Member-based organizations live and die on retention rates. You can acquire 1000 new members tomorrow, but if you can’t confidently keep them, you can’t expect success.

Membership managers want to boost retention rates, but they also want stability. It’s one thing to enjoy a boost in revenue, but sustaining those boosts is the key to long-term success.

That’s why Member365 has put together a guide to a few commonly-available tools and tactics any member-driven organization can use to sustainably boost retention rates:

1. Survey’s

Surveys are a membership managers most powerful tool to collect valuable insight on member behavior. Use them strategically, and they can provide game-changing vision into what motivates members to stay, and to leave, your organization.

With membership management software, building a survey, sending it out, and gathering results is easy. The challenge is to make sense of gathered data and confidently draw actionable conclusions from survey results.

The key to navigating this challenge is to approach survey’s strategically. Consider these tips:

Start with the end in mind

An effective survey is a focused survey, which is why it’s critical that – before a single question is written – your survey starts with a crystal-clear (ideally documented) goal.

Goals anchor the scope of survey creation, and prevent them from dangerously sprawling. It’s easy for team members or stakeholders to make a mess of a survey, adding question after question, with no real understanding of how they add value.

With a clear (ideally documented) goal available for all to see, suggestions must be justified in it’s terms, helping to restrain sprawl, and focus the energy of your team on creating value for your organization and it’s members.

Don’t overwhelm

‘More’ is not ‘better’ when it comes to survey’s. Membership management software makes survey creation a breeze, but it makes overwhelming members easy as well. It’s easy to add field after field to a survey, or even create survey after survey to send to your members.

The problem with this is that, in both cases, it puts members under a significant amount of ‘cognitive load’.

Long survey’s are more difficult to complete than short ones. Adding questions might feel like adding value, but overwhelming with questions undermines value. When a member sees a long form, it’s easier to click the ‘back’ button than complete the survey. Additionally, those that do complete the survey are likely to produce lower-quality information as they spend less time on each response.

Optimize your forms

Survey’s, like any form, ought to be optimized. There are lots of best practices in this domain you ought to brush up on in order to get the most from your survey’s. In addition to measuring member behaviour through your survey, you can measure the effectiveness of your survey itself. With these measurements in place, each survey becomes an opportunity to make the next one better!

2. Engagement Analytics

One of the most powerful features available from membership management software is engagement analytics.

Engagement analytics works by tracking member behavior across every one of your engagement channels, and aggregating it into a big-picture view you can use to explore powerful insights into member behavior.

When it comes to member retention, having this data available and accessible offers powerful insight you can use to prevent members from churning.

For example: By tracking member data across your website, portal, emails, and events – you can identify low-engagement members at risk of churning. You can be confident that those who haven’t logged in recently, attended your events, opened emails, contributed to forums, etc. are also likely to not renew. With the right membership management software, you can not only identify these individuals, but also target them with efforts engineered to re-engage them. Build a list of likely ‘churners’ with a click, and send messaging to bring them back into the fold in minutes!

3. Automated Recurring Billing

Automated Recurring Billing is a simple idea with tremendous strategic value for member-based organizations. Automatically charging a members credit card for membership fee’s at the end of every membership term makes renewal more convenient for your members, and more consistent for your organization.

Members consenting to ARB don’t have to worry about renewal reminders, as your membership management software ought to automatically exclude them from renewal campaigns. They don’t have to worry about keeping track of dues, or forgetting to make a payment – as fees are charged automatically.

ARB offers your organization higher and more stable renewal rates year-over-year. Members consenting to ARB can’t forget to make payment. They don’t need to be reminded to pay, nor do they have to be chased by membership-managers for payment if their memberships lapse.

Without ARB, your organization effectively provides it’s entire membership regular opportunities to not renew their membership. Unless a member takes action, manual renewal processes assume that a member would not like to remain a part of your organization.

With ARB, this assumption is flipped – as it should be. Automatic renewal processes assume that a member would like to remain a member until they indicate otherwise.

Renewal should be the ‘path of least resistance’ to your members. Require a member to act in order to remain a member, and you add uncertainty to whether they’ll stay. Require member to act in order to churn, and you’ll add uncertainty as to whether or not they’ll leave!

4. Feedback Channels

If you’re having trouble figuring out why members churn, it might be the case that you’re just not giving them the opportunity to tell you why.

Members are a part of your organization for a reason. If they’ve signed up, chances are they don’t want to leave, but something (or some things) is pushing them away. Give them an opportunity to let you know what those things are, and you might be surprised at the insight they offer.

With accessible, easy-to-use, and effective feedback channels available to members – your organization can cultivate the attitude that it’s not providing membership to or for your members – but with them.

After all, to be a member is to be a part of something. With feedback channels that are accessible and reliably produce satisfying outcomes for members, your members are able to feel and experience a level of meaningful participation. When a member knows they can safely share their concerns by through feedback, and is confident this feedback will be acted on, they’ve more options than ‘renew or don’t renew’ when experiencing grievances. Members that share feedback are more likely to stick around as individuals, and the feedback they share goes a long way to improving the value of membership for every one of your member!