Last year’s MemberWise Digital Excellence survey reported that the retention of members was one of the three most important priorities for professional membership organisations. Today, as these organisations work through the pandemic, we believe that member retention is firmly in the number one spot. It’s crucial to maintaining revenue and will be a critical factor in recovery.

We’ve complied a list of strategies to help professional membership organisations drive member retention.

1.Improve membership value: Survey your members on a regular basis to understand what they most value in your existing proposition and more broadly as a consumer. Look to develop new benefits that are relevant to your members’ current challenges. Online tools such as Learning, online qualifications, content publications and webinars are likely to be highly valued by members today.

2. Communicate your benefits: Ensure members are aware of the benefits that their subscription offers. Use your website and marketing to help members take advantage of all the benefits available by tailored messaging around the tangible outcomes of membership to the individual. For example, discuss the increased salary potential that comes from achieving your qualifications or the career development opportunities presented by networking at conferences and events.

3. Simplify your renewal process: Offering an auto-renewal option within your membership scheme will simplify the renewal process and increase the member retention percentage. Direct debit and recurring card payments place less effort on back office users and improve overall efficiencies across the organisation.

If this process is currently not viable, ensure you remind your members to renew in the month leading up to the expiry of their membership. This message can be shared through various channels such as email marketing, member portals, app notifications, letters or text messages. Reminding members of the help and support you are providing throughout this pandemic could make the difference between them deciding to renew or cancel.

4.Share personalised, targeted campaigns: Help each individual member to understand the value you provide by targeting campaigns to match their specific interests. Holding accurate member preference information within your CRM system is crucial in segmenting your data to achieve this. Campaigns need to be relevant, timely and focused around specific industry content, publications, webinars and other CPD opportunities that will improve that particular individuals engagement with your organisation.

5.Increase member engagement and networking: A member engagement strategy, implemented consistently across your organisation, is vital. Any kind of “one size fits all” approach simply won’t be effective with modern members who are used to receiving personalised recommendations from the likes of Amazon. Engagement levels are also improved by providing a great online experience that serves up relevant content, qualifications, webinars and other benefits.

It is important to remember that during this pandemic, many members have more time to engage with your organisation and are more likely to be looking for career development opportunities. Their appetite to engage with other like-minded members through networking channels is also likely to be higher right now.

6.If members are leaving, understand why: Understanding the reasons why members leave is vital to member retention. Currently, loss of income is likely to be a key reason to cancel their membership so consider a strategy that offers payment holidays or discounts for monthly installments. Help your members to afford your services.

Use more advanced metrics to understand retention trends. For example, when members purchase a subscription but do not go on to make any other purchases, measure this and understand whether there are synergies between this metric and the overall retention rate. If your current CRM can’t provide this type of invaluable insight, consider upgrading to a system that can.

7.Implement fully responsive channels: Member experience is vital to increasing your overall value proposition and optimising the perception of your organisation. Members should be able to access personalised website content and manage their online membership account however, whenever and wherever they choose.

Your website should also work seamlessly on PCs, Macs, tablets and mobiles to enable your members to engage on every platform. Performance testing is also vital, particularly stress testing to be sure that your website can cope with peaks in demand such as student registrations and renewals. If you don’t already provide members with an app to access their personalised area, you should consider it.

8.Retain loyal advocates: Almost every organisation has a select group of loyal members who are passionate about it. Building a long-term relationship with these members is vital in allowing them to act as advocates and improve the perception of your brand. These members need to be cherished and provided with all the information and tools they need to share your message through social media groups and forums.

9.Drive a retention culture throughout the business : All employees across your organisation need to be aware of the retention goals and of their role in achieving them. Inefficient internal processes that occupy staff with non-value-added work can detract them from serving members. Invest in a CRM system that integrates with your website to reduce these inefficiencies and drive business process automation.

This article is part of our 25 page free e-book, how professional membership organisations can drive member value through the pandemic and beyond.

Learn how to:

  • Adapt your value proposition to resonate with member needs
  • Practically enhance your member retention
  • Diversify your qualification approach to protect revenue
  • Minimise the impact of event cancellation
  • Ensure that your productivity levels remain high whilst working remotely

Download this free e-book now to discover actionable strategies and practical advice.

Download free e-book here