18 Ways to Increase Member Retention for Membership Sites

by | Jan 6, 2023 | Resources

Member retention is one of the most important metrics membership sites should follow. After all, it’s easy to sign up for a community or membership site (especially if the entry is free) — but it’s far more difficult to actually stick to your plan and remain a loyal, active member.

To make sure your members stay engaged and that their membership continues to be valuable over time, it’s important to find ways to keep them coming back for more. Here are some ideas on how you can increase member retention:

Reduce Buyer’s Remorse

Another reason people might sign up for your membership site and then not return is because of buyer’s remorse. They may regret the purchase, thinking they don’t need it or that it’s too expensive.

To reduce this feeling, provide opportunities to get more value out of their membership. Send a personalized email to introduce yourself, offer a one-on-one consultation call with a team member or offer a special deal for their next purchase.

Create Urgency

Creating urgency is one of the best ways to encourage your members to stay engaged. Give them specific deadlines and show them the value they will gain by taking action before the deadline passes. This could be anything from limited-time offers, discounts, access to exclusive content, or early bird access to upcoming events.

Provide Personalized Support

Make sure your members feel supported and heard. Provide them with personalized emails, tailored messages, and one-on-one consultations when needed. Show them that you are invested in their success and that you care about helping them reach their goals.

Focus on Your Existing Community

There’s no better way to increase retention for new members other than making sure your older members are still engaged and happy. Make sure to spend time engaging with existing members, listening to their feedback, and asking for their input. This will show that you value them and make them more likely to stay longer. It will also make it more likely they recommend your membership site/ community to their peers (including new joiners.)

Use the Abandoned Cart Technique

You will see this used quite often in eCommerce: you add a product to the cart, then exit the website, only to receive an email a few days later with a coupon code or special offer to encourage you to complete the purchase.

You can apply this same technique to membership sites: when someone fills out an onboarding form and then doesn’t return, send them an email or message offering them something of value, like a free webinar or discount on their next subscription payment, in exchange for their renewed attention.

abandoned cart tactic

Create Engaging Content

Adding content to your membership site is a great way to keep members engaged. Make sure the content you create adds value, is relevant to the topics of discussion within your community, and has some sort of reward or incentive attached that encourages members to stay active and engaged.

Gamify the Membership Experience

There’s a reason fitness watches, mobile apps, and other health-related programs have become so popular: the use of gamification. Good news is that you can borrow the same tactic for your membership site too.

Gamifying your membership experience will help make it more interactive, engaging, and rewarding for members. You can do this by adding points systems, leader boards, rewards, badges, and other elements that will make them feel like their progress is being tracked in a fun and interesting way.

Run Cancelation Surveys

You’ll never know why people cancel if you don’t actually talk to them about this. That’s why it’s important to send cancellation surveys after someone leaves your membership site. This will give you the opportunity to find out what went wrong and how you can make sure other members don’t leave in the future.

running cancellation surveys

Engage Your Community on Social Media

Don’t forget to leverage the power of social media. You can use it to engage with your members and build relationships with them on a more personal level. Ask questions, post interesting content, and interact with people who are interested in your membership site. This will help you keep them coming back time and time again, thus increasing member retention.

It will also help you increase your reach (because social media activity may be visible to your members’ peers.) and make them more accountable (which increases loyalty.)

Offer a Limited Membership Level

Want to give people a taste of what your community offers, but also make it affordable for them to join?

Consider creating a limited membership level with fewer features and access. This will give people an opportunity to get to know your community before they commit, while also making it more accessible (and less expensive) for them to join.

You can also use this option as an upgrade path when someone’s ready to take their membership to the next level. This might make it easier to increase member retention, particularly among some categories of people.

