How to Boost Association Membership and Score Loyal Members

Membership, Recruiting Audra Hopkins

Loyalty is key when it comes to a strong membership. You want members that will stand by your association for the good and the bad times.

How do you measure a loyal member? Well, loyalty within an association can be classified in returning business.

According to the social analytics platform Sumall, a repeat customer is an association’s best friend. The most stable businesses in the Sumall network report that 25%-40% of their total revenue comes from returning customers.

On top of that, a loyal customer can help keep your organization afloat in tougher times. Sumall’s infographic shows that businesses with 40% repeat customers generated almost 50% more revenue than businesses with 10% repeat customers.

A loyal member in your association’s membership can also save you money. When it comes time for member renewal, it’s much easier for an association to keep a loyal member than a new one.

CustomersThatStick created an infographic on what makes and breaks a loyal member. This infographic claims it is up to 10x more expensive to obtain a new customer than it is to retain a current member.

So, we’ve seen the financial importance of a loyal member. But, can they offer a similar value when it comes to a strong membership?

If your association is looking to increase membership, it might want to start by forming a secure group of loyal members. A strong support of members ready to help sell your mission to new audiences will help boost your association’s membership numbers.

Let’s look at what you can do to start rewarding members for putting their constant time and effort in your association.

 

Start a loyalty program.

A loyalty program can offer huge success in membership growth for any type of association.

However, first you need to know the advantages to a loyalty program and how to effectively put one into effect.

So, what exactly is a loyalty program? It depends on what your association wants it to be.

Traditionally, a loyalty program is a simple idea. The more a consumer proves their loyalty to a brand, the more incentives they access.

Loyalty programs have proven their worth for years. Annex Cloud’s 2016 Customer Loyalty Statistics are proof of that. Their studies show that 87% of customers look for loyalty programs in a brand. On top of that, 68% of millennials say they wouldn’t be loyal to a brand without a good loyalty program in place.

It’s apparent people are looking for rewards in exchange for loyalty. If your association isn’t rewarding its loyal members, it’s time to start.

There are many ways to set up a loyalty program for your association. Since every association is different, it makes sense that your association’s loyalty program would vary from another’s.

If you’re considering a loyalty program for your association’s members, here’s how to get started.

 

Find a way to measure loyalty.

Just like you would measure sales or engagement, member loyalty should be measured as well.

If you’re not sure how to measure loyalty, you can start by analyzing any information you already have.

Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, measure specific values for your association. Whether it’s sales numbers, marketing engagement, ROI, or anything in between. A KPI lets you know where your association stands in terms of future goals.

Your KPIs are also a great way of measuring member loyalty.

Think about it: You wouldn’t consider a member loyal if they didn’t show up in your key measurements. You want to reward members that are actively engaging with content, attending events, and renewing their membership every time.

One way to measure loyalty is through membership length. Putting incentives on membership milestones is a great way to show members you appreciate their loyalty.

For example, you can reward members who renew after a year with a discount on an event. Or, you can provide them with a free content offer. The longer your members stay, the better the incentives get.

Another way to measure loyalty is through engagement. Do you have members who interact with every content post you make? What about members who attend every annual event?

Including engagement in a loyalty program not only strengthens membership, it also drives up engagement numbers. Members will have a reason to tune into your association’s content.

 

Deliver incentives that matter.

Now that you know how to pinpoint your association’s most loyal members, you can start rewarding them.

However, you want to be careful when choosing offers. Your membership loyalty program won’t mean anything to members without incentives they find valuable.

According to Colloquy, one of the top reasons consumers choose not to participate with a loyalty program is because they did not feel the program’s offers were valuable. You don’t want your members to think the same about your association’s loyalty efforts.

One way to figure out what members want is to ask them directly through a survey. Create a survey based solely on benefits and discounts. Figure out which offers members find most valuable and which offers don’t interest them as much.

Once you’ve collected and analyzed all surveys, it’s important to tailor your loyalty program around your members’ needs. Your incentives should directly relate to these survey results.

However, if you’re looking for incentives that are both new and unique, there are a variety of options.

For example, if your association doesn’t offer a certification program (like the one we wrote about here), you can incorporate one into your loyalty program. Not only is this a valuable offer for loyal members, but you can also test-run any offers you’d like to include in membership plans in the future.

 

Always offer help.

Whether it’s through a loyalty program or just in general, your association should always be available for any members in need of a helping hand.

Being open for advice or problem solving can show members you’re here for them in the long run. It’s a good way to increase short-term engagement while creating a long lasting relationship that can turn into loyalty.

Hyken claims that 86% of loyalty program members haven’t heard from the respective company since signing up for their program. A member that’s lost contact with your association is a member that has less of a chance of being loyal.

Create a customer service experience that is both easily accessible and user-friendly for members.

It’s always good to create a 24/7 channel that members can send questions, comments, or complaints to. You want members to be able to express their concerns at their own convenience.

In addition, make an effort to reach out to members on a consistent basis. Create an email schedule specifically for member satisfaction. Or, you can always reach members with a phone call. Any way to directly contact members will let them know you’re there to help.

Create an open channel of communication for members who are looking to build a better trust with your association.

 

Increasing your association membership starts from the inside.

If you have a strong core of loyal members spreading the word about your association, your member recruitment process will only become easier. Create a chance to reward members for loyalty and you can see an increase in membership strength and numbers.