Written by Nilda Cerna, Marketing Manager at Romax Marketing & Distribution.
Are you looking for new ways to convert and reactivate new and old customers? The answer is most likely yes, who doesn’t want to reduce the time spent on converting a new client, whilst increasing the number of membership renewals?
As a marketer, are you wondering how to increase your member loyalty, upgrade their status, increase their use of your services, convert them into an ambassador of your brand and increase the likelihood of them renewing without having to chase them. The answer to your dilemma is a fully interactive Membership Programme.
De Vere Hotels Membership – Case Study at the end of the blog post.
What is a Membership Programme – MP?
A membership programme is an excellent way to find new customers and retain current. The status of a member through a subscription, which can be paid or unpaid subject to your chosen model.
The organisations and companies who are likely to implement a Membership Programme are those who provide a permanent advantage or privilege reflected in special services, products or give beneficial access to their installations or activities.
Art organisations, such as Southbank Centre and V&A Museum, are using their MP successfully as an important way to acquire and retain members. However, such programmes are applicable to a wide range of organisations who offer permanent services associated to a monthly or annual fee, such as professional organisations, charities, leisure centres, gyms, insurance companies, who also refer to their customers as members, because they received a welcome pack detailing services according to the plan selected.
You are not a customer with American Express – or the Automobile Association, you are a ‘Member Since’, this differential instils a belonging amongst its ‘customers’ inferring membership as a privilege, not a business transaction.
What Constitutes Membership Communication?
A membership communication is a series of useful and personalised communications, across all media both printed and electronic, to your members aimed at increasing your brand recognition, customer engagement with your product, services as well as a brand.
There are multiple options and the frequency that you communicate will depend on the services schedule and promotions that you have in a certain period. However, there are some ‘must have’ communications that should be considered to keep your brand front of mind and push the first purchase or user interaction. Regular printed and digital communication are needed.
How often do you have to send them?
It will depend on your offer and your capacities of managing the material either internally or with a direct marketing partner and marketing agency. At Romax Marketing, we review the stage of your business, the offers and services that you provide, the type and expectation of your market and of course your budget, then make best practice and practical advice on how to leverage that to your best advantage.
What kind of information do I have to send?
- Welcome Pack
Every time a new client or member comes along, sending a welcome pack is strongly recommended, this must include:
- Personalised welcome letter and thanks
- Personalised member card or at least a list of member/customer benefits and how to access them
- Call to action. Such as the current offer activities, a discount coupon or code if you are selling products or services.
- Where best to find you – the local branches – events in the members geographical area.
Additionally, you can include in the welcome pack your latest magazine issue and other marketing collateral. London Zoo’s welcome pack includes a member card, welcome letter, a member’s seasonal guide, activities book, a height record chart, some badges with animal’s pictures which are very popular with children and the discount offers pack.
- Activities Programme
The best way to encourage customers and members to join in your activities are by sending them targeted content. Most membership organisations segment their members according to their status.
For example, the V&A museum has four membership types: Standard, Under 26, Contributing and Patrons. All of them have access to all their collections, but the Patrons have private events which include visiting the studios of Sir Antony Gormeley OBE for example or invitations to the annual dinner. For this reason, the V&A museum sends a targeted communication to their members, which have different text and different images to reflect the membership and drive engagement suited to the member type.
3. Newsletter, Catalogue or Magazine
Providing members with useful information that they can read and keep for a long time is another way to build your brand and increase engagement. The options are varied, a smart A4 bi-fold newsletter, such as Romax sends quarterly or a more elaborate magazine. You can also send them catalogues if you have a services or products to offer that hold variable content directed to the individual recipient. Remember that 63% of people prefer to read brochures and catalogues in printed format, source: It’s all about Mail and Email, Royal Mail MarketReach, 2014.
4. Unexpected Content
To stand out from the crowd, your content must be innovative. When you receive something unexpected or different, it grabs the attention and reinforces your brand recall. Including an insert in your regular communication is a low-cost option. Romax, for example, includes such items as a guide to Paper and Envelope Dimensions or a Marketing ‘Key Dates’ Calendar, to act as a reminder to you for the whole year. Unexpected content, or the design to portray your offer, when thought through has not cost prohibitive. Imagination and clever use of data to drive your message correctly will pay dividends.
5. Renewal Letter
This is probably ‘THE’ key communication for any organisation seeking to improve or start a member benefits programme. It’s the way to portray your organisation, its activities and promote member loyalty. Giving them multiple options on how and when to renew their membership is essential. Nowadays, any payment is the best payment, printed forms and timely reminders will create action from your member and help you to accelerate the renewal process. Did you know that 92% of people went to online as a result of receiving Direct Mail?
Southbank Centre Membership send a designated sequence of letters around the renewal process which drives membership and increases retention.
Sending a renewal communication also gives you the opportunity to present other plan options and recommend upgrades, both, for the membership plan and to increase the number of members. In one year a lot of things can happen!
How Do I Send Membership Communications?
Sending your offer by email is cheaper, but remember that 70% of people say, “I feel that I receive too many emails” and 51% of the emails are deleted within two seconds. Moreover, if you want to impact on your members, you need to send them a targeted printed communication. Brands that communicate through print are perceived as higher quality, with increased brand trust.
You can manage your own “printing” in situ or you can outsource this job to companies as Romax Marketing to improve your user experience, reduce turnaround, save on print costs and reduce postage expense.
Remember: High Quality is an Investment, Not a Cost
How you portray your organisation is an important part of your brand. A study realised by Sappi, shows that when people assess brands purely on the way they were being promoted (high quality versus cheaper uncoated paper and online), they found they were three times more likely to recall the name of the brand which had a high-quality and coated paper and was more impressed by that company. A high-quality welcome pack can make a massive difference in the perception and offers associated with your brand.
Case Study – De Vere Hotels Membership
De Vere is a collection of modern, country estate hotels with mansion houses at their heart, mixing leisure with marketing-leading conference facilities.
They set the challenge of launching “De Vere Golf Points”, a loyalty programme, with the goal to recruit 3,5K infrequent golfer to use their 16 courses.
The research showed that the target audience wouldn’t be engaged by something called Golf Points. Insight showed the target was a real golfer who wanted all the benefits, heritage, style, emotion and status that come with a real golf club membership.
The solution was a new brand, look and feel based on a far more aspirational name was created: The De Vere Club. A stylish and elegant “Golf your Way” campaign was launched with a promise to “change the way you play golf forever.”
The results on the first six months were:
- 700 full cost memberships sold – worth up to £2,500 pa.
- 3,220 De Vere Club memberships were sold across 22 sites
- Golf membership has grown by 130%.
Romax Marketing & Distribution, a Greenwich-London based company, provides a wide range of services in Direct Marketing for B2B and B2C, Direct Mail, Data Management, Printing, Discount Postage and Membership Communication Services and Consultancy. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0) 20 8293 8550