Getting members to renew is challenging every year—but this year in particular, associations need effective strategies for member retention. These articles have smart advice from association pros.
Membership renewal is a perennial topic in the association space, but recently the conversation has felt more urgent because of the pandemic.
This time last year, for example, some associations were considering waiving dues for new members. And while those short-term policies may have ended by now, the retention challenge always remains.
Fortunately, the association world includes a lot of smart membership strategists. Read on for a few highlights from the Associations Now and ASAE archives highlighting the latest knowledge in member renewals.
How to Craft Member Renewal Messaging Amid COVID-19 Crisis. Association consultants Scott Oser and David Patt, CAE, highlight the need for a strong value message during the pandemic. “You need to maintain people’s loyalty and their trust,” Patt says. “You don’t want people to say, ‘I really don’t need this.’ You have to come up with a way to make them still want you.”
Get More Renewals With a UX Mindset. User experience research in the Membership Renewal Guide produced by Marketing General Incorporated in 2019 includes recommendations for wording, payment options, and renewal cycles. “If you’re not already testing subject lines in renewal emails, start doing it now,” writes Associations Now former senior editor Tim Ebner.
First-Year Renewal Issues? Tweak Your Onboarding Strategy. A survey from GrowthZone included a disturbing stat: Just 11 percent of survey respondents reported an increase in first-year member renewals. “It’s extremely important that new members understand the value you bring to their lives,” says Amy Gitchell, senior marketing communications specialist at GrowthZone. “In the survey, associations whose members recognized their value proposition reported higher renewal rates overall.”
Three Ways to Boost Membership Renewal With Video. In a webinar earlier this year, Gather Voices CEO Michael Hoffman made the case for video as a tool for building engagement in a member community. “Engagement is about creating something new and letting members be the star of the show,” he says.
3 Questions to Ask Before Adopting Auto-Renewal. Auto-renewals are all the rage outside associations—your phone carrier and power company probably convinced you to sign onto one at some point. But for associations, the equation is more complicated, wrote Rita Santelli, MBA, then CEO of The Savvy Org. “Auto-renewal, just like any other feature of membership, must be member-focused to succeed,” she noted. “It requires understanding your members’ needs and providing ongoing staff support to meet or exceed those needs.”
Put Two-Year Renewals to Work for Your Members. Extending member renewals over a two-year period can save money for both members and associations, according to Patricia Qvern, operations manager at Quality Contact Solutions. “In my experience, after working with several associations that offer two-year membership as an option, typically, 10 percent to 30 percent of renewing members take advantage of the cost savings and convenience of a two-year membership,” she writes.
ERNIE SMITH - Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun.