Program Members are Exclusive Members

Membership programs, such as industry associations or consumer-based businesses like Costco and Sam’s Club, have been around for a long time. And in the past few years these service model relationships have continued to grow and expand, even taking over or enhancing benefits like loyalty cards and rewards programs. Finding a balance between differentiating the offering and maintaining a profit line can be a struggle as members expectations and demands increase right alongside operational expenses.

For many businesses, the membership benefits largely include discounted products or free/reduced shipping rates exclusive to the members. The exclusivity gives your members feelings like Wayne & Garth while heading backstage after the Alice Cooper concert. But that feeling of exclusivity only lasts if the reward outweighs the expense. So how can your organization continually invest in rewards and benefits that keep your bottom line in the black?


Creating an Exclusive Membership Experience

Creating a unique experience for members is a must. Whether it’s offering round-the-clock customer service options, expanding the customer relationship through social media or hosting special events just for members, the experience can tell the story better than the item. Consider ways to enhance your members experience with you. Make the customer experience fit the high-end relationship to a T.

Start these types of solutions off with your customer facing staff – offering training initiatives to prep them on how to treat these white-gloved customers. Develop a standard for associates to meet to be a Member Experience Rep – and have them visibly stand out from the rest with uniforms and tools designed with the membership logo in mind. Then roll out the red carpet for these clients who have earned a coveted position within your business.

Taking Members to the Next Level

Creating a level-up membership may be the perfect opportunity to increase your profits while upping the exclusive services and offers for members. After all, all things are not equal, and that includes your members’ commitment to you. Take special care of members who consistently bring business to you, and that are already paying annual fees to take advantage of benefits by creating a ranking system to gauge the cost to run their programmed account compared to the cost of others.

You may find that your number six client, while on paper appears to bring in significantly less revenue than your number one, they cost your business far less than your top customer and are therefore slightly more profitable in the long run. Create an opportunity to increase your profits with customer number six while returning the appreciation with a tiered membership approach to their business. Maybe it’s free shipping, or additional discounts throughout the year. Or, maybe it’s special gifts uniquely selected for your partners that tout their commitment to you through promotional products.

Expanding the Member Network

Whether it’s rewards for referrals, or leveraging the member network to behave as an advertising medium, expanding through members is a surefire way to grow your program. One easy way to grow from within is to leverage the power of promotional products. Create brand ambassadors out of your members by offering a welcome kit full of member merchandise, and think of ways to replenish throughout the year to fit their needs seasonally.

Staples Gives You a Better Brand Ambassador

Making It Worthwhile to Them

Find ways to create case studies with your partners (something that can benefit them when reviewing with their higher-ups the relationship with you), or even just include their logo on your website to boast the business you run. And don’t forget to include promotional products in your membership kit to subtly advertise through your clients. Think of all the opportunities your brand name will have in the hands of a current client. With your clients’ vendors (turned your customers), or at industry events and meetings, where they look extra organized, or have a useful and practical technology tool that other industry members have been eyeing but not buying for months.

The opportunity to market through your marketplace is extravagant. Reach out to your Staples representative or visit to get started building and enhancing your member network.