Your Memberships Are Down…Now, What Do You Do?

membership, join, membershipsThe livelihood of a credit union or any membership driven organization is found within its membership. And just the same as any other business, growing your membership should be your main strategic goal. After all, a growing membership usually translates into an increase in your profit levels. You can look at increasing your membership from two different views; growing by attracting new members, or growing organically by offering your members new products and services.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the approaches mentioned above. We’ll also look at some ideas for implementing these approaches and strategies.

Attracting New Members

Just like Marketing 101, to attract new members, it is imperative to know your audience. Not only should you know them, but you also need to understand them. Key questions that you should be able to answer about existing and prospect customers include:

  • Where do they live?
  • What type of income do they have?
  • What other financial institutions do they do business with?
  • What kind of offers might they be attracted to?

Additionally, keep in mind that you’ll need to take a multi-channel, multi-touch approach when attracting new members. People these days receive offers on a daily basis. Some of them are even bombarded with offers from one minute to the next. How you differentiate your credit union plays a vital part in whether you’re able to effectively attract and secure new members. So, the question is, how do you differentiate yourself? It’s simple. You distinguish yourself through repetition, relevancy and a personalized approach.

The next time that you carry out a campaign to attract new members, remember to include these key tactics to make your efforts more effective:

  • Know your member: What do they like? What do they look like? Where do they live? How do they prefer to communicate (on the phone, by email, etc.)? The more you know about them, the more you will be able to tailor messages to them, and relevancy goes a long way in being able to speak to their needs.
  • Show them your value: Educate them about your value proposition and the benefits of joining your organization.
  • Communicate often: Take advantage of the many communication channels that are available. Remember that direct mail is not dead and leverage this type of communication with personalized messages followed up by emails, SMS or social media connections.

If you don’t know how to gather information about prospective new members, try doing a search campaign. A search campaign may include personalized URLs (PURLs) that inquire about those prospective members’ needs and likes and allow you to capture information that a third-party list provider might not be able to provide.

Growing Your Membership Base

Research shows that 80 percent of your profits will come from 20 percent of your membership. Keeping this in mind, you need to be looking for ways to maximize the potential of those 20 percent. Did you know that members become more loyal to your organization if they have five or more products/services with you? Many members won’t bother with searching around for another provider because they have so many products/services through you. It would be hard for them to move their accounts someplace else.

When you’re trying to grow your membership base, which should be all the time, then you need to understand that the first 90 days after they join your credit union are very vital. You need to consistently present them with relevant offers. A personalized, highly-targeted onboarding program can help you manage the tedious task of communicating with your new members often. Make sure that the process is automated and that it provides you with results for each one of the communication channels that you’re using. The main idea is for you to be able to link a touch with a revenue stream to understand your true ROI.

Another way you can grow your membership base is by better understanding the 20 percent of your members that make up the 80 percent of your profits. Do you have a way to segment these members? Ideally, you want to place them into buckets and categorize them by their transactional behavior. This type of intelligence will allow you to better communicate with them and present them with products and services that truly fit their wants and needs. The relevant offerings that you provide them with will be too good to refuse; this will result in you being able to increase your revenue and maximizing your ROI.

The Take Away

So, there you have it! If your membership is down, there’s no need to panic. There are many strategies that can put you back on the right track. You just need to be clever about your own members’ data and smart when requesting third-party data to reach new members. Common sense will also go a long way in helping you to choose wisely the strategies and tactics that will provide you with the best return. If you find yourself researching for ideas, please feel free to contact me. I would love to share industry standards and practices with you.

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