The Single Most Powerful Member Recruitment and Retention Tool

8 Comments

There are three key decision points in your membership lifecycle. All of which can swing in your favor with the same tool. Before I explain the tool and how you can use it, here are those decision points:

  1. When a potential member is considering joining your program.
  2. When a new member is trying to find time to engage in your materials to get value.
  3. When an existing member is deciding whether or not to retain his or her membership.

It’s at each of these points that a well-crafted client case study can make the difference between a long-term member or a member gone forever.

Really? A client case study?

Yes. These case studies and client stories are the most powerful tools you have on your side to foster strong relationships with potential members, new members, and long-time members.

The publishing industry has undergone a huge transformation in recent years with subscriptions at historic lows. Today, Business Week is a shell of what it was with fewer than 950,000 subscribers each month. People Magazine, however, has more than 3.5 million subscribers. What does this tell you about what people want to read about? They want to read about other people.

Your members want to hear about people like them. They want to hear stories of striving, overcoming, and of the underdog beating more powerful rivals. As great as your teachings and training resources are for your members, these stories are what they really want. You’ll retain your members in proportion to how well you deliver these stories.

These stories also prove that what you say is true. When you deliver example after example of individuals who have used your program and succeeded, you impact how your members think about your program and themselves. Even if they have tried to implement and have failed, when they hear one of your client success stories, they think, “Gee, maybe this is possible.”

After enough of these stories, your member says to himself, “If he can do it, I can do it, too.” After this mindset transformation, anything is possible.

An engaged and striving member upgrades his membership, buys additional products from you, and attends your events. A member who gives up buys nothing.

Which brings us to the question of the day: How do you write a terrific client success story? My long-time friend, Nick Fosberg, owner of www.BarRestaurantSuccess.com, asked me the following question about case studies; perhaps you have wondered something similar:

“My question for you is do you use these questions on clients based on what YOU did for them? YOUR process? Meaning, should I do these to sell myself and my done-for-you system? Or do I put these forward as their own case studies of how my client became successful and leave me out? Then just mention some of the things I teach?”

On how far to promote yourself and your strategies in your case studies — it depends on the how you are using them.

If you are presenting case studies within a sales letter, then you’ll want to make it clear where you were involved.

Or, if you are presenting this case study to existing members, you may be advocating a key philosophy. In this case, you may indicate the person is a member or client, then describe how implementing a particular philosophy you promote created the impact.

To summarize: If you are in an overt sales situation, then be overt about your involvement. Then, in many other cases, it may be appropriate to illustrate the power of implementing your philosophy.

My formula for creating case studies is simple. I start with an interview and then provide the interview transcript to a writer to create the written case study.

Here are some interview questions to try. As you read the questions, replace the words “your member breakthrough process” with the name of your product or coaching program:

–           What’s your background? How did you get started doing what you are doing now?
–           How did you discover “your member breakthrough process”?
–           What did you think of it when you first saw it?
–           How did you get started implementing “your member breakthrough process”?
–           What has changed in your life since you discovered “your member breakthrough process”?
–           What advice do you have for someone else who has just discovered “your member breakthrough process” and is deciding whether or not to try it?

I conduct these interviews personally. It gives me a chance to provide my members with a small amount of free coaching and some ideas for them to try, plus I can explore something interesting by asking follow-up questions.

Once I have a good interview recorded, I provide the recording to a writer. For a journalist or a writer, taking this type of interview and turning it into a compelling case study is relatively easy.

Once you have these case studies, you can use them in monthly newsletters, pull them together into books to give to prospects, or include them in products to illustrate particular lessons your members got right.

Use demonstrations, capture case studies everywhere you can, and teach through examples rather than relying only on lectures.

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 rate and how I can improve it, contact me here. I 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.

8 Comments on “The Single Most Powerful Member Recruitment and Retention Tool”

  1. Robert,

    Well written, succinct and useful.

    I purchased “The Official Get Rich…” last January, and joined IMA…for three months.

    What you describe here did NOT occur within IMA; I didn’t sign up for Dan Kennedy monologues and attitude.

    It should be obvious what you should have done, but it was a great example for me.

    Best wishes,

    -David

    1. David,

      Thank you for your feedback. I really appreciate what you said.

      For many people such as your self, there was a message mismatch between my book and offer and what has been delivered within IMA.

      I’m excited to report I’m working with CEO of GKIC to create a brand new value proposition for IMA in the next few months. I’ll report here how it goes.

      Great hearing from you.

      Best wishes.

  2. Thank you for such a clearly stated concept that will be easy to implement. Could what you present here be utilized beyond pure subscription and people membership organizations. The questions you suggest proffer a myriad of possibilities. Got me really thinking. Thanks.

    1. Good hearing from you again. Yes! This is my model for a case study. I use these case studies in any marketing situation, regardless of whether the offer is a subscription or a one-off product sale. Thank you for your comment.

  3. I’m also a big fan of case studies and the power they have. I’ve got one client who has seen the value of it and wants me to write one for a big sale he just made last month through his website.

    But I think there’s another question that should be added to your list of 6 interview questions.

    We want to have a sense of what problem the product or service is solving.
    I like the “Before – Implemention of Service – After” model of story telling for this when I write the case study.

    So we should also ask what was going wrong, what wasn’t working, what was disappointing or frustrating them that led them to seek our your product or service.

    This question would go right before “How did you discover ______ ”

    Case studies are about drama. I have a film script writing background, and almost every great movie starts off with a big problem for the hero, usually within the first ten minutes.
    For case studies, we need to fill out the problem before we describe how the product solved it.
    Then, all your other questions will fill out the rest of the story.

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