Retention: A Data Driven Approach
Member retention lies at the core of every thriving membership organization. Yet, understanding the key drivers of retention and implementing effective strategies to achieve it remains a challenge for many. In this article, we delve into three evidence-based paths uncovered in recent research by Sequence Consulting that pave the way for successful and enduring member retention.
1. Bet Big on First-Year Renewal
The first renewal holds disproportionate significance in the trajectory of member retention. Research indicates that each subsequent renewal significantly increases the likelihood of continued membership. For instance, while a new member may have a 50% chance of renewing initially, this likelihood escalates to 80% in the following year and continues to rise thereafter. Moreover, as members renew repeatedly, the cost of retention diminishes over time.
Investing in the retention of new members is thus paramount, as it not only secures their continued engagement but also sets the stage for prolonged membership. However, this does not imply neglecting existing members; rather, prioritizing new member retention can yield long-term benefits for the entire membership base.
2. Watch the 90-Day Clock
The initial 90 days following a member’s enrollment represent a critical window of opportunity. Research indicates that during this period, members are most receptive to engagement, driven by their initial excitement and curiosity. However, this enthusiasm diminishes rapidly over time, underscoring the importance of timely and impactful engagement efforts.
Effective onboarding is essential during this period, but mere information dissemination is insufficient. The goal should be to inspire action and foster meaningful interactions that create value for members. Encouraging participation in events, classes, and other activities fosters a sense of belonging and investment in the organization’s offerings, increasing the likelihood of long-term engagement.
3. Not All Engagement Is Equal
While engagement in any form is beneficial, certain types of engagement hold greater significance for retention. By analyzing data on member activities, organizations can identify which engagements correlate most strongly with renewal rates. Recurring engagements such as subscriptions and annual plans, as well as member-to-member interactions, emerge as potent drivers of retention.
Moreover, research suggests that multiple high-value engagements significantly enhance the likelihood of renewal. Members who engage in three or more meaningful interactions exhibit a near-perfect renewal rate, underscoring the importance of ongoing engagement efforts beyond the initial interaction.
In conclusion, while delivering high member value remains paramount, a focused approach to new member engagement is key to long-term retention success. By prioritizing first-year renewals, capitalizing on the initial 90-day window, and promoting high-value engagements, membership organizations can cultivate a loyal and committed membership base, ensuring sustained growth and relevance in the long run.
To learn more about member retention, read The Secret Reason Your Members Don’t Renew and How to Make Membership and Offer They Can’t Refuse.
This article was originally published in Associations NOW as Three Keys to Solving the Member Retention Puzzle.