What’s in this video:
05:27 – What were these businesses thinking?
08:38 – Retain rather than detain
11:03 – What is a membership site?
12:20 – 12 reasons to love membership sites
13:06 – 8 more reasons membership sites rock
14:56 – Here’s a BIG secret
16:45 – Let’s talk Maths
19:50 – What % of attrition should you be aiming for?
20:10 – Strategies to wow new members
37:55 – How to keep your existing members
46:28 – 4 Lock’s Laws of Membership Retention
See other inspiring experts on stage at the SuperFastBusiness Live event
James: The next guest I also coincidentally met when I traveled overseas. First saw him at the first event that I went to in California. He was delivering a presentation at the time on tips, tricks, and tools and I knew a lot of the ones he talked about, I didn’t know some of them, but I knew that he was obviously very good with his knowledge.
I then noticed he had a TV show, or a podcast or a video podcast, and he blew that up and the next time I bumped into him was at a very private mastermind in a loft department in Las Vegas with Jay Abraham and John Carlton and Perry Marshall. Like a super exclusive event Rich Schefren and Spike was there as well (one of Jay’s partners), like it was a super exclusive event.
And then I kept bumping into him here and there after I saw him at Traffic and Conversions again. Turns out he’s been doing really well with subscription memberships and I know you are interested in that because I’m interested in that so surely you’ll all be interested in that. Otherwise, you wouldn’t stick around. I do think that it’s such a key to predictable, scalable revenue. I really want to educate you about subscription memberships so I looked for someone to talk about that specific topic. That’s why I’ve invited our next special guest. Big round of applause for Andrew Lock.
Andrew: Thanks, James.
James: Good day, mate.
Andrew: Thanks a lot. It’s been a fantastic day. I’ve been blending in with the locals wherever I go and they’ve been smiling at me and they’ve been shouting like “Dag!” which I think is a compliment. And it’s, I’ve been having a great time around Sydney. So, that’s my advice, if you go to a country where you have never visited before, just try and blend in with the locals and they’ll treat you well.
My name is Andrew Lock and as you can tell from the accent (these mini koalas are great by the way). As you could tell from the accent, I am from Salt Lake City. I do actually live in Salt Lake City but originally from England. After or before Salt Lake I should say, I was in California.
Anybody heard of it? Under the watchful eye of the Governator Arnie, which always struck me as so odd that, this celebrity Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor of California. That was the craziest thing to me. You know that would be like, I don’t know like, in England if Elton John was queen, I said “Maybe that isn’t so odd… after all” (I’m getting hot in this stuff).
Just like to tell you a little bit about myself. As we get started, I am quite a private and secretive person. That’s about it really. People ask me, “Andrew, how did you get to where you are today?” And the answer is quite simple really. I took Delta flight 17 from Los Angeles and here I am. That’s about it really. I now come to understand that Delta stands for Don’t Expect Luggage To Arrive. You may know that there are two types of luggage: Carry On and Lost.
When I was checking in I said to the girl at the counter, I said “Can you send this bag to Sydney and this one to New Zealand?” and she said, “I can’t do that!” I said, “Well you did it last time!” (Audience laughs). The rather condescending flight attendant, she came out to me and she said, “Would you like dinner?” I said, “What are my choices?” and she said, “Yes or No”
So… [Andrew laughing] true story.
So, the title of my presentation, by the way, this is a brand new presentation. First time I’m giving it so I’ve got a few notes. 21 ½ Membership Site Retention Strategies. Why 21 and a half? Firstly, I’m not very good at Math. Or is it Maths? What do you say here by the way?
Maths… oh great! Ok, I don’t need to translate. When I give presentations in the States, we’re always having to do this like, simultaneous translation thing. Alright, good.
21 and a half, it started out at 7. In fact, in the program it says 7 but then I just kind of gone on a roll. And I was like, “Oh, I’ll add another one, I’ll add another one…”, and that’s how it went. So 21 and a half and actually this is a perfect tie end with James’s presentation from yesterday. Absolutely 100% agreed with everything that he said. Spot on! We both love, love, love membership sites. Can I emphasize that enough? Although I just tried.
Membership sites will change, even having one; it will absolutely change your life I promise it. I mean it has changed my life and it has changed James. You’ll see why during this presentation.
