So Why Test in Membership Recruitment?

After my last post, you might say to me, “So what’s wrong with not doing market testing in my membership recruitment program?”

My answer is, "If you don't shoot, you can't score." 

Let me share an example from a recent test that we conducted with one of our clients. For this client, we conducted a price test by splitting prospective members receiving a membership solicitation in half. The control group received a direct mail package with the normal $230 annual membership offer. The test group received the exact same direct mail package, but the with a $31 discount taking the price down to $199.

The final test results were significant. The control group achieved a .35 percent response rate producing $805.00 for each thousand pieces that we mailed. The test group achieved a .67 percent response rate producing $1,333.30 for each thousand pieces that we mailed. The total revenue for the control group came to $24,150 while the total revenue for the test group came to $39,999. So the test group produced both more revenue and more members.

The question often comes up whether the discounted price members will renew at the same rate as those who paid the full price. My experience is that there will be a slightly lower renewal rate from those who took the discounted offer, but not nearly enough to offset the increase in the number of new members.

But whether you choose to discount or not, the more important point is that it pays to conduct statistically valid market tests. The 80 percent of associations that do not do testing in their membership marketing efforts are missing out on better returns.

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