How to get your membership cards printed for free

Want someone else to pay for your membership cards printing this year?

The fact is, if you’re a club, organisation or attraction, a professionally printed membership card is expected by your members, and it’s a necessity for you too.

But it’s more than that: a branded and personalised card gives a feeling of belonging, and a sense of being part of something special.

However the cost of membership card printing can be prohibitive.

So here’s how to get someone else to pay for it.

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Use the back of your membership cards as a sponsorship opportunity

Most plastic membership cards are printed double sided, in full colour, so the reverse is a prime advertising space. Offer it up to the right sponsor, and you can easily cover the costs of the cards – and enhance your own brand image at the same time.

Here are a few routes to consider:

  1. Linked local suppliers
    If you’re a tennis club, and there’s a sports shop in town that sells the right kit, they’re the ideal partner. They’ll be advertising their wares to a captive audience that will be exposed to their brand on a regular basis, for less than the price of a newspaper ad.
2. Linked online suppliers
If there’s an online supplier that a lot of your members go to for equipment or gear, or specialist insurance, get in touch. You’re unlikely to be successful with the Amazon’s of this world, but it might be right up a smaller online retailer’s street (for example a specialist cycling insurance provider).

 

3. Linked big brands
Don’t think that you can’t approach the big brands, even if you only have a few hundred members. For example, if you’re a golf club, approaching brands like TaylorMade or FootJoy could deliver dividends. A few hundred pounds is nothing out of their marketing budget, and your membership demographic might be exactly what they’re looking to target.

members cafe
Look for local establishments, or within your own

4. Complimentary local services or suppliers
Your membership demographic should determine who you approach for sponsorship in your local area. What type of people are they? What stage of life are they at? Whose ideal customer are they likely to be? If your membership is predominately 20/30 somethings with time on their hands, then think about local bars or nightclubs. If they’re older professionals with disposable incomes, a prestige car showroom might be more relevant.

5. Look internally for brands that may want extra promotion
If you have a bar, restaurant or café on site, look at the brands you’re selling. Breweries are a good starting place: they may have a particular drink that they want to sell more of over the following year. Or if you’re a gym selling a particular range of energy bars or drinks, think about approaching them. This route has benefits for you too in terms of increased sales.

Whoa there Nelly! A word of caution before you start

Before you pick up the phone and start ringing round, make sure you don’t damage your own brand by choosing the wrong sponsor. If you’ve spent years building up an exclusive membership of professionals, don’t blow it by advertising Carl’s Cheeky Chicken on the back of your plastic membership cards.

Associating yourself with a well-known brand, or an aspirational brand, will do wonders for your own organisation. It’s a great message to existing members that they’ve made the right choice, and it’s even stronger in terms of attraction. Because if a famous brand has chosen to be affiliated with your club, why wouldn’t they?

 

Why you should start the membership renewal process early

Renewe membershipContrary to what you might think, the two most common reasons people don’t renew their club membership isn’t because they’re unhappy or have found a better offer elsewhere. They are:

  1. They think they’re still a member, or
  2. They simply ‘forget’.

Which is precisely why you should start ‘reminding’ them to renew well before their club membership is due.

If you’re still sending them a club newsletter, or club communications, chances are they think they’re still a member, and it won’t occur to them to check.

And even if you have sent an electronic reminder, there’s a high possibility that it will get lost in a crowded inbox.

So make sure you set up a renewal touchpoint schedule

Don’t be embarrassed to ask more than once, and don’t rely on email for all of the touchpoints (think of that crowded inbox again). Be prepared that it might take a number of attempts to get the result you’re looking for.

A good schedule to follow is:

First touchpoint – 2 months before club membership expires

Send them an email or letter reminding them that their membership is coming up for renewal soon. Remind them of all the great member benefits they receive, and how much their membership is valued. Consider offering an incentive if they renew before a certain date – either a discount off their membership fees, money off in your café or vouchers.

Second touchpoint – a month before club membership expires

Send them a reminder of the date their membership comes to an end. If you haven’t offered an incentive before, now’s the time. If you have a members-only events, key matches or other areas of interest coming up in the new membership season, be sure to let them know about it.

Third touchpoint – as the membership is due to expire

Make a personal phone call to thank the member for their club membership, and ask if they’re happy to renew again this year. If not, why not? This can give you valuable insights into any issues that need addressing, and that might be affecting other members. If you see them in person at the club, even better.

If they still don’t renew, make sure you include them in your promotional campaigns.