So before we get into that, one of the quick things I’ll show you and I do this on my show, Help My Business. When I travel, I love to take photographs of the craziest businesses that I find. This is sort of under the banner of “What were they thinking?” Alright, so would you like to see some of these?
This is from some of my travels here.
So this first one is at this Chinese Restaurant. Come and wait might be true but is hardly something you want to advertise. Crazy. What were they thinking?
How about this one? Anyone for this, these are all food themed by the way, anyone for some sweat and sour pork?
What were they thinking?
This one will probably give you indigestion.
That’s a niche I think. Niche. Do we say niche here? See, what I mean? Quick translation. I’m just so in that mode. I can’t imagine that this one tastes very good.
Soup of the day.
I see… we found the level of the audience now.
Look closely in the van.
Obviously, don’t sample their own product.
How about this one?
Beef, jerky cell phones.
And then finally, this is by far, this is probably my favorite of all time, the biggest ‘What were they thinking that you’ve ever seen in your life?’ Because think about it, you can choose any name for your business, right? Anything, right? Sky’s the limit. So, why, oh why, oh why, you see what I mean? When I show you, why did they pick this name for their business?
What were they thinking? Unbelievable!
That’s my reaction, too. Unbelievable. Alright. Let’s move into the teaching part.
I gave this presentation to my assistant yesterday to have her type it up and I said, remove all the boring parts. So in conclusion, let’s get going with the 21 and a half nifty membership site retention strategies and my promise to you is that you’re going to learn the most comprehensive member retention blueprint you’ve ever seen.
And for some of you it will be the only blueprint you’ve ever seen, so that makes it a little easier.
Like all things, when you discover some of these strategies and have tried to simplify them as much as possible, some of them may seem simple and that’s kind of the point is, these things should be logical to us, it should be common sense but you know, as we all know, common sense isn’t that common in the world sadly, right?
When we come to membership sites, we want to retain people rather than detain them.
If you treat people well, they will want to stay, rather than you trying to force them.
Now, what are membership sites and why should you have one?
Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.
How this kind of came to me originally was working in the entertainment industry, something struck me. It was a piece of wood that fell down from the roof and knocked me on the head. Something struck me and that was the songwriters get paid.
She’s still on the Herpes Pizza!
I know! [Andrew laughing with audience].
Thank you for coming… mom.
So something struck me in the entertainment industry, that is that songwriters get paid over and over and over again and you probably know this. Every time one of their songs that they wrote way back when gets performed or played like on the radio, or used in a movie, or anything like that, or in a concert, they get paid over and over and over again. That’s the royalty concept, also known as recurring income, also known as residual income and probably some other names too.
So when I kind of had this light bulb moment looking at what? The money that comes into artists, think of a beautiful ballad or beautiful song like written way back when a beautiful song like “Who Let the Dogs Out.” The writer of that song keeps getting paid over and over and over and over again. There’s no limit.
So I was thinking – how can we adapt this concept? Because most of us aren’t songwriters of course in the world of making money online and the way that I discovered this was through this thing called membership sites. Let’s define this so that we’re all on the same page. I know this is basic for some of you. We’re going to get into the more advanced stuff very quickly.
What is a membership site?
A membership site is very simply a private, member’s only website where a community of like-minded people happily pays you a subscription fee every month usually, sometimes once a year too, to access two main things: quality information and a community. Someone said yesterday, maybe it’s me, I’m not sure, the day has rolled into, seems like we’re in day 17.
Someone mentioned that they come for the content but they stay for the community and that is absolutely spot-on. They come for the content. In other words, that’s what they think they want. But what they actually stay for is usually the community, that being kind of in a like-minded group.
By the way, just to show you that I have the credibility if you like in this world, I have seven membership sites. I built and sold some of them, but some of them I retained. And most of them actually aren’t in the business-to-business space or teaching this stuff. Most of them are in other niches, things that I’m interested in, like Disney and home theater and other kind of passion topics, which is the best ones, these niches.
12 reasons to love membership sites
First of all, 12 reasons to love membership sites. Very simple.
There you go. Every month. How more simply can I say it? Every month, you get a big pile of cash deposited in your bank account, and it keeps going up every single month. You can’t stop it. So whereas most people are trading time for money in a dead-end job. This changes the dynamic completely. Every single month. That’s the power of this residual income. I call it reliable, recurring income. It’s money that you can count on coming in over, and over and over again.
In all seriousness, I’ll give you eight proper reasons beyond that to love membership sites.
