Column of the Month: Don’t lose, retain your members with email marketing

Column of the Month – Geralda Wickel, Contentspecialist, Netexpo


Associations and sector organizations are dealing with declining membership. This is no time to wait until things improve. As a membership organization, after all, you are only as strong as the number of members you have. To pull members in closer, let them experience (again) the added value of your organization. Email campaigns enable you to give the one-on-one attention that your members need.

Membership life cycle

The relationship between a member and the membership organization goes through various phases, from potential member
to former member. This is the Member Life Cycle. During this life cycle, email is the great connector. In emails, you tell the story of your organization and you lead your members to all the relevant communication platforms of your organization. For example, to your website, your social media platforms, your app, a registration form or your member web shop. Marketing automation helps you automate your email marketing strategy. Below, we briefly outline the various life cycle phases.

Ledenbehoud - cyclus - whitepaper Netexpo



In this phase, your recruitment activities take place. You use our own and paid media channels and you profit from free word-of mouth-advertising by your most enthusiastic members on social media. When a potential member finds your membership organization relevant and thinks that membership would provide more than the contribution that must be paid, then he or she signs up. In this phase, you first collect email addresses with opt-in (= consent) to be able to recruit via email at all.


Tip: Gather email addresses by promoting your newsletter (or other relevant content, such as a booklet with tips, an app or an online game). Retain email addresses by giving the recipient the opportunity to personalize the content and frequency of the newsletter.



Your communication in this phase determines to a great extent the further course of the membership. In this period, the new member absorbs all information provided by you with great interest, and his/her response to emails is at its highest. Explain in detail the opportunities of the membership and encourage desired behavior right away. Share your best content and give the member benefits. In this phase, the member must create habits and experience that he or she is receiving value for the membership fee. Don’t miss this chance.


Tip: After a week, email a user’s tip if someone hasn’t opened a downloaded membership app. In this way, you encourage the new member to use the app without explicitly saying it.



Increase the involvement of members by continuously encouraging the use of your services. Personalization of your email communication based on individual profiles in your database plays an important role here. Reward the achievement of an x period of membership or display offers based on a member’s historical registrations and purchases. Members feel more connected when they purchase from the organization and, at the same time, this strengthens the value of the membership.


Tip: Increase your email response by asking for simple decisions. For example, first offer a relatively inexpensive workshop. Later you can offer a more expensive training on the same topic.



An involved and active member will most likely renew their membership. This means that you must be alert to members who become inactive. You can often reactivate an inactive member with a little email push based on established individual interests. You can deduct patterns from the overall data in your database. For example, determine what the average length of membership is. Before that time comes, start an email campaign to retain members. Surveys by email give insight into the satisfaction and/or wishes of members.


Tip: Members themselves are your best helpers in retaining members. They influence others

with their stories and reviews. Ask members to share stories and reviews and then point out relevant stories and reviews to other members via email.


Win back

The campaigns in the ‘Retain’ phase have two possible outcomes: members stay or they cancel. A lost member doesn’t have to be lost forever. Analyze database patterns and deduce which type of ex-members often come back and why. Focus your (email) communication plan on these persons.


Tip: After a period of rest, send an email with a service-oriented tone including a competitive offer or a reminder of good experiences with the membership organization.


Marketing automation and data-driven marketing

Your members require personal attention. Marketing automation and data-driven marketing support you in providing this in a sincere but at the same time automated fashion. Event-driven marketing means that you send the right (email) messages at the right time to the right person, based on previously defined triggers (events). This helps active members to remain happy members, and inactive members to be re-activated. And, after all, isn’t that what you want as a member organization?


Read more about how to use email marketing to keep members active and involved in the free whitepaper ‘Retaining members with email marketing’.


Ledenbehoud met e-mailmarketing - Whitepaper Netexo



Column of the Month – Geralda Wickel, Contentspecialist, Netexpo