In our last episode, we talked about member onboarding and how it helps you keep members in your membership site longer (member retention).
In today’s show, we’re going to go right at the topic of retention head on…
How do you increase member retention rates?
We’re going to cover 10 specific tactics to make it happen, including:
- A member challenge
- Community swag
- Get them to promote your program (and its for a specific reason)
- Payment Plans
- Monthly content teasers
- Stand For Something
- Promote best members to VIP
For an explanation of each of these tactics, give this episode a good read. 🙂
Lastly, if you’re finding these episodes valuable, I’d highly appreciate it if you could post a quick review over in iTunes. You can also share on social media and direct people to CoffeeBreakBlogging.com. Be sure to use hashtag #cbb so that I can see it and thank you.
In the last episode; Episode 128, we talked about member onboarding which is that on ramp that you need to send new members to your Membership Site through in order to get them integrated and moving along. Now, that has a lot to do with retention; which is how long will your member stick around. Along that note, I want to go a little further on that topic of Member Retention. And we are going to talk about 10 different tactics for increasing your member retention rate on your membership site.
And we are going to go fairly quick through this; we are not going to get super-detailed on them because this is a “coffee break” session. It is not supposed to be that long. If you want to jump further into all these things, I actually am working on it currently and it will be posted soon inside the Blog Monetization Lab, but I am creating a new very in-depth Action Plan called the Membership Site Blueprint. And this Membership Site Blueprint will be a full, beginning to end on a how to set up a membership site that is profitable. Not only that, I am going to take you behind the scenes on exactly how I built the Blog Marketing Academy. Not only every little tool, but how those tools are configured. It is all going to be there, it is going to be a true blueprint and it will be only available to members of Blog Monetization Lab.
So let’s jump right in to it. 😉
10 Tactics for Increasing Your Member Retention Rate
Tactic no. 1: Orientation
I mentioned this briefly in Episode 128 but it is definitely a membership retention tactic that whenever a new member comes in, you take them in to an orientation. Now that orientation is primarily going to be designed to show them how to get the most out of their membership and do some of the functions of onboarding that we talked about in the last episode. Now you can deliver this orientation via a course, it could be a simple video like, “Start here, watch this video.” It could be a video that is embedded right on your member homepage, you could do it like I do which is an automated webinar that I get people to RSVP for as soon as possible after they join the Lab. I ask them to pick a date and a time for this webinar and it does run automatic, It wasn’t always like that, but with new members coming in to the Lab all the time, I didn’t want new members to have to wait like 2 weeks or something for a live webinar to happen. And plus it is a lot more work for me and quite frankly, I would rather spend my time creating new material for my members rather than delivering the same presentation over and over again. So I have automated it using the EasyWebinar platform and it works our pretty well. So that is a way you can do it. It is to have an orientation to really get them up to speed and that is a good member retention tactic.
Tactic no. 2: Have A member Challenge
We talked about this briefly in the last episode as well. Now, in the last episode, I talked about the member challenge as a way to give the person a quick win because if you give the person a quick win, close to the beginning of their membership, they are going to be much more likely to stick around. And that remains true. Now, another thing that is great about member challenges is that if you make this something that your members go through collectively then it builds a real sense of community around this challenge because you have a bunch of people doing it all at the same time. And so you could do a challenge in a couple of different ways. One is that it is just automated and that part of the onboarding process is to just run them to this challenge, but another thing that you could do is periodically you start the challenge on a particular date and your new members and even your old members can all go through the challenge together. It does not have to be only for new members where they just kind of go through on their own and it is like not much different than a course. It could be a true community effort. And you could even have new challenges like every quarter or something around a different topic and you can get all your members involved and you guys are doing it altogether. You can also use that as a way to get new people into your membership because you can go out in public and say, “Listen, this next challenge is starting in such and such a day; if you want to participate you got to be a member.” And then, great… Get new members in. So, a member challenge; there are lots of different ways you can do that and it is definitely a good way to increase member retention rate.
Tactic no. 3: Community “Bling”
Now, I briefly mentioned community bling, which is basically just a swag… It’s like, you know; stickers, shirts, whatever. But it is the idea of sending these things in the mail. I like it for a couple of reasons: One is, it does definitely form that bond with the community, but the other thing is that it makes your business and your membership a lot more real because now, it is not just something that shows up on their computer screen; it is something they actually got in their mailbox. And that just increases the bond factor in every way. So, this is actually something that I am going to be putting together for the Blog Monetization Lab, I got a little research to do on the logistics of that but I intend to have something, like basically a little Welcome Packet go out to all of my members in the mail when they join the lab. It is just a matter of getting that all set up first.
