The one question membership-based organizations are concerned with is “How do we retain our members?” This question is crucial as retaining the members is essential for the survival of the organization.
Many might envy successful membership programs but a lot goes into acquiring and retaining members.
The best solution to attract new members is to retain the existing members. But how?
To answer the question best, it is important to understand why a member would exit or refuse to retain. Improving the program’s drawbacks can be the first step toward achievement.
Before discussing the member retention strategies, let’s find out why retaining is better than acquiring new ones.
Retained members drive repeat sales. Repeat customers are the backbone of a business. If an organization has to invest all its efforts in acquiring new customers 24*7, the business operation needs refinement.
Retaining clients is cheaper than acquiring new members.
An effective membership retention program can increase sales by up to 65%
Existing customers take more interest in a new launch by an organization over first-time buyers. The retained clients are also likely to invest in products more (nearly 30%)
Lifetime customer value is a critical component of business success. A high retention rate offers more business value and profit.
Long-term customers have familiarity with a service/product that can deliver unique insights for further progress.
As you’re now aware of why membership retention programs are critical for business growth, it’s time to find out why the customer retention rate is low:
There could be numerous reasons why a customer would not want to renew their membership, the following ones are the most common:
One of the most noticeable signs a member could show is inactivity or no progress during the term of their membership
Increase in the number of complaints raised by the members, on the contrary members refuse to provide any insight for the benefit of the organization
A higher membership fee may contribute to many valuable members exiting the organization
Not getting recognized or rewarded for their contribution may be another noteworthy reason for the non-renewal of membership
All these reasons can encourage valuable and existing members to not renew their membership further affecting brand recognition. Investing in quality strategies can improve member retention rates.
Here are some as follows:
‘Content is key’ – this is the ultimate truth of the modern, digital world.
No matter how small or large a membership program is, audio, video, and text-based content can influence sustainable growth.
Based on the membership cycle/program, personalized content can do wonders.
Captivating content piques interest and offers insights to customers and organizations alike.
The engagement of your members indicates how they feel and think about the organization’s culture and work.
Track the activities and progress of your members by categorizing their engagement levels as high, average, and low. Monitor what type of content drives the best value for your business. Invest time, energy, and money into the most favored mode of content engagement.
Relevancy is a crucial component of content-based promotion/retention programs. Talk about easy-to-digest, valuable industry-related topics to retain and attract members.
2. Socially Shareable Digital Credentials
Members love to get recognized and to do so, issue rewards and digital credentials to the members for the accomplishment of a task or acknowledging progress and value the member’s loyalty. Engagement could be tracked through integrated analytical tools that offer valuable insights such as who has clicked the credential, who has opened the mail containing the credential, and who have shared it among social networks.
The concept of safe, interoperable, portable, and socially shareable virtual certificates & open badges is new. But it didn’t take long for the idea to spread and prevail. Collaborate with a credentialing platform to award certificates to members and optimize the credentials using your program logo and name.
3. Membership Challenges
If you are seeking ideas to retain members then why challenge them? It might be your first thought but fun, interesting challenges keep members engaged and enthusiastic about a program.
Don’t go overboard with challenges. Arrange monthly competitions that are relevant to the program you are offering.
If you run a beauty & fashion membership program, set up challenges such as affordable makeup products, prom makeup challenges, nighttime skincare challenges, or something similar.
Stick to your domain when it’s time to challenge your members. And also don’t forget to recognize the efforts of members. Announce a prize. It motivates members to engage with your program and win the challenge.
4. Easy Onboarding
A complex signing-up process can immediately shut off a client. So following a simple onboarding process or a bit of hand-holding or availability of customer support whenever necessary can go a long way.
Maximize the fruits of the retention strategy by offering a personalized approach after induction.
‘One size fits all’ might not be the ideal outlook when it comes to membership retention.
A nonprofit with 20+ participants might seek a credentialing tool that is no match for the ideal solution an institute with 10000+ students needs. It’s best to refrain from a blanket approach and go for an individualized program.
5. Member Engagement
The best way for membership retention is to focus on member engagement. Simply onboarding participants and forgetting them or not investing in any plan to keep them engaged will fail the sign-on. Eventually, you will notice a high number of unsubscribes or nonrenewal of memberships.
No membership program is initiated just to let it fail. But most membership programs fail. Why? Lack of membership retention is one of the key reasons behind this.
