Blog

  • Overview of the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report.

    One of the most enjoyable projects that I work on each year is the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report. This year, we had 407 associations complete the survey.

    Today, I wanted to share ten top tips from the hundreds of findings appearing in the report.

    1. Out of a list of 10 definitions of success in our survey, association executives are most likely to rank growth in member counts (22%), revenue growth (21%), and net revenue growth (21%) as their primary definition of success for their organization.

    2. Findings in the report indicate a more marked difference in membership growth of over 11% for those organizations focused on acquisition rather than those focused on retention or on a balanced strategy (18%: acquisition vs. 4%: retention and 9%: both), the five year change in membership (38%: acquisition vs. 27%: retention and 34%: both), and the change in new members (24%: acquisition vs. 7%: retention and 16%: both).

    3. For associations with over 5,000 members, direct mail is considered the most effective channel for new member recruitment.

    4. While Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most commonly used social media tools, they are not necessarily considered the most effective in reaching membership goals by association executives. In fact, the most effective social networking tools are considered to be those that are basically housed within the association itself, namely the association listserv (50%) and/or a private association social network (39%).

  • Starting Membership Development with a Clean Slate.

    Over the years, just about every membership marketing program has been influenced by tradition, internal politics, or database limitations.

    So it was interesting when I met the other day with a talented marketer who joined a group that presented him with a clean slate for membership marketing. Since almost nothing was in place, he had to build the membership marketing program from the ground up.

    It got me to thinking, what if I was in the same place? What if my only mandate was to grow membership based on sound marketing principles? What would my membership marketing program look like?

    Well here is my take on the programs that I would put in place to get membership moving.

    1. Build Awareness – My first action would be to harness the web. Awareness is the first step to any purchase. And the leading source for information for most people has become the Web. So membership development begins with using search engine optimization, search engine advertising, ad networks, and social media to help people who are seeking solutions provided by an association to find me. Tracking traffic sources and the effectiveness of keywords will help me identify the people and the value that my prospects are looking to find.

    Anyone coming to my web site would be encouraged to register for a free association newsletter. This allows me to add the prospect to my database.

    2. Recruit New Members – The fastest growing membership associations still rely on test-driven membership acquisition campaigns as the workhorse for gaining new members. Ineffective membership recruitment is the single biggest marketing reason for declining or stagnant memberships. So my second step would be to establish regular mail and email promotions to both house and outside lists, And because these promotions will typically be the largest outreaches that the association will do, they statistically lend themselves to head-to-head market tests. Testing will tell me the best lists, offers, messages, and packages to use going forward.

    3. Engage New Members – Once a new member joins my association, he or she becomes the most likely member not to renew. Almost all associations show first year members as the lowest renewing cohort. The first year is therefore referred to as the conversion year for new members.

    So once I get a flow on new members coming to the association, I would establish a conversion program. This type of effort is a multiple step orientation that helps the member to become engaged in the association. A sound conversion program certainly orients the member to the products, services, and opportunities provided by an association. It also should generate a second interaction with the member. This might be as simple as having the members complete a survey, but it optimally leads to a second purchase by the member of a product or attendance at a meeting. For example, sending new members a discount voucher for their first purchase can help them engage the organization as both a member and a customer.

  • Membership Marketing Calculations and Formulas.

    ‘Know the numbers’ is the best advice that anyone can give you when it comes to membership marketing. Knowing the numbers can help answer key marketing questions like:

    ‘What is the value of a member?’

    ‘How much can I afford to spend to obtain a member?’

    ‘What is my membership retention rate?

    The following formulas are provided as a handy reference tool for membership marketers to help them take a strategic look at the economics of membership.

  • MGI Tipster Volume 9, Issue 9

    September 23, 2010   |   Vol. 9   |   Issue 9 Awareness: Step One in the MGI Membership Lifecycle Marketing Model The MGI Membership Lifecycle enables organizations to adopt a comprehensive, integrated approach to membership marketing. The Lifecycle has five steps: Awareness, Recruitment, Engagement, Renewal, and Reinstatement. In last month’s MGI Tipster we reviewed each of the steps. See Issue 8 […]

  • MGI Tipster Volume 9, Issue 8

    August 12, 2010   |   Vol. 9   |   Issue 8 The Five Step MGI Membership Lifecycle Marketing Model The MGI Membership Lifecycle helps organizations adopt a comprehensive, integrated approach to membership marketing. It combines five basic marketing strategies that, when linked, can significantly improve success finding new members, keeping current ones, and returning lapsed ones. Think of the Lifecycle as […]

  • MGI Tipster Volume 9, Issue 7

    July 2010   |   Vol. 9   |   Issue 7 The 2010 Membership Marketing Benchmark Report: Aligning the Association For the second consecutive year, Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) has published the Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report to survey the strategies associations most often use to grow their memberships. More than 400 associations participated in the 2010 survey, which was released last month. […]

  • MMC – A Success!

    First day back from the ASAE MMC and I want to send cudos to the ASAE team that ran this program. I think it was one of the best MMCs ever!