8 more reasons to love membership sites
These are all pretty much self-explanatory, but they are kind of a big deal. And I want you to look at this listing and kind of think which ones of these would be most exciting to me?
For some people, for example would be perhaps… living and traveling anywhere. You genuinely can do this anywhere in the world that you have an internet connection. That’s a beautiful thing. Think about that, the ability to live and travel anywhere in the world. But like I say, pick out the ones that you think, ‘that really appeals to me’.
So let’s have a look at some examples in the mainstream. Here’s three kind of well-known sites.
You can see the pricing that they charge. Interestingly, the bigger the site, in other words, the more mainstream, the more public they are tends to be lower dollar figures. I’ll show you some other examples in a minute. But they’re all doing rather well.
So look at this number of members.
When you get into millions of members paying $50 or $60 a month, we’re into serious money here.
However, these of course are very big, established, well-known companies. What about the little guys like you and me, yes? Can we do it? Well absolutely. In fact, this is where it’s most exciting because here’s three examples: contractor selling for helping builders or construction companies to do a better business; dog problems – I think it’s the owners actually, the other members, not the dogs themselves; and then restaurant owner site to help restaurant owners build a better business.
One big secret
So all of these are examples of niche topics that do extraordinarily well. One of the big secrets in a membership site for people like you and me is the more defined the niche, the better.
The more specific you are, the better the membership site, the more successful it will be, and the easier it is to promote it too.
We’ve already seen evidence of that throughout these last few days.
Here are a couple of other examples:
This actually is a couple of students of mine from Australia. They started this site about two years ago, and I couldn’t believe that they got that domain name.
Yoga Universe – another example.
Bouncy Castle Owner, proving my point about niches. This is not just like Ted Smith, who likes to have a bouncy castle in his back garden, although that is the case. But this is people who rent bouncy castles out for parties and things like that. But it’s a niche. A niche. I keep saying that because I’m so used to speaking in America, sorry. It’s a niche. I don’t need to do the translation. That’s great.
Stress Reduction Resources – Again, another niche topic.
Note Investing Club, which is again a very specific type of investing. They didn’t try to do investing as a membership site. They did Note Investing Club. I don’t know anything about it, but when they were pursuing this, I said, “Go through the system. Do the research.” And sure enough, they found that it was a viable niche that had enough demand there, because that’s what you want to establish. Is there enough demand?
Let’s show you how the Maths works here.
With 34 members a month paying you $29 in one year, you’re going to have a reliable recurring income of $11,000 a month. Not too shabby, right? And of course I just rounded these numbers up a little bit or rounded them down a little bit just to make it easy to comprehend here.
Let’s extend this a little bit. With 34 members paying $49 a month, then in a year, your recurring income would be around $20,000 a month. Is everybody starting to kind of see the potential here? Sometimes when I start getting into these figures, especially if you’re just getting started, it seems like how is that even possible? But the reality is, these are very low end.
Let’s kind of extend it a little bit more here. With 100 new members paying you $79, what we’re basically talking about before was 1 member a day, which is ridiculous number, 1 new member a day. With 100 new members a month paying $79, in one year, your reliable recurring income is going to be about $94,000 a month. Can you see the power of membership sites now? Anybody?
Andrew: Thank you! [Laughs] Just checking you’re alive. That’s OK.
If you hear your neighbor snoring, just give them a nudge. So let’s extend out a little bit more.
Here’s a screenshot. One of the sites here, in one month, $334,000, just to show you the types of numbers that are possible with this.
Now one marketer, who is extremely well known, probably everybody in this room would know this person. This is their actual words from about five, six years ago.
They said, “When someone signs up, hope and pray that (1) they don’t log in to the membership site, and (2) they forget about their monthly payment!”
Terrible advice! I couldn’t believe this person said that. I respected this person at the time until they said this because I completely disagreed with it. Their model was basically have a membership site and hope that the person doesn’t see or remember that they have this charge on their credit card. Unbelievable.
Well it gets worse. This is what they went on to say:
“If you can keep 50% of your members past the third month, you’re doing really well in any topic of membership site.” Those were there actual words. Unbelievable.
Let’s get rid of that because we do not want any part of that.
What should be our goal? Well as I said earlier, we want to retain rather than?
Andrew: That’s it. You got it. Thank you. Detain. If we do it right, the percentage that we should be aiming for is 3% or less attrition or churn as we say in the business.
