Website strategies for member retention
Too many Membership Organisations simply don’t appreciate the power of their website to influence member acquisition and retention. In the article below, we outline three strategies that will have a positive impact on your member retention.
We’ve also created a free guide which you can download.
What is member retention?
Membership retention is more than just passively keeping members on your books. It is about closing the ‘Value Gap’ by creating a value exchange with personal relevance to members and a meaningful connection. Members not only need to feel a sense of belonging and that their membership is giving them something useful back, but they also need to feel that their participation means something to the organisation.
How your website can help membership retention
Create the user experience
The design, functionality, structure and content of any Membership Organisation’s website has a central role in influencing the actions and perceptions of prospective and existing members, as well as other important stakeholders.
Intelligent web design makes a Membership Organisation’s website speak directly to each existing and potential member – rather than providing a one-size-fits-all experience.
Craft the value experience
Planning and Strategy workshops help the Membership Organisations understand which digital features will most resonate with a specific membership group – and therefore which features to add customisable components to. For example, something as simple as a robust sign-up process allows individuals to select how often they want to be contacted and with what type of news – all highly tailored and personalised yet easy to achieve.
Design features, such as customisable dashboards, allow members to personalise their preferences and see interesting and relevant content. Likewise serving different content to different types of member ensures that they only see what is relevant to them.
Each of these ideas (and many more) allow the members to feel like they are receiving an individual experience, coming from a place of care within the organisation.
Demands from members to be able to communicate with each other should be acknowledged
Enabling members to craft personal profiles that peers can access, or creating a moderated space where members can share knowledge, often promotes higher engagement on the Membership Organisations’ website.
“We have seen that where members have a strong affinity and direct engagement with one another, their engagement on the Membership Organisation’s digital platform increases. It becomes a self-reinforcing cycle of engagement.” Christian Scott, Head of Project Delivery at Granite 5.
If it is the organisation’s first time getting the members to communicate directly, we often start by creating a simple proof of concept using existing free owned channels, before scaling the idea too, for example, a full forum once the benefit is demonstrated.
Engage members, nurture relationships
A study by global analytics firm Gallup, demonstrated that engaged members spend 22% more with their organisations compared with non-engaged.
Regular dialogue with members can inspire new initiatives and this collaborative process often means these ideas have instant support.
Organisations need to know their members’ motivations for joining the, and indeed for remaining, members. Failure here means losing them, especially given members’ demands that their organisations change with them as they progress through their careers.
Chief Marketing Officers and Business Development leads will also benefit from the wealth of information derived from greater member engagement, including the ability to segment members by behaviour and other demographics, enabling the creation of ‘sticky’ marketing content that resonates.
Using your data
Membership Organisations typically hold vast amounts of data about existing and lapsed members. This provides rich pickings for analysing the motivations and needs of the membership base.
However, too often this data is misinterpreted or fragmented throughout the organisation. A Digital Partner can help sort the wheat from the chaff to deliver actionable, data-led insights that drive your Membership Organisation’s digital strategy.
After all, data is the new gold. And your knowledge is only as good as your data.
So organisations must also harness technology and use 3rd party data, including from Google Analytics, to understand their members’ behaviour even more deeply.
Analysing who engages with which parts of the Membership Organisation’s website, and how, informs the right content and design strategies for optimum engagement. Having different approaches for content that engages existing members and which attracts potential new members is vital.
Understanding the business objectives of each piece of content is crucial as you might only get one or two opportunities to send something to a recipient before they start deleting your emails or unsubscribe.
It can be useful to ask yourself
- Does our website provide a similar intuitive digital experience to the apps I use daily on my phone?
- Am I convinced our website clearly communicates the value membership brings?
- Do I know, right now, what last month’s website analytics tell us about our members’ favourite web pages and preferences?
We’re on a mission to support and empower membership organisations creating a free guide specific to membership organisations.
It condenses all of the experiential knowledge we have gained from helping other membership organisations understand their website’s role in value perception – and how even small website tweaks can boost member acquisition, engagement and retention.