Protect your program from this loophole and add value to your members by offering them tips, solutions, ideas, discounts, games, challenges, and visually stimulating content – in simplest terms, do everything in your power for customer engagement.
Track the engagement graph and extract insights that might help you drive more customer engagement.
The best way to do this is to solve customer pain points through the engagement program.
6. Excellent Customer Support
Your customer service team can make all the difference in a membership program.
Members can face difficulties while navigating through a program. When such a situation appears, accessibility of quick support is critical for membership retention.
A pleasant attitude, facilitating help, and solving problems can positively influence a program’s popularity.
On-time customer service improves word-of-mouth referrals, enhances business value, and establishes a strong reputation in the market.
Although it’s a no-brainer that good customer service is essential for fuss-free business operations, being consistent with your service efforts can set you apart from the competition.
7. Incentivize the Program
But in the long term.
Most programs make the mistake of offering onboarding programs at discounted rates. It might drive a long member list in the short term but won’t provide sustainable results.
Members who join a membership program during a discount session are less likely to renew the program by paying full price. It eventually increases churn rates and leads to members unsubscribing.
The best way to address the situation is to reward the loyal, long-term members. It not only retains members but also attracts new clients. Add value to the program to engage members and drive organic customer growth.
8. Let New Members Explore the Program by themselves
A common practice in the membership domain is casting the full attention of program organizers on the new members. It does more harm than good.
Constantly updating new participants through emails, pop-ups, and sms might seem an effective promotional technique but it suffocates the members and kills their enthusiasm.
A foolproof way to update members about a service/product is deliberately doing it. Don’t send everything in one go.
Take time. Let them grasp whatever is available to them for a week or two and then dispatch the next batch of newsletters, sms, or notifications.
9. Establish A Community
Humans thrive in a group.
Classifying the members as individuals can impact the membership retention program. Categorize them as a team, as a community. This is the best way to foster a strong bond among members. Members remain retained as long as the program gives off an association-like vibe.
How to do it?
Encourage members to connect over social media channels, arrange events to let them interact, offer volunteering opportunities, or create forums.
Just connecting via the membership program may not be enough to foster a cordial connection among members. Engage them in a group to bring the best value to your program.
10. Take Member Feedback Seriously
Your members are the value-driving component of your program. So pay attention to their reviews/feedback.
Working on members’ suggestions can establish a long-term trustworthy relationship.
Working on feedback demonstrates how much you value the members and you listen to them. It makes them appreciate your efforts and stick to the program longer.
By organizing surveys, offering feedback forms, or arranging one-to-one sessions, you can identify the areas you need improvement and what they love about the program/service/product.
As you bring positive changes to your program/service/product, it improves the quality. Better the quality, the longer the member list.
11. Being okay with exit rate
Even with all the efforts the organization might fail to motivate some members to renew their membership. This could happen because the member may not feel the need to continue, the membership fee is not affordable, or simply because the member may lose interest in the program. There are ways to still convince a member who is planning to exit:
- Track any inactivity of the member and interact with them by providing a set of questions that would answer their inactivity
- When a person exits the membership, mail the member for their feedback and reasons for doing so. This would help improve the membership program
- Offer the members with exciting plans and perks for the program renewal to encourage them to stay
It is also important to not lose focus and be disheartened by the increasing exit rate and instead focus on improving the membership platform by surveying the existing members and valuing them through recognition and rewards.
12. Pricing Structure
One of the major reasons why some of the members might fail to renew their membership is the cost. It is recommended to survey existing membership costs and set the price accordingly. Offer discount coupons to long-term members. It enables you to retain them for longer.
Another reason for the exit of members regarding the price could be the benefits are not enough to excite them to enroll. Price the membership based on the benefits that come along with it. This could also be done by categorizing them into Silver, Gold, and Platinum, each having its own set of benefits.
An Effective Credentialing Platform for Membership Retention
It is equally important for the organization to focus on existing members and attract more. The strategies are perfect to retain customers and spread an air of trust and loyalty. Don’t focus on a certain group. A diverse group of members is the best to onboard diverse ideas and concepts that benefit everyone.
The membership retention strategies are equally effective in the credentialing domain. CertifyMe is a certification tool that has embraced the strategies in its program and also assists service/product providers to retain clients. Wondering how? By partnering with them and offering verifiable credentials that last a lifetime.
When stability and growth is concerned, organizations/institutions depend on CertifyMe. Be a part of a certification program and add value to members. Check a demo to find out how we do it!
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