Maximising Your Membership: How to Achieve More with Less
- 22 May
- 11 mins
With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis continuing to impact businesses and revenue across the UK, it's essential that companies are more careful with their budgeting strategy than ever. Of course, this includes membership organisations, who must make wiser spending decisions in order to ensure they provide members with the best membership experience possible at the best return on investment for the organisation.
The current climate is understandably making it difficult for organisations to attract and retain members. Most of us are cutting costs where we can, and things like non-compulsory membership subscriptions, or perceived 'nice to haves' like attending a gala dinner or engaging in additional training are often the first to go. So, how do you justify your membership is really worth the spend?
In this blog, we'll explore how to make the most of your membership proposition so both you, and your members, get better value for money.
Take a deep dive into your website analytics and use this information to your advantage. Which content generates the most traffic, social shares, or dwell time? Do you have insight into your members' behaviours and preferences? Do you understand what activity is driving visitors to your site?
By leveraging your data, you can understand what is working, and what isn't, to help inform your future content production and enable you to adjust your strategy accordingly. The ever-popular 80/20 principle suggests that 80% of your results come from 20% of your activity, and data and analytics can help you identify where to keep spend and where to cut it.
Relevant content = increased member value.
To generate new leads, consider giving non-members access to some of your members-only content in exchange for a sign-up. Don't hide your best content or lock it away in inaccessible static PDFs!
Make it easy for members to share content with their networks; ensure social sharing buttons are easy to find and configured to include a title and header image – this will help drive more traffic to your site too.
Making your content easily accessible to members and deploying some of it as a strategy to win over new members will ensure you see the best return on the long hours spent creating it.
Adding benefits to your offering doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg! Offering tailored discounts or special rates on third-party products and services relevant to your members' needs can increase member value and generate additional income too.
You know what your members are getting, but do they?
Make sure your members have a clear understanding of exactly what they're getting from their membership, and ensure to communicate those benefits in a simple, easy-to-understand way.
Consider employing engagement scoring to identify disengaged members at an early stage – often a friendly call or a personalised email from the membership team can help members define more value from their subscription, increasing their desire to renew. Ultimately, perceived value should exceed the actual price of their membership, whether that's through tangible savings and benefits, or more intangible elements like a sense of belonging. On the latter, consider utilising tools like Net Promotor Score to keep tabs on member sentiment.
We love online community at Cantarus – sure, we’re a little biased, but our successful track record is proof that it works!
An online community offers a multitude of benefits, including:
By creating a private space where members can network, communicate, and learn from each other, regardless of where they are in the world, having an online community in place gives your members yet another reason to stay.
There is likely considerable sector-specific expertise within your membership base, and giving members a platform to share this – things like seminars, mentoring programs and special interest groups – can improve the diversity of your content and the richness of your events programme.
Members who contribute content tend to have a stronger feeling of belonging and are more likely to become your advocates. By showcasing their skills, you not only provide value to your existing members, but can also attract new ones who might be interested in the depth and breadth of your content.
Most organisations will have a sub-section of their membership base who are their biggest fans. Identifiable by their desire to give high Net Promotor Scores or by their frequent activity in community spaces, these advocates can be valuable assets in helping to attract new members and spreading organisational awareness!
Ensure these members are equipped to be your biggest supporters. Some ideas include:
By helping your advocates feel valued and appreciated, you can create a thriving community of supporters committed to your success.
Manage internal costs by ensuring you're getting the most out of your current technology infrastructure.
Invest in automation tools that streamline administrative tasks (e.g., membership renewals, event registration, and email marketing) to allow you to focus more on delivering high-quality content and services to your members.
Often when a business goes through a rough patch, they cut the marketing budget first. I say this not only as a marketer, but as someone practical – don't do this!
Although you might not have a massive budget for an exciting campaign, you can still be creative within your means. Look at partnerships, social media campaigns, email newsletters, and promoting your brand as low-cost ways to attract new members and turn existing ones into loyal fans.
ChatGPT is seemingly taking over the world, but robots aren’t all bad!
A well-implemented chatbot (set up with the proper logic and FAQs) can be super helpful for members to self-serve, rather than relying on your internal teams for information. This improves the member experience and reduces the burden on your staff.
Once your chatbot is up and running, remember to monitor its performance and gather feedback from your members. This will help identify areas for future improvement.
Regular check-ins with your members should be standard, but many organisations overlook this. It's important to ask your members what they want from you. What do they value most? Which benefits are they getting the most use out of?
Conducting online surveys, focus groups, or collecting feedback from your member services team on a routine basis are effective ways to gain deeper insight into what your members want and need. This’ll help you better focus your efforts on how to provide more value in the future.
In conclusion, with the right approach, your organisation can continue to attract and retain members, despite budget cuts, by better understanding your members' needs, leveraging the right tools, and continuously evaluating and refining your member strategy.
If you'd like to see how we can help your organisation attract and retain its members, please get in touch with [email protected] and a member of our team will be in touch soon.