Ways to Stop Member Churn - Part 2
In a previous article, we discussed reducing churn for the new member. To summarize, you have to (1) continue to wow new members after they actually buy as you did when marketing to them, (2) you cannot overwhelm them so that they don’t think that they can do it, (3) create an early win for the new member, and (4) reward them when they meet that goal.
In this second article we will assume that you have done all that and you have them as a solid member for 6-12 months and now you’re finding they start to cancel. They’re nice about it and often thank you but “WHAT! How could they do that?” you say to yourself. You’ve helped them so much — they even told you so.
Established members often get a sort-of know-it-all attitude after they have been around for a while. This is often compounded by the fact that the forums seem to be dominated by more beginner type question from excited newer members. This becomes boring to the experienced member and just seems so basic….how quickly they forget that they too, not so long ago, asked similar questions.
You know that your content is good and these “know-it-all” members can get great benefit from what you are offering.
Here is the little known secret that will keep members coming back for more:
You must feature members in your communications or other media.
Your members love stories about other members. Member case studies illustrating how another member overcame a big problem by using what you teach are super-interesting to other members. If you deliver subscription boxes, relate stories of how other members used the items from a previous month in some unique way. Whatever it is that is interesting or inspiring about other members. They will feel energized and inspired by a fellow member’s success and it will rub off on them to some degree.
If you are running an event, make sure that you feature member-presented sessions in addition to keynote speakers. It will make a huge difference to the success of the conference that your members are attending.
Practicing what I preach, I have a client with a membership program who has significantly reduced churn using a variation of what we presented here….he has a person dedicated to personally contacting every member whose credit card fails and gets the updated credit card information. His churn due to failed credit cards plummeted to near zero. Before he started that program or even paying attention to the failed credit cards, those members were mostly lost forever. Either because they were embarrassed that their card had failed for 6 consecutive months since the last time they paid, or they were upset because no one even contacted them for 6 months or that they were getting 6 months service for free and did not want all the back charges (even though this client never did that, the member did not know). So, being proactive with site access rules, and getting updated credit card information has lead to happier members and a healthier wallet for the membership provider.
As Robert Skrob, a subscription membership program expert, said, “Experts from outside the community are only 10 percent as interesting as member-created content or stories featuring members of the tribe. Many clients don’t get this when I explain it. It’s counter-intuitive.” He also reiterated what I said above, “People want to read about people. Your members want to hear member success stories that illustrate the values you teach.”
Good job — your marketing and prospecting are spot on and you are signing up the right people, you are on-boarding them in a way that they don’t get frustrated and quit, and you have a system for the experienced member to keep then interested…..Wow, you have the makings of a wildly successful membership program….Congratulations!