4 Retention Tips for Chambers That Yield Big Results
Membership growth is dependent on two things: recruiting and retention. It doesn't matter how much of a rockstar your membership salesperson is – if your organization is not retaining its members, you’ll always be covering losses.
So how can you make sure you keep the members you work so hard to bring onboard?
It's easier than you think. But before I get into tips for how to retain members, let's talk about something that's almost as important.
Have you ever heard the question:
“If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
We could reword that for chambers to be:
“If the organization offers a benefit and nobody knows about it, is it even offered?”
Okay, that's not exactly a deep philosophical question, but it does talk to the fact you can spend all day brainstorming amazing offerings to get your members to renew but in the end, if you don't market those offerings — If they don't know about them — it's like you never even came up with them.
So, before we cover these retention tips, know that all the suggestions below need to be marketed.
You must ensure your members know about them by using a variety of different sources to get your message out. For instance, posting it to your Facebook page isn't enough because some people aren't on Facebook. Eblasting it out once isn’t enough when 70% of your members don’t open your emails. Putting it into the newspaper isn’t enough when readership is declining.
We live in a multi-channel world, so you must market your benefits in a wide variety of ways.
Now let's get to those retention tips:
4 Retention Tips to Make Your Members Love You
1. Do Something for Them That They Can't Do for Themselves
One of the easiest ways to become invaluable in your members’ lives is by providing something to them they can't do for themselves or can't afford to do for themselves for the price of membership. A common example of this is business education for their team.
2. Make Their Lives Easier
If you provide some sort of service to your members that takes something off of their plate, you can bet they'll remain loyal and renew their membership each year. How many of your members have a lobbyist? Not many. So, if your member knows you have their back legislatively, for instance, they are more likely to renew.
3. Introduce Them to People They Might Not Otherwise be Able to Meet
Now, this isn't a reference to basic networking. People do that all the time online, and those online relationships can turn into in-person meetings.
You need to provide the type of specialized networking that would be difficult for them to replicate. Many people work behind gatekeepers. They are hard to reach if you don’t know someone. If you can help your members bypass those gatekeepers, they will find membership very valuable. Be such a great connector that your members wouldn’t dream of dropping because they know you know someone.
4. Create a Culture of Personalization
Members don't want a cookie-cutter solution. They want to be a part of an organization that understands them. One where they fit in. A community. A family.
- Personalize your communications.
- Give them the option of the types of communications they receive from you.
- Encourage conversations. Ask questions and engage with your members one on one.
You work hard to bring on members. Don't let them walk out the door because they don’t realize you have something amazing to offer. Create benefits that solve problems and then communicate those benefits to your members through consistent and effective marketing.
Frank J. Kenny is an internationally recognized author, professional speaker, and consultant. He is on the faculty of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management (IOM). He has taught social media, digital marketing, and technology strategies to business audiences from around the world.