For membership site owners, membership retention is super important.

Firstly, adding a new member to the list requires a lot of work. From constant touchpoints to the amount of investment that goes into converting them from interested to active members, there’s no downplaying the sheer amount of effort.

However, signing a member up is one thing. But if you can’t get them to keep their subscriptions the following month or year, your efforts are headed down the drain. And over time, this trend doesn’t bode well for your business.

On the other side, when you learn how to improve member retention, it’s a different story. Your membership will climb steadily. More importantly, your returns on investment will rise. It all sounds easy, right? Keep those members, and your brand will be all the better for it.

However, membership retention isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, it’s a long term process that requires consistency, dedication, and creativity. For digital marketers and content creators alike, this can be a challenge.

The good news is we’ve compiled some of the best strategies and tips to improve member retention rates—no more trial and error. Now your WordPress membership plugin can finally be put to use. Keep reading to learn more!

Membership Retention: What is Churn?

Churn is bad for the subscription model business. Churn means members are choosing to cancel their membership.

If you want to make sure your WordPress membership site is getting maximum use, you must reduce churn rates. Essentially, you’ve got to make sure you’re not losing customers.

For clarity, say you gain new members at a rate of 10% every quarter. If your churn rate is 7% for that same timeframe, you only have a 3% rate. Therefore, it’s key to keep an eye on your churn rates. You can choose to measure it monthly or quarterly.

Over the next few minutes, we’ll provide a set of proven steps to increasing membership retention and reducing the churn rate.

Market to the Proper Audience

Member retention is the goal. However, this’ll be impossible if you don’t understand your audience. The simple truth is that your content cannot cater to everyone. The people that are willing to pay your membership subscriptions will fit a specific niche.

Therefore, you should focus your time and money on people who fit the mold. After all, they are the ones most likely to identify with your content and relate with your brand.

When you put out content that your target audience can relate with, you automatically improve member retention numbers. Relatable content fosters brand support, trust, and relationship — all ingredients for subscription renewal.

Focus on Benefits

Of course, for membership site owners and builders, the significant benefit you should offer is excellent content/service. However, to ensure that those members sign on for the second year, you’ve got to provide more.

Benefits are incentives designed to retain loyal members. You don’t have to wait until the renewal is around the corner before offering these benefits. From coupon codes to social media shoutouts, get creative with the type of benefits you want to offer.

Finally, it may improve retention rates, but the best tactic is not to offer any benefits to new subscribers. If not, you’ll only end up with first-time members who sign up just for the benefits. Reward loyalty and watch the use of your membership site skyrocket!

Segment Your Members

This is an extension of knowing your audience. Even if there’s only one perfect audience persona for your brand, the probability is that they have different needs. Therefore, it’s essential to segment your members based on their needs.

You can find this out by doing a quick survey. Segmenting your members gives you an inside track to their needs. This way, you can make changes and steps to satisfy members.

When you tailor services and content based on each member’s specific needs, it boosts member confidence. They believe that you value them. And then, they want to renew their memberships.

Make Onboarding a Priority

Don’t just gain new members and forget about them. Even if you use a WordPress membership plugin, note new members, and connect with them. The first year of membership is key to how a member views your brand. It’s just like the first time at a restaurant. You’re likely never to return if you didn’t enjoy your first experience.

The onboarding process helps you improve member retention numbers. During onboarding, the job of digital marketers or content creators is to guide new members. Mainly, it involves showing them how much value you offer. More importantly, it shows how they can enjoy all of this value.

It means a new member has the opportunity to enjoy the full array of benefits your service offers. Furthermore, the data you gain during the onboarding process can be useful in personalizing member experience. Some ways to onboard new members include webinars, newsletters, networking events, etc.

Ask for Testimonials

You can spend all year talking about how excellent your service is. However, the simple truth is that members are more likely to believe reviews coming from others in their position. Testimonials from members offer social proof that can influence membership retention.

Stick to a schedule of sending out testimonials to members every six months. Whether in video or written form, these testimonials should show the diversity and the benefits other members enjoy with your service. Doing this sends an unconscious message of renewal to hesitant members.

How do you get testimonials? Ask long-term members politely. To ensure a positive response, you can include freebies as an incentive for providing a testimonial.