That’s the number or percentage that leaves over time. 3% or less, you’re doing well. You’re implementing these strategies that we’re sharing today.
Strategies for dealing with new members
So let’s review these strategies. It’s in two parts. The first part is strategies for new members because that’s kind of the most critical time. Think about a patient that’s on life support. All the kind of biggest effort needs to go into keeping them alive, right? Same thing with a new member of a membership site, we also do need to have strategies once they’re a member and once they’re kind of ticking over.
But the most critical time, the time when they’re most likely to give up is when they are new.
Convey a clear mission
So let’s dive into this. Strategy number one is convey a clear mission. Now you don’t have to write all these down because we’re going to go fairly quickly through these, and you will get the slides. Just listen and of course take notes if you like, but you don’t need to write everything word for word.
So why is this important? The reason is because members want to be part of a movement. This is really important. It’s not just about teaching new skills for them or learning new skills. They want to be part of something big.
“Members want to be part of a movement.”
Now imagine a membership site about living with diabetes. You could, option A would be just present them with some information to help them cope with diabetes. That’s option A. Or option B would be to create a community where you help each other with the belief system that it is possible to break free from being insulin dependent at some point in the future by for example eating very healthily. I know people that have done this actually.
So think about the two scenarios there. Do you see the difference? One is just kind of functional. One is creating a movement and something that people can really get behind and say, “You know what, I believe that or I want to believe that. Show me how. Let’s do this together.” See the difference? That’s what we’re talking about with the movement. It’s very powerful for keeping members because they feel like they’re part of something really important.
Look at this quote from Simon Sinek.
He wrote this great book called Start with Why. He did a great TED speech too. “We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe.” This is the point here now coming up. “Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe, and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us.”
This is what people want more than anything else. They’re just stumbling around the world until they find those people that they can plug themselves into, like you with James. The reason you’re connected with James, and most of you are in the community, is because you resonate with James. That’s what we’re talking about here.
Provide instant gratification
The second strategy is to provide instant gratification. Why do we need that? The reason is, more than anything, we need to establish trust. We need to establish trust. The easiest way to do that is to deliver exactly what we said we were going to do as soon as that person enters their credit card information and clicks the BUY button.
So the first thing is, and this is such a common mistake, when someone clicks the BUY button, they need to have their accounts set up automatically behind the scenes, with the login and user name and all those things that need to be done automatically. It is not acceptable to have to do that process manually. You know, “Sorry, I was on vacation in Peru,” and then five days later, they get the login. That doesn’t build trust, does it? Think about it. But a lot of people do that.
Second, the email that goes out should not be (and I see this again so often) the email that goes out, the welcome email, should not be just, “Here’s your username and password.” Here’s your log in in other words. The reason why most people do that is because they’re too lazy to change the default template in the membership platform.
So again, we need to build trust here. We need to give instant gratification. The way that we do that, is by personalizing the email. Congratulate them. Say, “Congratulations for making a great decision.” And then get them excited again about what they signed up for. Of course also, tell them exactly what to do to log in. All those basics.
Provide a quick win
Number three – provide a quick win. Why is this important? The reason is because members subconsciously want to justify their purchase in their own minds as quickly as possible. So what do we mean by provide a quick win? Well here are a few examples, and this is what we’re looking for.
We’re looking for someone in this non-stock photo at all illustration to jump up and down in front of their computer and say, “Wooh,” like that. Of course we won’t be able to see them doing it but that’s what we’re actually looking to get.
Let’s think of an example. Imagine you have a membership site about makeup. When someone first logs in, you might say, “Here’s the 20-minute quickstart Hollywood technique to looking amazing next time you go on a dinner date.” It has a little PDF maybe that they download, they follow the instructions, and they’ve turned in, they’ve magically transformed, this is in their own minds, transformed themselves into this gorgeous person, and what are they thinking? They’re thinking ‘wow’, right? Do you see the point here? Get a quick win. It doesn’t matter the topic. Get them a quick win so they think to themselves ‘Wow, this is great’. I’m really glad that I joined this membership site.
Give unexpected gifts
The fourth strategy is to give unexpected gifts, or at least one gift, and the reason why is because people love surprises. Who doesn’t love an unexpected gift? Again, let’s give a few examples.
