I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately about the best time to start renewing members – by the calendar year or anniversary renewal. I actually care less about the billing date, because we’re advising clients to become much more focused on the renewal as a part of a long-term experience with you.
However, let’s get to the tactical part of the way, as I do believe we can learn a bit about timing.
The fact is you can gain some intelligence by when people join, and I believe the anniversary date approach is your best bet. My reasoning? They joined during a particular date, which suggests that’s when they are cash positive – an indication of their business cycle, not yours.
Look long term at their “join” date and their “renewal” date and align the two. The join date could be based on the business cycle or the cadence of the industry and suggests the renewal time might be optimum for your members.
I also believe associations should bag the “grace period.” Most of these folks are slow to pay and if we let them languish for a few months – we reinforce and enable that kind of behavior. And, in a 4-year time frame, they actually accrue a free year of membership through the “grace period(s).”
Focus on a program that will shorten the payment process up, by intentionally focusing on a year-round delivery of value:
· Provide the opportunities for them to work with you early on an important issue,
· Provide consistent thought leadership,
· Provide industry intelligence delivery, and
· Develop ways for other mentors to work with your newly recruited industry member.
The dates of renewal totally become a secondary focus… just dates on the calendar.
For great content on effective member engagement, check out my Association Playbook podcast – Member Engagement and the Strategy Behind the “Warm Handshake”