Member retention is essential for the long-term success of your online community and business. And as a community manager, membership renewals are something that tops your to-do list. So, if you wish for your community members to stick with you for the long-haul, building an out-of-the-box member retention strategy is essential.
The Importance of Membership Renewal in Online Communities
A high renewal rate represents that your existing members find it valuable to be a part of your community. For your community to thrive, you need your existing members just as much as you need newer ones. Especially, after all the time and effort you invest in recruiting, onboarding, and engaging members, a high member renewal rate becomes even more important.
A healthy renewal rate can help you:
- Provide a stable space for members to connect
- Maintain consistent interaction
- Increase revenue through virtual engagement opportunities
- Foster networking with industry professionals
Most community managers make the mistake of putting member retention on the shelf up until the last few months (30-90 days). However, your members start contemplating if they’ll stick around or if they’ll go from the moment they click the ‘Join’ button.
So, how can you make them decide to stick longer with you? Here are six strategies you can follow in order to keep your members hooked to your community –
1. Justify the Value of the Services/Assets You’re Offering
One major reason for your members to stick with you is the benefits you offer to them. That is why your primary goal should be delivering value to your community members by meeting their expectations. Leveraging every opportunity to offer your members the true value of their investment by conducting mentorship programs, conferences, social events, networking events, etc., is a good start. Remember that it is not a one-time thing. You need to provide value to your members continuously.
The best way to evaluate the membership value you offer is by using a satisfaction survey. As a community manager, you need to keep making efforts to collect meaningful feedback from your members to keep improving your offerings. Meeting their needs is possibly the best way to show that you value their participation.
2. Keep in Touch With Members Using Multiple Channels
Another reason members leave is the lack of a sense of belonging. Therefore, keeping in touch with members and making them feel heard, especially from the day they decided to join you is essential. That’s why you can’t ignore the impact of regular communication with them. A well-planned communication plan can do wonders when it comes to member retention improvements.
The main purpose is to boost engagement in your online community. But, don’t just use only your online community to connect with your members. Utilize other channels like email and social to stay connected with them, especially when they’re inactive in the community.
3. Improve Your Offerings as Members’ Needs Change
Most community members leave because they find a better, more relevant community that offers them up-to-date information and better engagement. As a community manager, you need to be proactive towards such changes. It comes down to understanding the changing patterns and anticipating what is going to trend in the upcoming days. Once you’ve recognized changes, evaluate your offerings against them. It will enable you to gauge if you’re up-to-date with the latest trends and what changes you need to make in your content strategy.
4. Develop a Detailed Membership Retention Plan
Efficient planning is key to achieving great results. If you are waiting till the last moment to convince your existing members to renew their membership, the result may not be satisfactory. As a community manager, create a membership retention plan that spans from member onboarding until renewal.
Here’s what a detailed retention plan should include:
- List of activities to engage community members
- Detailed welcoming, onboarding, mentoring, and engaging process
- Regular surveys to collect feedback from members
- Member satisfaction surveys
- Expected changes and implementation strategy
- Renewal notifications and post-renewal thank you emails
5. Remind Your Members About Their Upcoming Membership Renewal
According to a survey, 29%[i] of members don’t renew simply because they forget. It will certainly be an exercise in futility if you managed to convince community members to renew their membership but they couldn’t because they forgot. This is probably the easiest challenge to overcome to boost membership retention.
Start notifying your members about their pending membership renewal at least 90-days ahead. You can notify them via email, private message, or even social media, all while ensuring that you don’t spam them. Create an easy and accessible membership renewal process that requires minimum input. To make it even better, incorporate auto-renewal by opting for an advanced community platform like Salesforce, Jive, Khoros, or others.
An effective auto-renewal plan will –
- Remove interruptions in the continuation of your relationship with your members
- Eliminate the burden of going through lengthy renewal processes
- Reduce the overhead of follow-up and other administrative processes
6. Build Valuable Community Experiences That Bring Solid Value to Your Members
If you want to have lasting community memberships, you must offer long-term value to your members. Ensure that the success of your members is your first priority so that they stay longer in your community. Leverage learning management systems, networking opportunities, mentoring tools, etc, to gain insights into what they expect.
Running a membership-based online community demands more effort than a generic online community. Community managers constantly need to prove the value of their community to convince members to renew their memberships. You can leverage these practices to win your member’s commitment and make communities a consistent collaboration space for them.
Wish to Curate Vibrant Communities to Offer Membership-Worthy Experiences? Talk to Us!
Team Grazitti is adept at creating robust and scalable online communities that align with your business objectives. Learn more about our CMaaS expertise or just drop us a line at [email protected] and we’ll take it from there.
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