How to create meaningful memberships

Membership sites are different from standard digital product stores in that they depend on recurring income to be successful.

When it comes to the subscription model, this recurring income is contingent on customer retention. So how do you keep your members happy?

From onboarding and engagement to support and recognition, let’s discuss some tips for creating meaningful memberships, keeping your members fulfilled, and ensuring the long-term success of your membership site.

1. Set your members up for success from the start

First impressions aren’t everything, but they do set the tone for your members’ expectations, as well as their perception of your company, brand, and products. You want to make sure that your members feel their decision to join your site is justified, so show them they are valued, and that your site provides ongoing value to them as well.

Optimizing your onboarding process is huge when it comes to creating a first impression that captures your members’ attention from the get-go, so don’t be afraid to examine your current process for holes and missed opportunities. Be proactive with the guidance your members need to get familiar with your community, including any information they need to find their way around and utilize any resources available to them. What do they need to know to get the most value out of your site?

2. Prioritize engagement

Aside from your products, what makes people want to regularly return to your site? The answer is engaging content and community. With the internet essentially taking the place of libraries and town centers, you have the opportunity to engage your members with content that is interesting and useful to them, and build a community and sense of camaraderie that is specific to your niche.

Focus on improving all of the time; bored members are the ones who leave, and with the limitless content available online, you have some competition on your hands. Keeping your content relevant, up-to-date, and regularly evolving helps members stay interested and engaged, constantly proving your value to them and justifying their monetary investment.

Engaging your members by improving what you have to offer is a good thing all around: you’re challenged to up your game (why wouldn’t you want to?) and they are inspired to maintain their investment. What are the ways that you improve the lives of your members? What would you be looking for if you were a member? What value are you offering that they won’t find anywhere else?

3. Make it easy for your members to stick around

There’s nothing more annoying than a subscription service that is a hassle to use and maintain. You want to make things easy for your members by simplifying the information and processes they experience – things like recurring payments, support, and feedback. Remove as many barriers as possible, and make it easy for them to renew their subscription by storing their payment information and defaulting to their current membership level. Give them a clear option for auto renewal, and consider offering them discounts for annual enrollment to simplify the process even further.

Think about incorporating a clean and friendly member UI to give members a highly usable and reliable central place they want to visit regularly. Cater to their needs, with an emphasis on any resources available to them, products they’ve purchased, their member information, news, updates, and discussion forums (if applicable), and quick access to support.

4. Help your members reach their goals

One of the secrets to any good relationship is a commitment to supporting the other’s goals, and your members are no different! You want them to see you as an industry authority and a reliable go-to source, so enabling them to further their own success will keep them coming back to you for tools and guidance. They will be happy that they are succeeding, and you will gain in loyal customers and profitability.

You want to make an effort to get to know what your members’ goals and needs are so you can offer them the targeted resources that will effectively enable them. Sending out regular surveys (especially in exchange for discounts and special offers) can help you define member categories that you can use to create customized emails, discounts, membership starter kits, and dedicated landing pages that personalize their experience.

5. Remind and recognize

Over time, it can be easy for people to forget the benefits they receive as they become accustomed to your site, and your attempts to re-engage them can fall by the wayside. This is where tactful reminders can inspire action. Showcasing customer success using your membership features, resources, and products reaffirms the value of your content, and motivates dormant members to get involved.

Offering recognition also serves as a reward to your members for being a part of your community, and gives them the positive reinforcement they need to stay engaged. Create special offers and bonuses for members who reach certain milestones (such as 1 year of membership), and send them congratulatory and thank you emails when they reach an achievement. Your members will feel more valued – and be more likely to stick around – when they have a goal in mind, and know they will be rewarded for it.

6. Provide stellar support

If you already have a functioning membership site, then you’ve done the work necessary to attract new members and bring them onboard. Now it’s time to focus on turning them into loyal customers who are as committed to you as you are to them.

Great support is essential whether your business is on a subscription model or not, but it’s especially important when you’ve got a community of members to maintain. With membership, it’s all about long-term relationships, so investing the time and energy into providing quality support will have lasting positive effects on customer confidence, and ultimately, your profitability as a business.

What’s your secret to keeping your members happy? How have you made your membership more meaningful to your members? Leave us a comment with your experience!