Membership organisations are growing sectors in both the B2B and B2C markets. For any business looking to implement a new membership offer, best practices flag up good ways to add genuine value and to make the membership offer attractive enough to drive forward sales, particularly when commercial membership fees are involved. Here are some key questions that membership providers need to consider.
What value am I providing?
This is the most important question of all and the answer must be quantified. The customer needs to see value to be asked to pay for a premium service. This is essentially your proposition, which will need to set you apart from the competition. Getting it right will help you to create your marketing messages and sales pitches to create a compelling buying proposition for leads. You can help to make the offer even more attractive by offering high-tech membership management systems that facilitate rich content, customised offers and self-service.
What will make your members join?
Ask your current membership – if you already have members – what it was that made them see your membership as good value. Look for patterns and trends; for example, B2B memberships may attract startups if networking is included as a benefit. Members may want to receive special discounts, access to value-added content that is not available to the general population, access to events and networking, the general provision of knowledge, and that ‘extra something’ that makes your membership proposition stand out. Also remember that you do not necessarily have to offer something that is completely different; instead, commit to offering it at a better level than your competitors and gain membership advantage in this way.
How can you build prospect awareness?
The most valuable means is by viral marketing, or existing members spreading the word. Membership systems such as http://www.ofec.co.uk/Membership-Management-Systems.aspx can facilitate this through sign up and referral offers and incentives. Also promote your existing members to demonstrate credibility.
Above all, invest in the right systems and processes that support your members and keep engaging with them for regular feedback. In this way you can constantly improve and evolve your offer in a way that both retains and attracts profitable customers. With commitment, time, effort and focus, your membership offer could become very successful indeed.