The Five Ways Membership Programs Fail, and the Components that Create Success

It’s frustrating when you do so much right and still fail to grow membership. Turns out, there are five important elements to make sure your programs work. When I conduct a thorough Membership Program Growth AnalyzerTM, I look at each of the five critical growth factors: attraction, conversion, orientation, retention, and support.

It makes no difference how awesome your membership program is; if no one knows about it, it’s not going to grow. **Attraction** is where your program growth starts, and it’s where we’ll start too. Too many marketers generate customers by catering to customers’ silly desires. This does generate customers, but it doesn’t build a relationship that’ll grow membership. Instead, focusing on educational marketing that prepares your membership for important decisions, actually solves problems in his or her life, attracts attention, and gives you the opportunity to invite prospective members to join your program.

One of the biggest mistakes I see in the non-profit membership world is that they spend so much time providing great resources and training to prospective members, that they forget to invite these prospects to become actual members. A prospective member will never become an actual member unless you **Recruit**. You’ve got to encourage potential members to overcome their concerns, fears, and self-doubts to become full members. Your chief competitor is past experience — all the things they tried and failed. Whether those failures were problems with the product or a lack of follow-through on their part doesn’t matter. Either way, you’ve got to overcome those reservations before these people will join your program.

You do everything necessary to attract attention and make a sale, then you want to collect money each month and enjoy the membership lifestyle. Not so fast! Until you **Orient** your members to your program, you don’t have a member — you have a temporary member. Turning a temporary member into a lifetime member involves building trust, getting engagement, and helping your member grow.

Most membership marketers believe **Retention** consists of giving members what you promised. While that’s important, retention is also a function of recognizing your members for their progress, connecting them with other members, allowing them to be part of something bigger than themselves, and giving them opportunities to give back to the community.

**Administration** is the factor most membership marketers dismiss when I mention it. However, when Denise McKinlay, the cracker-jack Infusionsoft expert on my team, has the opportunity to review the Infusionsoft accounts of my membership marketer clients, she’s discovered anywhere between $2,500.00 and $8,500.00 in uncollected membership revenue just sitting there, waiting to get invoiced. Can you imagine if someone stole $8,500.00 from your bank account each month? That’s what it’s like when your billing systems are operating correctly. You fulfill memberships and do everything else right, but for whatever reason, you never collect the actual membership dues because your systems are run in an inefficient manner. For most of the monthly continuity programs I work with, failed credit cards are the number one reason members drop out of the program. You’d think that would make member support systems a major priority. If your systems are perfect, it’s good to know. And, if your systems aren’t perfect, you better find out fast because you could be missing out on a lot of money.

For the last several months, I’ve been conducting Membership Program Growth AnalyzersTM for an investment of just $2,500.00. Denise and I comb over all five growth factors of your membership program to identify your best opportunities for improved retention and program growth. For November and December of 2015, to raise money for a charity that provides funds to families who have children with cancer, I’ll conduct an Analyzer for you in exchange for a $1,000.00 charitable contribution to Cops for Kids With Cancer. You’ll help out a great cause while getting critical insights into your membership program at a huge discount, I’ve selected Cops for Kids with Cancer as the charity I’m fundraising for the 2016 Boston Marathon. For more information, visit:

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

One Comment on “The Five Ways Membership Programs Fail, and the Components that Create Success”

  1. Hi Robert,
    I was looking for information like this. I belong to a couple of membership sites and am planning on writing promotions to help increase and build their memberships. Also I am only a temporary member of IMA at present but can see the value of becoming a full member. Would you be interested in allowing me to do some spec work in writing a promotion for the IMA? My background info: member of AWAI & Circle of Success (almost done with their Six Figure Copywriting program) working on Dan Kennedy’s Information Marketer’s Certification Program…member of the Wealthy Web Writer and Professional Writers Alliance…in addition I have been consumed with the idea of providing a solution for and enabling college & university students to pay off their student loans prior to graduation. The idea is sound and could very well tie into a greater number of members joining IMA. via the nature of the proposed solution.
    I will look for your reply

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