I hear comments like these all the time:
“Members tell me there’s just not enough value to justify their monthly continuity.”
“Why should members continue paying when they can get the information for free on the internet.”
“Members tell me it’s too expensive, we’ve got to give them more value.”
Most continuity marketers do one of two things to solve these problems:
- Sell harder
- Provide more return on investment
Look, selling harder is important. Members have to understand all of the benefits you offer and how they can solve problems within their lives. And, without it, the #2 solution of giving them more just overwhelms the members with more stuff they don’t value, even if it could be valuable.
Instead here are the 5 keys to retaining your continuity program members:
- Connection with others
Many years ago I had the opportunity to work with the Florida Society of Dermatology. I grew the membership by 40% even while the association increased its dues rate by 50%. There were a lot of lessons in that long-ago achievement but one that’s really stuck with me.
It was fascinating to me how there was a large group of members who attended the Annual Meeting each year regardless of the location or agenda, they were there. There was a group of members who had built friendships with each other. Attending the event each year was an exclusive club for them, a chance to get together and reconnect with old friends. Members will keep their membership for decades because of the relationships they form with other members long after their interest wanes in what you publish and produce.
There is a trick I discovered to make this work, get long-term members mix with new members. Long-term members are at a different place and have a different perspective than new members. The key is helping long-term members understand the value in meeting new member where they are to make them feel welcome through that awkward period where they make connections and learn the culture. Then, your membership and your events becomes THE place where members feel like they are an important part of a community of people like them.
- Invitation to grow
A lot of continuity program marketers deride new members saying they confuse activity with achievement. For many of your members, conducting research, talking about launching a new initiative and planning is as rewarding as implementing a new initiative.
It can become frustrating to you and me; we want them to DO SOMETHING. Our insistence is on action chases these members away. This internal growth is as important to the development as the external growth. Being open to these members, providing them with support and nurturing keeps them around longer and equips them to implement, when they are ready.
- Recognition from peers
Your members are lonely. Who can they share their successes with? If they are business owners they can’t go home and brag to their family, their family is frustrated that they spend too much time at work. Can they brag to their competitors? No, they’ll swipe the idea. Can they brag to their customers? Probably not, their customers don’t care if they are doing well in business, they want cheaper products. And, what about their employees? Nope, the employees will just want a raise if they hear the business is doing well.
At their core, everyone feels alone and has a desire to be noticed. How are you making your members feel noticed? Do you profile them within your publications? Feature them in your trainings? How do you reward their progress within your group?
- Part of something
True sports fans view a win by their favorite team as a personal victory for themselves. They go through their lives but smile when they think of the Packers and what Aaron Rogers is going to do to the Bears this weekend. Your members feel like they are part of a group, joined together in an important cause, a battle for pride against another cities.
Help your members see each other’s victories as personal victories, to perceive group achievements as personal achievements. This creates a connection that transcends the content you deliver.
- Return on investment
And we get back to the old standby, what’s in it for me. “Golden Handcuff” or “Pain of Disconnect” benefits that lock members into membership are an important part of what you offer. It absolutely helps them justify your membership to others or even their analytical selves. But, return on investment benefits are only 20% of the reasons why members retain their membership. Don’t focus 100% of your time on 20% of the value your members demand.
Giving your continuity members value for their monthly payments is critical. However, enough is enough. You won’t increase retention by piling on more. Instead, think like an association does, give your continuity members different forms of value to improve retention. You’ll find that it builds a better relationship with your members, creates a great rapport and builds a healthy long-term relationship with your continuity program members.
I’m sharing the same member retention secrets I’ve been implementing with my private clients over the last 6-months to tremendous results. It’s a brief document titled, Member Retention: Why most membership programs fail and how toboost your member retention from weeks to years.
If you’d like to keep more of the members that you are losing each month but don’t know where to start, this can give you several quick-wins that’ll immediately improve retention. Just follow the steps I outlined and you’ll be light-years ahead of anyone else.
If you’ve been working on retention for years and you think you have it down pretty well, this will give you a scoreboard to judge your program’s performance as well as a few ideas you may have not yet thought of that can help you retain more of the members you recruit.
Member Retention is free. Just click the link below: