By Charles Cohon, CAE, MBA
Picking the Lowest-Hanging
New Membership Fruit
Prospective members might be knocking on your door.
You just need to answer.
ho exactly are the “lowest-hanging mem-
bership fruit”? The lowest-hanging new
membership fruit are the people who
found your message and mission so compelling that they vis-
ited your website, clicked on the “Join Now” button, and be-
gan the process of joining, but didn’t key in their credit card
number to finish the process.
Let me give you an example. In the last two weeks,
six of the people who visited MANAonline.org, the
website for the Manufacturers’ Agents National
Association, and started the process to become
members did not complete the process. In the
verbiage of ecommerce, they abandoned their shopping carts.
They had embraced our value proposition and
were a hair’s breadth from becoming members. But
they never pulled the trigger.
Why not? For three of the six, I was able to get
definitive answers. One was confused and thought
we required a “per-employee” surcharge. Another
needed a paper invoice to pay by paper check
instead of online with his credit card. And the third
just got distracted from the process.
Now that you had those definitive
answers, how were you able to utilize
I emailed each of the three to address those concerns. For the first of the three, I explained that a
company’s headcount had no impact on its annual
dues. For the second, I supplied the needed paper
invoice. For the third, I just gave a reminder that
the transaction remained uncompleted. All three
Six abandoned carts converted to three new
How was it that you were able to cap-
members. 50% hit rate. Definitely a powerful new
tool for our new member recruiting process.
ture that information in the first place?
It started when I was looking over some data in our
CRM database. I noticed there was a name that was
not linked to any transaction.
“So, if we never did any business with this person, how did he get into our database?” I asked our
The consultant explained that it has to do with
the way websites process transactions. First, the
customers key in their contact information. Second,
they key in their credit card information to complete
the transaction. That name with no transaction was
a person who had completed the first step but not
I asked our consultant to set up a report that
would let me search for records where someone
entered their contact information but made no
purchase. “Simple,” he said, and billed me for less
than a half hour.
Now every two weeks I run a report of transactions that were started but never completed. Usually
there are six to ten names on the list.
I crafted an email to ask them why they had not
completed their transaction, taking care not to send