Member loyalty is too often overlooked when aiming to build a substantial membership base.
Consider the basic steps in member acquisition: 1.Identify prospects; 2.Engage prospects; 3.Convert prospects to leads; 4.Convert leads to members
In this piece, we are focusing on step number 5: Retain members.
Most marketing efforts are focused on member acquisition. Prospects are wooed and courted and given the big show when they first walk in the door. Once they’ve become members, however, they are often forgotten and neglected. That is the failing point.
Following are our tips that will not only help you retain your vital members, but turn them into an extension of your marketing plan.
A: Build a relationship.
When you think of your members, think about the meaning of “membership.” It’s not individuals coming and going. It’s individuals forming a group. Membership implies belonging, camaraderie and relationships. Let your members enjoy that feeling.
B: Maintain contact.
In any relationship, maintaining contact is necessary to keep things moving forward. If a member comes in regularly, contact can be made at the front desk or when moving through the club.
If a member’s attendance lapses, this is where neglect can set in. Instead, reaching out through phone or email, letting the member know that their absence is noticed and felt can make all the difference. A member’s birthday, membership anniversary and holidays are always appropriate times for contact.
C: Develop loyalty.
Once you have a relationship and regular contact with a member, you can develop member loyalty. Converting a regular member to a loyal member can seem like a daunting task. In reality, it merely takes consistency and little “extras.” Friendly recognition, personalization, rewards and incentives are all excellent ways to inspire loyalty in a member.
D: Member loyalty utilizes itself
Loyal members aren’t only beneficial for their attendance and purchasing power. A loyal member will advocate and promote for you via word of mouth and social media. They will be the first to participate in incentive based referral promotions, helping you to grow your membership. Referrals from loyal members are more likely to become loyal members themselves. And, when it comes time to renew memberships, loyal members are the most likely to renew and to renew the earliest.
- Each of these steps can be enhanced through incentives. An appropriately timed gift card can say, “thank you for joining,” “we miss you,” “we appreciate your membership,” or, “thank you for your referral.” These gifts or extras not only build the loyalty, but cement it.