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Cultivating strong audience relationships is essential for sustainability. And that loyalty is crucial to achieving this goal, writes Nick Stevenson

Not only do membership schemes contribute an additional revenue stream for organisations, they also support your team in improving the frequency of audience attendance, a critical metric that everyone is focused on at the moment. Designing a membership programme that aligns with your organisation’s goals and values will ensure it’s a worthwhile investment of your time and resources. 

A programme that fails to focus on objectives can quickly become disorganised and ineffective, resulting in unhappy customers and a lack of ROI. The last thing you want is lapsed memberships. 

Choosing an enticing and effective membership structure 

The toughest challenges in getting started with a membership scheme lie in identifying what perks will increase your customers loyalty and likelihood of purchase, and which design will support the organisation’s operations without causing a massive workload for your team. 

Some of my favourite structures include benefits, philanthropic and combinations schemes. 

Benefits Scheme: If you want to increase customer frequency, loyalty and secondary spending, you should consider a membership scheme that provides benefits that encourage them. Think about what’s most engaging to the audience segments you want to attract and what will prompt them to action. 

Philanthropic Scheme: If you are trying to increase your donor pool or introduce giving at your organisation, a philanthropic scheme is perfect. You won’t be giving any financial benefit, but the income you raise will be eligible for Gift Aid. 

This type of scheme also offers a way to communicate actively with these members and to get them more invested and interested in your organisation. Westgreen Opera House is a good example of an organisation that offers multitude memberships through their philanthropic scheme.

Combination Scheme: If your goal is both of the above, then a combination scheme with both financial and philanthropic benefits is ideal. This is also the best vehicle if you want to appeal to a variety of customer segments. 

Using data to enhance memberships and improve effectiveness

When designing a successful scheme, it is crucial to ensure it’s compatible with your CRM and ticketing system. By integrating the benefits of the scheme directly into the system, the process is streamlined and members can automatically receive discounts and perks without the hassle of manually tracking and applying their benefits. This makes the process both more user-friendly and more efficient for the entire team.

Leveraging the capabilities of your ticketing system can significantly enhance the member experience and increase retention rates. Automated email reminders for upcoming membership expiry or renewal can encourage members to take action, resulting in higher renewal rates. 

Ultimately, integrating your membership programme within ticketing optimises its functionality, improves member engagement and leads to greater success in ensuring members renew for the following year.

Identifying potential members in your customer database 

By creating special segments in your database and tagging these customers, you can easily identify and target those who may be interested in joining your membership scheme. By upselling to these potential members, you can effectively market the benefits of your membership programme and encourage them to become loyal, long-term members. 

And by utilising the segmentation data, you can tailor marketing messages and promotional campaigns to members’ specific interests and preferences, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

An effective way to convert potential members is to trigger automated emails to customers who are not yet members but are frequent attendees. Having identifying these customers, you can encourage them to take advantage of the programme's benefits and become loyal members.

A great example of this strategy in action is Harlow Playhouse. [http://harlowplayhouse.co.uk/] They built an automation series to target customers who attended more than five events a year but were not yet members. After sending more than 500 targeted emails to these customers, 89 of them joined the membership programme.

Get started and get more confident

The Ticketsolve Guide to Implementing Successful Memberships is a free resource to support your team at whatever stage you are with your membership schemes from getting started to enhancing results. 

The guide has lots of easy-to-implement tips and tricks to support your organisation in fostering stronger audience loyalty. 

Nick Stevenson is Head of Customer Success at Ticketsolve. 

This article, sponsored and contributed by Ticketsolve, is part of a series looking at the power of box office data to inform strategic decision-making.

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Photo of Nick Stevenson