Communicating with members on your subscription list is different from communicating with leads or customers. Members who pay a regular fee are typically very engaged with the organization they’ve joined, more so than an average customer — and as a result their expectations are proportionately higher than the average customer.
Many companies have found that it takes a different approach to communicate with members and engage them. Interactions over email often prove very effective at increasing membership renewals. For example, the Idaho Conservation League (ICL), an organization dedicated to protecting the environment, was able to increase their membership renewal count by using 5 key strategies, as discussed below:
1. Collect and Store Member Data in Your CRM
One of the key factors in developing a truly effective email campaign to boost membership renewal is personalization. That starts with the collection and storage of member data in a company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, like Salesforce.
You should compile as much information about each member as possible. For example, try to create a database with the following fields:
- Date of birth
- Membership type
- Membership renewal date
- Which programs the member is signed up for
- Events attended by the member
- Other data points
The more member data that you collect and store, the easier it will be for you to create a truly personalized experience for them.
2. Engage Your Members in Meaningful Ways
Now that you have stockpiled a wealth of member data, use it to develop personalized campaigns that are really meaningful to your audience. This goes far beyond broadcasting a generic newsletter-type email. Many companies try to engage members by sending them an email on their birthday. A more personalized approach could be sending out updates on programs or events that the member has signed up for or would most likely be interested in. For instance, ICL creates specialized campaigns for members who are passionate about protecting public lands, complete with updates on the progress of their work.
3. Be Mindful of Timing
We have all have been exposed to “information overload” at one time or another. The fact is, we’re all bombarded by texts, phone calls, tweets, and emails on a daily basis. As a result, even your most devoted members may become fatigued if you send out too many emails, or do so at the wrong time.
A better option would be to pick and choose when to reconnect with your members, and how to do so. For example, if you reach out to them a few days or weeks before an upcoming event that they signed up for, your content will appeal to them because of its relevance, and because the event is already top of mind.
4. Leverage the Right Technology
A CRM connected to the right email marketing platform can work wonders for your membership renewal campaign. A high performing platform should be able to help you segment your target members, automate your campaign, and send out beautiful and responsive emails. For instance, ICL uses Salesforce + Predictive Response to automatically pull a specific segment of members into a campaign based on their membership data from Salesforce. So members who are interested in restoring the Snake River in Idaho, for example, will be funneled into that specific email campaign.
5. Create a Drip Campaign to Automate Efforts
Many email marketing efforts can be automated with long-term drip campaigns. This includes membership renewal drives.
As an illustration of this principle, consider ICL’s drip campaign strategy. Their Predictive Response email platform automatically sends members into a drip campaign 30 days from their membership renewal deadline. Predictive Response’s Campaign Flow feature allows ICL to pull individuals into the campaign as their expiration date appears, and push them back out as they engage and donate. This saves time because staff members no longer need to send out reminder emails manually.
The Idaho Conservation League has been successful in increasing digital membership renewals by implementing these 5 strategies, using Predictive Response email campaigns. To learn more about what the ICL did and the results they’ve achieved, read the full case study here.