Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How do I enhance my renewal rate? Just ask your member.

There are many factors to take into consideration when soliciting members to renew their memberships. Some of these we simply can't control (ie: employement status, dues compensation, etc.). One that we can control is, which in my humble opinion is the most important, making sure that the member realizes benefits from their membership.

The key here is our knowing what benefit the member looking to realize through their membership and if they ever realize it? 

Some of this can be gleaned by analyzing the offer they responded to (source analysis) then through data-analysis look at what products or services the member purchased or participated in to see if there is a trail to follow. A good point to this kind of analysis is that you can then look to see if the member renewed in previous years. This kind of data-analytics is very powerful and can lead you to a more indepth understanding of your entire "business" (ie: RFM Analysis). 

In other cases we need to go to the members themselves, usually through a survey. But, we're not looking at just one survey but two. The first survey right when the member joins and the second six to five months prior to expire.

But what questions should I ask in the first survey? This is dependent upon what you plan to do with the data and what can your CRM effectively capture?

First and foremost, don't let this turn into a game of "dogpile" where various departments want to measure what is important to them. This needs to be very sleek and targeted so as not to "be a pain to fill out."

Next, what is the best methodology to accomplish this? That depends upon several factors including the number of new members, budgets, etc. Many associations use telemarketing or email. Like anything else in what we do, which offers the greatest bang for our buck.

While every association is different, I would focus on the 3 to 5 primiary benefits you present when promoting your association. I would then ask the member to provide "how" they plan to realize the benefit.  For example, if a benefit is "Networking," then give them a chance to respond by listing 3 or so features that promote networking: "Attend Annual Conference" "Attend Chapter Meetings" "Volunteer for Member Committee."

As you can see this will get pretty big pretty quickly.

In the second survey what we want to find out is if they've realized any benefit from their membership. To that end, second survey is similar to the first, asking why they joined and offering up the opportunity to explain what features they participated in. Of course, you'll also want to ask if the member "intends to renew." If yes or no, why?

In addition, you may also want to ask in the second survey "How important is this feature to you and how well did we deliver it to you?" This "gap analsyis" will help you determine the value of benefits you promote and how well you deliver them.

Now we analyze the first and second survey results to help us understand:
  1. Why members join?
  2. What features (if any) do they use?
  3. Are we effectively delivering the benefits they are looking for?
  4. Do they plan to renew?
Secondary benefits of this kind of program include:
  1. Potentially identifying "high risk for renewal" members (which might allow you a chance to fix this)
  2. Promotion of some underutilized features



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