There are membership programs that dominate their niche with reputation and quality, and then there are those that fizzle out before they really begin. So, how exactly do you create one that will stand the test of time and generate some awesome recurring revenue?
We caught up with the ultimate membership experts, Mike and Callie (The Membership Guys) to find out what it takes to create and maintain and engaged and loyal membership.
Let's find out what they had to say…
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What should you avoid when launching a membership?
- There are definitely some situations where the ‘launch model’ (opening the doors for a limited time) is the best approach. For example, if you’re doing a guided program where it benefits the members to be moving through your material at the same time.
- The launch model doesn’t really work when you’re using it purely as a marketing gimmick when you’re doing it just to force people to join.
- Urgency and scarcity are overrated. That’s not to say that they aren’t powerful, but they’re not the only tools you should be using.
- If someone is looking for the solution to a real problem, they aren’t going to wait around for you to open your doors again. They’ll just go somewhere else.
Should you run offers for new members on an evergreen membership?
- Yeah, running mini promotions is great. You can even do things that would be considered launch marketing while your membership is open.
- For example, we’ve run challenges. In January we run a membership kick-off challenge as a promotion for the academy.
- You can definitely run short promotions, challenges, bonuses and free trials to promote your evergreen membership to encourage people to join.
- The level of urgency and scarcity isn’t as high with this, but it doesn’t need to be because it’s backed up by the consistent stream of marketing, awareness building, and audience building.
What do you do when someone leaves your membership?
- One of the first things we do is that even before they cancel, we find out why they want to cancel. We gather that data.
- We find out why they’re canceling, and if we can, we offer them an alternative.
- If someone is canceling because they don’t have time right now or they’ve hit some sort of financial hardship, then we might offer them the option to pause their membership instead and come back within a certain amount of time.
- This way people still feel like they are part of the membership, and that they’re just putting their subscription on hold for a little bit.
- Some people might just want to genuinely cancel, and that’s fine. But I think you should always assume that people want to stay in your membership and try to solve their problems.
Should you sell your other products to your existing members?
- I think it’s fine as long as it makes sense that this is something your members would want, so if it’s a natural follow on.
- A good example is if someone has a membership site and then create an in-depth course that goes really deep on a topic that may be covered in the membership, but only briefly.
- What we tend to recommend is that your members always get preferential treatment. So, if you have a course or a product that you’re selling to the public for $2,000 then your members could get it for $1,500 maybe.
- We’re big fans of having this collection of products and services, but with your membership at the heart.
How do you keep your long-term members engaged?
- I think it’s always a good idea to show members that you appreciate that they’ve been members for a long time.
- Things like giving a special award or badge when they hit a milestone in your membership or sending them a postcard for their membership anniversary. Even just a little personal video saying that you really appreciate them.
- Every year we do a survey of all our members and based on the results we make changes and add new things to our membership, and even that means that your long-term members are getting additional features that will keep them interested.
What is your top success habit?
We have templates and processes for everything.
Who do you look up to?
Callie – Ann Handley.
Mike – Vince McMahon the CEO of WWE.
Here’s the big one… who do you like more, Rob or Kennedy?
Callie – I can't possibly choose!
Mike – I’m a big Manchester United fan so Robs red hair gets a point for that, also there was a pro wrestler called Mr. Kennedy and he sucked… so Rob gets the point!
Finally, where can folks go to find out more about you?
If you’re listening before our event in September you can find out more about that over at retainlive.com
Or if you’re listening after you can find out more about us at themembershipguys.com where you can find a load of free content and resources!