Associations are always trying to reach their people. But that doesn’t have to mean recruiting new members—sometimes it’s about making sure the people who know you stick around.
Many associations saw a membership increase during the pandemic as professionals attempted to gain insights and stay in touch with peers. But it can be a challenge to reengage these members. Even so, associations are rethinking their efforts to recruit new members and are prioritizing engaging the members they already have, explained Janelle Benefield, vice president of AffiniPay for Associations.
“Everybody wants to get new members, but it’s very expensive to market to get new members,” she said. “So I think there’s a renewed focus toward really paying attention to who’s already there, who’s already paying, making sure they get maximum value.”
But getting renewals isn’t a gimme. In a world where your members’ attention is pulled in many directions—and in an economy where staffing challenges mean you might not be able to devote as much time to retention as you’d like—how can you be sure your retention methods land?
Here are a few tactics worth considering.
Embrace New Channels
Email is the most common channel for renewal messaging, as cited by benchmarking research from Marketing General, with 98 percent of associations using it. But you can’t rely on just email. Marketing General recommends other channels, such as phone calls and telemarketing, to reach renewing members.
Another option: texting. Last year, AffiniPay began testing a text-based payment integration for its legal customers and found that it worked extremely well for that audience—and that the results carried potential for associations too.
“Associations have very similar problems to what we saw in the legal market,” Benefield explained. “They want to make sure that the members that are due to renew or lapsed don’t miss those communications. So text messaging becomes a very intriguing channel for solving these long-entrenched problems in the association space.”