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Word-of-mouth recommendations and email communications were the two best channels for new member acquisition for membership organizations last year, according to Marketing General Incorporated’s latest Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report

The report provides important data and analysis on membership organizations and their members, offering insight into new membership models, communication methods, dues increases, best practices and products and services that have improved member participation.

According to the report, individual member organizations, trade organizations and organizations with a combination of membership types reported that word-of-mouth recommendations and email communications were the two highest channels for new member acquisition: 67% and 52%, respectively.

With over 860 associations making up the respondent pool, having such a large percentage back up these methods reinforces why others should adopt the same strategies.

When asked to describe a successful engagement or retention strategy, one respondent said they “divide, through data analysis, (their) members into engagement segments.” Depending on the results, this respondent’s organization sends each segment different messages. “Through this strategy, we consistently maintain 83%+ membership engaged in one or more programs,” they continued.

Not only does personalizing your messaging increase engagement, it also increases the likelihood of your audience passing word-of-mouth recommendations. According to Invesp, “88% of consumers placed the highest level of trust in word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know.” Fostering a personal connection with your audience builds the trust necessary to inspire a good word of mouth review.

Another respondent said that “since completing a Member Value Proposition study, (they) have begun focusing more on marketing content (they) are creating/providing for (their) members instead of the ‘benefits’ of membership and have found an increase in the open and click rates of (their) emails which has led to increased attendance at our webinars and in-person events.”

Creating bigger, better, newer and nicer content for your membership is not always the right answer. As this respondent found, focusing on the value of content already provided strengthened the relationship between their organization and its existing membership. Taking a step back to conduct a self audit and refocus retention efforts internally could lead to increased engagement and retention outcomes.

Read the rest of the report by downloading The 2020 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report here.

Ashley Neal
Post by Ashley Neal
September 10, 2020
Ashley is a marketing and communications professional with expertise in sales conversion, copywriting, and social media.