How to Make Membership an Offer They Can’t Refuse

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How Can You Make Membership An Offer They Can't Refuse?

Ask association members why they don’t renew, and two in three will say it’s due to a lack of perceived value for the given price. Half of them also say it’s because of their lack of engagement with the organization. Others say, “I forgot.” These are all examples of members voting on your value with their feet.

Our research has shown that an organization’s value proposition drives renewal more than anything else. So how can you make sure that you reinforce value with marketing that makes membership irresistible?

Read about our top four recommendations for making your membership an offer they can’t refuse.

Value Trumps Dues Discounts Every Time

Member Value

Some organizations jump to discounting, slashing dues by up to 50% or more. This path is fraught with danger — the expensive kind. After all, something with no value at $100 may have no value at $50, either. As a result, these organizations sacrifice significant dues revenue with little to no membership growth to show for it.

Others have lowered dues for cost-sensitive segments, including students and young professionals. This can be a wise strategy to “fill the hopper” with future full-paying members. For example, one large society that adopted this strategy increased young professional membership by 15% in one year.

However, decreasing the cost does not necessarily increase your value in the eyes of potential members. You have to make them want to buy into what you’re offering. The perceived value of membership trumps the cost every time.

Bundling Benefits Builds Perceived Value

Even the most significant benefit is worthless if members do not know about it. Some organizations have attempted to increase their perceived value by “bundling” benefits. 

This practice can make high-value opportunities for members more exciting and accessible. At the same time, it is a chance to weed out outdated benefits that only clutter your communications with members.

Many times, organizations do this with products and programs that already exist. There is often no need for extensive new product development. You can reframe the idea of “products” to include all the organization’s work on behalf of members.

This creates opportunities to talk about how you serve members and why they should want to join you. With the right insights, this approach can reap dramatic results. Some organizations have seen member engagement jump over 40%.

Membership Bundle

Make Sure They Get What You're Offering

It may seem simple, but our findings show that making sure the benefits included with membership are clear is crucial to retaining members. Potential and existing members can’t buy into your value if they don’t clearly understand what you have to offer them.

First-year member renewal is a universal struggle. However, our findings show that member retention grows significantly after that first year. If an organization can communicate the value of membership early in a member’s tenure, it can create lifelong members. Your messaging to first-year members should reflect this.

Give A Little Grace

Give members who may have forgotten to renew the opportunity for a do-over without losing access to the membership benefits. In our research, we found that grace periods help renewal. Associations that do not offer a grace period see lower retention rates than those. We found that organizations with a renewal rate of 80% or higher provide a wide range of grace periods. On average, they last three months.

Do You Have A Membership Offer They Can't Refuse?

Could you already have the makings of an offer they can’t refuse within your current dues structure? Our experience says you could. Restructuring your current model to make your value irresistible to members is an opportunity your association should not pass up.

Learn how we can help make membership and offer they can’t refuse for you here

For more on the value of membership see Two More Views on Member Value

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