Too many people create a subscription business because they heard it’s a lucrative business model. While it’s true that the membership model can help you scale your company faster, generate long-term stability and enable you to grow a vibrant tribe of thrilled members, generating revenue can’t be your only priority. Instead, when you focus on generating a positive impact on your members lives, they’ll reward you with membership and subscription growth.
In a recent interview for the Membership and Subscription Growth podcast, I spoke with Tim Broom, the co-founder and CEO of ITPro.TV. Tim transitioned to a subscription business model four years ago and is set to hit $8 million in revenue this year. What he has done, you can do. Your product may be much different than his, but the keys to his success can be applied to any subscription model.
ITPro.TV is, as Tim describes, “a Netflix for learning information technology.” They offer a low subscription price for access to a library of videos for people to learn and get certified in areas of information technology and security. At around $30 per member per month, they’ve experienced a phenomenal growth rate. Tim believes this success is a byproduct of having the right focus, value, and onboarding programs in place.
Removing obstacles for your members to succeed
In a world where so many businesses are focused on profit, Tim has chosen to focus on a real, profound concern for the outcomes that each member experiences. He says, “you take care of your members, and we call them members, they’re not subscribers or customers, they belong to something.”
To explain further, Tim shares that his “job description is to remove obstacles to people’s success. With that mindset, we wanted to bring a different type of learning, a different way of learning. Your obstacle may be geography because of where you’re located, you might not be near an institution that can provide high quality training for IT; or maybe it’s money, because you don’t have the cash or maybe you can’t get a loan in order to do it. A lot of times you have young families with kids and someone wants to change careers, but they really can’t afford to do it because they’re working full-time to support their family and they can’t do both. We want to remove those obstacles.”
The result of this transformation focus is an audience of loyal members who believe in your product and don’t hesitate to share their success stories with others.
Delivering a high-quality product
When asked about having to compete with all the free information and training videos available, Tim believes that their success comes from the value of their product. They are an established and trusted source of content as opposed to the unknown sources producing the free content on YouTube. He asks, “as a business owner, who do you want to be working and making changes to your network that involves your email, or your website? Do you want them to learn from a trusted source or from someone on YouTube?”
To make certain that the value of ITPro.TV grows for each member, Tim adds, “We originate and create all our own content that is on our site. So, we’re also a video production and content creating engine. Our team creates these videos and offers them up and organizes them in a way that an IT professional can get the skills and knowledge that he needs to be able to perform a task and it also grow with him as the technology changes.”
He states, “one of our core values is to create new effective content every day. So, every day, we’re in the studio creating new content, so the value to a subscriber is greater a month after they subscribe because we’ve created approximately 400 more episodes, which happens to be about 25 minutes, the attention span of an adult. We always are creating new content to create more value for the subscribers.”
After adjusting your focus to be on the members’ positive outcomes, and then making sure you’re continuing to improve the quality for them, then next step in assuring your membership growth is to establish a customer success program.
Onboarding members to help them experience a quick-win
So many companies are so focused on getting new customers, and as soon as they sign somebody up, they’re on to the next one. Onboarding them and being focused on getting them engaged, and helping them get value is absolutely crucial.
According to Tim, “It begins the moment the sale is consummated. It has to do with onboarding, relationship building, making sure that we help them be successful in their deployment. If they want to onboard 25 users, we want to make sure that those 25 users are being onboarded. If they’re not, we’re reaching out to them to discover why. We provide some low touch and tech touch opportunities for customer success, so they can be more familiar with how our website and the interface and the videos may work. We have an enterprise portal for the decision makers, so that they can track the users and create assignments. I think that first 10 days, the 30 days, are the most critical to get them in there and using it, and to realize what we are, and how we can help them do better at what they do.”
A successful onboarding program needs to incorporate instructions to help the member get the fullest benefit of your product, and it also needs to build a relationship with that member. “I always communicate with our members directly and if they respond to me in email, or I send emails through groups and they reply, every email comes to me. And when they dial our phone, I answer the phone because we are just all real people, and no one is better than anyone. If they know you have their best interests at heart, and they know that you care about them and their success, I think you get that loyalty back from them. You treat them with respect and honor, and always do the right thing, and the reputation will be out there for you for that.”
With a focus on each member having a successful outcome, continuous attention to the value of your product, and an onboarding system in place to ensure customer success, you have the three key ingredients to grow your subscription business and maximize your recurring revenue.
To access the full interview with Tim Broom and discover his tips for generating new customers and his advice for starting a subscription business, listen to the podcast or download the transcript. To continue to receive updated information and advice to grow your subscription business, subscribe now!