Just because they haven’t renewed this year doesn’t mean they won’t again. Stay in touch, but don’t bombard them with information or sales messages. Make sure you keep them up-to-date with any improvements or changes happening at the club, and after 6-12 months, try them with an incentive again.

Are you using the right printer ribbon for your membership cards?

 

cut costs on membership cards
Choosing the right ribbon can cut costs & improve results

How to save money on printing and get the best results

Whether you print all your membership cards on your own card printer, or just do ‘top-ups’ throughout the year, it pays to use the right ribbon.

Not only will it give you the best results and save you money, the right ribbon will maximise the productivity of your plastic card printer.

So which one?

The range of different printer ribbons out there can be a bit bewildering. YMCK, YMCKO or YMCKOK? (More details on ribbon types here http://blog.thecardnetwork.co.uk/2014/07/save-money-use-the-right-ribbon-for-your-plastic-card-printer/)

Printing cards yourself on a double-sided card printer

If you’re printing double sided membership cards yourself, on a double-sided printer, the most common mistake is using a YMCKO ribbon, rather than a YMCKOK one.

A YMCKOK ribbon basically has a second black panel, and is designed specifically for use with double sided card printers. It allows you to print full colour on the front of the card and black on the reverse – making it ideal for clubs who print graphics on the front, but only sparse details on the back.

If you were to use a YMCKO ribbon instead, you would have to use all 5 panels on the front, then all 5 panels on the back. The result? You use up the ribbon twice as fast.

Just overprinting members’ details?

If you are just overprinting details like name and membership number onto pre-printed membership cards, you don’t need an all singing, all dancing ribbon. A single-colour ribbon could do the job just fine. You can get ribbons in a choice of colours, including silver and gold, and the cost is considerably cheaper per print than using an YMCKO ribbon.

Remember that ribbons have a shelf-life of around a year

Also think about the quantity of membership cards you need to produce and don’t overbuy on printer capacity. Each ribbon is capable of printing a certain number of cards, so if you only need a handful on an irregular basis, don’t shell out on a 1000 capacity ribbon when 200 would do. Especially as ribbons have a shelf-life – generally of about a year.

The larger the print ribbon the less the cost per card, so if you’re printing larger numbers, invest in a higher image one. This will also save on re-ordering costs such as delivery.

Still not sure which ribbon is right for your plastic card printer?

Give one of our friendly team a call – we’re happy to help guide you.

More information on the different types of ribbons available is available here http://blog.thecardnetwork.co.uk/2014/07/save-money-use-the-right-ribbon-for-your-plastic-card-printer/

Save money when printing your 2015 membership cards

Print more than you need & ‘bank’ the rest for overprinting new members’ details throughout the year

Most clubs use a card bureau to issue their membership cards, or print their own in-house. A combination of the two may be most cost-effective…

With 2015 nearly upon us, many clubs and organisations are in the throes of organising their membership programme for the new year. Printing the actual membership cards themselves is often the biggest expense to bear, so here are a few ways you can save money and reduce admin time.

First – consider the most cost-effective way to print the cards

The two main options here are: a) invest in a plastic card printer and print your own, or b) have them printed by a plastic card supplier (a card bureau).

Which path you choose will depend greatly on how many membership cards you need to print, and how often throughout the year you need to print them.

If it’s a one-off run of hundreds of cards, outsourcing to a card bureau will always be cheaper than investing in a card printer and consumables. However that’s in terms of one-off costs – a plastic card printer does begin to return value after a few years of use – but depending on how much a work horse it is, it may not last much longer than that.

If you only print small quantities of cards, an entry-level card printer like the Badgy may be your best bet. Yes you’ll have to buy consumables and you’ll have the initial outlay, but you’ll also have the flexibility of printing one or two membership cards throughout the year, whenever you need them.

Or you could do both and save money

If you print a significant number of membership cards, and need to issue new ones throughout the year, have your card bureau run a quantity of unpersonalised membership cards, for overprinting with new members’ details throughout the year.

This in effect creates a ‘bank’ of membership cards for when you need them – produced professionally so they don’t look any different from the initial run. The card bureau can then overprint members’ names and numbers when required – or you can run them through your own card printer.

This route cuts down on reordering costs throughout the year, and if you choose the card bureau route, the need to invest in a card printer at all. The Card Network offer this overprinting service – please get in touch with us for more information.

