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.
What is engagement? In essence: engagement can be defined as investing time or money in exchange for ‘value’. This could be communicating with you, making a purchase (aside from membership fees) or coming to an event. This is an investment on their part and one which you need to reciprocate.
It’s not just about responding to communications, but giving them more ways to engage with you.
Developing an Engagement Plan
You’ll need a plan. Engagement is an important part of managing your membership as these are activities that need to be monitored. Many membership organisations fail to develop an effective engagement plan, perhaps because of lack of time, perhaps because they lack the resources needed to create effective communications, perhaps because they don’t have a clear enough view of their members; perhaps all three.
With membership software like PaySubsOnline you can hit all three of these stumbling blocks head on. With our software you can gain insight into your members – new and long-term, setup targeted communications and measure their effectiveness. And whilst our software can’t make your day longer – it can save you time and effort on an area of membership management that would be nothing short of laborious with manual software systems.
So where should your engagement plan begin? Ideally an automated email series from the moment a new member signs up. Begin with a number of on-boarding/orientation messages e.g. welcome to the organisation, let them know of the benefits, ask them if they have any questions.
Then encourage these members to:
- Follow/like your social media channels.
- Visit your website regularly.
- Share your content and news, especially via their social media channels.
- Purchase additional products and services.
- Register and attend organisation events.
- Contribute content for the website
- Become a speaker at events.
- Volunteer to help with events and other organisation activities.
- Become a mentor.
- Continue with their professional development through training courses and exams.
The key to any engagement plan is to provide your members with a choice of ways to engage with you. Some may prefer to simply engage with you on social media, visit the website regularly and come to events. Others may like to engage more deeply by registering to speak at events, volunteer to help or become a mentor. The point is, no two members will be the same and each will perceive value differently. load testing a website . Maximise their opportunities to engage by giving them plenty of ways to do so.
Monitor Engagement Activity
The effectiveness of your engagement plan needs to be measured otherwise how will you know where you are succeeding and failing? You can use your membership management software to see certain types of member engagement such as:
- Email responses.
- Additional purchases.
- Event attendance.
By using your software to monitor these things, you will have a far clearer view of each members level of engagement. With your newest members you will be able to adjust your offerings to their needs and wants, and increase your chances of them renewing when the time comes.
Improving retention rates across your entire membership is reliant on many factors. Engagement is one you shouldn’t overlook. Develop a sound and actionable plan with a variety of options for engagement, making sure you sssess your members activity and adjust your plan accordingly. And our final tip? Learn how to communicate more effectively.
To find out more about how PaySubsOnline.com can help your organistation improve engagement, and administration, click here to take a free trial.