From my own business, when someone joins one of my premium sites I send them in the mail, remember that? A USB phone charger. It has a value of about $25 with a little card, a thank you card, and it says, “Thank you for being a member of this site. Here’s a little gift that I think you’ll find useful,” because let’s face it, we pretty much know that everybody has a phone, right? And it has the cable there for all types of devices. But as a $25 value, they weren’t certainly not ever expecting it, and that simple unexpected gift does great things for the beginning of the relationship. Does everybody see that? Very, very powerful.
Another example is I’m a premium flyer, I mentioned this at the start, is this true with DELTA? Just recently, they sent me this really cool metal, two metal luggage tags that are indestructible. They sent me a whole pile of coupons for free drinks on flights. How bunch of other unexpected gifts in this nice kind of bulky envelope. I wasn’t expecting it. When I opened it, it was things that I could use immediately and I thought, that’s really cool. So I had that wow moment with DELTA even though they lost my luggage. So even a simple membership card sent through the mail with a thank you, even something as simple as that can work wonders.
Use a welcome video
The fifth strategy is to use a welcome video for new members. The reason why is because members want to know what to do. They want to be guided. It maybe because they are busy, it maybe because they are nervous, it maybe because they are skeptical, it maybe because they’re easily confused, it maybe because they are looking for reasons to cancel. We don’t know what’s going on in their minds. Any one of those things could be true.
So what should we include in an effective welcome video? A couple of resources for you here: WalkMe is a resource to help you make a walkthrough video, as in walk me through. WalkMe.com, check that out.
And then I recommend that everybody sign up for a free trial for Evernote.com because their welcome video is a model example of what to do.
So you want to resell the benefits of why they joined. Remind them. Don’t take it for granted that just because they joined, they’re as excited and thrilled and happy as you are.
Second, paint a picture of what their life is going to look like in the future if they continue as an engaged member. Show them what their life is going to be like.
“Paint a picture of your member’s future.”
Show them around the site. Give them an actual tour so they feel comfortable with it. So let them know where the different sections are so they don’t feel this daunting overwhelm when they first login.
Provide persuasive tools
The sixth strategy is to provide persuasive tools for an unsupportive partner or spouse. So why? Because a negative partner or spouse can be very persuasive. You need to preempt this. This happens a lot.
Out of interest, in this room, by show of hands, and this is just to illustrate the point, how many of you have someone in your family who you would classify as unsupportive to what you do? Be honest. Be honest. Quite a few. I’d say probably half the room. So this is a big deal.
So what can you do? First of all, share case studies and success stories with the member, which gives the member the fuel to handle an unsupportive spouse or partner. And tell them too. Say, “You may find that people in your circle or your family may be critical of you joining this site, this kind of thing.” Arm them. Pre-empt it before it comes up.
Encourage new members to become engaged quickly
Strategy number seven is to encourage new members to become engaged as quickly as possible. I know what you’re thinking. But Andrew, what if they’re already married? Well, it’s a different type of engagement. It’s the feeling of being connected and attentive to your membership community. Why is this important? Because the sooner they get started with step number one, the more likely they are to stay. So how can we do this?
Invite them to upload a photo of themselves. Invite them to complete a member profile. Invite them to ask a question or post a comment. Provide an incentive for taking fast action.
“Provide an incentive for taking fast action.”
And last but by no means least, invite them to introduce themselves in the forum, which is what’s going on here. And show them how to do that.
Survey new members
Number eight, survey new members to remind them why they need the community. Why is that important? Well quite simply a well-thought survey does exactly that, it reminds them why they joined, in other words, they need help.
There are plenty of tools out there like Survey Monkey. The main goal again is to reinforce to them why they joined and why they need this membership site.
Again going back to our Diabetes example, you might ask them in a survey something like, “Are your feet getting increasingly numb?” I have a family member with Diabetes. That’s kind of a sign, that’s kind of an alarm bell sign. Or you might ask them, “Are important bits of your body spontaneously falling off at the moment?” Things like these kind of get them to nod their head and say, “You know, that’s what’s happening to me. I need help with that thing before all the bits fall off.”
Preempt common objections
Number nine – preempt common objections. Preempt common objections. Why is this important? Well we want to answer those stumbling blocks before they come up because that enables them to be diffused. In other words, they don’t grow, they don’t mushroom into a big issue. They are dealt with right at the outset.
So when someone first logs in, you might say something like, and this can be included in the welcome video too, and emails too, you might say something like, “You might be thinking I can’t do this,” words to that effect, “It’s a very common feeling among new members, but please trust the process. We’re here to support you.”
