Membership Pro Tip: Telemarketing Effort Ramps Up Renewals

A routine telemarketing campaign turned into something special when a personal touch ended up meeting member needs directly. It also reaped an impressive return on investment—and saved a lot of money.

The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) usually kicks off its membership renewal campaign in February or March and has Membership Marketing Services handle all the telemarketing calls for them. This year, MMS suggested a different approach that would save money and time.

There was a surprising added bonus that contributed to “a phenomenal campaign with amazing returns,” said MMS Director of Business Development Jamie Graves.

How Does It Work?

NYSBA has done telemarketing for several years, but this year was a little different. To increase efficiency, MMS suggested a hybrid model between NYSBA and MMS using a browser-based call technology that can make about 35 calls in an hour. MMS provided the technology to NYSBA, and each group took half of the call load. They were able to make more than 21,000 calls between February and April.

Why Is It Effective?

“Our members responded really well to the phone call outreach,” said NYSBA Senior Director of Attorney Engagement and Retention Victoria Shaw. An added surprise was that younger attorneys were picking up the phone. They were grateful to get the phone calls—even law students—and it gave them an added opportunity to ask questions about their membership.

It also gave the NYSBA team its own impromptu focus group. “Because if they didn’t want to renew, we were able to have a conversation with them,” Shaw said.

The overall campaign achieved an ROI of 450 percent, by comparing total costs to total revenue collected. Added to that, the cost was half of what it had been in previous years.

What’s the Benefit?

The benefit of telemarketing for membership renewals is if a member has lapsed, they’ve usually lapsed for a reason. It could be because they forgot, but typically a member will renew within 30 days of lapsing on their own.

“If they still haven’t renewed, that member is silently raising their hand saying they need some type of white-glove experience from their association,” Graves said.

Do you have a Membership Pro Tip? Please share in the comments or send me an email.

(BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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