Can you remember the last time your phone rang off the hook with members calling to thank you … for one of your basic benefits? That’s what happened when a bus system in Tennessee made one small change to their services. Their story has lessons you can use to better market the benefits you offer to your members.
It was an ordinary day at the office except for all the calls thanking them for adding new bus routes. But the system had not added any new routes. All they did was paint the buses bright orange. When they changed the color of the buses, people noticed resources that were there all the time. That’s what you need to do for your organization. Help your members notice the value you offer by “painting your benefits orange.” Here’s how:
1. Maximize orientation: Do you take advantage of your new member process to educate your members on the benefits they receive from you? In addition to orientation, reach out to new members on a regular basis – for example, once a week for four weeks, or once a month for a year – to introduce them to what you do.
2. Request customer feedback: Do you know which benefits your members find most valuable? What about your best members? One of the worst marketing mistakes is to presume you know everything about your members. Regularly ask them what they value. You’ll be surprised at what you find.
3. Use everyday communications for everyday education: Identify all the ways that you communicate with members. Then ask, “How could we highlight member benefits in this communication?” You could include a benefit section in your newsletter, put a notice on envelopes, or include quick tips on invoices. Benefit marketing can happen anywhere, anytime.
4. Create a benefit communication plan. Complement your overall communications with a specific plan to showcase your benefits. Create a schedule to promote your key benefits to everyone on a regular basis. This is especially helpful if some of your benefits are most helpful at certain times. A communication plan ensures that you regularly spread the good word of how you help.
5. Take testimonials to the next level. Nothing will sell your benefits like the words of happy members. Take a look at how you collect testimonials now. Are you systematic? Do you have a proactive process? And for bonus points, are you incorporating video testimonials? Find ways to help your members help you by sharing their stories. The simplest way is to ask and ask often.
Always remember that it’s not your members’ job to know what your benefits are. It’s your job to tell them what they are. Use the tips above to ‘paint your benefits orange’ and make them so blindingly obvious that members can’t help but notice. It will make it easier to retain the members you have, help you attract new members and make you stand out as the kind of organization puts members first.