Make sure you have all of the facts

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What if you kept 85 percent of your continuity members from one year to the next? Most for-profit marketers would consider this to be a spectacular success.  With my association clients, I’d be fired if I produced those poor results. If you are losing 15 percent of your members each year you’ll has none left within 7-months.  You can’t build a vibrant community, a company or a lifestyle if membership is a constant revolving door. Is forming an association the secret?  Not the way most marketers think about it. I was able to transform my membership marketing results within the association world by applying what I learned from Dan Kennedy about publishing content that solves problems for members.  However, too many marketers stop there.  They think content is what drives the continuity sale.  I benefited so much from Dan’s strategies because I was already understood the other reasons why people … Continued

Ascension: THE Source of Membership Profit

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I recently reviewed reports for a client’s membership programs. His company has annual revenues of $7 million. Like many owners of such businesses, he offers multiple levels of membership: a basic level that has about 500 members at $59.00 monthly and a higher level with about 150 members investing $249.00 a month. His average member value for basic is about $2,100.00 while members in the higher level of membership have a value of more than $31,000.00. Yes, that’s right, $31,000! Those members buy a lot more of the products and services his company offers. In fact, this IS where all the profit is coming from. He had no idea. The trouble is this higher membership level has been neglected. There have been few upgrade promotions, and there’s no automated ascension plan. Looking deeper, I noticed that five years ago, when membership in his higher level program exceeded 500, 2 percent … Continued

How are you disappointing your members?

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Most of the people I ask tell me they have a great relationship with their customers. Their customers get great results and love their products. No one wants to believe the opposite is true. Your member churn rate is a direct measurement of the relationship you have with your new members. If you have a high churn rate, you are fostering a weak relationship with your new members. Most membership marketers treat their fulfillment like a series of product purchases. It’s a simple exchange of product for money. When they think about improving member churn rate, they try to provide more product for the money. The amount of product and value you provide is like water; too much is just as bad as too little. You don’t want a flood, and you don’t want a drought. You want to Stop Your Members from Quitting. There is a choice. Stopping Your … Continued

The Cause of Membership Program Stagnation

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In this year’s presidential election, a lot of fuss has been made over the size of a candidate’s hands and the implied size of his … well, you know. Private parts are no longer very personal. Same with numbers. I speak with many membership marketers who tell me their programs are healthy when they know they aren’t. It’s like going to the doctor when you’re sick, but instead of describing your symptoms, you tell him everything is fine. I’m a physician of membership; I’m accustomed to looking at private numbers, keeping them private, and helping to diagnose ways to re-store health. There are lots of myths about growing memberships. One myth is that member churn is natural and necessary. It is natural, but it’s natural in the same way that there’s a healthy amount of sweating, and then there’s the kind of sweating that can lead to heat stroke. It’s … Continued

56% more revenue, without an increase in marketing

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You’ve been told for years to examine when your members drop-out of your continuity program.  Then, right before the month with the highest member drop-out rate, give them a gift, such as food, to encourage them to retain their membership.  The thinking is that this gift will create goodwill and trigger the Law of Reciprocity so the member sticks with you.  Then, I suppose you’ve “gotten them over the hump” the member will stay with you forever. Turns out the box of cookies doesn’t work.  Neither does more stuff. What I’ve found over and over again is that poor retention at any phase of the membership cycle starts when you welcome your new member. Before I reveal what we did, allow my client, Richard Menneg describe the transformation his company experienced when he implemented a new member welcome system in addition to the other changes we implemented: “Working with Robert … Continued

Stop Your Members from Quitting

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WARNING:  This guy’s name is Churn. Every month Churn sucks money from your membership.  How much longer are you going to let Churn suck away your money before you STOP YOUR MEMBERS FROM QUITTING? While Mr. Churn is not a real person, Churn is a massive problem. Every month members drop out of your membership. The rate of member drop-outs is your churn rate. Just remember, each member that quits your membership equals money sucked out of your business. Not just for one month, but for every month in the future because you lose that member forever. Every member that churns is a step backwards, it’s negative growth and another day that your membership shrinks. While Churn sucks your membership dollars it also destroys future product sales, membership upsells and new member referrals. Churn is an evil force that hides invisibly within most membership programs. Few membership marketers even get … Continued

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