Create an Easy Renewal Program

Make it easy for members to remain members. If the membership renewal process is complicated, membership retention numbers may drop drastically. Here are some of the things that turn off members looking to renew:

● Having to re-enter credit card/payment details.
● Having to choose a membership plan. Simply, continuing with the same membership plan is better.
● Opening too many web pages before renewing

Every question that you ask a member increases the chances of them stopping halfway through the renewal process. Keep your WordPress membership plugin to the point, effective and direct!

Provide Helpful Incentives and Perks

Offering incentives and perks are a great way to improve member retention. However, there’s more to the process. You have to ensure that these perks are things that members will enjoy.

The best way to do this is to make a list. Then, tick perks off this list using customer feedback. Include everything you can think of on this list. Helpful suggestions include exclusive access to resources, discounts, mentorship offers, etc.

The best way to offer these perks to members is via content marketing. You can easily send out these incentives via emails or specialized landing pages. Also, make these benefits readily available to members. If they can’t easily access it, few of them will do the extra work of enjoying it.

Regularly Put Out Content

Most of us live on our phones or laptops. The simple truth is that your members are most likely to follow in the same mold. Therefore, to catch their attention, you have to put out top-notch content consumable via these platforms. More importantly, this process must be consistent.

You have to demand attention by interacting with your members frequently. Regular interaction between the brand and members leads to trust. In a few months, this trust translates to members making use of your WordPress Membership Plugin. In other words, they’ll renew their membership status.

To keep members excited and connected, consider the following: hosting webinars, live chats and, taking polls. 81% of marketers agree with this school of thought.

Make It A Community

The human mind instinctively seeks out others. It’s why we feel safe when close to family and friends. The same theory can be useful in improving membership retention.

When you make members feel like they are a part of something bigger, they’ll be more likely to use your WordPress membership plugin. A simple way to do this is with group chats or online forums. These create a common platform where members can all get together, share ideas, and more.

Give Long-Time Members a Treat With VIP Experience

Sure the services or content you provide in return for a subscription are a part of the experience. However, it’s important to reward loyalty. When you do this, it signals to long-time members and others that keeping their membership is worth it.

Providing VIP experience to members that have been with you for a long time is a great way to do this. By VIP experience, we mean a clear distinction in the service you provide old and new members.

This is not a call to reduce the quality of service you give old members. Instead, it’s a call to make the experience better for old members. Something as simple as individual mentorship sessions or personal call-ins can make for a VIP experience. The effect of this is that you’ll have new members also longing for this experience. Consequently, they’ll renew their membership.

Reuse Content on Different Platforms

Earlier, we show you how content can be crucial to membership retention. Content creation must be done on various platforms. For example, your brand can have accounts on multiple social media platforms. Also, there’s a web and email content to consider.

The saving grace is that you can use the same content on different platforms. Sure, you may have to change one or two things to fit each platform. But, the general idea should be the same.

Doing this offers your audience a sense of uniformity. Whether they are connecting with you via Instagram or Twitter, it still sounds the same. That’s always a plus!

Conduct Customer Surveys

To improve membership retention, provide high-quality service. If there is anything discouraging members from renewing their subscriptions, it shouldn’t be your service/content.

In lieu of this, the best feedback is from the customers themselves. They know what they want from their subscription. As a result, surveys offer an insight into the quality of your service. Encouraging your subscribers to fill one on a quarterly basis will do the trick!

Personal Engagement

Love your members. If you want somebody to remain a part of the community, they have to know that you care. Personal engagement is key to showing members that you care about them. In fact, there are no limits to it. You can go above and beyond to engage with your members personally

The result of personal engagement is an interconnected community of members who have relationships with each other and you. This way, they’ll be less likely to cancel their subscriptions. Treat every member like they are special, and your membership retention rates will thank you for it!

Wrapping Up

From the above, it is easy to see that improving membership retention is not a day’s journey. It’s one that requires consistent hard work, interaction, content, and building relationships with members.

More importantly, it’s something you have to be consistent with. For many membership site owners and digital marketers, this can be a challenge. From ensuring the provision of quality services to maintaining operations, there’s hardly any time for it. Even if there is, it may not come naturally to you.

As a result, the best option may be to hire someone who handles content creation. You can work hand in hand to make the job more effective and personal for your members.

The tips provided above are the perfect guide for improving member retention. From using an effective, straightforward WordPress membership plugin to delivering a personalized experience for your customers, do it all. Each step is an extra point in the positive column for member trust, loyalty, and relationship. Good luck!

AJ Morris

About the author: AJ is the product innovation and marketing manager for iThemes and leads marketing efforts for Restrict Content Pro. He has years of experience working with and development membership sites.