Simple Ways to Boost Member Recruitment and Renewals

Going back to basics, staying current, and consistently reaching out to members with a multipronged approach will help cut through the noise and increase joins and renewals.

Getting people’s attention has never been particularly easy, but in the current environment, it’s even more challenging. So how do you successfully get noticed by members to spur recruitment and renewal?

“Right now, having a multimedia, multi-touch approach is going to be very important, because we’re all overwhelmed with promotions, marketing, and everything that’s going on in the world,” said Scott Oser, president of Scott Oser Associates, Inc. “That approach will work toward cutting through the clutter that we’re seeing right now.”

A Full-Court Press

Start by reminding members there is more going on in the world than the endless cycle of pandemic news. Let them know what is happening that is especially relevant to them, specifically in their respective industry and association. Oser recommends being more consistent and regular with outreach and including emails, phone calls, and digital marketing as part of your efforts.

It does not mean abandoning direct-mail campaigns, however. “I’ve always been a big fan of direct mail because it actually does work,” Oser said. People are getting less junk mail because marketers have gotten smarter and they are a lot more targeted and personalized with their communications, which makes relevant mail—say, from associations—stand out more. “It has some legitimacy because it’s coming from an association,” Oser said.

That will require attention to branding and making sure the association is noticeable. The messaging needs to be “short, sweet—and current,” he said. Let members know what your association is doing for them right now.

“If you aren’t creating new benefits, staying on top of what benefits your members are looking for, and continually making them aware of what they are, then members are not going to join,” Oser said.

Digital Marketing and Discounts

It’s also essential to take into consideration where members are right now. As the Great Resignation continues, with lots of people leaving their jobs, money might be tight. Or if their industry has been adversely affected by the pandemic, times could be tough. “You really need to prove the value to them to get them to join and renew,” Oser said.

Oser recommends digital marketing for more one-to-one outreach, particularly if your association has limited resources, as opposed to social media, which he says is more for awareness. “You’re definitely looking for that one-to-one ask to drive purchase and increase joins and renewals,” he said.

While Oser is generally not a fan of membership discounts, which he says can “cheapen membership,” if your association is representing an industry that is still struggling, offering a limited time discount of 14 to 15 months for the price of 12 might be a good idea.

“I always like to offer more membership,” Oser said. The discount gives members a better understanding of the association’s value and more time to take advantage of benefits, which means an increased likelihood of renewal. But a strong value proposition is essential because if you’re offering benefits no one needs, the free extra months have no value.

Associations have learned a lot over the past two years. Staying on top of member and industry needs, developing new offerings, and making members aware of them are all key. If associations have done all those things, “membership numbers should be strong,” Oser said.

What is your organization doing to boost recruitment and renewal? Please share in the comments or send me an email.

(tomertu/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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