Tag Archive for: member-only

The 5 Steps

How to Devastate Your Member Value Proposition in Five Easy Steps (481 words)

Ed Rigsbee, top speaker on Membership Growth

Remove Member Value in 5 Easy Steps

Devastating your organization’s member value proposition is quite easy if you follow my below listed five steps. These steps will help you to create a bankruptcy of member value in your organization.

  1. Give your printed and/or online magazine to non-members.

    Sure you advocate that by giving it away potential members will see the value and join. How’s that working for you? You say my organization makes a lot of money from advertisers so maximum distribution is necessary. All this might be true, however what you are telling your members is they do not matter. No need to hold membership as you can get the value as a non-member.

  2. Don’t have any member-only activities at your conference.

    By now we should all realize that our “open” meetings are not a feature of membership because non-members can also attend. So the true member benefit is only the discount on registration your members receive. By not having member-only activities at your meeting, you successfully minimize the member value. You say that having member-only activities would aggravate the non-members and make them feel like second class citizens. I answer, ABSOLUTELY. Because, if you were to offer member-only activities that benefit only members, non-member attendees might be motivated to join your organization to get access…and who wants that?

  3. Keep chapter meetings open to non-members…forever.

    This is an excellent way, at the local level, to devastate member value. You say that it is important to keep the chapter meetings open to non-members so they can get a “taste” of the value. Fair enough, but only their first meeting. By continuing to allow non-members to continue to attend meetings they see that they do not need to join your organization to get the value. And your members will soon follow their lead and not renew their membership.

  4. Keep your member discounts slim to none.

    You definitely do not want to give your members a substantial and legal discount on all your products and services. It is far better to be equitable in the marketplace and provide the value to all. Stay away from showing the valuable discounts members receive on products and services. You do not want them to see that membership is a good financial decision.

  5. Give your proprietary content away.

    Sharing with the marketplace feels so good; you can really feel the love. As mentioned earlier, you believe that by sharing access to your website and your organization’s knowledge management system will lure non-members into membership. As the old saying goes, if you get the milk for free why in the world would you want to buy the cow?

Follow the above five steps and your organization’s member value proposition will effectively disappear, your members will disappear, your organization will fail and you can retire to working in your garden.

Otherwise, the key to safeguarding your organization’s future…is to research, embrace, and maximize…your member ROI.

Member WIIFM

Prove Membership is a Good Business Decision (695 words)

Ed Rigsbee, top speaker on Membership Growth

Prove Membership is a Good Business Decision

In order for your organization to prove membership is a good business decision, you first have to survey your members. This can be tricky of you are not familiar with qualitative research. Qualitative (focus group) gives you richer and more accurate information than quantitative (online survey) because in a live situation…everyone is sequestered. Unfortunately today, most people zone-out after the first five questions or sooner if they cannot accurately respond based on the formatted answer capability.

Get Membership ROI in Real Numbers

In your effort to effectively prove membership is a good business decision, you will have to demonstrate to members and non-members alike the “what’s in it for them” in dollar numbers. The days of “join because you should” disappeared with the iPod. Your members and prospective members want you to be able to tell them in definitive terms…what’s my return on membership?

Focus group methodology is the most efficient and effective approach to answering the “prove membership is a good business decision” question.

Steps to Proving Membership is a Good Business Decision:

  1. Gather a focus group at your annual meeting or do a “traveling show” and organize a few sessions across the country. About 35 is a great number to have in attendance. Less or more is perfectly acceptable…however approximately 35 is a great number. Include:
    1. Newer, mid-term and longer-term member diversity
    2. Company size member diversity
    3. Generational member diversity
    4. Geographical member diversity
    5. Gender member diversity
    6. Ethnic member diversity
    7. For international organizations, also include county member diversity
  2. Have a list of all the “member-only” features of membership pre-loaded onto a PowerPoint slide. This would EXCLUDE benefits that are extended to non-members. Things like advocacy and publications distributed to everyone in the industry. Also, your meeting is not a feature of membership but rather the discount on registration is. Or perhaps, member-only events at the meeting.
  3. Go through each feature with the attendees explaining how this feature might save them money, save them time, save them from a regulatory fine, save them from a bad business deal, help them to gain an economic opportunity/new customer. Ask them to determine what those savings have been worth in real dollars.
  4. Now it is time for the crowd-negotiation. The facilitator must help guide the group to navigate the tumultuous waters of some people saying a feature is worth $10,000 and some saying it is worth $10. That is a skill in itself. You are basically looking for a number in the “middle” that “most” in the room can live with. I like to ask, “Can you sell/explain this number to a prospect? If most say yes…add that number next to the feature in your PowerPoint slide. (Audiences love watching this process reveal itself by watching the numbers added.)
  5. Do this exercise for all the “member-only” features of membership. Generally there will be 20-30 features to be measured.
  6. If your organization offers company membership then the above gets a little trickier as you will need to determine which of the features are available to multiple employees. You will also need to determine an “average number” of employees across the group. Then take the dollar number determined for a particular feature and multiply it times the average numbers of employees. It is common for not all features to be available to all employees.
  7. After you have valuated each feature, add them up. For a “total value” number.
  8. Now divide the cost of membership into the “total value” number for ROI multiplier.
  9. You can now state to the member ROI to your industry

Sell the Value

Communicate that membership is a good business decision by proving in actual dollar numbers by stating, “Our members have told us that, on average, for every dollar they invest in membership they get X (insert your ROI number here) dollars back in usable products and services.” This clearly proves that membership is a good business decision.

Turn your engaged members into member recruitment evangelists by developing marketing materials that prove membership is a good business decision. Make it easy for your members to recruit their friends and colleagues.

The key to safeguarding your organization’s future…is to research, embrace, and maximize…your member ROI.