Ever thought about what time of year would be most profitable to recruit new members? Have you always held membership drives at the same time each year, with disappointing results? They saying ‘timing is everything’ and it could apply to your club too.
Increasing your member numbers is an important part of your club duties. The aim of this post therefore is to demonstrate how your subscription management can be more effective with a little seasonal planning.
Why You Should Consider Seasonal Variations
Imagine for a moment your club is a business, selling a service to the public. You know your target market but do you know the best time to pitch to them? Market research would suggest targeting customers at certain times of the year – think about all those seasonal campaigns retailers embark on. At the time of writing, Christmas advertising campaigns are beginning to appear and it won’t be long before the general public turn their attention to gifts and consumables for the festive period.
A Christmas promotion at Easter would not be appropriate, or even profitable, but late-Autumn is the perfect time to capture potential customers attention. Clubs, like businesses will have certain times of the year when a campaign to raise membership numbers would be appropriate, and successful. For sports clubs this time could be the start of their season e.g. football clubs; or the time of year when the weather allows for regular outdoor activities to take place e.g. golf clubs in summer.
Trying to recruit members halfway through the season or in the depths of winter when weather conditions make using the club facilities difficult, is likely to result in low take-up, if any at all. Recruit members at a time when they are ready (and able) to fully participate in club activities, and the numbers will be higher.
It’s all in the timing.
Choosing The Best Time of Year to Recruit New Members
So when should you embark on a new member drive and how do you arrive at that decision? As touched on earlier it might be obvious, now you think about it. Recruit when they can come and enjoy what you have to offer. For example, when would be a great time of year to prospect new members for a golf club? At the start of the calendar year when it’s freezing cold and the course is waterlogged or in late spring when the sun is shining and the course is looking beautiful. You’ll be surprised how many clubs choose the former. And of course, this has an impact on your retention numbers too.
But what if your club activities are not driven by weather conditions or season start dates?
Then you will need to look a little deeper at your club and research the behaviours of your current members. Look at when your members joined and analyse which times of year saw the highest number of new members arrive. Remove those where an event or member recruitment drive was in operation – you only want figures which relate to new members joining without club influence.
Analyse this data further to determine what factors were present at the time – seasons, weather, pricing, even major sporting events. Many sports clubs report a rise in numbers after major sporting tournaments, like the The Olympics or Commonwealth Games. If such events are coming up in your local area or even nationally/internationally then use them to your advantage and get promoting.
How Membership Database Software Can Help
Drilling down into your membership figures can be difficult if your systems are managed manually through spreadsheets and desktop databases. If you use a subscription management system, such as PaySubsOnline.com, you can analyse this data easily. The software will not only show you the most lucrative times for recruiting new members based on when your existing members joined, but will also let you analyse sub sections of your membership, for example, by age group, gender or any other form of data you have for them.
Features such as group email will help you reach out to your current members and other potential prospects on your contact lists to tell them of member incentives and events you may be running. If your timing is right, then these people and those within your members networks, are likely to be more engaged to the idea of joining as they will be able to appreciate the benefits of your club at that time.
Don’t forget to target those members past – the one’s who never renewed or cancelled before they were ever really able to appreciate what you offer. Just because they cancelled, it does not mean they will not consider rejoining. Again, it may be they originally took out membership at a time when they couldn’t fully enjoy club activities/facilities.
Subscription management is more than just looking after your current members and occasionally putting out notices in the hope of enticing some new people to join. Do your research and discover the best time to pitch new prospects.
We would love to hear when your club engages in membership recruitment and the reason why you choose that particular time(s) of the year.
If you would like to discover which membership admin tasks, like processing new registrations, can be done quicker an easier online, download our free resource below.