Generating New Members When Changing to a Different Market Isn’t a Viable Option

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Here’s an excerpt from The Gary Halbert Letter, where Gary tells a story that’s become famous within the direct marketing world. Enjoy: “As you may or may not know, every once in a while I give a class on copywriting and/or selling by mail. During these classes, one of the questions I like to ask my students is: ‘If you and I both owned a hamburger stand and we were in a contest to see who could sell the most hamburgers, what advantages would you most like to have on your side to help you win?’ “The answers vary. Some of the students say they would like to have the advantage of having superior meat from which to make their burgers. Others say they want sesame seed buns. Others mention location. Someone usually wants to be able to offer the lowest prices. And so on. “Whatever. In any case, after … Continued

High-Performance Business Insights From Harley-Davidson® Dealerships

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For 11 years, I’ve had the honor of consulting with Florida’s Harley-Davidson® dealers. I’ve conducted ambitious cooperative marketing programs together with training for all departments of motorcycle dealerships (sales, parts, service, accessories and general management.) While it may appear from the outside that the Harley-Davidson® brand is as strong as ever, if you’ve been following the stock price of the Harley-Davidson® Motor Company, you know that it’s down 30 percent from last summer. The dealers I work with in the great state of Florida are among the highest performing in the country. But, even within our Florida dealerships, there are some that aren’t performing well. Would you like to know the difference? I’ll tell you. High-performance dealerships hold their people to high standards. While the best dealerships are not perfect, they hold their people accountable for performance standards. There’s an expected level of productivity for managers, parts counter guys, service … Continued

The Most Common Membership Lie

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I just finished a conversation with a membership marketer. His monthly churn rate is 10 percent. This is the percentage of members who are canceling their memberships each month. When I reviewed the numbers with him, I helped him discover that 60 percent of his members are dropping out within four months. Yes, you read that correctly, 60 percent! And, he didn’t even realize it based on the reports he received. What’s important about this is that now he knows. Until he allowed Denise McKinlay on my team to produce membership reports for him, he thought his retention was fine. Just because you don’t know something doesn’t mean it’s fine. When I first spoke with this membership marketer, he told me he didn’t have a retention problem. He wanted a system to attract and recruit more members. I offered to produce reports so we could see how his current membership … Continued

Don’t take my word for it; shut the back door and see if it works

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What’s more important for you? To recruit more new members or to work on retaining the members you have before you add more new members? Many tell me that they want to add new members now, and then as they grow, they’ll improve their member retention. You know what, in some situations this makes perfect sense. I’ve been working with one of my clients this year on building member recruitment programs. Although his business would be better if he had better retention, we have focused on recruiting new members. After all, there’s no reason to perfect a program we can’t sell. But once you are past the testing phase, then it’s time to improve. Larry Osborne, an expert in church marketing, is famous for saying, “There’s no reason to open the front door until you close the back door.” What he means is that until you are keeping the families … Continued

Do they say “I was a member once” about you?

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Today’s social media gives all of your members, current and former, a megaphone. Fair or not, they post. And increasingly, even your affluent members, especially the ones who have the education and the time, know where to look. Plus, you have the traditional rumor mill. One friend asking another, “Have you heard about that guy who published that book?” “Yeah. Tried his program. It didn’t work for me.” Does it matter that this member never opened your package and doesn’t want to admit that your system is great and the problem is he never worked your system? Not to his friend, it doesn’t.

How to Build a Membership That’ll Last for Decades

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Each night during my week in Ireland, I shared a room with Perry Marshall and Bill Hammond. We stayed in three different places, and at each one, the three of us shared a room. On the fourth night, as I was laying in bed trying to fall asleep, I heard water running. I didn’t think much of it; I figured someone else within the bed and breakfast was taking a shower or something. But then at 2:36 a.m., when I got up to use the restroom, I heard the water running again.