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Loyal members do more than just stick around. They put your organization’s resources into practice, advocate for your mission, and persuade new members to join them. They’re the key to a long lasting, healthy membership program.

By contrast, members who are present due to inertia are at best indifferent and disengaged. At worst, they’re actively unhappy and might even dissuade new members from signing up.

There’s a big difference between a loyal, engaged member and one who simply hasn’t gotten around to quitting.

Yet to membership organizations that only look at retention rates, these two kinds of members might initially appear to be the same. Want to make sure your members want to stick around? Here are three actionable, common-sense tactics you can use to increase members’ loyalty today. 

Call members to check in

If you want to understand whether members find your organization valuable, the best option is to simply ask. Once you’ve assembled a customer success team, task them with a series of outbound calls to assess whether your members are loyal or at risk of drifting away.

There are many ways to design a robust outbound call program. Options include:

  • Specifically targeting members who haven’t engaged in recent events
  • Segmenting your audience based on when members joined, then comparing their responses
  • Randomizing your membership and calling a diverse cross-section

No matter which path you choose, be sure to develop strategic questions. You’ll be able to use members’ answers to identify and address any obstacles that are blocking their loyalty. 

Track and analyze member data 

Your organization should track and analyze data about your members. This data can reveal which popular membership benefits keep visitors coming back — as well as missed opportunities that need to be addressed.

Members might initially join your organization to gain access to research materials. But if your website makes it difficult to find these vital resources, their loyalty will fade into frustration and inertia. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of software tools that make collecting and leveraging data a breeze. You could:

  • Determine how many subscribers open your newsletters
  • Identify user experience issues by studying a website heat map
  • Analyze website traffic to identify underutilized resources that need extra promotion

With the right data analysis, you can make informed decisions about where to invest in improvements to your membership program.

Focus on increasing engagement

It’s easy to quit a membership program you barely use — but it’s much more difficult to leave a thriving community that continuously provides value. If you want to increase members’ loyalty, you have to earn a place in their daily lives.

Used wisely, digital marketing channels can produce substantial engagement. Aim to increase vital engagement metrics such as:

  • The number of likes, comments and new followers on your social media channels
  • Overall website traffic
  • Responses to specific calls to action
  • The number of new members who join each month
  • Donations to important initiatives

Increasing engagement among existing members, as well as the general public, can help your organization stay top-of-mind. When your organization earns members’ attention and engagement, it’s more likely you’ll earn their loyalty, too.

Heather Nolan
Post by Heather Nolan
October 5, 2020
Heather a skilled communicator with expertise in social media and marketing strategy, brand management and journalism. She uses storytelling and audience growth skills to help companies showcase their brand and expand their reach.