Friday, February 24, 2012

Three Membership Renewal Tips you can Use


When you are hunting for a way to improve results, testing is a great way to optimize your marketing efforts. And this is particularly the case with membership renewals. 

As I have reviewed testing data from several membership organizations, I have spotted some outcomes that you may want to consider if you are looking for better renewal rates.

1. Test Where the Notice is Sent: If you have not had a response from your pre-expire renewal efforts, consider sending renewal notices to both the bill-to and ship-to address in your database. If you normally send renewals to the bill-to address, you may find that the notice needs the push or approval of the ship-to user to get through the system. If you normally send the notice to the ship-to address, you may find there is a new staff person in the organization that the bill paying department can identify. Either way, with one organization we have seen a 20 percent lift in post expire response rates for the notice going to both addresses.

2. Track Renewals by Member Segments: We often look at the aggregate renewal rate for our organizations and think all is well when we see a number of 80 or 90 percent. But a renewals rate is the cumulative effect of many separate renewals from each segment of a membership. By tracking these segments independently, you can determine where an intervention or improvement might be needed. For example, when tracking renewal rates by each state, we see variations in renewals by up to 50 points (90 percent for the top state compared to 40 percent for the bottom state). Membership category renewal rates can vary by 40 points. And continuing members compared to first year members can vary by 30 points or more. Tracking these variations shows where additional resources and efforts may be needed.

3. Evaluate the Timing of Renewals: When you start and when you end your renewal efforts will also impact your final numbers. If you offer an automatic credit card renewal or electronic funds transfer option, these options can be presented before your renewal series begins. Groups that offer these payment options find that they may have a 10 point increase (85 percent renewal rate compared to a 75 percent renewal rate) from members who participate in these programs compared to non-participating members. Early renewals that come in the form of a “Thank You” instead of a request for payment have produced increased renewals. And our 2011 Benchmarking Report highlighted that over 50 percent of responding membership organizations continue renewals for four or more months past expiration. In fact, “associations with an increase in membership over the past five years are significantly more likely than associations with a five-year decline in membership to report that they do not stop contact for renewals (25% to 16%).”

Because renewals generate a high overall response rate, testing can produce very solid statistical outcomes and those outcomes can have a big impact on your organization.

Please share in the comments section below any tips that you have that might help organizations improve renewal efforts.

2 comments:

Dan said...

Great post Tony. I can't be reminded enough of these tips.

Tony Rossell said...

Thanks Dan. I find that it is easy for renewals to become stagnant. It is easy to do the same thing month after month without testing and trying new things. But frequently, I find that a test in a renewal program outperforms the control. So it is important to try new ideas. Tony