Re-Recruiting Dropped Members with a Win-Back Campaign
The strength of an association lies in its members. In a recent webinar with membership guru, Cathi Hight, she shares how you can win members back after they have dropped. Members may decide to leave your association for several different reasons. Whether because of budget, time, lack of communication, a company merger, or they simply forgot to renew, you can initiate a win-back campaign to re-recruit dropped members. Keep reading to learn about the four-step process for creating a win-back campaign, and how you can prepare your association for success.
First, ask yourself these three questions:
- Do you have as many drops as prospects?
- Which dropped members should you target?
- How do we influence dropped members to come back?
Before diving straight into the details of a successful win-back campaign, it is important to review the basic tenants of membership. The forgotten life cycle of membership, as Cathi Hight refers to it, may sound familiar: Acquisition – Integration – Engagement – Renewal.
Acquisition is when your association can recruit new members, integration is the onboarding of new members, and engagement is involving members to align with their interests and needs. The final step in this process is renewal, which is when you receive payment from members and continue your engagement journey. Any non-renewals in this process can be left as a question mark.
Next, associations must acknowledge the members who are in limbo: dropped members. These members have not paid to continue their membership, and have not responded to emails or calls, but they continue to receive member benefits. Cathi Hight notes something to think about, “When is a member not a member?” Once the dropped members have been identified, associations can decide whether they want to target these members for renewal. There are pros and cons to a win-back campaign, and each association must decide what is best for them.
The 4-step Process to Launch a Targeted Member Win-back Campaign
Once you have decided to launch a member win-back campaign, follow Cathi Hight’s four-step process for making it a success: Analyze and understand drops, target your audience, plan the campaign, and execute the plan.
- Analyze and Understand Drops
Ask yourself, “how many dropped members do you have in the database?” In this first step towards a successful win-back campaign, you must understand who the dropped members are, why they dropped, and what they were like as members. If possible, it is also helpful to learn more about demographics and activity patterns. Members could drop for a variety of reasons- budget, time, cutting back, needs already met, do not use, feel unwelcome, lack of communication, do not see ROI, no new leads, corporate decision, company merger, or they simply forgot to renew! Once you have determined why your members have dropped, analyze the pool to see what they have in common. Pay attention to these factors:
- Length of time as members
- Dues levels
- Non-Dues Revenue
- Reasons for belonging
- Reasons for not renewing
- Target Your Audience
After sorting through your dropped members, it is time to define your target audience. Ask yourself, “Who do you want back?”
Cathi Hight recommends members who fit these criteria:
- Members that lapsed over the last 6 months
- Members that lapsed 7-24 months earlier
- Potential “quick win-backs”
- Lapsed members in the top 20% of the Lifetime Value Membership report (last 2 years)
- Lapsed members that represents a segment that is part of your future focus
- Plan the Campaign
You have taken time to focus and define your win-back campaign and now it is time to plan! When it comes to messaging, it is crucial to have more than one message. Take time to develop strategic and targeted materials for different audiences. In all your material, you should demonstrate value for your intended audience.
With the messaging and content ready to go, you can consider methods for delivery. Cathi Hight recommends taking a “multi-marketing approach.” Start with an email series, and social media, specifically, LinkedIn campaign. In using these platforms, be sure to optimize the message using automated marketing, data analytics, and including a link to a rejoin landing page. Another effective strategy is reaching out to personal contacts. In all your messages, including targeted incentives will ensure a response to your content. Your focus is not for them to rejoin, it is on them and how you understand the value they are looking for, how you deliver, and what they are missing.
- Execute the Plan (30:29)
Lastly, it is time to execute the plan! Here are some tips from Cathi Hight on a successful campaign.
- Subject Lines: personalized vs. not
- Copy Content: short vs. long
- From Address: Known contact or generic email address
Employ the 10-10-80 rule. This means that your testing pool for sample emails is about 10% of your target audience. After you do sample testing, validate contact info, monitor the open rate, and evaluate the outcomes.
Elements of Successful Win-back Campaigns
Cathi Hight has advised numerous organizations through successful win-back campaigns. In her first example, these were defining elements of success:
- Automated Email Campaigns
- Direct Mail Postcard
- Rejoin Landing Page
- Smart Zones Display Advertising
This work led to 200 rejoins for this association.
In Cathi’s next example, the organization’s focus was on members who lapsed in the past 3-6 months and 7-24 months. The most successful component in this win-back campaign was offering ongoing education through micro credentials.
The result after this campaign was 800 rejoins and $64,000 in membership dues.
Here are a few more winning tips from Cathi Hight:
- Quality of content is more important than quantity
- Apologize for a poor experience
- Direct them to relevant resources
- Have a board member reach out personally
- For members who lapsed in the last 6 months, call, or send a handwritten note
- Leverage relationships
- Use automated email campaigns
Once you have completed your successful win-back campaign, it is important to review the membership lifecycle and strengthen it to minimize future drops.
- Recruit for retention
- Value propositions that align with prospects
- Onboard 1st year members successfully
- Deliver quality 1st year member experience
- Create meaningful engagement opportunities
- Monitor engagement and target under-engaged members
- Make it easy and convenient to renew (automatic renewals)
- Re-communicate the value of membership
Your association can lead a successful win-back campaign and strengthen its membership lifecycle! Review and follow Cathi Hight’s four-step process for a great win-back campaign: analyze dropped members, target your audience, plan the campaign, and execute the plan. Be sure to clarify when members are no longer members and remember that targeted dropped members are great prospects. Prevention is always better than cure, but you can improve the lifecycle to acquire, integrate, engage, and renew members. Are you ready to get started today?