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5 Strategies to Improve Your Membership Retention Rate

To keep your member-based organization solvent, you must retain as many members as possible. While a lot of organizations focus on endless marketing campaigns to bring in new members, it’s equally, if not more, important to keep the members that you already have. Otherwise, you create a leaking bucket where old members leave as new members arrive.

Let’s discuss how to plug up the leaks and improve your membership retention rate. The below strategies will improve member satisfaction, lengthen your member life cycle, and provide them with alternatives to canceling. Let’s get started.

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Identify Signs of Attrition

You can’t rescue members from churning if you don’t know when churn is likely to occur. Therefore, before we delve into retention strategies, let’s identify tell-tale signs that a member is about to leave your organization.

Dwindling or lack of activity
One of the most notable signs that member churn is imminent is a noticeable drop in activity. If a once-active member is now logging in to your membership site less often or not showing up to member events, churn is on the horizon.

Uptick in complaints
Have you received an increase in complaints, not just from one member but from multiple members? Remember that not every member will voice their frustration and simply leave. However, the ones who do should be valued because they provide valuable insight into trouble areas in your organization. Fix these areas to prevent member churn.

Increase in fees
Every organization increases its membership fees from time to time, ideally once a year. However, when you do increase your fees, brace yourself for a small amount of churn. If you experience a lot of churn (more than 10%), it may indicate that your fee increase is too high. This is why it’s important to raise your fees incrementally every year and avoid a huge fee jump.

Rewards for new members only, but not anything for established members
A lot of member-based organizations make the error of providing all of the benefits to incoming members but nothing for loyal members. Keep in mind that your members will see any extra incentives that you provide for your incoming members. The disparity between the benefits that a new member receives versus what an established member receives often leads to dissatisfaction and eventually churn.

A change in company structure
If you work primarily with corporate accounts, you know how important it is to maintain a positive relationship with your key contact. However, if that person changes positions or leaves the company, that entire account could be in jeopardy. When contacts change, churn is probable unless you quickly establish a relationship with the replacement. You must work quickly to demonstrate the value that your organization presents to the company.

1. Develop Your Engagement Scoring

To retain members, you need to score them based on their activity and behavior. This allows you to tailor your messages and outreach accordingly.

A simple way to segment your members is into three groups: Very Engaged, Moderately Engaged, Not Engaged. Ideally, you want those who are very engaged to remain that way. It makes sense to send more opportunities for engagement to these members, as well as expand their opportunities to share your brand with others. You may invite these members to refer others to you. Another option is to invite them to exclusive meetings where you celebrate their involvement with gifts and other incentives.

For both the moderately and the not engaged groups, you may show them other ways to get involved in your organization. Perhaps invite them to join you on social media or set up special networking events. It may be useful to send educational emails and case studies that show these groups how to get the most out of their memberships.

To accurately determine engagement levels, look at the member’s involvement in the following areas:

  • Email opens and click throughs
  • Website logins and pages that are visited
  • Social media participation
  • In person event attendance

2. Don’t Look at Cancel as the End of the Road

Just because a member initiates a cancel, it doesn’t mean that they’re gone for good. Some savvy members will cancel with anticipation that you’ll respond with special financial incentives to keep them active, such as a discount code. Others simply may not feel like they’re getting any value from your organization, and there’s little you can do to change their mind. However, there is another group that’s still on the fence about whether or not to cancel. Depending on their reason, you may be able to woo them back.

Whenever a member initiates a cancel or do not renew request, send an email to ask why. You can then counter with an offer that persuades them to stay. Perhaps the offer is to upgrade to a different account for the same price. Or perhaps you can offer hands on guidance to ensure that the member receives the maximum benefit from being a part of your organization.

[bctt tweet=”When a member initiates a cancel, it doesn’t mean that they’re gone for good. Here’s what we mean:” username=”accredible”]

3. Make Your Pricing Simple

Pricing can be a headache for your members. Often, members join an organization expecting that their annual membership fee covers their entire list of benefits. However, some organizations charge for each individual service separately, which can be frustrating for members.

To avoid unclear pricing, offer a flat fee that’s free of loopholes. You can also offer transparent but tiered pricing where members clearly see the benefits they gain from each level of membership.

4. Make Renewal Easy

Renewing membership should be so easy that members shouldn’t need to think about it. If a member needs to manually renew membership, they’ll need to spend time evaluating your value versus your fee. If they’re not sure about your value, they’ll eventually opt out of renewing.

To prevent this from happening, be sure to have a credit card on file for automatic renewal. Then, on the renewal date, charge the card and then send a billing confirmation email. In that email, be sure to thank the member for renewing, and offer a list of the benefits that the member receives. To take it one step further, also share how the member has specifically benefited from being a part of your organization for the past year.

Another option is to offer multiple year renewals at one time. This way, you can lock the member in for two, five, ten years, or even a lifetime.

5. Correct Payment Issues Immediately

What happens when you bill the card on file for a membership renewal, but it declines? A surprising amount of organizations fall silent and neglect to reach out to the member about the declined payment.

The right course of action is to send an email immediately to let the member know that something went wrong with the payment. This gives them a chance to correct the issue. Perhaps the credit card information was changed within the last year, and they simply had not updated their files accordingly. An immediately deployed dunning email will rescue the member from churning.

Final Thoughts

To prevent members from churning, it requires a thoughtful strategy. Use the above tips to improve satisfaction levels and your membership retention rate.

