A proactive member retention strategy aims to influence members ahead of their renewal date and increase the likelihood of them resubscribing.
Not every membership organisation has this type of strategy in place and as usual, forward planning is often the key to success. At its most basic level, this type of proactive member retention strategy addresses the touchpoints where the organisation and its members meet. In this regard it sounds similar to an engagement strategy but there is an important distinction. Here, we are attempting to understand what our members feel about the value they derive and to actively solicit feedback to steer improvements.
Reaching members to ask these questions is best undertaken by combining technology with communication networks such as special interest groups or forums. The outbound messaging to invite feedback should be approached as a dedicated plan that unites the organisation’s marketing and membership functions. Too often their work exists in silos, addressing only engagement or retention respectively. Proactive retention strategies require both skill sets.
The precise nature of the strategy will depend upon the organisation type. If membership means offering help, advice and support, the approach will differ from an organisation providing distinct value-added services. The volume of membership also has an impact on the communication methods adopted. But in all cases, focussing communication specifically upon retention as a goal is vital.
The Circle of Care
Millertech recently worked with a well-established membership body that exists to provide help, advice and support to its base whilst also undertaking practical actions such as lobbying. Their proactive retention strategy was embedded in a practice they referred to as the circle of care.
This defined a minimum level of contact with each member as they moved through their membership period. It relied upon a process of regular communication to create a feedback loop with which it could demonstrate value to members as they passed through the different phases of membership. This strategy can be extremely simple providing it is formalised and followed without exception. For example, it could incorporate just the few steps below and still effectively increase the likelihood of retaining members.
- New joining members will automatically receive whatever communications are necessary to signpost the benefits available
- All members will then receive at least one face-to-face meeting in the first half of the year and one personal phone call in the second
- The topic of conversation in each case is to invite feedback on sector trends, quality of member services and to inform them of any new opportunities or events
Three key elements for success
- Segment your member to identify those most at risk of leaving and those most receptive to engagement
- Categorise the important member touch points and data collection areas
- Repeatedly monitor performance and continue to analyse your strategy
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