“You should author a book on member and subscriber retention.” This is what I’ve heard from my book agent, as well as several clients. I’ve authored five books already on other marketing topics, so writing one more book wouldn’t be difficult.
But writing the book is a small part of a book project. For my first book, I invested more than a $100,000.00 for marketing and publicity to make it a best-seller. And not one of those fake best-sellers, either. I sold copies to real customers, stayed in the top page of the Amazon.com best-seller lists for two years, and made sure there were enough sales for local and airport bookstores to keep the book on shelves for more than four years.
However, at this moment, with my goals and priorities, writing a book would be a huge distraction. The ego boost would be really rewarding. I’d love to do the publicity and promotion. And, heck, I’d get invited to speak at all kinds of conferences on member retention. That’d be fun. And it would be a distraction.
Just like I find it challenging to stay focused on what’s most important to me, your new members struggle with the same challenge — but it’s harder. They are brand new, so all these ideas sound equally great. They don’t have a way to filter which are promising versus which are too much work, and they are flitting like a Zika-infested mosquito from one thing to the next. This confusion leads to overwhelm, which is the leading reason members quit. They can be overwhelmed with choices for free on YouTube.
There are three ways to give your members clarity to prevent them from quitting. You must address each one within your member welcome materials to help your customer make the decisions necessary to overcome these distractions.
In 2004, the first time I started trying to sell products instead of consulting services, there were a thousand things that got in the way, not the least of which were my clients. I was so busy fulfilling my client obligations and deadlines, I had little time left to create an information product allowing me to do the work once and get paid each time I sold the product. Finally, I set aside two hours every morning, from 6– 8 a.m., to create my first product. It took me six weeks. Then as I was growing the business, I set aside every Friday. All I did on Fridays was work on my products business rather than my consulting clients.
Often your clients have other jobs or businesses they operate to pay the bills. Or as in the case of my client who was selling to pest control guys, the clients are so busy spraying for bugs all day, returning voicemails in the evenings, and mailing out bills at night, that they don’t have any time to work on their real business.
You must help your members overcome this problem the same way I did, by compartmentalizing their time. They can be busy almost the entire week,but set aside two hours each morning to build their new life. Or they can be busy four days a week working for money today, and invest one day working on a project for their future. Teach them how to compartmentalize their time and attention so they have clarity and space to implement your materials.
Once your member creates space in her life to grow, next you need to help choose what to focus on. For a business owner, should she focus on improving her product pricing, offer, sales, marketing, customer service, product offering, employee recruiting, or leadership first? Each is an important element of running a successful business. And each may be broken and causing her frustration. But where should she start?
Stephen Covey’s “Big Rocks” is a great tool for this. Google the story if you haven’t heard it, but the purpose is to get your new member to choose the most important items to focus her attention on. Now that she’s identified what’s important, she can choose which of your shortcuts to implement first.
When you are mapping a route on Google Maps from where you are to where you want to go, Google Maps gives you the fastest routes together with two other options, estimating the time for each route. However, life is not that simple. There may be dozens of tools and strategies promising similar outcomes. That’s like having Google provide 20 routes to choose from, with each promised to be the single fastest route. Once your customer chooses her priorities, help her select the single fastest way for solving that problem. And all this before she’s even implemented the first strategy.
If your member is distracted with paying the bills, doesn’t know his desired destination, or hasn’t chosen the best route to achieve his goal, then he’s going to be frozen in inaction and won’t need your subscription. Even though your member purchased your program you can’t assume your member has the necessary mindset to be successful using it. Your new member welcome package is your first and best opportunity to reignite the excitement your member had when she bought your program and motivate her to take action.