Marketing a membership programme is no different from marketing any other product or service. To be successful, you must recognise that it is a continual process that needs to be delivered, reviewed and refined regularly.
As with all marketing programmes, you need to understand who your target audience is so that you can attract new clients and then learn how best to retain them. Realising that your target audience may shift over time, depending on your offering, and existing members may be looking for new or additional benefits from their membership is essential. A process of continuous evaluation needs to be in place to ensure your marketing strategy is fit for purpose.
Understanding your USPs and target audience
This is really the holy grail of any marketing programme. You need to understand how your membership programme will benefit clients. What does it offer that will attract new members, and who is likely to be interested? Armed with this information, you can build a profile of what your ideal client looks like, usually using demographic information such as age, gender, and employment status.
Attracting new clients
Once you’ve worked out your key product messages and target audience, you can start to find them. This may involve direct mail or e-marketing, attending trade events, or if you already have an existing client database, you may want to try a refer-a-friend scheme.
Retaining existing members
Your existing clients are a wealth of information. When treated considerately, they can help you to refine your product and pricing strategies to be as appealing as possible to them and potential new clients. They can be one of your best marketing tools if they are happy to recommend you. According to Harvard Business Research, the number of clients who are willing to promote rather than detract your brand can predict your future growth. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is widely used in business.
Managing and marketing to a membership database can be complex and time-consuming, and many companies choose to use membership management software. Companies such as www.satori-membership-management.co.uk can provide you with this type of software.
Getting the balance right between recruiting new members and retaining existing ones is a challenge most membership organisations face, but it is vital that as much focus is placed on retaining as recruiting.