Connecting Your Members to Each Other Will Retain Members for Decades

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There are five benefits that enable you to retain your members, ROI, growth, recognition, mission, and a connection with other members. The benefit my clients give me the most push-back on is connecting their members to each other. I recently had a client ask me, “But if I connect my members, won’t my members just meet without me?” I’ve certainly seen it happen where a group of members revolts, leaving the membership program to gather on their own without the individual who initially brought them together. This happens, but it’s a sign that bigger problems exist and is completely preventable when you build your membership into a vibrant tribe. What you have to recognize is that there are three levels of membership. Every member starts out believing they have a problem everyone else knows the solution to. This is level one. As they implement the solutions you provide, they gain … Continued

What I Learned in the Hospital Emergency Room about Transforming Your Buyers Into a Vibrant Tribe of Members


Although it’s not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night, this was the first time I’ve woken up at 12:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning with sharp pain on the left side of my chest. I started to worry when I noticed my left my arm was numb, and it became difficult to catch my breath. I sat up in bed, wondering if it was a good idea to drive myself to the hospital. Within a minute, my wife had woken up. When I told her what was happening, she immediately got up to drive me to the hospital. My wife dropped me at the hospital door. I walked in to see a full waiting room of people who had had too much fun on a Saturday night. I braced for the usual ER waiting around, but after I explained my symptoms to the first … Continued

How to Create a Member Welcome Call for Member Engagement, Retention, and Ascension

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Many of my clients schedule calls with new members to help onboard them into the membership program. These onboarding calls serve several purposes: To get your newest members engaged in your membership program. To obtain information about the member and feedback about the marketing process. Where appropriate, to upsell members into conferences, products, and/or higher level memberships. There are three key steps to build a system to conduct these calls: First, when you should reach out to a new member. Second, who should conduct these calls. And finally, create a script/outline for these calls. First, when. I recommend calling your new members within the three- to 10-day time window. This way, it’s not too early and they’ve received some materials from you and have digested them (or not). There’s likely a bit of a lull in their excitement for the membership they just joined. Some of my larger clients send … Continued

Your 5-Part Secret Formula for Building a Vibrant Tribe or Completing the Boston Marathon

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Nothing could have prepared me for the Boston Marathon. Although this was Kory’s and my first time at the Boston Marathon, I’ve completed four others and Kory has completed five. In the marathon world, we are beginners. I’ve been a beginner throughout my short running career. I’d never run more than a quarter mile prior to 2010, when I was 39 years old. That was the year I learned about a free podcast called “5K101.” The pitch was if I listened to each podcast three times a week, ran when he said to run, and walked when he told me to rest, I could learn to run 5 km (3.1 miles) within eight weeks. I was always the fat kid in school. Over the years, prior to 2010, I’d lost 30 pounds but was still heavier than my ideal weight. I’d done weight training, interval training, and boot-camp-style programs without … Continued

Radio, Newspapers, Trade Journals, Broadcast Television, and Social Media Will Come and Go: Why Membership Will Outlive Them All


The only sustainable business model for dispensing information is membership. Membership transcends media platforms because it’s built on a relationship rather than on a delivery mechanism. But there’s a lot more to membership than gathering your employees together to announce you’ll now refer to your customers as “members.” There are three basic ways media companies support themselves: Advertising We are living through the demise of the local newspaper. While readers still pay a small “subscription” fee, the bulk of the news’ revenue is generated through advertisers. Media built upon a foundation of advertising is vulnerable to collapse. It only takes a new, more popular media to illustrate the fatal flaw of this formula. This is the same reason Facebook is doomed to the same fate as the local newspaper or national magazine. Facebook’s business model is based upon advertising. Sure, Facebook tries to be better at it by giving you … Continued

Stop Your Members From Quitting With a Transformation

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I had the opportunity to meet with the owners of a terrific direct marketing resource. This resource provides a database that would be a useful shortcut to anyone creating advertising online or through email or direct mail. Yet it’s poorly subscribed to and renewals are low. This resource is being marketed as a library. A repository the marketer can refer to at any time. I asked the client, “How are libraries valued in our culture?” After a moment of silence I told him, “Not highly. That’s where the homeless people go every day, and the library isn’t helping them any.” Your customer doesn’t want a library either. A repository of products, past issues of your publications, and old recordings or video lessons are not compelling. Within seconds, your prospective member can download a lifetime of high-quality materials (audio and video) using the podcasting app on his phone. Your library isn’t … Continued

What a Former Chicago Drug Dealer Taught Me About Membership Marketing


I was on my way to Chicago to visit a client for two days of planning their new membership offering. I was late to board the plane, so first class was full except for my seat. Sitting in the seat next to mine, I saw a gentlemen who didn’t look like someone you’d ever see on a plane much less within the first class cabin. His appearance was very different than other passengers’. More gold teeth and FUBU clothes than the typical business causal you’d expect on an airplane. It didn’t matter to me; I was glad this flight had power outlets in the first-class section so I could plug in my laptop and get some writing done during the flight. As it turned out, my seatmate was chatty. Within a few minutes, he’d revealed he was on his way home after nine months of in-patient rehab. He was from … Continued

Retain Members Longer by Engagement with Your Team

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Imagine you’re signing up for a new membership when you’re suddenly told you’re about to be connected with “customer service.” What image comes to mind? Is it the bad service you’ve received from other customer service departments in the past? Are you about to be delegated to the poorest trained, newest employee in the company? Now that you’ve finished your long conversation with a sales person, are you really going to have to explain everything again to someone else so they can actually get you the solutions you’ve been trying to get? It’s not likely that you are thinking, “Oh boy, now I get to talk to someone else.” And your new member isn’t thinking this either. Getting handed off is a scary experience for your new member. They don’t know who your people are. They don’t know that these people are the ones who actually create solutions for your … Continued

Simplify the Complex to Increase Member Engagement and Long-Term Retention

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How do you customize your marketing message to fit the variety of customers joining your program, all coming in at different skill levels? What should your offer be when some of your prospective members are head of one-person businesses while others run businesses of 20, 50, or more employees? How do you structure a new member welcome, when new members are starting at different places? Attorneys join the Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association (PILMMA) at different stages in their law practice. One might have a solo practice, while another could have associates; still another might have a large practice with dozens of attorneys in offices around their state. Developing a member proposition was a challenge for such a diverse market. That’s when Ken Hardison, together with members of his team, Frankie Fihn and Billy Fansler, developed the Stages of Law Firm Growth chart you see here. This chart … Continued

Eight Goals of Your New Member Welcome Package — How Many Have You Included?

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The most important part of your new member orientation system is your member welcome package. For the Auto Training Institute, a new member welcome package contributed to longer retention, increased member lifetime value, and $1.4 million in revenue the first year it was implemented. You don’t have the opportunity to have a member for 10-months or 10-years unless you properly handle the first 10-minutes and 10-days of the relationship. Your new member welcome is the single most important part of your member relationship and, when done properly, it can earn you money each month in retained memberships. There are eight key elements needed to maximize the impact of your welcome package. In a world where Inc. can deliver a book, a protein bar, or a vacuum cleaner within two days, your members have little patience for anything slower from you. Your new member just input her credit card number … Continued