If you’re going to be using a plastic card printer for all, or part of your programme…

… make sure you’re using the right ribbon

The range of different printer ribbons out there can be a bit bewildering. In order to keep your printing costs down, choose the right ribbon for the job.

If you’re printing double sided membership cards yourself, on a double-sided printer, the most common mistake is using a YMCKO ribbon, rather than a YMCKOK one.

A YMCKOK ribbon basically has a second black panel, and is designed specifically for use with double sided card printers. It allows you to print full colour on the front of the card and black on the reverse – making it ideal for clubs who print graphics on the front, but only sparse details on the back.

If you were to use a YMCKO ribbon instead, you would have to use all 5 panels on the front, then all 5 panels on the back. The result? You use up the ribbon twice as fast.

However if you just want to overprint a member’s details (like name and membership number) onto an already printed card, you don’t need an all singing, all dancing ribbon. A single-colour ribbon could do the job just fine. You can get ribbons in a choice of colours, including silver and gold, and the cost is considerably cheaper per print than using an YMCKO ribbon.

Also think about the quantity of membership cards you need to produce and don’t overbuy on printer capacity. Each ribbon is capable of printing a certain number of cards, so if you only need a handful on an irregular basis, don’t shell out on a 1000 capacity ribbon when 200 would do. Especially as ribbons have a shelf-life – generally of about a year.

For more information on choosing the right printer ribbon for your job, read our blog. http://blog.thecardnetwork.co.uk/2014/07/save-money-use-the-right-ribbon-for-your-plastic-card-printer/

For more information about our overprinting service, please get in touch.

Out with the old…

If you’re about to order your new club cards for the 2014-2015 season, take a minute to really consider what you want them to do before just reprinting last years.

It’s likely they could be generating more value and be performing more functions than they currently do.

 

Club card
Refresh your look: don’t just roll out last season’s design

What would you like your club cards to do?   

By including a range of features, or changing the type of card you use, you can turn them into multi-purpose cards.

If you want to secure access to locker rooms or members-only areas for example, you can easily turn your club cards into ‘swipe to access’ cards.

Or you could turn them into ‘smart cards’, and allow members to use them to ‘swipe’ for their lunch, or access their tab at the bar.

Turning your club cards into loyalty cards encourages more spending from members. You’ll need to think carefully about how you’ll administer a loyalty programme, and how members will accrue and spend ‘points’. Do you want to offer money off purchases made in the club for example, or introduce other retailers to give your members more choice? As well as incorporating the necessary features to turn your club card into a loyalty card, we can also advise on the right loyalty system.

Think about your members. What do they want from a club?

Creating a successful membership programme is about:

–       Showing them you value their membership fee

–       Making them feel welcome when they’re with you

–       Providing them with benefits and perks for being a member

and

–       Giving them more reasons to spend time (and money) at the club

–       Handing them reasons to recommend you to others.

 Get the benefits right

Research your competition to see what they are offering, and better it.

Providing benefits to your members for their fee doesn’t have to cost you much – or indeed anything at all. It’s the feeling of exclusivity that you want to convey. Some perks might include:

–       Free entry to club events

–       Discounted tickets for family members

–       First priority on club tickets

–       Deals with neighbouring retailers, hotels & restaurants just for club members (make these reciprocal so there are no costs involved)

–       Discounts on their own membership fee if they refer-a-friend.

Offering discounts on club food and drink is perceived as a tangible (and very attractive) benefit. You’ll need to weigh up the cost versus the benefit, but it’s likely that it will encourage members who may not normally use the facilities to give them a try. Providing vouchers for members to hand to friends and family is a win-win situation: they feel like they’re getting ‘something for nothing’ whereas you get new customers into the club.

Don’t forget that it’s the simple things that make people feel special. Welcoming a guest by name when they show a membership card is easy to do, and makes a great impression. Especially if they’re with friends.

We offer numbering as standard  

All our club cards are full colour, double sided numbered cards. You can also choose from a range of extra features, such as signature panels or barcodes. Or why not include a QR code to unlock a members-only benefit on your website? 

Refresh, refresh, refresh

Even if you don’t need any new features, or don’t want your club cards to do anything particularly clever, refreshing the design is always a good idea. Don’t use the same design again just because you don’t have someone who can create a new one for you.

Design and artwork is included in all of our quoted prices, so why not ask us to renew the look of the club cards for you.

Our friendly team is happy to advise on the many features of membership cards. Call us on 0844 257 8857 or email sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk

 

 

The world’s most exclusive membership card?

