Mistakes to Avoid When Launching
The difference between a successful and failed membership website launch is preparation and testing. Taking these steps will ensure your members’ first impressions are great.
Walk Through Your Membership Website as a Member
Members may call you with questions about the new website and membership system, so do a walk through and see what the members will see. Request a password, login to the account and set up a profile. Use a regular member’s profile for this and not your administrative profile. You can always delete the profile later.
Go through the menu and make sure the navigation works. Also, click on any links or buttons you have on the website to make sure they take you to the right page. This is a great time to sign in to a member’s only page as well.
Use the common browsers that your members and visitors will use – check your website using Chrome, Firefox and Edge.
Test the Membership Signup Process
The last thing you want is for potential new members to have trouble joining your organization. That’s why it’s important to test the system before your launch.
If you’re taking credit card payments online you should sign up for a paid account to test that your payment system has been properly activated and integrated. Once you complete the process, you can always refund the payment.
Check Your Event System
Register for an event so you have an understanding of what your event guests will experience. If you have paid tickets, try purchasing one and then refund your purchase.
You should also try submitting an event as a member if your organization allows for member event submissions. That way you will be able to walk your members through the process.
To experience what your guests will experience, you should use a different web browser than the one where you are signed in as the administrator.
Create Sample Member Directory Profiles
Have a sample directory profile created to show members how a completed profile will represent them. If you have different profile options for different membership levels, you should have a sample of each.
Gear Your Launch Announcement to Your Membership
You’ve spent a lot of time and effort getting your new website ready for launch. You may want to toot your own horn about all the great new features your new website offers. Be careful not to overwhelm your members with too many details about your new website.
Gear your new website announcements towards the features that will most benefit your members. You members will be more excited about your new website if they can clearly see how it will benefit them.
Set Up Your Renewal Notices
Now that your members can log into their acccounts and make renewal payments, it’s time to set up Renewal Notices.
Go to Labels & Membership > each Membership Level > Renewal Notices. Then click on + Add Renewal/Past Due Notification.
Once complete, click OK and Save Notices & Next.
Renewal Notice Settings
- Notification type
You can select to send either an “Upcoming renewal notice” (before the membership expires), or a “Past due notice” (after the membership expires).
- Send … day(s) before/after
Specify here which day to send the notice to the member. Note that the notice will only be sent on that actual day (-0/+1 day). Notices will not be sent out retroactively, if the member’s membership expiration date has already past the day, the notice will not be sent.
- Applicable billing option
Here you can select whether the renewal notice is specific to a billing option, or if it would be sent to “All members” regardless of the billing option selected for the member. The benefit of having the renewal notices specific to a billing option is that you can provide payment instructions specific to that billing option for your members. Note that if you do specify a billing option (rather than choosing “All members”), consider if you also want to set up additional notices for other billing options as well. Billing options without renewal notices set will not send members reminders to renew.
- Email title and content
The title and content of the email you want sent to the members.
Maximize Your Renewals
It is important to create your own renewal notices to maximize your renewal rates and revenue. See our article with a sample renewal notice. Here are some tips:
- Remind your members what your organization does, what you have already accomplished, and how their membership contributes to the cause. Remind them of the benefits of membership, instead of focusing on penalties. If you have exciting plans or events for the future, this is a great opportunity to talk about that.
- Provide directions on how and where to renew. Include the URL of the page on your website where members can login to renew (ie. your Member Manage page). If you allow payments by mail, provide the address where they should mail the checks to. Make it as easy and straightforward as possible for your members to renew.
Notices are Not Retroactive
Renewal notices do not go out retroactively. If you have members that are past due more than the number of days you’ve set your notices to, you can follow the below directions to send them a group email.
- Go to MembershipWorks > Dashboard > Membership
- In the top left, set the dates to the ones you need
- Click “Past Due” in the orange box at the bottom
- Click “Email”