Below are our key takeaways from the AMMC conference held in Atlanta and attended by over 250 membership professionals:
Membership Insights, Trends, and Best Practices
In the Zoo and Aquarium world there has long been a debate on where Membership “belongs.” Marketing or Development? And every time a poll is taken, it always seems to be a split decision. No matter where your organization comes down on in this poll, there needs to be a very cozy relationship between Membership and Marketing.
Membership Consultants celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012! To commemorate that milestone we will take on 25 membership topics – looking back and looking forward – presenting a topic each week until the end of our anniversary year via our blog. We invite you to celebrate with us and weigh in on your membership experiences and opinions. Here is Topic #2 - Membership Acquisition...
What are your best sources of new members? Direct mail, on-site sales, member-get-a member campaigns? Can you quantify what percent of new members come from what source? If not, get counting!
Having a quarter century perspective on membership can be an interesting place to be. And thinking back even before the start of Membership Consultants to my early days as a membership manager, direct mail was definitely our primary source of new members without question. In fact, the program I served at a botanical garden far outpaced all other organizations in our city with our membership totals simply because our garden and our director was an early adopter of the use of direct mail way back in the 1970’s! He saw it as a scientific experiment – which it still is today. In those days, direct mail accounted for 60% to 70% of our new members. Today, direct mail probably accounts for 30% to 50% of most viable organizations’ new members. But direct mail IS still a very viable source of new memberships – it is still targeted, timely and YOU control it - you are not waiting for people to come to you! But it may DRIVE people to you in other ways – as in to visit you in person and join at that time. Or to “visit” your online and join in that way. Direct mail is definitely not dead!
Membership Consultants celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2012! To commemorate that milestone we will take on 25 membership topics – looking back and looking forward – presenting a topic each week between now and the end of our anniversary year via our blog. We invite you to celebrate with us and weigh in on your membership experiences and opinions.
Spring is on its way and so is Spring Break. That means ringing cash registers, lines at the admission window and the opportunity to cash in on the throngs of visitors to be able to convert at least some of them to members! So here is an On-Site Sales checklist to make sure you are ready!
• Set Goals. Do you know what percent of visitors you have been able to convert in the past? If not, track down your paid visitor numbers for last year. Also find the total number of people who bought memberships while visiting. Divide that number by paid visits and your will know your on-site sales conversion rate. Set you goal a little higher this year. Shoot for a 2% to 4% conversion rate.
• Publicize your goal – the percentage you want to convert and a numeric goal. Break that down by week, or month or just for spring break. Be bold and put that number out there so everyone knows what they are working towards. Put a tote board where staff can see progress towards that goal!
• Signage. Break the rules and make some bold, clear signage that will support your salesperson’s efforts. “Members Enter FREE!” “ Membership is a Great value!”
• Select and Train staff. Sales aren’t for everyone. It takes an energetic, outgoing, fearless kind of person. Select people who represent your organization well and who are not afraid to ask people to join! Then train them about everything they need to know about membership and your organization. Retrain frequently to keep them pumped up and up on the latest changes.
• Use an incentive. People are suckers for something FREE! Walking away with a plush or a tote bag makes the member feel good and it will cause ENVY among other guests who will ask “Where did you get that?”
• Tabulate sales by salesperson. Let everyone know how many memberships they sold, reward them in some way and let them know what a great job they are doing and how they are moving the needle on the sales goal.
Now, go out and break some spring sales records!
A Membership Manager’s Resolutions
In the past few years, with all of the economic challenges, much has been written and spoken about managing programs to the best of one’s abilities dealing with external forces. For many managers and programs, the focus may need to turn to managing the internal challenges of a membership program.
Now that there is some fluidity in the job market again, some managers are in new positions themselves, or found themselves with new bosses, directors or board members. A big part of any membership managers’ jobs is marketing the program internally, training other staff about the intricacies and needs of the membership program, and literally fighting for the needs of a successful membership operation. So, in the spirit of a fresh new year, here are some membership resolutions you may want to make to ring in the New Year….
SurveySummary ALL FINAL
(click above for link to survey results)