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Posted by Kendra Lusty on Sep 10, 2019 8:26:55 AM

Congratulations! You’ve attracted yourself a new member and you’re bound to be best friends forever, right?

The reality, unfortunately, is that most members won’t stick with you beyond the first week, and even more will disappear by the end of a month. 

Those that stick around for the long haul are your loyal members and your best source of income.

But first you have to get them to stay.

New members are notoriously quick to abandon loyalty programs when they don’t see immediate value. They delete apps, leave points unredeemed, fail to continue a free trial and basically forget you exist. This happens when people don’t immediately see the value of membership.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Aug 13, 2019 9:09:28 AM

In simplest terms, successfully managing (and growing) any membership organization boils down to two key objectives. 

Member acquisition. And member retention.

While many membership professionals focus their growth strategies on luring new members into the fold, the bigger and more urgent challenge that most organizations face today is churn – i.e., the unhappy outflow of members who for whatever reason decide their needs have not been adequately met.

For example, more than 20% of members say they have canceled their membership or let it lapse in the last year. And when asked their reason for ending membership, 32% said it was too costly, 19% said it had too little value, 16% forgot to renew, 13% can get same benefits elsewhere, and 12% said there was a decline in benefits.

So what can you do about member churn? Focus heavily on member engagement.

Simply put, member engagement is the ongoing interaction between a member and organization in exchange for meaningful value.

In previous blog posts, we’ve also defined it as “…building relationships with your members, adding value to their lives and capturing their attention just often enough to remind them of the role you play in it so there’s never a doubt.”

For example, 58% of alumni organizations report a lack of engagement as the primary reason members don’t renew.

Member engagement is something many organizations continually contemplate, but rarely take the time to define. A key component mentioned in the definition above is that in order to achieve meaningful engagement, interaction must be frequent. Sending emails one or two times a year won’t cut it.

The other essential piece of information the definition points out, is that there must be value involved in the transaction that is of personal relevance to members. Offering them something like a logoed bottle opener or a campus bookstore discount is unlikely to be enough to cross that perceived value "tipping point."

Member engagement is affirmed, reaffirmed and/or damaged with every interaction, including reading a tweet or Facebook post, a “Like” on Instagram, looking at an email, utilizing member benefits, etc.

Each of these interactions should be connecting the organization with the member’s needs and preferences. Create those relevant messages with frequency, and that’s how member engagement is built.

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Posted by Ashley Autry on Aug 1, 2019 10:49:21 AM

With summer winding down, back-to-school season is in full swing. Many parents have started the annual, costly ritual of shopping for another school year.

Posted by Gary Toyn on Jul 25, 2019 10:33:47 AM

We’ve written previously about the underlying science behind why discounts are such a powerful member/customer engagement tool. Aside from the rush of endorphins that comes from getting a good deal, evolutionary science tells us that our brains are hard-wired to conserve our resources and avoid inefficiencies. That’s why saving money is a universal desire.

So it’s no coincidence that virtually every retailer, airline, supermarket and restaurant offers a discount or rewards program. Most membership organizations understand the potential impact of offering a discount program as part of their membership perks because of how such programs drive member retention (among other favorable behaviors.)

With the increasing popularity of using discounts as rewards and incentives, it’s not surprising that more and more discount programs have sprung up, trying to sell their white-labeled discount network (also called a private-labeled discount network) to member associations, trade organizations and other membership-based groups.

But not all discount networks work the same. And not all can drive member retention and boost acquisition rates.

If your organization is considering a white-labeled discount program to help you connect, attract and engage your members, good for you. It’s a wise decision that has helped many organizations grow.

Once you’ve decided to offer a discount program, what criteria should you use to find the best one suited for your organization? As the competition for your attention intensifies, so too will the intensity of the competing voices who are trying to win your business.

As a result, be prepared to encounter some rather creative methods with how discount networks compare themselves to their competitors. Here are some of the tricks some companies use to trick you, and how they spin their message to get you to sign on the dotted line.

Posted by Kendra Lusty on Jul 18, 2019 10:07:28 AM

I live in a small town and our only shoe store, Payless Shoes, recently went out of business. And while their liquidation sales were awesome – $2 per pair boys dress shoes? I bought one in every size! – now what?

Between my elementary-aged kids’ ever changing shoe sizes, and my inability to be comfortable in anything more confining than a flip flop, I never buy shoes online.

In case you missed it, Payless Shoes recently closed every store and its ecommerce operations in US and Canada “as a result of a challenging retail climate.”

If you believe the news, you’d probably say Payless is just the next chain in a long line of mega-retailers to fall victim to the dreaded retail apocalypse.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Jul 11, 2019 11:38:50 AM

It seems these days everyone has a loyalty program – coffee shops, restaurants, airlines, education associations, hotels, retailers, etc.

And if you’re not currently rewarding your loyal customers and members for their stellar engagement and dedication to your brand or organization, then it's probably time to get moving.

Why? Because 70% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand with a good loyalty program, 77% say loyalty programs make them more likely to stay with brands, and 63% say they modify their spending habits to maximize loyalty benefits.

Not only are a lot of businesses, brands and organizations offering loyalty programs, member benefits and discount programs, but a lot of consumers and members are actively participating in them, too.

We're talking 43% of 18-24 year olds, 57% of 25-34 year olds, 66% of 35-44 year olds, 71% of 55-64 year olds and 65% of 65+ years who currently participate in at least one loyalty program.

So, we thought it’d be a good idea to once again delve into our 2018 and 2019 loyalty stats pages to gain some insight on what people really want out of their loyalty program(s).

After all, if a loyalty program is going to effectively do its job – creating higher engagement and long-term loyalty among users – then it has to offer relevant value. So let’s find out what members think is and isn’t valuable when it comes to loyalty programs – at least according to the data.

We’ve ranked these loyalty attributes on a scale of “Heck Yes” → “Nice to Have” → “No Thanks.