Tactic no. 4: Get Them To Promote It
Get them to tell other people about your program. Now obviously, that can help you with sales. And you can set up an affiliate program for that if you would like. I am looking to set up an affiliate program for the Blog Monetization Lab but I am going to specifically only limit this to Lab Members, which means you have to be a Lab Member to promote the Blog Monetization Lab. And I am going to do that for a few different reasons, but you can set this up on your site amd your membership as well.
Now, the promotional factor is one thing and that is great. But the other thing from a member retention standpoint is that when your members go out and tell other people about your program, that is getting them to take some ownership and some responsibility for your membership community. And that is going to get them to stick around longer because they just went out to their friends and their social network connections and they just basically vouched for your program. So they are going to stick around a lot longer. Now, I do not want anybody to use this in a sly way. You better make your membership program rock their world to completely and totally deserve the accolade. So, make that clear. You can have that affiliate program to incentivize them; nothing wrong with that, but you better make sure that if they go out and vouch for you that what they are saying is completely and totally upfront and honest. And if they say good things, your membership better reflect awesome good things. But getting them to tell them other people about your program is a great way to get them to stick in your program a lot longer.
Tactic no. 5: Gamification
Now, I am not going to get too deep into this because it can be potentially a big topic. But gamification is essentially making games out of the membership. Now there are various ways that you can do this. You can give them badges for accomplishing certain things and these could be things like going through and completing different courses in your programs, it could be for hitting certain milestones in their transformation, it could be for member community involvement so if they go on there and answer people’s questions they get points added to their profile and then when they get a certain amount of points they get promotions of one kind or another… I mean, there are multiple ways that you can run this. But, human beings, we just tend to operate along the lines of games. The problem is, a lot of us forget that our life is basically one big game and we tend to look at it not as such but it really is one when you get right down to it. And we all have this natural inclination to play games and compete and try to accomplish things and compete with ourselves and compete with others… And you can totally build that natural inclination right into your membership with gamification. And there are plug-ins out there if you search for it. Just search for WordPress Gamification; you will find plug-ins out there that do this, that integrate right with WordPress and you can set these things up.
Tactic no. 6: Experiment With Payment Plans
Now, here is the difference here… This is where you are actually messing around with billing. If you are going to have a monthly recurring membership, that’s totally cool. I actually really love that model. But one thing that you can do to get people to stick around longer is to tell them that after a certain number of payments, their payments are going to stop. Now you need to look at your program and see if whether that is a kind of thing that you want to do. I can tell you that I have done that in the past; it does not work that way anymore. But I have done that in the past and it definitely increased retention rate. Before it was known as the Blog Monetization Lab; in the prior version, for a little bit of time I was running a thing where you can pay upfront or you can break it up into 12 monthly payments. And once those 12 payment were made, it was a done deal and you have lifetime access. And it definitely did increase retention rates. I have definitely many, many people stick around just to complete the 12 payments so that they would have lifetime access. And so it is basically a repositioning. If you have people who are on a standard monthly program and they last 3 to 6 months on average on the retention before they cancel, you might be able to get that up by saying “Okay, let us just go like everybody is going to make 12 payments and then you are done.” So now you got 12 months retention rate which essentially doubles; if not more, your retention rate. If you know that your average member is not going to stick around typically longer, anyway, which, you know, you got to know your numbers, then you could have that 12 month plan and at the end of that they are incentivized by the fact that they are going to have lifetime access to all the benefits of your membership. So it is a way of playing with billing a little bit here, in order to increase your member retention rate.
Tactic no. 7: Have Monthly Content Teasers
So here is what you are doing… You are basically teasing what content is going to come up next month. Now of course, next month that would be after their next monthly billing. So if what you tease is interesting to them; spikes their curiosity and they really want to see that, that will help keep them around through their next monthly cycle into the next month and then they are going to get that content. Now if you are on a drip feed system where you are dripping out content to people based on the day they join then this kind of takes care of itself; in fact, you can automate the entire thing. But if you are not on a drip content, if basically all your members have access to everything, you could just have your own internal content calendar to where you know what you are creating for your members and you can still tease it. You can tease it manually, tease it to all your existing members and that will them to look forward to what is going to come out next month and that will keep them around another month. So, really simple tactic… Monthly content teasers.
