What if you kept 85 percent of your continuity members from one year to the next? Most for-profit marketers would consider this to be a spectacular success. With my association clients, I’d be fired if I produced those poor results.
If you are losing 15 percent of your members each year you’ll has none left within 7-months. You can’t build a vibrant community, a company or a lifestyle if membership is a constant revolving door.
Is forming an association the secret? Not the way most marketers think about it.
I was able to transform my membership marketing results within the association world by applying what I learned from Dan Kennedy about publishing content that solves problems for members. However, too many marketers stop there. They think content is what drives the continuity sale. I benefited so much from Dan’s strategies because I was already understood the other reasons why people join and renew their memberships.
Losing 50, 60, 70 percent or more of your new members has become normal within the for-profit marketer world. As good as many of these marketers think they are with their product launches and platform sales, these people would last 5-minutes as a marketer for an association or as a fundraiser. And, so far, most are trying to remain stubbornly ignorant about the obvious solutions.
If you are losing 70 percent of the new members you generate in your continuity program, how would you solve that problem? If you say, go get more new members, good news you are in the majority. The bad news isn’t the answer that’s going to empower you to grow a strong membership.
How about repair the dropout problem before we ramp-up our new member growth? Doesn’t that make sense?
I’m all for launching a program and seeing what happens. It’s critical to expose your program to customers and learn from the feedback you receive. But, once you get it, ignoring that feedback is ridiculous.
There’s no more powerful business model than monthly continuity. Having a list of hundreds or even thousands of customers who have already authorized you to charge their credit card and ship your products provides cash flow, a ready source of customers for future back-end products and a nice lifestyle for you. Where it goes wrong is no one is talking about what it really takes to make these programs work.
The traditional theory is that all you need to do is send them some stuff. Customer comes to your website, buys some stuff. With a little salesmanship you convince that customer to pre-approve a monthly shipment of your stuff. And, to make it sound important, call it a membership. Sounds good, but not to your customer.
What if I called you my finance? Could I impose upon you the obligations of being my finance? Do you feel a sense of relationship? Quite the opposite, I’m guessing it feels creepier than anything else.
The words we use to describe relationships have an emotional meaning. When someone misuses one it doesn’t feel right. The same thing happens when you characterize a customer relationship as a membership when you haven’t first established a member relationship. To your customer, it’s a creepy. And, he doesn’t feel any obligation to you just because you call him a member.
The answer? I could give you a list of strategies to build a membership relationship but that’s not my point here. The real answer is to become a professional membership marketer.
It’s similar to the difference between being a one-night stand and a spouse. As a one-night stand, you hope there’s not a lot of conversation. Less that could get in the way. Sounds a lot like the Internet marketers I meet who avoid their customers. They don’t provide phone numbers on websites because they don’t want people to call them. Then they wonder why their continuity members cancel so quickly.
It’s the opposite as a spouse. A spouse is there to talk, to engage and to build a relationship.
Are you happy with the relationships you have in your life? There’s only one-way to fix that, engage.
Are you happy with the relationship you have with your members? Are they sticking with you or are they gone as fast as they arrive? The solution is the same, engage.
Become a professional membership marketer. Study the best membership marketers in the business, Harley-Davidson, Disney, and Glenn Beck. What do they provide their members beyond the value of their products? What do they deliver that keeps members engaged and builds a relationship.
Look, don’t feel bad. My clients include more than 30 Florida Harley-Davidson dealerships. Even though they are immersed in the culture many of the dealers themselves don’t understand how to create a member relationship with their customers that transcends the simple exchange of money for steel, rubber and roll. You’d think with a brand and culture as distinctive as Harley-Davidson it would be backed into their dealers’ DNA. Unfortunately many became blind to it as they deal with the daily swirl of running a business.
If your membership, your lifestyle and your business are important to you, I’m challenging you to become a professional marketer. Study what it takes to transition from a customer relationship to a member relationship. Then learn how you can serve your members, engage them, and delight them so you can retain them forever.
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 to boost 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: