Membership managers are always looking for new ways to develop their skills professionally, but that focus can sometimes distract us from basic principles! New tools and techniques feel fancy and flashy, but it’s important to keep our feet on the ground with some fundamentals.
That’s why Member365 is here with 5 basics to getting success from membership management strategies. Whether your goal is more members, more renewals, more engagement, or anything else – our 5 strategies for more effective member management are sure to help!
Here they are:
1. Pick the right membership management software
When’s the last time that you took evaluated the tools you use to manage your members?
Membership management software, after all, is at the core of nearly everything you do to manage your members. If it’s not right for you, you can expect nearly everything you do to be more difficult, and less efficient.
Spending just a few minutes more than necessary on a simple task due to sub-optimal software might seem like pretty trivial loss. However, when you have to perform that task hundreds and hundreds of times a year – the investment of time and energy adds up!
If your organization hasn’t evaluated your membership management software in the past 5 years, doing so ought to be a priority! Technology has progressed significantly since you adopted your system, and it’s worth investigating if the membership management software you’re using has kept pace. Investing the time to evaluate what’s out there and make a switch – if needed – could end up saving you full workweeks of time, and your organization thousands of dollars!
2. Track and analyze member (and non-member) engagement with your organization
In 2019, it’s not enough to simply provide your members opportunities to engage. Your organization is one of many who are competing for the attention of your members. Winning your members engagement is a matter of measuring the impact of your efforts, and optimizing them to get the very most from them.
If you’re using a hodge-podge of different software systems to manage your members – getting access to real insight into member behavior is a serious struggle. In this case, engagement data is siloed amongst many different platforms. Bringing that data together, and analyzing it to develop a useful understanding of member behavior, is itself a full-time job.
Even with membership management software, getting a real picture of member behavior that you can act on to drive results can be a struggle!
Is your organization equipped with the tools it needs to effectively gather, analyze, and act on member engagement data?
If not, taking the time to find and adopt those tools is a serious opportunity to boost the value your organization enjoys from every one of its engagement efforts. From member portal engagement to event registrations, fundraising donations, course completions, etc. Anything you’d like your members (or non members!) to do more of; tracking, analyzing, and acting on engagement data will help you get them to do so!
3. Segment your members for more effective communication
People respond to messaging that speaks to them. Messaging meant to speak to everybody generally speaks to no-one.
It may be quicker to write an email that you send out to your entire membership, but that time saved comes at the cost of low opens and clicks.
This is where spending a little time upfront to build member segments, and producing unique messaging for each, can produce serious value. Something as simple as changing the subject line from one audience to the next – so long as it speaks to the shared interests of that audience – can have a serious impact on the impact of more than just your emails!
Fundraising, online courses, renewals, events, digital workspaces – whatever channels your members use to engage with your organization – adapting messaging to defined member segments will have a tremendously positive impact on engagement.
Don’t know how to segment your membership? It can be much easier than you might think.
Consider segementing by:
Interests: Maybe a portion of your members consider the main value of their membership the opportunity to network and cultivate professional relationships. Another might be interested in developing themselves professionally with the learning opportunities you offer through events and your member portal.
Defining these groups as separate segments will help you create messaging that speaks to their interests, and is more likely to produce the engagement you’re interested in!
Preferred Communication Channel: Some members like email. Others like social media. Some, an old-fashioned phone call. Defining these as unique segments, and reach out to them via the channel they’re most likely to respond to!
4. Keep your contact database tidy
Spring is coming, and with it, the compulsion to do some deep cleaning (hopefully)! Take advantage of the spirit of the season by investing some time in a contact database cleanup!
Duplicate records, inaccurate data, and outdated contact records introduce a lot of unnecessary effort into nearly everything you do to manage your members. Incorrect names, emails, addresses, etc. reduce the impact of every effort taken to engage them, so if you haven’t tidied your membership CRM or database in awhile, taking the time to do so can have a huge impact on engagement!
There is nothing glamorous or fun about combing through spreadsheets for dirty data, but you can make the process a lot easier on yourself by adopting tools that make the process easier.
Your membership management software ought to offer you the ability to compel members to update their information themselves! Doing so takes only seconds for your members, but can spare membership managers untold hours spent manually managing a database update. With members able to manage their own information, you can also depend on your database to stay cleaner, longer; sparing you the need to scrub your database every year!
5. Let your members know you appreciate them
This final point might make some roll their eyes, but there are good reasons to recognize the importance of thanking and actively appreciating your members.
After all, member-driven organizations live and die by the relationships they create with their members. Taking a passing moment to thank your members for the value they share with you is a small price to pay to strengthen the relationships you depend on!
Keep this attitude in mind whenever engaging with your members, online and off, and be sure that it is expressed in your interactions!
Keep your feet on the ground, and your head in the sky
It’s good to have lofty goals. Maybe you want to double your members this year, triple your renewal rate, or ignite participation in your events. There’s nothing wrong with having your head in the sky, so long as your feet are on the ground!
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight and inspiration that you can use to remember your basics and stand firmly on a strong membership management foundation, so you can achieve those pie-in-the-sky goals!