As a community manager, membership renewals are undoubtedly never far from your thoughts.
For your community to grow and thrive, you want as many members as possible to stick around for the long haul—especially after all the time and effort you have spent recruiting, onboarding, and engaging them!
Calculating Your Membership Renewal Rate
Before we dive into tactics on boosting membership renewals, let's have a look at how you can calculate your membership renewal rate.
Tracking renewal rates over time makes it easy for you to spot trends and potential pitfalls early—an increasing renewal rate means happy members. In contrast, a decreasing renewal rate could be a sign of an issue with your community.
Your membership renewal rate is relatively straightforward to calculate: divide the number of customers who renew at the end of the specified period by the total number of customers who were up for renewal, then multiply by 100 to convert that number to a percentage.
Now, let's have a look at how you can increase this number!
1. Realign Your Community Benefits With Your Members' Changing Needs
Your members' needs evolve. What they were looking for when they joined your community may no longer be relevant to them now.
Consistently providing members with value is key to getting them to renew their memberships.
Survey your members every six to twelve months on the challenges they currently face and how your community could be improved.
Surveying members gives you critical information from your target audience and also demonstrates that you are serious about meeting their needs. Map your members’ current needs with what your community offers to identify any gaps and areas of improvement.
Take things a step further by creating a rating system to determine how well each of your community's current features aligns with your mission and your members’ needs, how much it costs to run, its ROI for the organization, and how many unique members use it. And, don't hesitate to cut any features that no longer serve your members or the organization.
2. Offer Discounts and Multiple-Year Memberships
Fear of missing out is a handy tactic for improving membership renewal rates. Offer a limited-time discount code (or some cool community swag) to incentivize members to renew their membership before a specific date. After all, who doesn't love a discount code?!
You could also consider offering two or three-year membership plans in addition to the classic yearly membership plan. For some communities, it might even be a good idea to provide a lifetime membership plan!
Longer-term membership plans offer increased cash flow, help reduce churn, and provide predictable revenue, giving community stability and supporting its long-term planning. Plus, they help save your members cash and are often more convenient. A win all round!
3. Offer Different Membership Tiers
Tiered memberships are a great way to make your community as accessible as possible!
Your members may experience changes in their financial situations that impact their ability or willingness to renew their membership.
By offering membership tiers that unlock different access levels to extra content or services at different prices, you make sure you have something for everyone's budget.
Not all of your membership tiers have to be paid options either.
Creating a free option can help potential members overcome any hesitancy they might have about registering. Free memberships also allow previous members that are not currently willing or able to pay for a membership to remain connected to your community.
Think of free members as potential paying members who, if they like what they see, may eventually choose to upgrade to one of your paid plans to enjoy more of what the community has to offer!
4. Look at Your Community Data
A few simple user behavior metrics can be enormously helpful in telling you who is most likely to churn.
Lack of usage is a significant driver of churn, so it pays to know as soon as possible which members are the least active so that you can target your efforts at those least likely to renew their memberships.
Send personalized emails to your least active users to encourage them to get involved in the community. If you can increase their engagement, there is a good chance that you can reduce the likelihood of them cancelling their memberships!
You could suggest community content suggestions based on their interests or remind them about upcoming events in their area. It's also a good idea to ask how their experience has been with the community so far and if anything is blocking them from becoming more involved.
5. Send a Renewal Reminder Email
It can be surprising the number of people that don't renew their membership simply because they forgot!
Engaging and timely communication—specifically a renewal reminder email—can be incredibly effective for boosting renewal rates!
Make your renewal emails as personalized as possible. Maybe you could mention an event you know they attended or a group that they were active in.
You could even create a drip campaign. Instead of sending one renewal reminder email, send a series of emails before the membership expires. Figure out what resonates most with your members to help you build a more compelling email cadence. You could also mention new upcoming community features to create apprehension and excitement, and ask for their feedback on the community.
Similarly, when members renew their membership, be sure to send them a sincere and personalized thank you! Showing gratitude helps foster meaningful and lasting relationships with your members. It's a great way to make them feel appreciated and motivate them to continue participating in the community.
How Hivebrite Can Help
At Hivebrite, we endeavor to continually innovate and enhance our community engagement platform to meet the evolving needs of our customers.
After witnessing increasingly complex membership use cases among our clients, we decided to enhance our membership module.
"Memberships are an important aspect of every private community, allowing our admins to monetize their user base and have some ROI from purchasing the Hivebrite platform.
The improved module offers a more robust system to manage recurring payments and subscriptions, as well as a more pleasant user experience for both the admin and community members.
The module also provides a strong foundation for us to continue to build innovative features in the future to continue to serve our client’s evolving needs!"
Neil Magnuson, Product Manager at Hivebrite
With Hivebrite's Membership Module, you can:
- Create membership plans and determine associated prices and privileges
- Sell products (like community swag) to members while they are buying a membership
- Display your membership plans on your public page
- Process payments directly within the platform
- Send automatic membership payment reminder emails
- Offer auto-recurring subscription payments
- Receive a real-time notification when a membership is purchased
- View a report on all sales and subscriptions in your community
- Send an automated confirmation email with a receipt for each membership payment
- Allow your users to donate to a cause of your choice while buying a membership
- Offer the ability to sell sub-community memberships at the same time as community level ones
Hivebrite is a comprehensive and flexible community engagement platform. It empowers organizations of all sizes and sectors to launch, manage, and grow fully branded private communities. Schedule a demo today!