The Common Myth That Leads to Membership Retention Frustration and Futility

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There’s a common belief within the marketing world that does more harm than good. It emboldens perfectionists who don’t want to launch their program until it’s “perfect.”

To help those who are imprisoned by perfectionism, some marketing gurus say, “Good enough is good enough.” They encourage their students to launch their product, get it into the market, and sell it to customers, all without taking a second look.

While launching your product and learning from customer feedback is the right thing to do, “good enough is good enough” is the wrong message. Launch quickly, then use the feedback you receive from your first customers to improve your product and make your program better. “Good enough is good enough” encourages too many people to launch a poor quality program and move on to build another mediocre performing program before they learn and incorporate necessary improvements.

Over the last few months, I’ve spoken to several dozen membership and subscription marketers. Unfortunately, I often stump them with the first couple of questions I ask. They know little about their member numbers.

What’s worse, many of them defend their ridiculously high member churn rates as “normal” for their business. While it may be the status quo for your “good enough is good enough” effort, I am routinely helping marketers improve their churn into the low single digits.

Your member churn rate is the average number of dropped or canceled members in a month, divided by your current number of members. If you have 500 members and are losing an average of 75 each month, that’s a churn rate of 15 percent. Unfortunately, churn rates of 8 percent, 12 percent, and even 16 percent are common. Heck, I’ve even seen worse!

Would you believe that many membership marketers have no idea what their churn rate is? Even though they dream of building a member program that provides them with monthly recurring revenue, they don’t take the time to learn basic information about their program. How long would you go without knowing your bank balance? For a membership marketer, your number of members and your churn rate is as important as your bank balance. After all, for better or for worse, those numbers will determine what your bank balance is next month!

I’ve worked with several big-name membership marketers. Most of which have long ignored their membership programs, and it shows. I understand. Until recently, the exact steps to turn these programs into monthly cash machines have been a mystery to most.

Just about every visit to the doctor starts the same way — checking your blood pressure, taking your temperature, and measuring your weight. These numbers tell your doctor the story of your health since your last check-up. Your membership numbers also tell a story. When I speak to a member marketer and ask them for some simple numbers, I often discover they don’t have them. My team member, Denise McKinlay, has acted like a triage nurse for me. Within minutes of receiving access to a new client’s Infusionsoft account, she’s able to produce a comprehensive set of membership reports and establish a monthly reporting system for them.

Good enough isn’t good enough. It’s a recipe for long-term frustration. For every member who is inspired to take action, there are many more who are lulled into complacency.

Wouldn’t you know, there are some who believe that their churn rate is as good as it can be for their business. After all, their membership program is different. At least, for them it is. As long as you believe that an 8 percent or 14 percent churn rate is normal and customary for your business and members, you’ll never improve. On the other hand, if you learn to accept that “good enough” actually sucks and say you’ll no longer tolerate “good enough,” you will do something about it.

Is it possible to improve? Absolutely. Denise McKinlay has been on my team using Infusionsoft for more than 10 years. She’s an Infusionsoft Certified Partner. Most of the time when she pulls reports for one of our clients, she discovers thousands of dollars in the simple administration of Infusionsoft. Most staff members who run membership programs are spread thin and are poorly trained. There’s a lot of ignorance out there about maximizing revenue for membership programs, even among people who have been using Infusionsoft for a long time.

Although Infusionsoft provides a lot of automation, it still requires manual review and verification. Denise has a simple checklist she uses to make sure our clients are collecting everything they should from their member programs. In the last three clients, for example, she’s discovered $2,200, $4,500 and $8,800 in monthly revenue that was being overlooked by internal teams. Denise frequently discovers how to create a 1 percent to 5 percent improvement in churn rate just in how the membership marketer handles their monthly administration.

Good enough isn’t good enough.

How are you going to address your membership program? How many points of churn does it take to make it worth addressing? If you’d like to discuss what we can do to make your program generate more revenue, grow faster, and have greater long-term stability, email me at RS@AssociationMarketing.com.

 

About Robert Skrob

The problem with subscription membership programs is that members quit, I fix that problem. For more than 20-years I have specialized in direct response marketing for member recruitment, retention and ascension in diverse subscription members environments including non-profit associations, for-profit publishers/coaching, subscriptions and SAAS companies. For an evaluation of your current churn rates and how I can improve it, contact me here. I often discover there are often two or three quick wins you can implement within a week to lower churn immediately, let’s talk about your quick wins.

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