The Secret to Long-term Member Retention is in the Welcome

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The single most important time to build a relationship with your member is what is the most overlooked by membership marketers. Everyone wants to talk about their sales letters, marketing funnels, and automated upsells. The new member welcome is rarely discussed but makes all the difference in whether or not your new member gets value from your product and retains his membership versus asking for a refund and canceling.

I’m currently working with a client’s program development manager to rebuild his product and welcome sequence. From an instructional design perspective, the program development manager has pulled together an excellent training program. It provides members with everything they need to know, including several exercises, and lays out the planning that is necessary to make them successful.

Unfortunately, few members were getting through the training. In fact, they were quitting faster than ever before. Academically, the program was solid, but it took too long for a new member to see results from their efforts.

I had another client come for a consulting day because he was losing more than 17% of his members each month. With that churn rate he was losing members as fast as he could add new ones. His membership program included a library with more than a thousand training videos that covered every aspect of what he taught (and they were really good, too, both in content and entertainment value).

I asked him two things:
1. How much do we value libraries in our culture? Not very much — we let our homeless people hang out there and it’s not doing anything for their lives. Similarly, receiving access to a library of member content doesn’t come across as very compelling to your new customers.
2. If you sent your kid to college and allowed him to roam around from class to class based on what course titles sounded interesting to him, how successful would he be? Not very — delivering content without a specific curriculum leads to confusion, frustration, and disillusionment.

Finally, there was the client who correctly set up his program to deliver a quick-win to his new members; however, there wasn’t any orientation for what his program was about or what he believed in. His members were getting great value — some were even generating tens of thousands of dollars. Even so, within two or three months, they were quitting, saying, “This just isn’t for me.” He wasn’t building a personal connection with his new members.

It doesn’t matter whether you are delivering value through a newsletter, a product, a seminar, a membership site, a coaching session, a done-for-them service or a piece of software, a terrific return on investment will only get you so far.

The section below provides a checklist of the five key components of your member welcome. These keys are the same no matter what type of product you are delivering.

Even after helping so many membership marketers create these member welcome packages, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the product that checked these components off better than I’ve ever seen: Dan

Kennedy’s original Magnetic Marketing product.

For this product, a member only had to pick a letter and mail it out to get results. It couldn’t have been any easier to succeed. Plus, when Dan Kennedy sold the product, he packaged it together with two bonus audio programs, Magnetic Marketing and Magnetic Sales. These audio programs outlined Kennedy’s philosophy and what he stood for. They presented several case examples proving that what he delivered created results. This helped new members believe in themselves and in Dan Kennedy.

Now it’s time to build your member welcome. How are you going to orient and build a long-term relationship with your members through the program you deliver?

Checklist for Your New Member Welcome Orientation
☐ Resell them on the dream that encouraged them to buy. Repeat the transformations you promised within your sales letter and never take their excitement and motivation for granted.
☐ Communicate the lingo and language they must have to become insiders. Your welcome kit’s written materials and audio should include backstories and an explanation of vocabulary your new members will need to know to feel part of the club.
☐ Inspire your members to believe in your program and in their own abilities. Tell success stories of your past clients who have succeeded in your program so your new members knows it can also happen for them.
☐ Establish community values. What do you stand for beyond just taking your members’ money and in exchange, giving them your stuff? Include your values to establish an emotional connection with your new members beyond the return on investment they receive from your membership.
☐ Motivate to action with your biggest breakthrough. Save your advanced concepts and planning for later in your program. Start your members with what will give them the fastest-possible return on investment to inspire belief, engagement, and excitement.

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.

2 Comments on “The Secret to Long-term Member Retention is in the Welcome”

  1. I am stoked with what I learn and confirm in my thinking through these posts. So relevant to what I am creating and doing for my businesses. Thank you.

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