Just like a first-term congressman’s priority is to get re-elected, so should your organization prioritize its retention efforts for new members. Just because the membership dues have been collected, doesn’t mean it’s time to relax or take a vacation. Member retention efforts should begin immediately after the member pays their dues.
Shop your Organization
Have you ever tried to mystery shop your own organization? This is the perfect way to discover how easy it may or may not be to join or renew the membership from a consumer’s perspective. Doing so should provide the information that will help you manage your retention efforts.
Your association’s branding needs to be consistent across all of your marketing and membership materials. Brand recognition should be consistent and never confusing for the buyer. Companies like Apple lead the way in brand recognition. It is virtually impossible not to know when a product is an Apple product. Color schemes and graphics must be maintained from the business card to billboards. Never allow something to be “similar”.
If you haven’t already, stop right now and determine your market share in the class of business you market to. You cannot develop a realistic marketing plan without knowing where you are and where you intend to be. Surprisingly, many organizations haven’t a clue what their market share is and even the potential of the market they are engaged in. Without this data, goals are meaningless if they are based on potential. A revenue goal is unrealistic if your market cannot deliver it in the first place.
Keep it Simple
Have you ever tried to register for a program or website and found the instructions unclear or ambiguous? Today’s consumers are time and ease of use sensitive. If your registration process requires a lot of thought and data, chances are your prospective member is going to look for a competitor. Believe it or not, seconds can make a difference. Your website must cater to the prospect, not the other way around and remember; many prospects are using a smartphone not a laptop when they visit your website. If the site isn’t responsive to the device they are using, you lose. There are typically no second chances.
Since recent statistics indicate it is seven to nine times more expensive to get a new member than to retain one, it makes a lot of sense to make it as easy as possible to on board the new member and even easier to retain them.
There are many membership registration software platforms in the marketplace. Your platform selection will be crucial to your success with retention. Your needs can be met by a number of the major players, but your first stop should be Cogran Systems to evaluate their product offering and more importantly, their ability to customize a platform to meet the needs of your particular organization.