Join an exclusive private membership club and as part of your hefty (often eye watering) membership fee you can expect VIP benefits like a 24/7 concierge service and invitations to exclusive parties.

Not to mention the prestige of being able to say you’re a member. Especially if joining is ‘by invitation only.’

Next comes the extremely satisfying act of whipping out your new member’s card to a cacophony of ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ from your colleagues and friends.

And nothing will do that better than diamond encrusted membership cards.

Bling-up your membership cards

exclusive club cards
Exclusive membership cards – it’s all about the bling

Black Astrum, a British company based in London, makes ‘signature’ diamond encrusted business cards and membership cards. Just one will set you back around £1000, depending on your requirements. A recent set produced by Black Astrum for a client in Brunei featured matt-black engraving surrounded by black diamonds.

One wonders just how many were produced.

In case you’re thinking about commissioning them any time soon, you should know that they only work by invitation. By which we mean they have to invite you. Which gives a whole new meaning to being exclusive enough to provide exclusivity in the first place. If you see what we mean.

Can’t quite stretch to diamonds?

How about settling for gold plating or silver? You can pick up an 18-carat gold plated membership card or business card from BCE online for around £200 – a snip of the price of a diamond one. The more you buy the cheaper it gets: 10 will set you back around £1000.

If you want a 22 carat solid one (i.e. not plated) you’ll be looking at around £2000.

It could be a little weighty in the pocket, and you may be terrified of losing it, but it’ll certainly be a talking point.

Cards for the top brass

You can still make quite an impact with brass membership cards, and they do look a bit like gold. You’re nearly into the realms of affordability too – 200 of those will set you back around £500 from Pure Metal Cards in the US.

If your budget won’t quite stretch to bling, you could of course just go with a metallic printed plastic card for your Gold and Silver VIP members. Have the cards die-cut into an unusual shape, or cut-out your logo, and you’ll still stand out.

And what’s more, you won’t go bankrupt if you have to replace one of them.

Search our range of affordable membership cards

 

Nightclubs: it’s all about the membership cards

There used to be a time when you could just open your nightclub doors and expect to see a queue going round the block.

Not any more.

It’s no longer enough to rely on the pull of a particular DJ or celebrity appearance to get the crowds in. Now it’s all about membership.

Club membership card
Reward people for choosing your Club

You don’t have to be exclusive to give exclusive benefits

The most exclusive clubs in Mayfair have always operated a ‘members only’ policy, and they’ve expected their members to pay handsomely for the privilege. For those clubs where demand is unlimited, paid-for membership cards are a way of keeping their club exclusive.

But that’s not the case for most clubs around the UK, where competition from bars and other clubs is fierce. Rather than reduce prices and risk damaging their brand or reputation, many are implementing membership cards programmes.

These allow their customers to feel like exclusive members, without them having to stump up for it.

What membership cards can do to attract business

Producing membership cards doesn’t cost much. But they give a lot of value to the card holder.

First there’s the feeling of belonging to an exclusive club, a benefit that really can’t be underestimated.

As part of their membership, you can offer benefits that don’t really cost the club anything, but have a high perceived value, for example:

Invites to free parties

Free entry for the member and friends on their birthday (you’ll make up any ‘lost’ revenue at the bar)

Fast-track entry on specific nights

– The opportunity to ‘reserve tickets first’ for key events

Members-only newsletter with special offers and discounts.

For key members, you could make them feel extra special by providing them with VIP cards for example, that give them access to certain areas of the club. Or how about Queue Jump cards: always impressive when brought out of the wallet on a busy Saturday night.

Look after your guests when they’re there

It’s the simple things that make people feel special. Welcoming a guest by name when they show a VIP card or Queue jump card is easy to do, and makes a great impression. If they’ve booked a table, get someone to take them there and introduce them to a waitress.

Thought about offering a taxi service to your VIPs? One of the main things to spoil a good night out is trouble getting home at the end of it.

The other is lost belongings. Giving out branded, numbered plastic cloakroom tags reduces the likelihood of a scramble or lost/missing coats when it comes to leaving time.

There’s a lot of value to be gained from giving out membership cards: benefits that far outweigh the initial investment of having them printed.

New membership cards for January?

If your membership programme renews in January, now is the ideal time to look at your membership cards and consider what you want them to do in 2014. It’s likely that they could be performing more functions for you than they currently are.

What would you like your cards to do?   