Tactic no. 8: Have A Community
Have community inside your membership. Allow your members to talk to one another. We are going to go into this more in Episode 130 so I am not going to dive deep into this in terms of how to run it and how to set it up and all that but just know that having a community definitely increases your member retention rate. I have many Lab members who stick around in the Lab. They love the community, but then while they are waiting for the next Action Plan or what have you, most of their time spent inside the Lab is spent in the community interacting with their Lab members. So I know that my Lab community keeps a lot of members in; it really does. And it is a very, very valuable community. So you got to make sure that if you are going to run a community that you do keep it valuable. We will of course talk more about that in the next episode here.
Tactic no. 9: Stand For Something
Here is what I mean by this… I mean that you need to be a representative for a certain set of ideas and ideals. And those ideas and ideals are things that your members should agree with, otherwise they will not be part of your program. But because of that, because of something that they feel strongly about; something that they have got some emotion attached to, then they are going to form a stronger bond with you because you span for that. Look at it in terms of politics… Now, I am not a fan of the political market on the internet in any way, shape or form, but that is how primarily how the politics’ game works. All the candidates are trying to get people to become emotionally attached to them and that motivates them to go out there and take action in various ways.
Now, in our businesses, chances are we are not in any kind of political thing but it does not mean that you can’t do the same basic thing by tapping in to emotions and stand for something. One possible way of doing that is to look at the principles that you stand for, but also the principles that you stand firmly against. And you can actually personify in your marketing and your positioning who you stand against. Like for example, one thing in my market that I could do is take a much more “us versus them” mentality toward people who want to create real value based businesses versus all those other internet marketing people out there who will say anything to make a buck and they are in a warrior form and all that garbage, and it is full on garbage I’m telling you right now. You know, you can tell… I feel strongly about the spammers of the internet marketing community because they are there and I could take a firm stance about that and I know that my Lab Members would agree wholeheartedly and a lot of other people would to; and that is the idea of standing for something. Your members are going to see that and when they agree with what you are saying they are going to want to stick around longer. We are not going to dive deeper into that; perhaps this is something we can talk about in a later time on Coffee Break.
Tactic no. 10: Promote VIPs
Promote to VIP status of some kind or another, your best members. So basically, you take your member base and a certain percentage of them are just going to rock. And they are like, they are getting results, they are being really helpful in your community and these are your ideal members; the kind of people you wish you have a lot of. Take those people and elevate their status in some way. Now, that could be additional privileges, but it could also be just simply recognition within your community that they are a VIP of your program. Perhaps they have now moderator capabilities in your forum. What benefits can you give them for this? But the big thing for them is they are getting recognition. They are getting validation for these things. And that gets them to stick around a lot longer. It also gives the other people something to aspire to. And so it is just a great way to increase member retention; especially though, of your best members, the ones you really do want to keep in there. I am getting a little long winded here but those are the 10 Tactics For Increasing Your Member Retention Rate on Your Membership Site.
Spread The Word 😉
I really hope you found that valuable. If you did; if you have been finding all these episodes about membership sites and all the others of Coffee Break valuable, then I would love it and appreciate it highly if you can go and spread the word. Let us bring some new people into the Coffee Break Community. And there are a couple of ways you can do that…
One you can head over to the iTunes profile of this podcast and post a quick review and a star rating for Coffee Break Blogging. Let people know what you think of the Coffee Break Podcast. The second thing that you can do; you got a free reign on what you say on this one and that is to go out to Facebook and Twitter or Google+ or whatever networks that you are involved in and just let people know about the podcast. Point them over to coffeebreakblogging.com and I would also like it if you will add the hashtag of CBB; that is Coffee Break Blogging, just add the hashtag to your share… It is not for any other purpose other than it allows me to see it and then I could acknowledge you and thank you for having done that. If you do not include the hashtag I might not see your share. And I would like to see it, I would like to be able to thank you for that. So that is #cbb, when you spread the word about Coffee Break Blogging on Facebook, Twitter and other places.
So, once again, thank you so much; I will see you in a few more days where we are going to be talking a little bit more about membership sites before we are going to start getting in this really cool stuff here about pricing, product launches, conversions… We got a lot of cool stuff in store here on Coffee Break. I am also going to be sitting down the next month or so and start planning out where this show is going to go in 2016.
By the way, if you have some input on where you would like to see it go, I would love to hear from you. You can email me anytime email@example.com.
On that note, I am going to shut my pie hole now; I’ll see you next time! 😀