Lapsed members. Every association deals with the issue, but failure to renew doesn’t have to be the end of the story. There’s always an opportunity to re-engage lapsed members. Here’s how.
How to re-engage lapsed association members
First, understand lapsed members.
According to recent Community Brands research, most Members who fail to renew do so because of cost or a change in their lives, such as switching jobs, balancing family and professional priorities during the pandemic, or retiring.
Another top reason for lapsing is that the organization was providing little value. Combined, “became too costly” and “providing little value” really put members at risk for non-renewal. Do your members leave for similar reasons?
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Next, create a winning re-engagement campaign.
While lapsed members may appear to be an “easier sell” because they’re already familiar with your organization, they’ve also made the decision to say good-bye. Creating a thoughtful, strategy for re-engagement that makes them feel valued is a must.
- Utilize the personal and behavioral data in your association management software (AMS), online community and learning management software (LMS).
- Incorporate the learnings from your exit surveys to spark new engagement ideas.
- Drive interest in your upcoming programming and events. This serves as an important reminder for the evolving value of your organization’s membership.
- Come up with a catchy theme for the campaign, such as “Baby, Come Back!”
What does a lapsed member campaign look like? Here is an example:
- Renewal notifications prior to expiration date: Remind members their renewal date is approaching.
- Membership expired: Remind them that their association membership ends today and that you hope they’ll renew right away so they don’t miss out on any benefits.
- Then for up to three months, send monthly renewal notifications. Automated touch points can usually be set up within your association management system so nothing is missed. Remember, your members might have been busy around the time of their expiration day. Checking in with them a month after expiration day gives them some space after your first email and still allows you to give them another chance to renew. You should send at least one email but sending more than three becomes excessive.
- Then, one to three months later, send an exit survey. Make sure you get them before they forget too much. Exit survey responses can provide a helpful basis for personalized offer messages.
- If they don’t complete the exit survey, send a reminder in two to three weeks. As with all surveys, you will most likely get a higher response if you offer some type of incentive, even if it’s small.
- Take a break and give the lapsed member some breathing room. Send no communication for some time.
- Start your win-back campaign two to six months after your exit survey. Successful associations do an email campaign with five to six touch points in conjunction with digital advertising retargeting.
- Release those who are unresponsive. Continuing to email those that are not opening your emails will hurt your deliverability rate, and you’re just becoming a pest.
Don’t let your story end with a failure to renew. With a winning re-engagement campaign, you’ll remind your lapsed members of the value your organization has provided and re-kindle the relationship with those members whose interest may have faded.
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