Truth be told, there might never be a better time to launch and grow a membership community than right now.
With waves of people and businesses transitioning online due to the pandemic and other global factors, building an online membership community is a great way to provide a digital place for people to continue to connect and share ideas around a topic or area of interest.
Of course, it’s not like membership communities are new—they’ve been around since the dawn of the internet. And there’s no shortage of great membership communities that overlap and cover the same area of interest.
So, if you have or are starting a membership community, you should be asking yourself, “How can my membership community for ‘xyz’ stand out from the others that also cover ‘xyz’?”
Well, the absolute best approach to attract and retain members is simple: add unique value to your community.
In this article, we’ll explore a few simple ways to add unique value to your membership community that will, in turn, help you attract new members, turn them into community advocates, and ensure they remain engaged—especially in the face of growing competition.
Let’s get into it!
1. Add a personal touch to your welcome emails
That’s right. You’d think this would be commonplace in membership communities, but you’d be surprised how many out there are still sending generic welcome emails to their new members.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have create hand-crafted emails for every new member.
Use merge fields or email parameters to ensure every welcome email addresses your members by their first name.
Additionally, you can consider sending out emails that wish your members a happy birthday (or a happy membership anniversary).
Note: If you’re a MemberPress user, you’ll be able to automatically send personalized emails using our fully customizable email templates. If you’re looking for a standalone email marketing tool to send personalized emails, we suggest checking out MailChimp or ActiveCampaign.
2. Host themed virtual meetups
While it’s still a bit sketchy to organize in-person meetups, hosting a virtual meetup is a great, cost-effective way to bring your community together and help put faces to names.
Excite your members by adding a theme to these virtual meetups, like a Halloween costume party or something as simple as a monthly roundtable to discuss the latest updates and membership activity.
Looking for a scheduling tool that works with MemberPress to host your virtual meetups? Check out Simply Schedule Appointments.
3. Reward members with branded swag
Swag can be a cost-effective way to reward community members. It works because it gives members the opportunity to show off their excitement for the community in real life.
This often encourages others to investigate the site or brand name to see why this person is so enamored. Assuming everything else in the community is optimized, this should lead to more activity, sign ups, and engagement.
But swag rewards must be used correctly, or the campaign could backfire turning into a massive waste of money with few new users gained.
4. Create an affiliate program
If you haven’t considered building out an affiliate program for your membership community before, now would be a good time.
Affiliate programs can bring your products significantly more attention and sales than many other forms of marketing. If done correctly, they can enable you to build relationships with bloggers, site owners, and others to help spread the word about your membership community.
If you’re a MemberPress user, you’ll be happy to know the MemberPress plugin works out of the box with a robust affiliate program plugin called Affiliate Royale, which is included free with the MemberPress Pro plan.
5. Offer one-on-one membership support
For VIP members who pay a premium subscription fee, offer a unique booking form only accessible to them on your website. From the form, members should be able to schedule dedicated customer support calls with your team to address and walk through technical or membership-related issues.
Offering one-on-one support shows your members that you care about them having a direct line to you and your organization—and all for the sake of providing support. For a lot of first time community members, this can be an absolute game-winner in terms of retention.
If you need an easy plugin to offer scheduling for one-one-one support with your members, we, again, recommend you check out Simply Schedule Appointments.
Adding value to your membership community doesn’t need to be difficult. When it comes down to it, it’s really just about taking additional measures to make your community stand out above the rest.
In our opinion, there’s no better way to achieve that than by making sure those who make up the actual community feel they’re part of a unique, one-of-a-kind place.
We hope you find these suggestions helpful. More-so, we hope you’re able to put a few of them into play for the upcoming year to boost the continued growth of your own membership community.
Have additional things you've done to add value to your membership community? Let us know in the comments!