How Your Chamber of Commerce Can Boost Member Retention Rates
Are you making the right investments to keep existing members?
It’s common knowledge that acquiring new members is far more expensive than retaining existing members, so be sure you aren’t neglecting your current member base in an effort to attract new business. Whether a Chamber of Commerce is successful or not can be directly tied to its retention rate.
While some claim that chambers of commerce are dying out because of continually declining member retention rates, that’s not necessarily the case. The internet age has greatly altered the chamber business model, however, so it’s more important than ever that chambers offer their members significant value while also making it more convenient for them to continually renew their memberships.
Move Renewals Online
To be sure members don’t forget to renew, send out reminder emails that include a direct link to a page on your website where they can safely and conveniently renew their memberships.
Engage Your Member Base
Every chamber must have a robust strategy to engage members in the organization. Try creating social media accounts and connect with members through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Continual engagement can lead to higher member retention rates. You can measure your level of engagement by tracking certain metrics such as email open rates, mentions and interactions on social media, and event RSVPs.
Solicit Feedback from Your Members
Regularly solicit feedback from your members by directly asking them what they like, what they don’t like, what suggestions they have, etc. If some of your existing services and programs are no longer being utilized, get rid of them so that you can focus on offerings that align with your members’ needs.
Share Useful and Relevant Information
Your members are interested in driving sales to their business and advancing their careers and reputation in the community. Try compiling relevant briefings and newsletters for your members to help inform them of current events and trends in their various industries. Only sharing press releases or self-promotional materials about your chamber may get you ignored and frustrate members looking for more substantive information.
Offer Incentives to Renew
To ensure your renewal communications receive sufficient attention, try creating a sense of urgency in your renewal copy. You can also provide existing members with a small incentive if they renew early, such as a complimentary seminar, a free upgrade to enhance their member listing or a free ad in a future chamber publication.
Provide Pre-Paid Envelopes in Mailings
You can make it easy for your members to renew their chamber membership by mail by enclosing pre-paid return envelopes with all mailings sent out around their renewal period. Making this small investment will decrease the chance your members will forget to mail back their renewal documents because they didn’t have stamps available.
Offer Multi-Year Membership Options
Instead of requiring members to renew every year, offer multi-year membership options with discounts to encourage members to renew for multiple years at a time. Multi-year options also give members a good incentive to avoid taking the risk of membership rates increasing in the future by choosing to “lock-in” their renewal rates now.
Develop a Sound Retention Plan
Always plan ahead! Even if your chamber enjoys relatively high retention rates today, start developing a retention plan right away to prevent any potential declines in future renewal rates. Identify the membership needs of your organization, set realistic goals for retention, develop robust strategies, and dedicate your team’s time and resources to put a solid retention plan into action. To help achieve your goals, try developing a series of touchpoints and communications that you can gradually implement to engage your members in chamber activities and updates.