4 membership site challenges and how to overcome them

Running a membership site can be one of the most rewarding types of businesses out there; you get to help your members achieve their goals or better their lives in some way, and they support your membership business every month. But, it’s certainly not without its challenges.

As a membership site owner, you’ve already put in the time creating your content, getting your site up and running, and managing the day-to-day details that keep your business thriving. It would be nice if all obstacles could be avoided, but the reality is that some show up even when you think you’ve done everything right.

In this post, we talk about some common membership site challenges and what you should do about them to get things back on track!

1. Subscription fatigue

The situation

With the increasing prevalence of the subscription model across nearly every niche, at some point customers may begin to worry about how much they’re paying each month. They might even question whether the subscriptions they signed up for are really worth the ongoing investment at all.

It’s only natural; most of us have to watch where our money is going, and your members are no different. The paradox of choice makes the increasing amount of subscription options overwhelming to consumers, to the point where they may become confused – or simply fed up with all of it!

So, how do you make sure that your membership isn’t on the chopping block?

How to deal with it

The best thing you can do to prevent subscription fatigue from affecting your membership business is to focus on making your membership so valuable that it’s indispensable. Real-world benefits keep your members coming back for more, so the more you can do to provide this kind of value, the better.

But there are some practical solutions, too. Consider things like:

  • Letting your members pause their memberships whenever they need to. There may be members who simply need a break – financially or otherwise. Allowing them this freedom makes it more likely that they’ll return in the future if and when their situation changes.
  • Offer a one-time pass. This can give your members the option of foregoing the subscription element altogether, while still providing you with revenue.
  • Create a membership community. Having the social element, extra support, and a forum for discussion can make a huge difference to your members – and it makes your membership stand out from competitors who may not have member communities.
  • Personalize your memberships. This can mean creating member pathways, for example, or adding special touches like personal emails, personalized content feeds, one-to-one coaching, etc.

2. People don’t want to pay the price you’re asking

The situation

Not getting enough new member signups? It’s possible that people just don’t want to pay the price you’re asking. It can be tough to get membership pricing just right, but in this case you’re going to need to experiment. After all, what good is running a membership site if you’re not getting an adequate return on your investment?

How to deal with it

If you’ve got competitors who are offering similar value for a lower price, you may be forced to adjust your prices accordingly. But, there can be more to it than just the price itself.

Are you giving your members enough to justify your current prices? Is there anything else you could add to up your membership offering? Have you thoroughly researched your target market? Do you know what price points your target customers are willing to pay for other memberships, what kind of lifestyle they live, and what they really need? If not, now’s a good time to find out!

If you want more information on membership pricing, check out this post.

3. You’re losing members

The situation

Member churn is a bummer. Sure, it might come with the territory, but it still hurts! And it’s challenging when all you want is to create meaningful memberships and nurture a successful business.

Plus, it can cost significantly more to acquire new members than to retain existing ones – not to mention the importance of long-term member value.

How to deal with it

First, find out why your members are leaving. You might want to have some kind of exit survey in place to give your members the chance to tell you. Once you have enough data to decipher any trends, you can act.

Here are some common reasons:

  • The membership doesn’t solve their problem or satisfy their needs. In this case, you may want to make sure you aren’t marketing to the wrong audience. Have you done thorough research? Is your site attracting the wrong people? Are your memberships being marketed accurately?
  • The membership is too expensive for them. Maybe you want to look into using tiered pricing, or expanding your existing pricing to a more affordable tier with less content. Some members might not want all of your content, and would prefer a more minimal membership.
  • They found a better solution. It’s possible that your competitors have been scoping you out, so keep an eye on what they’re doing in order to identify areas where you might be falling behind.

If you’d like to read about winning back lost members, head over here.

4. You’re having trouble creating enough new content

The situation

You might feel like you can’t quite keep up – that your membership site isn’t growing and you haven’t replenished your content enough to please your members. Maybe you are just too busy, or perhaps you’re stuck for ideas.

Creating a content strategy is always helpful, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t have any issues keeping up with it. What then?

How to deal with it

Remember that there are multiple options here; it’s not always just about creating more of the same types of content you’ve made thus far. Think about things like diversifying your content, bringing in outside help, as well as simplifying your membership business to free up more of your time and energy.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Repurpose your existing content. If you have existing content that can be combined in different ways, take advantage of it! Create new product bundles and release them as new content, or create entirely new things out of existing content.
  • Create downloadables that are offshoots of, or companions to existing content. Think project files, companion guides, checklists, etc.
  • Host live-streams or webinars that become part of your content catalogue. Not all new content needs to be created ahead of time. 
  • Batch create content. If you’re already creating content on a specific topic, think about related topics you can cover and create that content all together.
  • Organize guest blog posts. In exchange, you can strike a cross-promotion deal, or compensate them (monetarily or even with products).
  • If you have the budget, hire other people to create some content. Industry experts, freelancers, and professional content creators are all options to consider.

Look at the long term

Memberships aren’t just about making a single sale – and as with any long-term goal, the willingness to adjust as things change over time is key. These challenges may or may not show up for you, but being aware of them (and how to handle them) can’t hurt!

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t see immediate results. After all, there’s no blueprint for the perfect membership site, at least not one that applies to every situation and every type of content.

Now it’s your turn. What are some challenges you’ve encountered as a membership site owner and how did you deal with them? Tell us what you think in the comments 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.