Membership cards
Include a range of features on your cards

Increasing numbers of clubs and organisations want their membership cards to do more than just prove eligibility of membership. By including a range of features, or changing the type of card you use, you can turn them into multi-purpose cards.

If you want to secure access to locker rooms or members-only areas for example, you can easily turn the membership cards into ‘swipe to access’ cards.

Or you could turn them into ‘smart cards’, and allow members to use them to ‘swipe’ for their lunch, or access their tab at the bar.

More clubs are also looking for membership cards that also act as loyalty cards, to encourage more spending from members. We can also advise on the right loyalty system to meet your requirements.

Numbering as standard  

All our membership cards are full colour, double sided numbered cards. You can also choose from a range of extra features, such as signature panels or barcodes. Or why not include a QR code to unlock a members-only benefit on your website? 

Refresh your look for 2014

Even if you don’t need any new features, and don’t need your membership cards to do anything particularly clever, refreshing the design is always a good idea. Many clubs and organisations use the same design year after year, mainly because they don’t have a Designer to create a new one for them. Design and artwork is included in all of our quoted prices, so why not ask us to refresh the look of the cards for you.

All our membership cards are made from high quality, durable plastic and are the same thickness as a standard credit card.

Our friendly team is happy to advise on the many features of membership cards. Call us on 0844 257 8857 or email sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk

Need more club cards during the year? Don’t pay twice

Most clubs and sports establishments have a membership programme these days, which can range from tens of members to thousands.

Cycling club card
Print new club cards through the year without incurring a new set-up fee

With every new club year comes the need to print new club cards for members. A relatively easy and cost-effective task when you’re working from a database of names: simply send off the details to your printed plastic cards supplier and they print the numbered club cards. Job done.

But what happens when new members join throughout the year?

The last thing you want to do is pay a new set up and print fee for a handful of plastic cards every time someone new joins up. You could buy your own plastic card printer and print them yourself, but that requires a considerable upfront investment – and you won’t get a consistent result.

Print more than you need & we’ll keep them until you need them

Order more club cards than you need right now and we’ll keep the remainder for you to ‘draw down’ on when you need to.

So if you have 410 members at the moment, you might want to order 500 club cards (all of which will be printed at the same time and sequentially numbered). We’ll send you the 410 cards now, personalised with your members’ details, then we’ll hang onto the other 90 branded cards.

When new members join, simply send us the data and we’ll overprint their details onto the club cards we’re holding for you. We only make a small charge for this service to cover the overprinting and delivery.

Which means you could order new club cards for members on a monthly basis for example.

Don’t pay twice for additional club cards. For more information please contact one of our team on 0855 257 8857 or sales@thecardnetwork.co.uk

 

 

Thinking of membership cards for the first time?

All sports clubs can benefit from setting up an ‘official’ membership programme. But before you go ahead and get your plastic membership cards printed:

– Be clear about what you’re going to offer members – discounts, offers, exclusive deals?

– Consider how it’s going to work – who will administer it?

– Research how much it will cost you as a club – factor in membership cards printing costs and admin costs (and consider how you’ll recoup these)

– Be clear what benefits you want to get out of it as a club and build your strategy from there – increased loyalty, extra sales at the bar, new members?

Golf club card
Establishing a good membership programme can be a real incentive for people to join

Competition for members in some sports is fierce, particularly golf. Creating a ‘proper’ membership programme isn’t just about printing branded club cards that members will be proud to put into their wallets, it’s about:

– Showing them you value their membership fee

– Giving them more reasons to spend time (and money) at the club

– Providing them with some perks for joining, and

– Handing them reasons to recommend you to others.

Creating a good membership programme can give a potential member the reason to choose your club over the one down the road.

Get the benefits right

Consider what you want to offer members in return for their annual fee. Research your competitors to see what they are offering, and better it. Some perks might include:

–          Discounted tickets for family members

–          First priority on club tickets for national fixtures

–          Deals with neighbouring retailers, hotels & restaurants just for club members

–          Discounts on their own membership fee if they refer-a-friend.

Encourage and reward loyalty

If you have a shop, bar and/or restaurant at your club, you want to encourage your members to use them. You can have your membership cards act as loyalty cards or discount cards. Either offer a discount to members on purchases, or creative incentives for increased loyalty, e.g. a meal or equipment when they reach a certain number of points.

If you need any more help on what to include in your membership cards, we’re happy to help. We also provide a free design service, so that’s one less cost you’ll need to factor in.