There’s no one in a better position to help people than membership marketers. You are giving people the tools and motivation to help them improve their lives. I want to congratulate you and reward you with a secret of how to make your membership program grow.
Popular radio hosts take on an advocacy position for their audience; they discuss a topic and stake out an opinion the majority of their audience will readily agree with. There’s no one better at this than Rush Limbaugh. He repeatedly tells his listeners he’s fighting for them against injustice and praises the intelligence of his listeners by denigrating non-listeners as the “low-information crowd.”
Other radio show producers hedge their bets by creating programs with an ensemble cast rather than one host. This model includes several different characters, so even if you don’t always agree with the primary host, there’s a side-kick or two you can connect with and think is funny. Multiple characters allow the radio show to broaden its potential listener base.
The key ingredient is advocacy. For instance, when good radio show hosts are interviewing celebrities, they ask questions their audience would like to ask in that position. Rush Limbaugh asks about the guest’s political beliefs. Oprah Winfrey (who hosted her show as if it were a radio show on the television) would ask about her guest’s feelings. Howard Stern invites his female guests to take their tops off.
How do you advocate for your audience? This is something that could fill an entire seminar, but to explain it as concisely as possible, it could be as simple as the first paragraph of this article — advocate for your member by telling them how their work contributes to the greater good of society.
Once you get this right, you have a huge advantage that radio and television hosts don’t have: You are able to connect your members with each other. When you do, they aren’t only connected with you, but are excited about interacting with other members who share their passion.
There’s no doubt that at the Star Trek convention, the auditorium was standing-room only during William Shatner’s presentation. However, the other days were filled with fans interacting with other fans at swap meets, discussion forums, and entertainment events. When you connect members with each other, it’ll completely transform your retention rates. Members aren’t only coming to see and hear from you, they also want to interact with other people who are interested in similar things as them.
Your motivation to create a membership program may be to make money for yourself. I understand, and membership programs are the best way to create long-term freedom from recurring membership revenue.
You’ll be able to grow that revenue and freedom fastest by advocating for your members and making connections among them. An advocate attracts members and makes them passionate about their lives. A membership marketer takes that one step further by connecting members with each other to grow his own relationship as well as establish several other connections to the community.