Member Retention: More Than Just a Number

Learn how the AANA used humor and multichannel marketing to win back lapsed members.

By Jaime Sessions

Network Of Interconnected People. Interactions Between Employees And Working Groups. Social Business Connections. Networking Communication. Decentralized Hierarchical System Of Company. Organization

In the dynamic landscape of healthcare associations, the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) stands out not only for its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion but also for its innovative marketing strategies that propel its mission forward.

Recently honored with an ASAE Gold Circle Award, the AANA’s 2022-2023 multichannel membership renewal campaign exemplified the essence of confidence and passion inherent in Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). Under the theme “Power in Membership,” the campaign showcased how AANA serves CRNAs in vital areas, emphasizing not just numerical strength but also purpose-driven practice, knowledge enrichment, meaningful connections and advocacy support.

The association supported this theme using imagery reflecting the rich tapestry of race, gender expression, age and body type within the CRNA community. It was a celebration of diversity—a testament to the inclusive nature of the profession.

With a strong theme established, AANA leaned into its grace period for lapsed members, which ended Oct. 31, 2022, with a frighten’ good post card mailer.

“We took advantage of that Halloween deadline to remind them, in a humorous way, to bring their memberships back to life,” Martha Smith, AANA, explained. “We sent them a creepy-looking post card that had only one sentence — ‘You know what’s really scary?’ — and a QR code.”

The QR code led to a landing page that held the answer to the postcard question: “Losing you as a member.” They then used the “Renew Now” call to action on the landing page to track how many members renewed as a direct result of receiving the postcard. AANA timed these postcards to hit mailboxes Oct. 26—right before Halloween.

“Post cards aren’t something we do often,” Smith explained, “so this medium was an out-of-the-box, surprising way to connect with CRNA recipients. We were really pleased with the results.”

  • Landing page views 527 (309 in October, which means ~59% within the first five days of launch)
  • Users spent an average of 9 minutes on the page
  • Campaign resulted in 48 full-price renewals
  • Cost to print and mail postcards: $4,893.93
  • Total revenue attributed to campaign: $30,960

Once a lapsed member renewed, AANA followed up with an email with a discount code for the AANA Store as an extra perk for rejoining AANA.

Aside from the post card and a landing page, AANA had the most success communicating with CRNAs and residents via social media.

“We had the most impressions and engagements on Facebook, the most shares on Twitter (before it was X), and the most link clicks on LinkedIn,” Smith shared.

All collateral was developed to appeal to CRNAs’ confidence and desire to make a difference in patient lives, the profession and healthcare overall.

“We highlighted the power CRNAs possess and how that power can grow with the backing and benefits of a professional association and,” Smith said, “ultimately, tens of thousands of nurse anesthesiology colleagues.”

AANA had so much success with this campaign in 2022-2023, they ran an encore performance for the 2023-2024 renewal season with many channels repeating positive results; however some were not as strong.

The association measured success based on revenue and member totals.

“AANA achieved both our end-of-year revenue goal and our total member goal — and then exceeded them,” Smith reported. “From November 2022 (the end of the lapsed member grace period) to the end of FY2023, we tracked above every renewal campaign executed in the previous five years.”

But all this success was not without challenges. The association found burnout in the healthcare profession due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an “off” year in the four-year CRNA certification cycle as the biggest obstacles. They also had a “renewal emergency.” Dues packets mailed late because of delays at its printing company. But their multichannel approach —email, social media, a landing page, direct mail, popups on aana.com, a voicemail drop and paid ads—helped AANA compensate for that hiccup.

“I’m confident that we’ll continue to double down on what works and further experiment with the others to find fresh, creative ways to reach our members,” Smith said.

“Power in Membership” delved into the tangible benefits that come with belonging to a professional association like AANA. It’s about tapping into a network of support, accessing resources for professional growth and amplifying one’s voice on issues that matter most. The campaign was fueled by confidence, driven by purpose and enriched by the diversity of experiences that define a profession.

By embracing diversity and inclusivity within the CRNA community, AANA demonstrated its dedication to uplifting its members while navigating challenges such as pandemic-induced burnout and logistical hurdles. Through a strategic blend of traditional and digital channels, AANA’s campaign not only surpassed its goals but also reinforced the transformative power of professional association membership.

About the Author

Jaime is the director of marketing at the National Roofing Contractors Association.

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