May 09, 2023 | Vol. 22 | Issue 5
By Jana Darling, MGI Vice President of Account Services
Five Quick Tips to Improve Your Renewal Rate
One of the most common questions we hear is, "how do we improve our renewal rate?" While new member acquisition usually gets priority, new members don't mean too much if they only stick around for one year. Retaining members is the foundation to an effective membership marketing program. If we think back to Marketing 101, we all learned that it's easier and less expensive to keep a member or customer than it is to acquire a new one. So, what steps can you take now to make an immediate impact on your renewal rate?
- Calculate your Renewal Rate. You may be surprised at how many associations don't have an accurate reflection of their current renewal rate. It is important to properly calculate and regularly monitor your organization's renewal rate to set a baseline for measuring improvement.
How to Find Your Renewal Rate
- Start Renewal Efforts on Day 1 of Membership. What are you doing throughout the year to highlight your association's value and keep your members engaged? Associations reporting renewal rate improvements report using an engagement mixture of an email series, invitations to join online communities, email welcome kits, welcome phone calls, and new member webinars. Start communicating and delivering on the value and benefits of your membership throughout the year by adding in one or all these efforts.
- Institute a Multi-Touch, Multi-Channel Renewal Marketing Program. Want to find the ideal renewal series for your organization? Start testing different channels. And don't be afraid to increase your membership retention budget to accommodate testing. The average reported renewal series includes five emails, four paid digital ads, two direct mail notices, two texts, two calls, and one magazine or journal cover wrap. With effective testing and results tracking, you can find and optimize the renewal series that works best for your organization.
- Consider a Renewal Grace Period. Providing even a small grace period of 2 to 3 months tends to increase the likelihood of membership renewal. In fact, Associations with renewal rates ≥ 80% are more likely to offer a 2–3-month grace period. Even more important than offering a grace period is to make sure you're continuing to communicate membership value and renewal reminders throughout the grace period.
- Offer Payment Options. Two popular options are automatic annual credit card renewals and installment payments on a monthly or quarterly basis. By automating the renewal process, associations can save time and money, and increase member retention by providing members with a convenient way to renew their membership year after year. Plus, by allowing your members to "set it and forget it" with the renewal, you alleviate another top reason for not renewing…forgetting to renew. Outside of renewals, multiple payment options is specifically listed as one of the top three most effective offers used for recruiting new members in 2022.
Unless you have a 100% renewal rate, there is always the opportunity to improve your member retention. Reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 703-706-0349 to discuss strategies to boost your member retention this year.