5 tips for handling membership growth

You’re getting new members, retaining old ones, and building a community; your membership business is growing! Awesome. But, what adjustments should you make in order to manage the increasing load?

Let’s face it, running a membership site is no small task. Though rewarding, it requires a lot of dedication – and as you scale up your business, you may identify some areas that need fine-tuning. You also might find yourself struggling to manage a bigger enterprise, with more content, more members, and more responsibility. Simplifying your membership business is a good place to start, but when it comes to growth, there are some specific things to look out for.

In this post, we highlight some of our top tips for handling membership growth to help you keep things running smoothly.

1. Create structures you can rely on

Ok, let’s say you’ve bootstrapped your membership site from the very beginning, using minimal resources and doing the majority of the work yourself. Things are taking off and you’re wondering how to juggle everything on your own. What should you focus on first?

Well, there’s a lot to be said for structure – and it’s not just for people who really like rules and guidelines! At the end of the day, structure helps you organize your tasks, become more efficient, and ultimately, worry less.

Creating standards, systems, and processes can help you to streamline your efforts, especially when it comes to things like content and support. Consider creating a content strategy to help you declutter your mind, and take some of the decision-making weight out of content production and your everyday business management.

If you haven’t already, consider implementing an FAQ section and/or support database to help reduce your support burden. Anticipating member questions can go a long way toward making the member experience more efficient and easier to navigate – and it frees up your time as well!

Anything you can do to consolidate your processes (such as creating content in batches) can be helpful. The bottom line is that having systems that you can rely on helps you to relax and follow predetermined courses of action that are a bit less stressful than just aimlessly tackling whatever comes up!

2. Consider hiring a support team

As your membership business grows, you might find that you’re reaching maximum capacity when it comes to handling support. In short, it could be time to hire a support team.

Assuming your revenue is flourishing along with your growth, hiring a support team can be a very worthwhile expense – especially because it sets you up for continued growth. When you outsource support, you retain more of your time and energy that you can spend on things like marketing and creating content.

Never underestimate the value of your time! Even just one extra person can make a big difference.

3. Set up automations

When it comes to managing a growing business of any kind, automation is your friend! Fortunately, there are tools like Zapier and Automate.io that allow you to set up tasks to be triggered automatically. These tools can communicate between apps and services like Google, Dropbox, Slack, MailChimp, and social media platforms, and are essential once you start to scale up your membership business.

On the productivity side, this can save you a lot of time and mental bandwidth. Knowing that you have a basic workflow operating seamlessly allows you to better handle increasing responsibilities, and prevents you from missing or forgetting routine tasks.

In addition to automation tools, you can semi-automate other aspects of your membership business, such as drip feeding content. Queue up your blog posts for the month, or set your content and social media posts for automatic publishing according to your content schedule. If you haven’t already, consider designing a member onboarding email sequence and setting it up as an automatic process in MailChimp (or whatever email marketing service you use).

4. Audit your pricing structure

As a membership site owner, you always want to be sure you’re bringing in enough money – but it’s even more important when you’re growing. Why? Well, if you grow to the point where you need to hire outside help and pay for things like increased storage and server capacity, you may need to increase your prices as well, or reallocate your resources.

Maybe it’s time to audit your pricing structure to see what needs adjustment; after all, you want to be sure that your membership tiers are serving you and your audience well! For example, as your audience expands, it’s possible that your existing tiers could benefit from some changes in order to supercharge your profits.

Or, maybe you’re getting a lot of members from certain niches. In this case, you could design tiers that cater to specific sections of your member base, ultimately helping you minimize support and refund requests, and curb the number of confused members, or inactive members that simply picked the wrong membership for their needs.

Perhaps most of your members are flocking to one tier in particular, and you want to redesign or restructure your pricing system to account for that. Or, maybe with more members and increased workload, you just want to simplify things. Whatever the case, it’s important to audit your pricing structure from time to time – especially when your business is growing and evolving.

5. Let your members work for you

Building a community around your membership site comes with some serious benefits to you and your community. One of the most convenient of these benefits is that members can actually work for you.

When people engage with your content over time, they become experts. In fact, one of the components of long-term member value is that members can actually lighten your support load. Experienced members who are well-versed in your material can answer questions, and provide useful knowledge and insights to the community – helping everyone get the most out of your content.

Nurturing your membership community is an effective way to turn your business into a self-sustaining machine – and that is one of the best things you can do when it comes to handling membership growth!

Trust your instincts

As you expand your membership business over time, you’re bound to encounter some growing pains – it’s normal! The question is, what pain points are you noticing, and what needs the most attention?

What’s giving you a headache, or tripping up your workflow, or just demanding more of your time, attention, and money? Trust your instincts and be willing to make changes. The fact is, as memberships grow, their requirements grow, too.

And as for the good news? Growth is positive! So, celebrate your progress as you take the actions needed to keep things thriving.

What have you found to be most helpful when it comes to handling membership growth? Do you have some strategies to share? We’d love to hear them. Leave us a comment below!

Mandy Jones

About the author: Mandy Jones is a content writer at Sandhills Development and founder of Looplicious. Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, she's a world traveler and animal lover with a passion for creativity and maker culture. When she’s not writing blog posts for Easy Digital Downloads, Restrict Content Pro, and AffiliateWP, she can be found hanging out with other people’s dogs, or writing, recording, and performing music.