For many associations, now is the time when it can become more important than ever to ramp up membership renewal marketing. For those that renew memberships annually, the end of the year can be one final push to ensure that you are retaining your members and still getting your message across about the benefits and services they can receive by joining your organization for another year. There is a lot to consider when it comes to the renewal process, and even more to consider by looking beyond just this final push. Read below for five things to know and do to maintain success in your membership renewal process.
1) Renewal Marketing is a 365 Day Job
Retaining members requires creating a meaningful connection throughout the year. Schedule regular reminders of available benefits. Review your roster and see who is engaging in your emails and events, and follow-up with personal invitations to those you have not seen in a while (or ever). Do not wait until you are about to send an invoice to tell members the value of their membership. Even for those with annual renewals, make sure you spend time throughout the year so your members recognize the value and services your association provides.
2) Remove Barriers in the Process
Complete an extensive audit of your annual renewal process and communications from a member’s perspective (enlisting members to help is great). Who is paying for the membership (individuals or company)? If individuals are being reimbursed, what do they need to submit to their company? How do members prefer to be invoiced and to pay? Is your renewal process easy to find and navigate? Are there unnecessary barriers to quickly renewing their membership? These are just some of the questions you need to answer before you get going.
3) Communicate the Renewal Deadline Across Multiple Channels
Many organizations have shifted to email-only for renewal invoices. Track the open rates and renewals from these emails and assess if other communication tools can be implemented to ensure all members get your message. Try a renewal reminder postcard. Put a reminder on the members’ only section of the website. Use your regular member emails and social media as well. Make use of every platform that you can to successfully get your message across to members.
4) Track, Look for Patterns and Adjust
A weekly renewal report allows you to track your typical renewal pattern year-over-year. By reporting your renewals by week, you can see if you are on track to meet your overall goals. If you are falling behind, look for patterns such as a particular member type that isn’t performing well and review your process and communications to see if adjustments need to be made.
5) Strategic Peer-to-Peer Follow-up
Once your membership renewal deadline arrives, you will likely still have a long list of non-renewed members. This is a great time to use volunteers to reach out via phone and/or email. Give your volunteers talking points, a voicemail script and an email message to make it easy and consistent. Be sure to get buy-in on the number of members volunteers are able to reach out to. If you have more non-renewed members than volunteers to call them, get strategic about your list and identify who is most likely to renew with additional follow-up.