Lifecycle Marketing: The Foundation for Membership Marketing


At this time of year, many of my clients are working on their 2015 membership marketing plans.  If that is the case for you, be sure to step back as you plan and keep in mind the big picture.  Membership is all about relationship.  There is a marketing lifecycle that you need to keep in mind.   In membership, the marketing lifecycle segments the membership experience into five consecutive steps:
1.      Awareness is when prospects first discover you.
Awareness is typically developed through a proactive online presence using the multiple opportunities that are now available to marketers ranging from SEO, to social media, to lead generation, to SEM.  Offering free content and to capture an opt-in and contact information from a prospective member is particularly powerful way to initiate a relationship with a prospective member.

2.      Recruitment is when prospects choose to try you.

Recruitment capitalizes on the awareness that has been established and invites the prospect to become a member by presenting outstanding value and a special offer to act now.  Membership is what marketing call a “push” product and needs to be sold.  If you build it they typically will not come unless asked.  

3.      Engagement is when new members feel they belong with you.
Engagement is the key to high retention rates and sustained membership growth. Membership engagement is built through encouraging usage of the products and services made available by an organization and by understanding and presenting relevant and targeted information back to the member that fortifies the value of membership.

4.      Renewal is when lapsing members decide whether to keep you.

Renewal is a confirmation of the value members feel they have received from the organization. It is a vote of confidence or no confidence. Renewals are a campaign not an event and require frequency and multiple channels to break through the clutter of competing demands on members’ time and resources. 
5.      Reinstatement is when former members agree to return to you.

Reinstatement programs offer opportunities for lapsed members to reconsider the decision to join when presented with fresh messaging and perhaps new benefits.  It is always easier and more cost effective to try and restore the relationship with former members than to recruit a brand new member.
By keeping the framework of the relational lifecycle in mind, you will be sure to cover the important elements of building a strong membership marketing program for the upcoming year.


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