Member retention is a must-have strategy for subscription-based businesses. It’s one thing to attract and sign up new members, but it’s quite another to keep those members happy and continuing to feel like they’re getting value from your service. But how? Here are six member retention strategies that can set you on the right track.

inspiring loyalty and retention in membership businesses

Consistent Delivery of Value

Continuously deliver valuable content, resources, or benefits to members to justify their subscription and keep them engaged. This could include exclusive content, access to experts or industry insights, discounts on products or services, or members-only events and webinars. 

But what exactly constitutes “valuable” content? Sounds very subjective, doesn’t it? Quality and value mean something different to each individual. Here are some guidelines for deciding if your content is ‘up to snuff’ in terms of value to your audience:

Bring new or additional value compared to what else is out there.

Do you have a unique take on weight loss or nutrition? Have you created a recipe book for members to refer to? Do your research to determine what the competition is offering, and come up with your own spin on value.

Position yourself as an expert in your field to retain members.

You’re never going to know every single thing there is to know about your topic. But you’ll always know more than someone. Create short YouTube videos, interview others in your field, and request to be interviewed, either for video or podcasts. The more your members see you on various social media and other channels, the more their decision to stay with you long-term will be solidified.

Ask your audience to tell you what’s valuable to them.

You have unfettered access to your members, so why not use it? Ask them what kind of content is valuable to them. You can do this through polls, surveys, or by opening the discussion in a Facebook group or group call.

Engagement and Interaction

contests & competitions for member retention

Encouraging engagement and interaction with you and among your members creates a sense of community and belonging.

Provide opportunities for members to connect with each other, share experiences, and collaborate on projects or discussions. This could involve hosting online forums, discussion boards, social media groups, or live Q&A sessions where members can interact and support each other. 

Another effective way to engage members is to hold contents and friendly competitions. SubHub client Pushmoments.com is a unique service that seeks to encourage members to “push” themselves to do something new or different in their lives. It doesn’t have to be something big like running for President or jumping out of an airplane; it might be as simple as taking a walk every morning, or trying a new hairstyle.

Their membership has enjoyed good retention by being constantly in contact with members. They even held a contest with a friendly competition among segments of the membership to see who “won” based on number of “pushes”, levels of encouragement, and sharing.

Community of Members Directory

Another way to nurture a sense of community within your membership is to provide a directory of members. If you are running your membership on the SubHub platform, it’s very easy to set up member-only access to a directory of members.  Members can use an alias if not comfortable with their real names, but the idea is that as members are more comfortable with each other, this barrier won’t exist.

Members can also choose if they want to be included in the directory or not. Those who are listed can contact each other anonymously via webform if there is a desire to make contact. The recipient can choose whether to reciprocate or not. A Facebook group can accomplish something similar, but the advantage here is that you are encouraging members to interact while on the your website.

Regular Communication & Updates

member retention strategies - group call

You can maintain regular communication with members to keep them informed, engaged, and invested in the community with newsletters, email updates, or notifications about new content, events, or member benefits. Be transparent and responsive to member inquiries, feedback, and suggestions to demonstrate that their voices are heard and valued.

You may want to consider holding an open Zoom call where members can ask questions of you and also get the benefit of contributions from the other members on the call. You can choose a specific topic or leave it open-ended, and this is a great opportunity to do some market research. What keeps your members engaged? What would they like to see more of and less of? Those who are perhaps struggling to get the benefit of membership may very find inspiration among those members who are getting value, whether your business involves weight loss, marketing strategies, financial advice and investments, or anything else.

Nurture Ambassadors

Asking current members to do some of your marketing and sales activities for you may sound selfish at first, but it need not be. Those who are truly getting value from your membership business are your best ambassadors for passing on the information about your services to others. And while some may choose not to, others will be happy to refer friends and colleagues to your website, especially if there is an incentive.

You can offer a discount on membership fees for those who refer new members, or you could offer extended office hours with you for one-on-one coaching. Or you can set up a renumeration system such that if a member successfully refers someone new, the referrer gets a percentage of the new member’s membership fee, either on a one-time basis, or for a period of time.

If you have a large enough membership to warrant it, you can invest in an affiliate program to automate that process. Your members can have their own affiliate links to add to emails or their own websites to encourage affiliate sign-ups.  The SubHub platform offers integrations with two affiliate companies to make the process even easier.

Take Advantage of Cancellations

You have probably picked up on a recurring theme in the above strategies for membership retention – keeping in touch. The more contact your members have with you that adds value to their membership in their eyes, the more loyal your audience will be, and the longer you will be able to retain their attention.

Having said that, make no mistake, there are going to be cancellations (gasp!). There is no way around it. At some point, a member for some reason is going to cancel their subscription. But don’t get discouraged. First of all, there can be a number of reasons for cancellations (or what initially “look” like cancellations). If you receive notification of a cancellation, don’t panic. First, check to see if the cause is simply a failed payment. If so, the member may not even be aware that they’ve been cancelled. This gives you a golden chance to reach out to that member and have a conversation.

But what if they really did want to cancel? That’s even better…now you have the opportunity to find out what went wrong…and fix it so that other members don’t follow suit. You also have the opportunity ask your ex-member if you can keep in touch by newsletter or some other means. You can reach out to that person periodically to offer incentives to return, or just to see how they are doing.  You might be able to win back the member at a later time.

The Bottom Line

Member retention is all about consistency – consistency of contact, updates, and keeping your material fresh. After all, you want your members to consistently stay with you – it only stands to reason they should expect consistency from you.

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