Increasing member retention

In the last two articles we looked at ‘Understanding Your Member Needs’ and ‘How To Communicate The Value’. In this article, we turn the spotlight on digital marketing tactics and tips on how to increase member retention. As we know, that is often harder than winning them in the first place.

Recruiting and on-boarding

Increasing retention does not start just four weeks before they renew, or even six months before – but before they join your association. It’s crucially important to know who your best members will be. Who are the ones most likely to renew? Who will engage with you? And who will be the big advocates? Your recruiting and selection plans must be built around targeting these potential members.

The initial on-boarding plan you provide for new members will form their perception of you. Keep them engaged from day one, therefore, and invest heavily in them. 

What makes your organisation so special?

Why would members want to join? And, more importantly, why would they want to stay? 

I call it the ‘second chocolate’ experience. After a meal in a restaurant, you may expect to get a chocolate with your bill or coffee. That’s standard practice. But when the waiter or waitress delivers a second, you are much more likely to remember that – and far more likely to return again.

It’s a small gesture, yes, but small gestures can go a long way.

Remember this: make sure you deliver what members expect … and then deliver that ‘second chocolate’ experience and delight them!

Segmentation, data and technology

To delight the member, you must understand the different subsets and the different stages of their membership. You must understand their interests, what channels they’re in, and capture that information whenever you can. All touch points must be covered. Whether you are a trade or membership association will dictate the approach to this.

But, in most cases, having a good CRM and/or a Marketing Automation software and, crucially, a strategy or plan to ensure its adoption and usage will ensure targets and goals are met.

Essentially, the two systems do the same thing  – they collect and manage prospective member and member data. The CRM concentrates on the sales focus and the Marketing Automation provides an online marketing focus.

The choice of systems out there is extensive, and many perform both functions. But, before you even start looking for technology solutions, you must first look at your marketing objectives and business processes. You must also understand your customer/member journeys.  Study the technology and systems you use, and agree on your ideal results.  Then you can look for the technology gaps, with two options –  either deciding whether to plug these gaps, or integrating with a new CRM or marketing automation software.

Content and communication

With the digital tools now available, it is possible for every association to deliver targeted messages through the correct channels. It is easy to monitor and capture that data, and refine it if needed.

Once these channels are developed, the temptation – and very often the mistake – is using this opportunity to sell.  The emphasis of these messages should be educating and imparting knowledge.

It should be on providing the value you promised the member on joining.  If the member feels you have provided value, the sales will come.

However, with all the tactics and digital tools, channels and methods mentioned above, never forget the importance of spending time with your members. If you have any chance to engage – any chance at all – you must take it. Then, and only then, will you learn about the problems they have.

Then, and only then, can you solve those problems … and, as a result, provide the value members cherish.


For more information on understanding your member needs, please call Ben Sturt on 07469 768990 or email


Chrysalis Digital provides a digital transformation service designed to help build a more agile, efficient and innovative organisation. With its broad cross sector experience Chrysalis has helped many organisations map their digital path and through careful planning and assessment, choose the right technology partners.   Chrysalis Digital is 100% agnostic when recommending CMS and CRM suppliers to its clients.