This kind of language, “You may be feeling overwhelmed. Relax. We’re going to support you. We’re going to help you, and hundreds of other people have been in your shoes where you are now.”
Introduce the key teachers
Number 10 is to introduce the key teachers. Why do we want to do this? Because members want to know who they’re learning from. Who’s the cast of characters in this membership site? Maybe just one, but it maybe more. So it’s easy for us to assume that everybody knows us, but probably they don’t.
Unless they’ve been in our world for a while, we need to assume that they don’t know us. So we want to introduce ourselves. Make a connection with them. Perhaps share our background, especially if it’s a rags-to-riches type story or a transformation. “I was here, then I became over here.” That kind of thing.
Show the roadmap
Number 11 – show the roadmap. Why is this important? Because members want to know, they want to understand, what’s the trajectory here? Where am I going to be if I continue in this membership site in a few years? Where is this going to take me?
So an example, imagine you have a membership site about Photoshop techniques perhaps. You might say something like, “In your first 30 days as a member, we’re going to show you how to master the toolbar in Photoshop even if you’ve never used the software before.” Do you see how that’s laying the groundwork so that they can say, “OK. I get it. Right. Good. I know where I’m going to go the next 30 days.”
Now I recently joined a high-end gym in Utah, which is genuinely where I live. It’s a premium facility. Beautiful, very expensive, it’s definitely the nicest gym in Salt Lake City. Now, when I went through this process of joining in January, I forgot the exact date, it reminded me that I’m not as clever as I think I am because with my marketing hat on, I analyzed everything that that gym salesman had done with me throughout the process, and I wrote everything down.
I found that everything that I’ve just showed you in those 11 tips, they did. And I was like, “Woah, if only I had gone to that gym earlier, I could have saved myself nine years.” No, but these things do take time. Of course I was very much attuned to it. Most people, it’s [sound] go straight over their head because they’re not even thinking about these things.
But let me show you what they did. They gave me a tour. They showed me a welcome video. They introduced the staff members. Unexpected gift. Another gift. Quick start sessions. Another gift. Health survey. Asked if the spouse is supportive. I said I don’t have a spouse. They said, “Great.” Well not great, but great.
“Preempt the objections. Show the roadmap.”
They preempted all my objections, and they showed me the roadmap. Genius. And I thought, they’ve got a spot on. Whoever works in this marketing department, they know their stuff because none of this is accidental. It is all entirely 100% strategic because guess what, people that join January the first or whatever, a lot of them don’t stay through January second. Well some stay a bit longer but… It’s a big issue in gyms, right? Big issue.
Strategies for dealing with existing members
Alright. Part two. For existing members. Continuing our strategies now. Now that we have a member, and they’re all nice and comfortable and happy, how do we continue to serve them so that they stay?
Include a valuable service
Number 12 – include a valuable service. Members should want to keep the valuable add-ons you provide them with. So what kind of things are we talking about here?
Some examples: it could be an online software tool that’s unique, some kind of calculator. It could be web hosting that you give them. It could be a toll-free number. And by consuming this thing that you include in the membership – that is something in itself that makes them not want to leave.
Create themed months
Number 13 – create themed months. This gives members another reason to keep coming back. It keeps it fresh. Disney World in Florida, they have special events throughout the year for this very reason.
A big chunk of Disney World’s most frequent customers are the locals. People who live in Florida have the annual passes. So they have to give them a reason to keep coming back. So learn from this. One of the big ones is International Food & Wine Festival.
Anybody been to that? If you get the chance, it’s absolutely amazing. Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Another one is the Flower & Garden Festival. I mean it’s truly jaw-dropping to see what they do there. So the point is, give people reasons to keep coming back.
Be active & present
Number 14 – be active and present. Members want to be led. So be a leader or get someone else to be the leader. It’s OK if you don’t want to be the leader, but you must have a leader.
One strategy for finding leaders by the way is to go to public forums, find the people who are prolific posters, like this one here that I’ve circled – 22,0000. 22,000! For free!
Click on their username and send them a PM, a private message. They’re already doing this for free, so guess what? Don’t you think they want to come over to your paid high quality community as a free member when everybody else is paying, just for contributing to the discussion? They absolutely will and do. So leverage that resource.
Recognize & Reward
Number 15, recognize and reward. Why do we need to do this?
