What Is in the Cards for Your Subscribers?
The last time I wrote on Gene’s blog, I wrote about how the museum that I joined this year, unlike the theatre company I subscribe to, did something vital: they asked the friend who was buying memberships for both of us for my name.
What did they do with that simple piece of information? Well, for one, they put it on a card.
It may sound silly because it’s just a piece of paper, but I love having that personalized membership card to carry in my wallet. And I would gladly carry a card for the theatres I’ve subscribed to as well.
My membership card sets me apart from non-members– it makes me feel special and a part of the community. I must get it from my father, who still carries his Boy Scouts of America card in his wallet. Having my museum membership card is a source of pride for me, and it would be even if there wasn’t really anything I could use it for.
Of course, my museum membership card is not just a token. It also gives me access to my member benefits. While the main benefits of my museum membership and my theatre subscription are the same– discounted admission tickets that can be used flexibly throughout the year– the museum throws in some extra goodies that have me holding them in high esteem.
Promoting your member benefits, like those of a museum, can actually add value to the price of a subscription rather than focusing mostly on how much money a subscription can save a subscriber over single ticket purchases. It’s not just a way to attract more subscribers but also a way to deepen the connection your subscribers have with your organization.
Here are some fairly standard benefits of museum membership translated to the theatre/performing arts setting:
- My museum membership card gets me out of the lobby and in front of the exhibits faster — no waiting in long lines of tourists. What if my subscriber card granted me access to a subscriber-only will call line? Nothing says “I’m important” like getting to save time by skipping a long line.
- When I flash my membership card at the museum cafes and gift shops I save 10 percent or 15 percent. I’d love to have an incentive like that to have a drink or snack during intermission at the theatre’s bar.
- Taking that one or two steps further, how about discounts or freebies (a glass of wine, dessert, etc.) at the restaurants and bars that advertise in the show programs? The theatre could also organize informal pre-theatre “meet-ups” for subscribers at a nearby establishment. This would strengthen the community aspect of my subscription not just with the theatre organization but also with fellow subscribers.
- My museum membership card gives me access to member-exclusive tours and extended hours of their most popular exhibits. Again, I love this VIP-like treatment! In the theatre setting, an invitation to the opening dress rehearsal, a quick back-stage tour, or a special talk-back would have a similar effect.
And subscriber events don’t have to be free either– the allure of exclusivity is enough for many to pay a little extra.
So, once you know who all your subscribers are, benefits like membership cards and other extras give your already-loyal fans something to talk about and champion you for. That can come in the form of gaining added convenience or superior service or just plain feeling valued.
And, when I’m feeling valued as a member/subscriber, who knows, I may become a donor as well, because the benefits I am granted now make me feel like I already am one.