How A Membership Solution Can Help You To Reaquire Lapsed Members

Membership Recruitment |

If a member fails to renew their membership with you, what do you do? Most likely you contact them via phone, email or letter, reminding them to renew, giving them a list of reasons why they should renew and possibly giving them some kind of special offer to entice them back.

But then what? If they don’t renew, do you continue to communicate with them? And for how long? A lot of membership associations will keep in touch with their lapsed members for a couple of months after they’ve left, but fail to keep up communication on a long term basis.

However, studies have shown the even if members have fallen out of love with your organisation, they’re more likely to rejoin you than an association that they have no past experience of.

This is why it’s vital that you continue to communicate with lapsed members as there may be a time in the far future when they’re ready to come back. 

A few weeks ago we talked about the membership journey, and described how at certain stages in their journey there are points where a member may leave – be it due to a career break or from feeling like they don’t receive value from their membership. The important thing is to remember that this isn't always the end of their journey. It’s your job to encourage them to come back and to reap the rewards that membership with your organisation offers.

So what should you do when members lapse?

  • Try and find out why they've let their membership expire
    Is there something that you've done/not done that has made them want to terminate their relationship with? If this is the reason, you can do your best to fix the problem, as well as ensure it doesn't happen to future members.

  • Check that they’re still happy to receive communication from you
    Hopefully if they've left due to indifference or apathy, then they’ll still be happy to receive emails and letters from you. If they’re not happy to continue hearing from you, then you need to ensure you have the processes and technology in place to make sure that they’re added to an unsubscribe list – and stay there.

  • Continue to communicate with them
    Via the communication methods they've said they’re happy to receive, make sure you let them know about the events you're hosting, activities and successes of other members, and other happenings that add value to your membership offering. Make sure you invite them to events and offer them discounts and hooks to try and encourage them to re-join.

  • Analyse their behaviour
    Over time you should be able to draw a clear picture of a typical lapsed member. There will be trigger points along the way that will help you to identify members that are likely to re-join soon. Be it a response to an invitation or some other form of engagement. By analysing the behaviour of previous lapsed members, you will be able to identify those members with the highest prospects of re-joining and focus your attention on these individuals as appropriate

How a Membership Solution Will Help You

It can sometimes be difficult to track current members, let alone past members! But by using a membership software solution like Silverbear’s, organisations can have a clear and accurate picture of all their stakeholders. This obviously includes current members, but also prospect members and past members.

A solution built on a leading CRM platform, like Microsoft Dynamics, can help membership managers control all aspects of their communications from a familiar and user-friendly (and future-proof) platform. From email marketing, direct mail and social media, it enables you to communicate with specific and focused target groups. It also allows you to easily set sure-fast communication boundaries, so you can make sure someone will not be contacted, if that’s their wish, whilst still keeping their record on your system.

The in-depth reporting tools allow you to create custom and focused reports to help you understand specific patterns and member behaviour.

If (and hopefully) when the lapsed member decides to rejoin your organisation, all of their past information and data is already there, just waiting to be updated back to 'member' status. The member avoids any inconvenient request to supply basic data and their membership can be reactivated with great speed.

So it’s far from all lost when a member lets their subscription lapse. But you must be organised, proactive and above all persistent if you are to bring them back into the fold.