Growing Membership by Working Smarter, Not Harder

123_business_dev_imageThink about the old 80/20 rule – you get 80% of your results from 20% of your effort. As an association with limited resources, you can’t be all things to all people. So it makes sense to be strategic about where you’re investing your time, energy, and resources when working on growing membership.

If you survey your members and conduct ongoing research, you should be able to segment them by their perceived value of your organization, and then by how much they are investing on an annual basis. You’ll want to group them by:

Members who have low perceived value of their membership, but are making large investments in your organization.

This can be the attrition danger zone, and there are countless reasons why these members don’t value what you are offering. Unless you want to risk losing them, you’ll need to figure out where your organization is falling short and take action quickly.

Members who have high perceived value AND are making large investments.

Look at your membership survey responses to identify the benefits that are most used by this group and determine if there are any shortcomings or areas of improvement that could enhance the benefits that matter most to them. The name of the game is keeping this group engaged. Making small changes and additions – and then communicating the improvements you’ve made – can go a long way to keeping these members engaged.

Members who have high perceived value, but are making small investments.

The key for this group is to identify value-ads that could generate additional revenue streams. These kinds of members have staying power, but you’ll want to be careful not to neglect them. As you have the resources available, adding and bundling products that appeal to lower-level members can help you retain, and even upgrade these members.

Members who have low perceived value, and are making small investments.

If this is a small group in comparison to your overall membership, you can focus on these members last. They may fall off eventually, but if that happens, you stand to lose a lot less from this group than you do from your higher income generators. If this category comprises a large portion of your membership, this could signal a big problem in your membership strategies.

If you’ve come to the conclusion that certain members just aren’t a match, that’s not necessarily a negative thing. It’s better to focus on keeping and attracting the right kind of members than to stretch your resources too thin in an effort to cater to everyone.

Now that you’ve classified your members into these groups, it’s time to dive a little deeper into figuring out what makes them tick, and identifying the kinds of members that will help you build your organization.

Stay tuned for our next post on creating member profiles to determine your “perfect” members.

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