1 of 743: Mirror, mirror on the wall, is my business the most beautiful of all?

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Matt Arthur | Published Tue Jan 5 2016

When it comes to growing your membership base, you have to be a bit like the wicked Queen in Sleeping Beauty. You have to get your business to take a hard look in the mirror and maybe get some news you don’t want to hear.

But if you walk away from the mirror and the advice that could come out of it, chances are nothing is going to change. If your memberships are stagnating or churning, that’s what will keep happening.

Sometimes we get so wound up in all our key performance indicators and jargon that we forget the basics. And one of the simplest truths we overlook is that we need to know where we’re at before we can set our goals for success.

When it comes to membership-based organisations, we have to put questions to the mirror like the ones below. So here they are: your 10 Wicked Qs for establishing internal conversations about membership growth:

  1. What will success look like?
  2. Do you have clear, measurable and agreed upon targets?
  3. What are your main target market segments?
  4. If you want to grow your membership to a target figure, where are you going to get those members from, and what do you know about their use of digital channels?
  5. How are you communicating with current members: what about, how often, what are the results, and what’s the strategy?
  6. What’s the problem, stagnation or churn? If the latter, then do you know why they’re leaving, and do you have initiatives in place to stop them? Do you need to better promote the value of membership?
  7. Are you collecting data (via Google analytics or other tools) about people who visit your membership online sales portal? i.e. how long are they spending there, what are they’re looking at?
  8. If you are collecting that information currently, what are you doing with it? Is it being shared with marketing and other areas of the business?
  9. Are membership concerns seen as a whole-of-business issue?
  10. Are you empowered to make change?

That might seem like more questions than any run-of-the-mill mirror can handle. But the truth is you only have to get a small percentage of those questions answered constructively to see some change. Think of what will happen if you get them all in action.

In future blogs we’ll get out the trusty drill bit and go a little deeper into a few of those key areas above. But for today, let’s just take a quick look at questions nine and ten. They basically drill down to are you on your own with concerns about membership? If you are, that has to change.

Membership growth is a whole-of-business issue. It’s not a matter of simply throwing out more emails and creating more diverse memberships offers. Yes, that work has its place, but only within a strategy that ensures all business stakeholders are on board with a full understanding of the complexity of what drives member behavior.

If you’re losing members, that could very well be a brand issue. So no amount of email campaigns is going to change it. Those campaigns could, in fact, be making the problem worse.

Once you can see what the problems are in terms of membership growth, you have to find strategies for ensuring the entire business understands them too. If you are the sole champion of change, if you are the one who can see what needs to be done, then you need to fast track your empowerment to make the changes. But you can only do that if you – and the rest of the business – take the time to question the mirror.

Hopefully you’ll find out you’re the fairest of them all. But, if not, there are ways to get your organisation’s membership looking beautiful – so follow us and we’ll get it happening together.

Read the next post in the series '2 of 743: Get all existential – and find success!'

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