Leverage Technology to Make It Easy

Make it easy for people to create profiles, make payments, interact with each other (and you), as well as cancel their subscriptions. A few smart integrations can make your membership site feel like a much more sophisticated and well-oiled machine.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Give members something to strive for by providing opportunities for growth and progress within your community. This could include challenges, competitions, recognition badges, premium content (e.g., webinars, courses), and more that will make them feel like an integral part of the membership site.

Doing this will help you boost member retention because people will have something to constantly come back to.

Nurture a Welcoming and Inclusive Culture

Finally, make sure your membership site has a welcoming and inclusive culture. Encourage open dialogue, and respect for different opinions and ideas, and create an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their experiences and perspectives.

This will help create a sense of belonging and loyalty that will keep members engaged with the community long-term.

Keep Track of Member Activity

Keep an eye on active and inactive members alike. What are they talking about? How often do they engage in conversations and activities? Are there any patterns in their behavior that you can use to better understand your members and what makes them stay or go?

Tracking member activity will give you important insights that you can use to improve the membership experience, strengthen relationships with active members, and identify potential areas of improvement.

You may not be able to guess what goes on with your members. But if you want to increase member retention, looking at what’s happening with your community members and how they react to different initiatives is of the utmost importance.

Provide Discounts and Rewards

Reward the people who are most loyal and engaged by offering discounts, gifts, or special access to premium content. This will make them feel appreciated and more likely to stick around for the long haul, thus increasing your member retention.

You can also use this as an opportunity to attract potential members and give them a taste of what to expect when they join your membership site.

Create a Referral Program

Finally, consider setting up a referral program to entice people to join your membership site. This can be as simple as offering discounts or special access to content in exchange for successful referrals.

Having a referral system in place will help you grow your membership base and increase the visibility of your community through word-of-mouth. It’s one of the most effective ways to bring in new members and increase engagement among your existing ones.

Give Members the Option to Pause

Instead of only offering the option to cancel, give your members the option to pause their membership too. This will give them the flexibility to come back on their own timeline without having to start from scratch.

This could be especially useful for people who take extended breaks due to travel or any other reason. It’s a great way to show that you understand and appreciate your members’ needs, which could go a long way towards increasing loyalty.

Send Personalized Messages

Send personalized messages to your members on a regular basis. You can thank people for their loyalty, provide helpful tips and resources, and remind them of upcoming events or activities that they might be interested in.

This is an easy way to keep the lines of communication open and show your members that you care about them. It will also help foster a sense of belonging and loyalty to the community.

If you want to use this tactic to increase your member retention, but don’t have time to do it manually every time someone new joins, you can automate a series of emails and personalize them. Here’s a quick guide on how to build compelling and engaging email sequences.

Boosting Member Retention in Communities: Conclusion

Why is member retention important?

Simply put, it’s easier to maintain your existing user/ member base than to keep acquiring new ones. It’s also a lot cheaper to invest in member retention (rather than new marketing campaigns to help you reach a fresh pool of people interested in what you have to offer.)

By using a combination of member retention tactics described in this article, you should be able to keep members actively engaged in your membership site and ensure that they are getting the most out of it. With

By building a solid member retention strategy, you can boost member retention on your membership site and ensure that your community continues to be active and vibrant over time. With the right approach, you’ll have loyal members who come back to your site — again and again.

Member retention is not a magical potion, nor does it come at the flick of a wand. It’s hard work centered on making your membership site a really great experience, from A to Z.

Member Retention: FAQs

What is member retention?

Member retention is the practice of encouraging members to stay active in your membership community by providing them with value, offering rewards and discounts, creating an inclusive culture, and more.

How do you maintain membership retention?

There are many ways to maintain membership retention, but some of the most popular ones include:

  • Providing discounts and rewards
  • Creating a referral program
  • Giving members the option to pause their membership
  • Sending personalized messages
  • And tracking member activity.

What is membership retention rate?

The membership retention rate is the percentage of members who remain active and engaged in your community, over a specified period of time. It can be helpful for understanding how well your efforts in retaining members are working.

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