Any experienced membership site manager will tell you that there's more to a successful membership site than just re-billing customers. The real challenge is to keep them engaged.
Your Membership Software Should Help You Keep Your Members Engaged
If you're planning on starting a membership site, it's important to choose a membership software solution that won't just give you a standard shopping cart with the added ability to do recurring billing and some basic content protection.
Make sure your software will give you the tools you need to make it easier to create real relationships and keep members engaged. These engagement features may not seem necessary when you start your first membership site, but if you don't have access to them, you'll start having troubles before you know it.
However, engagement is hard work no matter how you slice it (even with the right membership software). It requires delivering value to your members over the long haul. So we're offering up a few things that might make this challenge a bit easier on you. Keep reading!
1. Make It Easy For Members To Sign Up
The fewer technical and psychological barriers you have to getting members in the door the better. Make sure your membership pricing is clear and up-front and that your signup buttons are visible and clear.
Also, structure your offering so that it provides some initial value for free. A few ways we've seen membership sites effectively provide an initial hit of value is through free limited time trials, trial memberships with a limited amount of content, and even by publishing valuable content on a public blog or podcast.
2. Stay In Touch With Members To Keep The Relationship Strong
Establishing relationships with your members is critical to your success. These days there are many channels where you can connect with customers, but the most important is still email. It's critical to use membership software that will send automated emails for the events that occur through the life cycle of the membership.
In addition to automated membership emails, you can regularly email your members using an autoresponder like AWeber, MailChimp, or GetResponse. Use these tools to send emails when new content is available on your site and to provide general updates.
It's also critical to provide support for your users. If you have a team of people (2 or more), we recommend using something a bit more sophisticated than your personal email account for managing your support emails. You might want to look at something like Help Scout, SupportFu or Zendesk.
3. Provide Consistent And Reliable Value
Great membership sites consistently deliver value to members to keep them engaged. And there are several strategies (some manual and some fully automated) you can employ to do this.
The first strategy for providing value is to continually create content. For some types of membership sites, this is unavoidable. For instance, anything time sensitive, like stock picks, will have to be delivered regularly. The good news is that, even though this is the most labor intensive strategy for keeping folks engaged, it's perhaps the simplest and most effective.
Second, get some content dripping started. If you aren't familiar with content dripping, it's a technique you can use to control the timing of when content is released to your users.
For instance if you had five premium pages and wanted one per week to be released to your members, you could do it with content dripping. Dripping is great because it enables you to produce content en masse and then schedule its release to your members.
A third way to get your members engaged is to create a premium community. What's great about this approach is that you don't have to generate the content, you let your users do it for you.
However, be aware that there's still work to do, because you'll need to moderate what's going on in your community. Even premium communities can get out of hand without some intervention now and again, so it's important for you to be there to make sure things stay on track.
Finally, a very effective way to get users engaged is to create a service that your members actively pay for. This could be a software service (SaaS) or any other active service you provide for your members as long as they're still paying. Just know that the more critical the service is to your members, the less attrition you'll have.
You can do this all yourself or select membership software, like MemberPress, that will make it easier. But the bottom line is that the more you work on keeping the relationship with your members strong through these and other methods, the more engaged they'll be. And the more willing they'll be to continue as paying members.