5 Ways To Grow & Retain Your Membership

As a Membership organisation, it is good business practice to have a plan in place to grow and retain your members. At C2 Software, we’ve worked with many such organisations over the years, some of whom have shared with us the smarter ways they’ve used their systems and data to assist in this process.

So here are our curated top five smart ways to grow and retain your membership:

1 Host Events

From monthly meets to annual national conferences, hosting an event will increase your engagement and provide added value to your members. Whilst the main return will be increased member retention, it will also raise awareness and help attract new members as well. The top tip from a Subscribe360 customer was to use the Subscribe360 Events feature, as it provides a portal and booking engine, integrates with your campaign automation solution for partially completed bookings, and gives you easy access to key stats for planning your next event.

2 Create a ‘Starter’ Membership

Sometimes members leave because they just can’t justify the monthly spend for the services provided, so why not create a new Starter level of membership within your existing structure?

This new level will cost significantly less than already charged and will give access to some of the services you provide, but not the important ones where there is value, such as member-only ticket events.

It is essential to do your research on this one and don’t make it too attractive, otherwise existing members may downgrade their current subscription level!

3 Implement a member self-service Portal

Your membership management software, or CRM system, will have a wealth of knowledge on each of your members that could be securely exposed for them to adjust or review as required. Typical use-cases for self-service include:

  • Changing contact details
  • Renewing or cancelling Payment Card details
  • Paying outstanding invoices
  • Adding/changing CPD details
  • Renewing membership
  • Raising queries

Once they're on the self-service portal, this would be an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and increase engagement. You could have a small advert to make them aware of future events with a discount voucher, an automated countdown for when their renewals are due, or perhaps another service that you offer.

4 Use Personas to drive sales

To maximise any selling opportunity, many organisations will develop customer personas. These are fictitious descriptions of your target customers and built as follows:

  • First, create the initial personas based on known attributes such as job roles, gender, age, seniority, location etc. Your existing database should provide you with this data and an easy way to segment it. You’ll most likely have multiple personas to reflect the diverse nature of your membership.
  • Next, you can then start to fill in a back-story, such as their daily issues, if they undertake regular training, or what their career goals are.
  • Finally, create a member journey for each of the personas from initial joining through renewals and career changes to retirement and cancelling their membership

Also, consider creating at least one negative persona to help identify those who will tie up people's time on fruitless activities – the ‘tyre kicker', if you will.

A top tip from existing Subscribe360 customers who have built persona-based sales solutions is to take advantage of the Advanced Find facility within Dynamics 365. Use it to build up Views of each persona character from the existing CRM data, track how that may change over time, and help adjust your fictitious personas on a regular basis.

Now you’ve got the personas defined, it should help you understand your membership drivers in real life. You can use this to shape your marketing campaigns and the membership experience for all, so no member need feel disenfranchised.

5 Use Marketing Automation Software

Most membership organisations keep in touch with their members using email but consider moving to a Marketing Automation platform instead. This will take away some of the repetitive tasks of sending out emails, but it will also allow you to create automated campaigns based on how the member reacts to the various touchpoints they have with you.

Examples include:

  • Automatically sending out a discount voucher to someone who hasn’t checked out their basket
  • Including reminders in any emails sent as they near renewal
  • New member welcome emails when they join
  • Drip feed campaigns for potential members to generate sales leads
  • Unsubscribe from newsletters but still receive important or transactional emails

Many existing Subscribe360 customers who start on simple emailing platforms such as MailChimp will often choose to move to fully integrated Marketing Automation platforms such as ClickDimensions or dotdigital to increase their efficiency.