Your Biggest Membership Retention Breakthroughs Always Come from a Better Understanding of Your Members

Biggest Membership Retention Breakthroughs Always Come from a Better Understanding of Your Members

There are more than 18 million high school students in the United States. What if you had the secret for making a student completely successful? What if you could enable them to quickly learn their lessons, perform well on tests and handle social situations with ease? Even if you sold this secret for $10.00, that’s more than $180 million. And, the good news, there will be a new crop of high school students to sell this secret to next year. It’s a never-ending gold mine.

When looking at a population, it’s easy to make broad assumptions about their motivations. For high school students, on the surface it’s easy to believe students are interested in improving their academic performance. After all, students spend more time in classes at school than anything else they are doing. Certainly, it’s safe to assume that every student would want to know how to improve their performance. After all, education is an opportunity to improve your earning potential for your entire life.

When you were in high school, how many students were serious about their studies? For me, I got bored and refused to do homework. I aced the tests but took zeros on other work. My grades were mediocre. I thought it made me look cool if I got lower grades. We thought we were funny bullying kids who took school seriously. We thought educating yourself for life was something to be mocked. (Something I deeply regret today.)

What was your experience in high school like? Where there a lot of students who just wanted to get out? Did some students act as if every homework assignment was a punishment or obligation rather than a taxpayer financed opportunity to improve their lives?

More than likely, you have witnessed a variety of experiences with high school. While most teachers strive to do a great job for their students, others do not. Many students are distracted by situations at home. There’s bullying at school, both outright bullying as well as more subtle bullying by exclusion. Some students face tremendous pressure from parents to perform while others have environments at home that distract them from their studies. And many students are more focused on music, arts or athletics than studies during their high school years.

If you decided instead to market your new performance miracle only to the students who are striving to get higher grades you’d still need to look closer. There are some students who get great marks without long hours of studying. Others who must work for hours to earn high marks. And, still others who try as hard as they might, but who continue to receive lower grades. Even among strivers there’s a lot to understand about your customers.

If you were selling to these students, you’d have to speak to each audience differently. Each group has a unique reason for ignoring your message. For instance, those kids who are already doing everything they can may believe it’s no use to try something new.

For those who are bored with school, you’d have to position your product as the solution to boredom. For the band kids or jocks, you’d have to create a different reason why.

But, before you can customize your message, you must do two things: First, choose a specific target customer. Second, have a specific understanding of who your customer is.

Connecting your message to your target audience requires specific messages customized for each sub-niche. Otherwise, it’s too easy for your customer to say, “This isn’t for me.”

It’s easy for you to recognize the different types of high school students because you lived it. You walked those halls and met those archetypes. If I asked you to create student personas, you could do it.

And yet, few marketers have personas or sub-niche personas for their target customers.

Over the last year I’ve worked with more clients representing more than 40 niches. And, when I ask clients about their customers, I stump most of them within 2-3 questions. If they can tell me anything about their customers, it’s almost always a big general overview. Few have explored their sub-niches to identify different motivations for each. And, even fewer have distinct sales materials or unique deliverables directed towards sub-niches.

Here’s how you make your message more effective by identifying sub-niches:

  • Review the sales promotions that work and identify the emotional drivers those promotions appeal to.
  • Study any surveys and categorize the problems members are seeking to solve.
  • Get an understanding of the age, sex, educational background, profession and other demographic information. Then consider the most impactful media in their lives. For males aged 60 plus, it’s often comic books and their heroes they aspire to emulate. For many females of Generation X, they get their heroes from movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles or Pretty Woman. These movies give insight to the aspirations your members feel – the dreams they had for their lives when they were kids.

Several of my clients have benefited from training workshops with their teams on understanding members, writing marketing promotions that attract members, converting prospects into members, onboarding new members to generate excitement, and delivering the benefits that members are willing to buy for years. If your team could benefit from a day or two of focused membership growth training, reach out by emailing me at


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.
10X Subscription Growth

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