If you own a membership site, you know that around the start of a new year, you’ll see changes in your subscription levels. There’s nothing like a perceived ‘fresh start’ to galvanise people into action. But what are they doing?
Typically, January is a time for people to review their habits and lifestyles and push for positive change. And for your members, that may well include reviewing their subscriptions and memberships. Add to the fact that the media is telling us we’ll be watching the pennies for a good while to come, there’s a more significant aspect to the decision-making.
So, what can you do to keep your customers paying for their membership?
Retention Is Key
It’s a well-stated fact that the cost of retaining a client is far cheaper than the cost of attracting a new one. But it’s not without its challenges. When you retain a client, you’re asking them to repeatedly buy from you – so they need to see a continual value in their purchase. It’s how you connect with your members that allows you to remind them of your place in their busy lives.
So it stands to reason that to maintain a long-term member, you need to evaluate how you connect with them. So that brings us to our secret sauce for keeping membership loyalty…
Your content is what brought your members to you in the first place. What you say, how you say it, how it’s delivered – all of it had an appeal that meant someone parted with their hard-earned cash to subscribe. But, weeks, months, even years later – has that content got the same intrigue?
The last couple of years have seen huge shifts in behaviour. Lockdown had us adapting to online life, and post-lockdown life had us appreciate the things we missed out on. These combined have created an environment that has new opportunities and challenges for membership site owners.
Reviewing your content is a fundamental aspect of keeping your members keen. Is what you’re saying still relevant? Can you update or reframe some of your messages? Has anything changed in your field that means you can add new modules or host a live session?
If your members can rely on you to deliver current content that moves with their industry, you’ll keep their interest.
Bonus Tip: Including teasers for future updates means that your members stick around to get their hands on the promised goods.
This is the lifeblood of your membership website. The people who share a common interest or goal. We’ve talked frequently about the importance of creating a strong community within your membership site (if you missed it, catch up starting with this blog about creating a membership community here).
A thriving, active hub of engaged users means that not only do your members have a daily reason to check in, but it also gives you a finger on the pulse of what people want to know about. Their conversations and questions are a real-time indication of what your content should include.
Reviewing how your community is working is essential site maintenance. Without it, you could be missing out on so much good stuff.
Lockdown familiarised new audiences with tech, but for some, that’s where it stopped. You may have members that need a little support making the most of your membership site’s features, and your community is where that can happen.
By reviewing your community, you may identify some frequent contributors that would be happy to help newbies or less-tech-savvy members. Appointing moderators (mods) or admins gives helpful members a feather in their cap and helps you have eyes on your community, even when you’re not there.
If your community has little engagement, then spend some time looking at ways to ignite a response. Host hang-outs, share some insights and create an email sequence that entices your members to your forum or community space.
Bonus Tip: Invite prestigious or well-regarded people in your industry to host or join your community for a session.
Ah, that all-important factor. You have to assume your pricing was right for your members at some stage – otherwise, they wouldn’t have joined up. But things change, and reviewing your pricing is sensible to do every so often.
When you agonised over what to charge (don’t worry, it’s one of the hardest parts of creating a membership site!) you probably had a spreadsheet detailing your costs, overheads and ideal profit. But chances are, that information has changed. Maybe you’ve invested in staff, or new software or even enhanced your site with new apps and features – does your membership fee cover that?
Maybe your membership levels are healthy, and you’ve got more cash rolling in than anticipated.
Whichever it is, reviewing your pricing strategy means that you can take account of your current circumstances.
Now, putting your prices up is scary, but that can’t be the reason not to do it. Let’s take Netflix as an example. All of their streaming packages have increased, some by as much as 60%, since its launch in 2017. But their viewership has still grown, year after year.
A price hike might make their subscribers grumble, and a few may even leave, but the majority stay put. Why? Because Netflix made its offering so appealing, even the influx of new competitors didn’t tempt users away.
So, if you plan to up your prices, make sure your benefits are front and centre of your marketing. Let people see why you’re worth the extra expense.
And on the flip side, if you find space in your budget to reduce an aspect of your membership, you can make things a little more affordable for your customers. One-time discounts, loyalty discounts or rewards for introducing new members are good ways to utilise that cash-positive time.
Bonus Tip: Understanding the psychology of pricing helps you create packages that will get customers clicking. You can read more here.
This is arguably the most important factor to review. It will guide every decision you make for all of the above aspects of your membership.
An online membership site means you can access lots and lots of lovely data – and that’s powerful stuff. You can see who is reading your emails. You can see who is logging on. You can see what content is getting traction and what is left gathering digital dust.
Reviewing this information lets you get a picture of what’s working and what needs your attention. It helps you build a strategy for updating your site and your membership as a whole. In fact, you shouldn’t attempt any updates without consulting the data first – it’s that important.
The trouble is the data can be confusing. Having a professional team to help you understand what it all means will enable you to make the most impactful changes. And we know the perfect people to help…
The Membership Website People
At Memberlab, all we do is develop and design membership websites. We take our client’s innovative and imaginative ideas and make them an online reality. And our business only succeeds when yours does, so we’re dedicated to making membership websites that have a fantastic future.
Regularly reviewing your website will help you retain and engage your members. But if you have read this and think your membership website could do with some expert input, we’d love to talk to you. We can catch up with a free demo and chat about how we can support you in keeping your members paying.