’s resolutions will be.

Manage Your Membership – Don’t Give Up On Long Lost Members

manage your membership

For every membership organisation there will be members who come and go. Their reasons for leaving you can be wide ranging, just as their reasons for joining probably were. But while you may think it is more important to focus your efforts on attracting new members, there is an argument for trying to tempt back those who have come and gone.

A vital part of knowing how to manage your membership is knowing what motivates your members. In this post we will look at why you should try and get back long lost members, the reasons why they left and how to entice them back.

Why You Should Reach Out To Past Members

Imagine having a ready pool of potential members to tap into. Better still, a pool of people you know are interested in what you have to offer. This is what all those long lost members represent. Whether they were long time members or only joined for a few months, tempting them back can be far easier than you think – and doesn’t need resource heavy recruitment drives or special events.

Fact is, people may have left because of something you could easily have rectified for them. For many of us, it is far easier to simply cancel our membership than convey any concerns or difficulties which are impacting our enjoyment of the organisation. A simple email from you addressing the reason for leaving can be all it takes to entice them back.

The reasons why they left we will explore below, but part of managing your member information should involve asking why they are leaving. So make sure you set up your membership management software to ask why they are cancelling.

Exploring The Reasons Why They Left

In order to know what is required to entice a past member back, it is important to know why they left in the first place. Traditionally, this information could have been hard to collect, but with today’s online membership software, it is quite easy to discreetly ask why someone wants to leave.

So let’s have a look at some of the common reasons why members may choose to leave your organisation:

  1. Cost – membership fees can easily account for a large portion of disposable income so if circumstances change, they are often the first to go when tightening the purse strings.
  2. Perceived Value – if the reason for leaving is because they do not feel they are getting value for their membership fees, then you need to explore this further.
  3. Inactive Member – little point in paying for membership of an organisation they are not active with.
  4. No Longer Suits Their Needs – your organisation may have addressed a particular need when they joined. Over time this need has lessened and now they no longer get any value from being a member.
  5. Have Joined Another Organisation – it happens, sometimes another organisation is more attractive. If this is the reason then you should follow it up to find out what makes your competition a better prospect.
  6. Not Satisfied – there can be many reasons behind someone being dissatisfied with your organisation so it is important to follow this up with a phone call to discuss things.

I would also encourage adding in a ‘other’ choice as reasons for leaving can be very diverse and may not come under common reasons. I would also suggest including a box where they can leave more information, particularly if no.6 was their reason for leaving.

Bringing Them Back ‘Into The Fold’

Bringing past members back to your organisation can be as simple as sending an email, perhaps with a special offer, or as hard as making a phone call. The initial task for you is to sort past members according to their reasons for leaving. This is important because enticing them back cannot be done with a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Your next contact with them needs to specifically address their reasons for leaving and offer some kind of solution e.g. 6 months reduced membership because cost was their reason.

For some, an email may be all that is required, for others you will need to go the extra mile with a phone call and discussion about why they left – particularly for reasons 2 and 6 above. Above all you need to be seen to be treating each past member individually and show that you understand their reasons for leaving.

Your biggest question now is probably  – When should we begin contacting them? How long after they have left? Again you need to sort each person according to their reason for leaving. For those under reasons 2, 3, 4 or 6 above, then you should act on it as soon as possible. There is still a strong chance of reversing their decision to leave, so long as you can show you understand their reasons. This demonstrates a good level of customer service on your part, showing that you care about your members and that you take their satisfaction seriously.

It is a good idea to set-up a responder email to be sent as soon as someone cancels their membership. In it express your sadness at their decision to leave and ask if there is anything you could do to help them reconsider.

Just because a member leaves does not mean they cannot be encouraged to come back. By demonstrating an understanding of their reasons for leaving and offering solutions where possible you can help increase, and maintain your membership pool.

To get a clearer understanding of how PaySubsOnline.com can help you win back long lost members why not take a free trial or online demo?

 

Membership Management – Still Doing It Manually? Why It’s Time To Stop

membership management

The way in which you store and access your members information is one of the most crucial aspects of effective membership management. Whether you’re a club or another type of member organisation, the systems and processes you have in place for storing data, handling payments and managing communications are vital to the smooth running of your administration.

Computers and desktop software helped revolutionise the way we handle member information, and helped to organise the way processes are handled. But even this has it’s limitations. Today however, cloud technology has taken this to a new level, with integrated software, payment gateways and automation on many key administrative tasks.

So why are you still managing your members manually?