I did a speaking engagement recently for a state organization and I received a great question about the value of trial memberships – a situation where you give a company a free membership for 6 months, or so.
Here’s what I think about this: it’s okay to give a trial membership a shot, but you must make certain you have a very strong onboarding process for that trial member. For the first 90 days, you must actively engage them through a dedicated process – an onboarding effort much more rigorous than what you might provide your regular, paying members. And be ready to convert into a paid membership right away.
Why the hard press?
If these folks don’t engage and take advantage of the membership or don’t find value in a free trial – do you think there are going to pay for it? If you don’t convert them, you not only wasted your time, but you probably won’t ever get them back.
I’m just not a huge fan of discounts and free trial scenarios because when it comes down to it – your value proposition, the dues levels, and benefits and services must stand on their own for the membership price set by your organization and your board.
Discounting undermines the overall value of the organization and could backfire as a negative strategy. Remember, joining your association has immense value and we should recruit companies that find the value proposition is worth every penny.
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