In today’s digital age, it is easy to say “we don’t need a physical membership card for our members, we’ll just email them one.” But just like digital marketing, a digital membership card can get lost in the clutter and easily forgotten. And if you’re thinking that a paper card means a cost savings, you may want to think about the impression that it will leave on your members – is it the best representation of your organization’s brand? In the long run, a plastic membership card is the best way to provide your members with a high quality product that properly represents you brand. Plus, it will help you retain members when it is time for renewal. If your association is not currently providing members with a physical card, here are some reasons you should considering adding one.
TOP OF MIND – Membership cards are a physical reminder to members that they are a part of something big – your organization! A card can also serve as a reminder to participate in discussions, events and conferences. That old phrase “out of sight, out of mind” just about sums it up.
VALUE REMINDER – A card reminds members of the value that they receive from their membership – so when it comes time to renew, they will want to continue to be a member. The type of card you use (digital vs. paper vs. plastic) can also communicate your organization’s value, so you’ll want to take that into consideration when selecting a card type. A high quality plastic card is going to characterize your organization as a group that is valuable and worth joining!
BENEFITS AND PRIVILEGES ACCESS – A membership card can be used to let the member easily access benefits or privileges with third-party partners. Your partners will appreciate the ease of using a card to complete transactions.
FORM OF ID – A membership card, especially a photo ID card, can serve as a form of identification, and be used to access benefits, events, etc. And producing a photo ID is not as complicated as it sounds. Some card vendors can process these types of cards on a daily basis with little effort on your part.
STATUS – For some members, carrying a membership card is a status symbol and a way for them to show their pride of belonging to a specific group. A paper card doesn’t carry the same “prestige” as a plastic card, especially if it is tattered or torn.
MEMBERSHIP LEVELS – If your organization offers different member levels or types, cards can be used to easily identify each membership level. A change in color or design can make each level stand out.
DATA GATHERING – When using a membership card with a mag stripe or barcode, you and your partners can gather data each time the member uses it. You can track if they attend an event, use a third-party benefit or make purchases of association merchandise. The data you collect can also help you determine whether or not a third-party benefit should be continued and it can also help you craft your marketing message to target potential member’s interests.
ADVERTISING OPPORTUNITIES – If you mail a membership card welcome kit, this presents you with the opportunity to market your organization, your events and your benefits. By using inserts and printed pieces, you multiply the advertising space and increase the value of your membership welcome package. Plus, if you work with third-party partners, you may present them with co-marketing opportunities in order to defray the cost of mailing and printing. Everybody wins!
So as you can see, there are many reasons to offer a plastic membership card. Much like a reward card, it can help build loyalty among your members and ensure renewal when the time comes. And when you work with a reputable card vendor, they will be able to help guide you in setting up your program and can ensure a seamless program that won’t keep you up at night.