The No. 1 Flaw in Membership and Subscription Marketing Today

The No. 1 Flaw in Membership and Subscription

Did you wake up this morning hoping for a webinar?

You’ve gone all week without one. Perhaps your spouse used to give you webinars, but no longer. Then there was that one vendor who always offered webinars, but they don’t even do it anymore.


No, you didn’t wake up hoping for a webinar. And neither did your members. And I can promise you those prospective members you want to sign up as paid members didn’t hope for a webinar either.

Not only that, they didn’t wake up hoping for a newsletter. Or a special report. Or a book. Or even a briefing. No, your members don’t want that shit.

And, they darn sure didn’t wake up hoping that you’d send another email. Nope, they don’t long for an email to show up. In fact, that’s one of the things they dread.

Do you agree that neither you nor your members want any of this?

Then why do you try to sell your prospective members this stuff?

I don’t want to embarrass anyone. But every marketing piece that has come across my desk this month sells what they deliver. This would be so much easier if I could show you examples, but I’m going to keep their names confidential, and I’ll do the same for you.

I have the following on my desk right now:

  • A sales letter from a direct response newsletter publisher selling a newsletter— and “as a special bonus” (as if people want them), four different special reports.
  • A subscription box website promoting what was in the box the last three months, together with the retail value of the items.
  • A membership site selling brand-new monthly webinars in addition to an online library featuring thousands of hours of past webinars;.
  • A SaaS company sales page with a product demo illustrating the features of their product.
  • An association touting their long-list of past government relations victories.

Tell me, is there anything on this list that you inherently want? No? Then why do you offer this sort of thing to your members? And if you don’t think you are making this mistake, send me your marketing at because you’d be one of the few.

Your prospective members don’t want stuff; they want solutions to their problems.

Instead, promote how what you deliver solves a pressing problem your member faces. For instance, you could be:

  • The newsletter publisher who reveals how to live in luxury for $1,000 or $2,000 a month
  • A subscription box that lets them be the first with the best new products without having to go to the department store cosmetics counter, where some crazy person will smear a bunch of stuff on their face
  • The membership site that solves the most pressing problem they face and how they’ll be in control, have peace of mind, and stop feeling overwhelmed with the tools they’ll receive
  • The SaaS company that delivers a tool to solve their biggest challenge today — and it’s so simple that their team will love using it
  • The association that lets them know what’s happening and seeks their input on important decisions facing their industry so they’ll never get left out again

To protect identities I kept these general but the difference is important.  The biggest difference is rather than promoting the stuff you deliver, you should promote how the stuff that gets delivered will transform your members’ lives.

This is the biggest mistake membership and subscription companies make. It causes their numbers to plateau, slows their growth, and frustrates their efforts to grow membership. If you’ve seen your growth rate slow, or if you have about as many members quitting your subscription as you generate each month, then this could very well be what you are missing.

Audit your marketing materials. Do you mention what’s getting delivered? Or do you talk about your member, the problems he faces, and how your product will solve his problem? Chances are that your marketing is more focused on what you deliver rather than how what you deliver will solve problems for your member.

While you may be making this mistake, please know you aren’t alone. Many of the world’s smartest marketers make this mistake when they flip into “membership and subscription mode.” For some reason, they know to sell the benefits of a product or service, but with a subscription they flip into trying to sell the “features.” Benefits are a lot more exciting than features.

The good news is, this is easy to fix. It just requires a few simple changes in the way you communicate with your members — how you choose to sell your membership and what you say. All you need to do is change your language. Stop talking about what you deliver and start promoting how what you deliver solves problems in your member’s life.

This will transform your membership results, overcome growth plateaus, stop your members from quitting, and enable you to reach and exceed your recurring revenue goals.

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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