There’s a Lot More to Retention Than Value, and That’s Good News for You

The good news about membership retention

It’s expensive to deliver value. Solutions to your members’ problems are expensive to conceive, test, and produce on a regular basis. It should be good news that members are looking for a mix of benefits and aren’t focused solely on value.

Members want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Memberships that are about having a greater impact have higher retention than those that rely on value alone. Your mission is an essential part of your Retention Deficit Disorder treatment.

What do you want to accomplish by creating your membership? What is your movement about? How do you want the world to be different?


Good news about retentionThese are important messages to include in your marketing. This is often where villains crop up. There’s little value in creating villains for the sake of villains. Instead, how will your membership vanquish the villains? Let your member experience the satisfaction of feeling like he’s part of that effort by being a member within your community.

Superhero movies today are completely different than 30 years ago. When I watched the first Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve, good and evil was black and white. Superman was perfect.

And, this is how most membership programs try to portray their guru — as perfect. This is a huge mistake.

Superhero movies today instead portray their hero as conflicted. As confused. As struggling internally at the same time they are trying to vanquish a supervillain. And these movies are huge hits because the audience can identify and connect with that inner struggle.

Connection comes through vulnerability. When your guru lets members into their own struggle, foibles, and challenges, your members will connect with them a lot better than they will a guru who is portrayed as perfect.

There's more to retention than valueThis is especially a problem when you try to portray your product as perfect, whether that’s an SaaS system, product, or membership. You can’t be perfect. You’ll get a lot more credibility and connection by admitting where you are weak, what you are working to improve, and how much you care about your members’ experience.

Each one of your members feels like they are the only one who feels the way they do. They are likely the only person they know who is like them. They feel like a lone wolf. And as a Member Leader, you can deliver a lot of value by helping that lone wolf find its pack to run with.

I’ve always wanted to draw but never took the time to practice. I purchased a book on drawing and am completing the exercises. Wow, they are really basic in the beginning. And that’s good because I’m terrible. But I can see improvement between the first time I complete the exercise and the 20th time I do it.

All personal growth comes by completing small tasks, deliberate practice, and improving as you continue. Recognition is the fuel that helps you keep going from one task to the next.

Good news about retention Recognition is one of the basic components of every membership I help my clients create today. There’s always an engagement system that encourages members to share their work and some form of individual recognition as well as group recognition in response to that engagement.

First, by asking for engagement, you demonstrate that you care. Second, with individual feedback — even something as simple as replying, “Great job. I saw your work and I’m excited about your progress” — demonstrates to your member that they are important to you. And finally, recognition in front of the group by sharing their success story, calling out their process in a list, or showing an example of their work propels your member to higher levels of engagement and retention.

Recognition makes your member believe in themselves and improves their engagement in your membership. And seeing you recognize other members as well as themselves helps your member believe that what you deliver really works.

Plus, as we’ll see in the next area, community, you can further leverage these feedback loops to experience even higher improvements in retention.

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.
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