How to Increase Your Member Retention with a New Marketing Strategy


Use this helpful tool to clearly an effective marketing strategy for your association

The Unspoken Problem All Associations Struggle With

“What is the biggest challenge that your association is facing right now to grow your membership?”
This is a question we ask every association we work with.
We are always curious to hear their answers, but also pretty confident we know what they will say.
Everyone is in consensus about one thing: association membership renewal struggles!
Associations consistently struggle with renewals, and chances are your association does, too. Don’t beat yourself up — you aren’t alone.

Simply put – by engaging your members. When your members are engaged, they will renew their membership because they are getting value from the benefits they use and the connections they make. They see the return on their investment.

Increased member engagement will lead to member retention, and in turn, a more prosperous association where your members see the value they are getting by being a part of it. They will fully understand how much they are gaining, and won’t want to miss out.

Easier than Done: Why Aren’t Members Engaged?

While the importance of engagement is widely acknowledged, achieving it proves to be more intricate than a mere aspiration. The disconnect between intention and implementation often arises from various factors, such as unclear communication, lack of personalized interaction, and insufficient motivation. Organizations may struggle to bridge the gap between their goals and the members’ expectations, leading to a sense of detachment.

Additionally, external factors like competing priorities and information overload in the digital age contribute to the difficulty in maintaining sustained engagement.
The average association member doesn’t utilize 90 percent of the benefits you offer. This may seem concerning but don’t doubt the value of your member benefits just yet. Underutilized member benefits don’t mean that your benefits lack value; it is likely due to ineffective marketing.

3 tips to improve your benefits marketing, and in turn, increase your member retention and member engagement:

Tip#1: Create a Member Engagement Strategy in Your Association

Developing a robust member engagement strategy is imperative for associations seeking to cultivate a vibrant and connected community. A successful strategy begins with a comprehensive understanding of the diverse needs and interests of members.

Here is an example of how an association I am a member of put this into play: The Association for CEOs in Technology pairs up new members as accountability partners. I was matched with another CEO of a technology company that I could relate to. We connected on Slack and set up a weekly check-in call. We shared our goals and helped keep the others accountable to reach them.
Through some strategic planning and management of this program, they were able to offer immense value with very little heavy lifting on their part. Your association can do the same.

Tip #2: Revisit How You Group Your Members

The traditional one-size-fits-all approach often falls short in recognizing the diverse interests, needs, and levels of engagement within a membership base. Another suggestion we offer clients is that the “average member” is a myth.
That’s right, there is no such thing as an average member. If you are targeting your “average member,” that might very well be exactly where you are losing them.

You probably segment your members or audience by demographics, grouping them by age, status, or location. While this might be the typical way to categorize members, consider trying a new approach for better results. Just because people are roughly the same age or live in a similar part of town doesn’t necessarily mean they are looking for the same things from their associations. Explore better ways to group your members for more effective marketing.

Additionally, it facilitates the creation of more personalized and meaningful member experiences, fostering a sense of belonging and relevance. As the landscape of associations evolves, the ability to adapt member grouping strategies becomes instrumental in ensuring sustained engagement and value for all members.

Tip #3: Focus on the Most Important Membership Benefits

There is a joke that goes like this:
“How do you eat an elephant?”
“One bite at a time.”

Elephants are huge, and your potential marketing to-do item is just as big. In refining an association’s approach, it is crucial to concentrate on the most essential membership benefits to deliver maximum value to members.

Your association likely has a lot of great benefits and resources to market. Our suggestion: don’t fall into the trap of marketing all of them all at once. It will be an information overload for your audience. How much do you retain when you’re overloaded with information? A confused buyer doesn’t buy.

Instead, start with one or two key benefits that you want to communicate to your members. Start with your benefits that you know are valuable but are underutilized. Create a complete campaign around those specific benefits and figure out exactly how you will communicate them to your members.

Remember: Be specific. Put yourself in their shoes and let them know exactly how they can take advantage of those benefits, and why the resources benefit members. By emphasizing and optimizing the most important membership benefits, associations can cultivate a stronger connection with their members and reinforce their relevance within the professional community.

Ready to Create a Marketing Action Plan?

Book a call today with a digital strategist to help you create an impactful marketing action plan that will help grow your pros


Farhad Khan, CEO

A tech entrepreneur specialized in creating membership websites for professional associations to increase member engagement. My background is as an engineer for Nortel and Ericsson. I started my own tech company in 2009 to help associations and nonprofits solve their challenges with my digital technology skills.