In terms of overhead and cash flow, few business models are as attractive as the membership website model. They produce steady, recurring revenue and require minimal ongoing maintenance and attention. But if there’s one challenge entrepreneurs and membership site owners encounter on a regular basis, it’s high turnover.
It’s fairly easy to generate new members, but these new customers are typically replacing members who are on the way out. The result is stagnant revenue and higher than average customer acquisition costs.
If you want your membership site to be as successful as possible, you need to increase your retention rate by elevating the perceived value and enhancing satisfaction with the products and services you offer.
Try These 5 Tactics
There’s no magic bullet for increased retention rates, but a combination of the following tactics will lead to noticeable improvement over a period of several weeks or months.
- Create an Engaging Welcome Plan
You don’t earn a new member when they sign up and plug in their credit card information. The moment you truly win a customer is the moment that member feels like you’ve taken care of them. Because it’s at that moment that you’ve essentially secured yourself a second month of revenue. (And if a member makes consecutive payments, they’re far more likely to stick around for the long haul.)
So how do you make a new member feel cared for? The simple answer is you create an engaging welcome plan.
An engaging welcome plan makes people feel comfortable and familiar. It might include a personalized note, a discount code, or even a free bonus gift. If your membership site is complicated and/or features a bunch of different services and products, you might also want to include a virtual “tour guide” to help them maximize their membership.
- Stay Fresh
Stagnancy is the death sentence of a monthly membership website. The moment you stop creating fresh content and value is the moment otherwise engaged members contemplate dropping off. A member might not leave the first month you fail to add value, but if you cross them twice, they’re likely to jump ship.
You don’t have to come out with some flashy new product every single billing cycle. You do, however, need to keep things updated. Something as simple as regular virtual town halls, one-off Q&A sessions, and complimentary downloads may be enough in most niches. (Obviously the higher the price you’re charging, the greater the expectations.)
- Cultivate Community
People aren’t just paying for your content, services, or products. They’re also paying to be a part of a community. The more you can build up this community and turn it into a powerful and supportive place that members draw energy from, the better your retention rates will be.
Cultivating community is all about giving members chances to connect with each other and add value. You can do this via numerous strategies, including social media groups, message boards, live virtual gatherings, breakout groups, etc.
- Reward Loyalty
It’s only natural that, over time, you’ll want to increase membership rates. After all, most membership sites provide more value as they age. But the key is to never raise membership rates on your existing members. Doing so only gives them reason to leave.
The best rule of thumb is to always grandfather-in members. You can certainly raise the price on new members, but never elevate that price after they lock in. This helps you increase revenue over time without ostracizing your most loyal customers.
- Listen to Complaints (And Take Action)
The objective is to continually get better. One way to do this is by collecting complaints and feedback in as many areas as possible. This may include a combination of support tickets, anonymous surveys, emails, and reviews.
Once you collect complaints, look for the big trends – or the super sensitive hot spots – and proactively address them. Your members will notice (and appreciate) the gesture.
Keep the Money Flowing
A membership site is at its best when new members are coming in, existing members are staying happy, and expenses are staying relatively flat. As you seek to improve retention rates, please remember to continue adding value. Happy members are profitable members – never forget it!