How to create a smooth membership registration experience

Getting people to sign up for your membership site is a victory – and the last thing you want is to slow down or stall the process with a cumbersome registration experience.

If you want to make sure you don’t lose any members along the way, it’s important to pay attention to things like your landing pages, registration forms, and payment processes. These elements should be designed to keep customers moving swiftly from the sign-up decision to the actual purchase, so you can get those new members in the door without a hitch.

In this post, we look at how to create a smooth membership registration experience for your new members from start to finish!

Go for clarity

With member retention being so vital to the success of your membership site, you want to be sure that your members are fully aware of what they’re signing up for. This not only saves you headaches down the line with refund and support requests; it also leaves the customer with a positive experience that helps them feel comfortable purchasing from you now and in the future.

Properly communicating the benefits of becoming a member and the most important details of your membership is a step that you don’t want to miss – and if members can cancel anytime, definitely let them know upfront! Your pricing tiers should also be as clearly defined, ideally with a pricing table to show the different features in each offering.

If you offer a subscription with automatic billing, consider including a checkbox so the customer can decide to enable it, or handle payments manually. If there’s no manual option at all, it should be very clear.

Restrict Content Pro includes a check box that requires the customer to acknowledge the subscription billing plan, purchase terms, and refund policy:

Simple payment page with check box (Restrict Content Pro)

Keep it minimal

To avoid confusion and keep members moving through your signup process, keep things as minimal as possible. Only collect the information you absolutely need, and create a page layout that is cohesive and uncluttered.

You want the payment process itself to be fast and convenient as well; using payment processors like Stripe Elements allows you to have a very minimal form that makes it quick and easy for members to sign up right on the main registration page – so they never have to leave it. Plus, minimal fields to fill in mean even fewer barriers to completing the process.

If you let members sign up using their Facebook or Google accounts, even better!

Dollar Shave Club has a quick two-page registration process, for example:

Registration page with Facebook login (Dollar Shave Club)
Simple shipping and payment form (Dollar Shave Club)

Think customer confidence

The main thing that will get your prospective member from signup to payment is customer confidence, so you don’t want to overlook it! But, what makes a customer feel confident aside from the transparency and convenience mentioned above?

If you look at things from the customer’s perspective, you’ll probably be thinking of things like site security and data privacy, up-to-date payment methods, and social proof, for example.

Here are a few trust indicators that can communicate your site’s legitimacy to the customer:

SSL certificates, site seals, and trust logos

Not only is an SSL certificate required to use payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe; it’s also a way you can signal to your prospective members that your site is a secure place to shop. Even if your members are initially registering for your free membership tier, it’s still important to reassure them that their sensitive data is protected.

Payment logos

Considering how popular emojis are now, it’s safe to say that imagery can sometimes communicate an idea more effectively than the written word. This applies to payment methods; if you want people to sign up for your membership, make it obvious that their preferred payment methods are actually accepted.

Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, PayPal, and Stripe are the most common.

Testimonials

When it comes to customer confidence, testimonials are especially effective – people generally trust community approval, after all. Adding even just one or two testimonials to your registration page can be enough to give customers the extra inspiration they need to complete the signup process.

Process Masterclass illustrates this nicely:

Testimonials (Process Masterclass)

FAQs and Chat bots

Have you ever nearly completed a registration form, but something stopped you from finishing it? Sometimes, customers have questions about what exactly they’re registering for, the payment terms, or if they’re choosing the right membership tier – and if they’re too unsure, they might abandon the process altogether.

Avoiding this situation obviously starts with correctly advertising your product in the first place, but adding an FAQ section or a chat bot that answers commonly asked questions can be especially helpful to guide customers through to the end.

For example:

FAQ section (Process Masterclass)

Build excitement

Creating a smooth membership registration experience is about more than a pleasant registration form; you want to build excitement for your members by giving them a glimpse of what they can expect to receive when they join.

Screenshots, sample content, and behind-the-scenes videos or tutorials can be great ways to show members what they’re in for.

Make it easy

You want members to have a pleasant experience joining your site, so it’s important to make everything as simple and easy as possible. One way to do this is to have automatic logins upon signup, taking members right from the purchase to the member area.

You could also craft a post-registration welcome email that includes things like a “getting started” guide, links to content, and other information members might want to know when they sign up.

The breakdown

Let’s break down the registration process your members will experience into steps / elements:

  1. The sales page or landing page for your membership
  2. The page or section where members register with their name, contact info, etc.
  3. The page where members set up their billing and complete the payment / purchase
  4. The thank you / welcome page with a quick description of what happens next in the process. Let your members know if they should expect a confirmation email, or if they’ve been added to your email list, and let them know they’ve received immediate access to your content, for example.

Remember: you want to be sure to go through the registration process yourself multiple times – so that you understand the way it flows, and so you can identify any gaps or missing elements that you might only notice from the user’s perspective.

Do you have any insights to share when it comes to creating a smooth registration experience for your members? We’d love to hear them, so join the conversation below!

Mandy Jones

About the author: Mandy is a content writer at Sandhills Development, singer/songwriter/musician, and founder of Looplicious. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, she's a frequent traveler and animal lover with a passion for creativity and maker culture.