Study: Better Connect with Members to Increase Loyalty, Retention

In its newly released Member Loyalty Study, Community Brands offers tips for connecting with members and boosting retention rates.

While almost three-quarters of members say they’re likely to renew their membership, associations may be struggling to recognize the warning signs before members lapse. That’s according to the Member Loyalty Study: A Deep Dive into Member Preferences and Retention, which was released this week by Community Brands.

Most significantly, the study—which surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. association members—found that only 55 percent of respondents felt a connection with their professional organization, even though overall satisfaction rates were at 84 percent. “They are members of your organization, but they still don’t feel connected to you, to what you’re doing,” said Amanda Myers, director of product marketing, member solutions for Community Brands. “They don’t necessarily feel part of the organization.”

To help associations build that connection with members and further improve retention rates, Myers offers three action items.

1. Understand your segments. While members fall into various types of groups, it’s particularly helpful to know where they stand as far as loyalty to the organization. The study summarizes three levels of loyalty—super members, rank and file, and value seekers—and each has a unique set of preferences and desires.

To gauge members’ connection with and loyalty to the organization, the study recommends measuring four metrics: satisfaction, likelihood to renew, connection, and likelihood to recommend the organization. These can be easily measured through surveys, member data, or interviews.

They’re going to tell you “how engaged [members] are with your organization, and that can really help you adjust benefits, it can help you adjust programs or your communications,” Myers said.

2. Align your value to member wants. Take a look at the value your organization offers to members and ensure it meets their needs and wants. By adjusting programs, education, events, and communication methods according to what they value, you can build member loyalty.

“It’s a member-driven approach,” Myers said. “They’re telling you what they want, they’re telling what they need, and you’re aligning your benefits, your content, and your value proposition to them.”

3. Use your data. It’s not enough to simply gather member data; associations also need to use it in a meaningful way. Though 74 percent of respondents said their organizations request their data—like age, gender, career stage, or communication preferences—less than half say they receive content based on that data. Associations should be pursuing personalization and targeted communications, both in what content they send members and in how they send it.

“You’re in the business of relationships in associations,” Myers said. “Really taking advantage of that data and using it to build the relationship and to build the loyalty is going to pay huge dividends.”

(efetova/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Alex Beall

By Alex Beall

Alex Beall is an associate editor for Associations Now with a masters in journalism and a penchant for Instagram. MORE

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