Before you go, check out these related posts:

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Adding a Live Class to Your Certification Program

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Is it a good idea to add a live class to your certification program? What are the benefits? What should you consider before going live in front of your students?

If you’re contemplating whether or not to add a live component to your program, keep reading. In this guide, we’ll discuss why a live class is likely a great addition to your program. We’ll also share a list of the best practices to follow when offering live classes to your students.

Let’s get started.

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What are the Benefits of Adding Live Classes to Your Program?

What will you and your students gain by adding a live class to your certification program? In other words, how can you sell the idea of live classes to your students? Here’s a list of the most compelling reasons to go live

Live Virtual Classes Can Be Taken in Pajamas

There’s no need for your students to dress up to attend a class. Students can wear whatever they like, without breaking the dress code.

Live Virtual Classes Are Location Independent

Thanks to the Internet, live classes can also be accessed through multiple platforms, such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Your student doesn’t need to be tied to a specific location, as long as they have access to a reliable Internet service. Another bonus? Learning from the comfort of one’s own “space” can make the class more enjoyable and less intimidating.

Live Virtual Classes Can Save Your Students Money

When you offer virtual classes, the student will save the money that would otherwise be spent on transit or travel. Plus, there’s no need for a babysitter.

Interact With Instructors in Real Time

Most certification programs are asynchronous, meaning that they’re self-paced. However, including a live class to your program can add more value to your students. Your students will be able to interact with their instructors during the class. They can receive immediate answers to their questions.

Live Classes Help Students Fully Understand the Material

Because of its built-in interactive component, a live class means that the instructor can provide instant feedback to the students. Instructors can also survey the class to determine if the material is resonating, and make real-time adjustments to help students better understand the lesson.

Provides Face-to-Face Communication

You can opt for video classes where the instructor and the students can see each other live. This type of synchronous communication can make the class feel more interactive. Face-to-face communication allows your instructors to transfer their enthusiasm to the students.

Provides a Social Environment

Speaking of interaction, a live classroom setting allows students to relate to each other. Students can build professional relationships that will likely benefit them in the future. Students can learn from each other, too. A live classroom can cultivate discussions and allow students to explore different aspects of the material. The social aspect of a live classroom also increases personal accountability.

Offers Flexibility

In a virtual environment, getting to class is easier than getting across town. For busy professionals who need to balance continuing education with home life, it can be a challenge to find the time to attend classes. Then, there’s the added time of traveling to and from class. This time investment often discourages students from enrolling in a certification course. However, with a virtual class, you can appeal to professionals who are short on time. A live class can offer flexibility to those with demanding schedules.

Demonstrates a Procedure

Most people are visual learners. With a live class, you can show your students how to perform a specific task in real time.

You Can Source Instructors From Anywhere

With an in-person class, you’re limited in your choice of instructors. With a live virtual class, you can work with an instructor from anywhere in the world. Just like the student, the instructor can sign into the classroom from anywhere in the country or world. You can recruit the best instructors for the job, period.

More Likely to Complete the Course

Self-paced programs are only as effective as the student: it’s easy to lose motivation because there’s no one there to hold them accountable or miss them when they’re gone. In a live virtual class, students can develop meaningful relationships with the instructor and other students. These bonds can encourage the student to continue through the duration of the program.

Reach More People in a Virtual Environment

An in-person classroom is limited in capacity. Depending on the size of your classroom, you may only be able to host a few dozen students maximum. However, in a virtual environment, you can scale your classroom and reach more students.

[bctt tweet=”In a virtual environment, you can scale your classroom and reach more students. Here’s why:” username=”accredible”]

Students Can Re-Watch

For students who can’t make it to the live class, you can also record the class for them to access at their convenience. The ability to re-watch a live class can benefit students who want to go back and understand a topic more fully.

You can Charge More for This Premium Offering

Although live virtual classes do save money for the student, you can also charge a premium for this offering. Because of the benefits listed above, a live class is well worth an extra charge. Increase the profitability of your certification program by upselling students on a live virtual class component.

Best Practices for Offering Live Classes

Now that we’ve outlined the top benefits of offering live classes, let’s discuss the best practices to follow.

Offer Multiple Class Times

It’s important to offer multiple class times so that you can fit with different schedules. While you don’t want to go overboard by trying to accommodate every student, you can take a survey and choose the three most popular times to conduct your classes.

Enable Chat

Chat is a crucial element for communicating in a live virtual class environment. Make sure that your class software includes a chat component.

Open the Class to Questions

Encourage students to interact with the instructor and with each other. Answering live questions can also help students who are struggling with the same problem.

Assign an Assistant to Watch the Comments

The instructor may not be able to teach the class while also reading the comments. Assign someone to read and reply to questions and private messages.

Record Classes for Other Students to Take at Their Leisure

As mentioned above, it’s a good practice to record all of your live classes for your student’s future reference.

Test Your Audio and Video

Before the inaugural class, be sure to test your equipment for sound and visual clarity.

Use Email Wisely

Communicate with your students via email. Even though they should be aware of when class starts, send out a reminder email the day before and also a few minutes before the class starts. Include in your email all of the details for logging into the classroom.

Final Thoughts

While the benefits of adding a live class to your certification program is undeniable, also keep in mind that online classes require discipline. Your students will only be as successful as their ability to show up on time and ready to engage. Use these tips to create a live class that your students will enjoy.

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