Wednesday, December 29, 2010

3 Tips on How to Improve the Presentation of Your Membership Product

Posted by Princess Eva Angelica at 1:06 PM
Whether it is a meal at a restaurant, a theatric performance, or a piece of art, presentation is important.

How membership is presented is also important when promoting to prospective members.

So when I came across some behavioral concepts from the consumer market in the Mckinsey Quarterly magazine, I thought that they could be applied to how we market and present our membership product.  Here they are. 

1. Offering payment terms – Many organizations find that adding a bill-me to a membership promotion or offering installment billing can improve responses. In fact, over 45% of associations report that they now offer a dues installment payment option. Similarly “retailers know that allowing consumers to delay payment can dramatically increase their willingness to buy. One reason delayed payments work is perfectly logical: the time value of money makes future payments less costly than immediate ones. But there is a second, less rational basis for this phenomenon. Payments, like all losses, are viscerally unpleasant. But emotions experienced in the present—now—are especially important. Even small delays in payment can soften the immediate sting of parting with your money and remove an important barrier to purchase.”1.

2. Offering a tiered membership with lower and higher priced options – I have commented in the past on the benefits of developing a tiered (or multi-level) membership product. These tiers allow a member to pick the best value for themselves and allow the organization to maximize its share of wallet. As an example from the retail world, “many restaurants find that the second-most-expensive bottle of wine is very popular—and so is the second-cheapest. Customers who buy the former feel they are getting something special but not going over the top. Those who buy the latter feel they are getting a bargain but not being cheap.” 2.

3. Bundling diverse additional services into a membership package – The opposite problem of having only one membership category is having a membership with lots of choices like interest sections, local chapters, and optional periodicals. This complexity can actually reduce response rates. In fact, “reducing the number of options makes people likelier not only to reach a decision but also to feel more satisfied with their choice.”3.

Trying new ways to present membership really comes down to making the buying decision easier for a prospective member. We make it easier for them to buy if we offer payment over time and if we give a member a product that both meets a member's diverse needs, but also is not too complex or cumbersome to purchase.

What other suggestions do you have to better present membership in your organization?

1. Ned Welch, A marketer’s guide to behavioral economics, McKinsey Quarterly, February 2010.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.

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