How Do You Best Measure Engagement?
Membership-based organizations strive to engage with their members as a means to deliver value and strengthen the bonds they have with their constituents. But measuring engagement can be challenging. Organizations often look to website login frequency, event attendance or surveys to understand membership engagement broadly, at an individual level or both. True many of these measures are associated with engagement, but they don’t always accurately measure a member’s satisfaction or their actual “engagement” with the association.
There is another simple metric you can use to better understand engagement and it’s related to the one thing every association wants – no, needs – their members to do annually: renew. Renewal speed is a metric that is often overlooked.
Surprisingly, many organizations don’t track renewal speed, but this underused measure can be calculated for each and every member, assessed in aggregate or in segments, tracked over time and compared with historical trends.
Faster renewal = greater member satisfaction
If members derive great value from their association they are most likely to renew; this is a pretty logical assertion. It stands to reason that those members who find the greatest value are in turn the most engaged and would renew their membership quite quickly. Therefore, measuring a member’s or membership segment’s renewal speed – the number of days between the announcement of the renewal window and the member renewing their membership – provides an excellent idea of their commitment to and engagement with their association as defined by their behaviour.
Multidimensional marketing opportunities
From a different perspective, segmenting members based on the speed at which they renew may reveal some distinct and potentially actionable insights. Categorizing members as eager, indifferent or laggard can lead to a better understanding of member motivation and their perception of association value. These findings can in turn lead to different marketing objectives, communication treatments and possible promotional offerings for different segments.
Quick cash flow
By placing renewal speed on the membership dashboard, an organization’s senior management team will be able to review and validate standard member satisfaction metrics (e.g., Net Promoter Score or NPS) with a holistic behavioural measure of engagement. An association should focus on generating not only healthy membership renewal rates but also speedy renewals. Faster renewal results in positive cash flow impacts and incremental association funding (more interest). Simple calculations show that an association with 20,000 members who pay annual dues of $500 can generate an additional $3,300 by improving renewal speed by 10%. Often this additional revenue is enough to finance a good portion of the renewal campaign itself.
Long view, loss prevention
Finally, understanding if a member’s renewal speed is improving or deteriorating can indicate whether their engagement is waxing or waning. This information can trigger customized marketing campaigns designed to re-engage and recover lost interest. It can also provide a marker for a segment of the membership upon which engagement and membership value research can be conducted.
What to do with this information today?
If you are a member-based organization wishing to measure your members’ engagement, consider looking into renewal speed. The most engaged members will renew their memberships more quickly than less engaged members. This information will help your organization better understand your members’ overall engagement and related satisfaction.
If you think improved renewal speed will help your organization, start with the following:
- Review your current data and build a business case for further investment.
- Set your benchmarks.
- Set up or augment your dashboard.
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