Because members thrive and they stay when they are recognized and rewarded. It is critical.
To emphasize this, a quote from Napoleon, that’s Bonaparte not Dynamite, he said, “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon.”
Isn’t that interesting? Think about it.
Another one here, from the founder of Tupperware.
“There is nothing new about the need for personal recognition. It’s as old as mankind.” This is fundamental. People want to be recognized and rewarded. So have a process in place.
One popular trend right now is to have digital badges. So, badges that are displayed within a membership account.
A couple of resources here for you: OpenBadges and Credly. They will enable you to do that within any membership platform. Members love it.
Provide a platform for the most engaged members
Number 16 – provide a platform for the most engaged members. Why? Because they appreciate it. They want to be treated as a leader. They want to be acknowledged by their peers. So how can we do that? Well, consider providing a platform for them to share their insights, their comments officially.
Invite them to become a guest writer, a guest contributor, a guest video maker, a guest Pinstagrammer. Consider having a panel of experts too, who can write articles. It’s a great thing. Leverage that resource. It serves both you and them.
Tease upcoming content
Number 17 – tease upcoming content. Why is this important? Well frankly, “Coming up next,” works in a membership site just as it does on TV.
That was my original background, in the world of TV, movie production. So how can you do this? Well during the month, you might send out an email with what we used to call in the trade a teaser. Here’s what’s coming up next month. People love it.
So an example, this works for any membership site, the month of chocolate. It doesn’t matter the topic of the membership site. Just put a month of chocolate in there because who doesn’t like chocolate, right? Month of chocolate. Do it.
Provide value but don’t overwhelm
Number 18, provide value but don’t overwhelm. I think James touched on this yesterday. Absolutely spot on in that observation. Think about fire. Fire can be used for cooking. It can be used to create warmth. But what happens if you have way too much of it? Poof. Devastating.
Too much of something can be a bad thing. So that applies to content. This is such a big misconception in this world is people think you need loads of content for a new membership or for a membership site. It’s absolutely not true, just a couple of pieces of new content, maybe one a week, that kind of thing.
That’s all you need because it depends on the topic and it depends on the engagement. You definitely do not need a lot because otherwise, people will feel overwhelmed, just like a big stack of magazines that they never get through, and they feel frustrated.
Number 19 – connect members. Members want to feel a sense of belonging. We touched on this earlier. Connecting them together makes them feel better. It makes them feel more part of the community. So look for opportunities to do that, to introduce each other within the forum. You might say, “I know that this person needs this service”. So you connect them. You say, “Hey John, speak to Phil over here. He needs what you offer.” Do that.
Host an annual live event
Number 20, host an annual live event. Events have a very high perceived value. People love them, and these in-person connections are the most valuable ones of all. This is a huge misopportunity among most membership site owners.
I think most people think that events are very difficult to put on. They can be complex when they grow, but to begin with, just keep it small. Keep it simple. A small hotel room is all that you need to get going with this.
Provide an annual credit
Number 21, our last strategy is to provide an annual credit. Now this is such a great strategy that I discovered from a friend of mine. The reason why it’s great is because a credit entices members to stay, to collect the reward at the end of the period. Let me show you an example of this.
Jerry Clock runs a membership site called Club Rhino, which is for zoo keepers. No, it’s not for zoo keepers. It’s for network marketers. I don’t know why it’s called Club Rhino, but the point is at the end of each membership year, he refunds what the person paid as a credit to use in his digital store.
So let’s say they paid $500 in the year, he says, “Here’s your credit for $500,” at the end of those 12 months. They can go into his online digital store, get any of his eBooks, video products, anything that’s delivered online, and buy that product with that credit. So it’s a tremendous value proposition if you think about it. And he encourages them to then go back into the forum and tell everybody else what they bought with their credit. How cool is that? Love that.
Alright, let’s summarize what we’ve learned today. I’ve done this by putting together my Four Lock’s Laws of Membership Site Retention.
So number one – everything is marketing and marketing is everything. You hear me say this a lot in my show. When you have a membership site, everything that you do should be considered marketing. Most people think ‘oh that’s not marketing, that’s not marketing’. Guess what? It absolutely is because it directly relates to the person’s opinion of you, and your service, and of the community. So it’s very important.
Number two – when someone joins your community, provide an outstanding, jaw-dropping, amazing experience so that they never, ever want to leave. It’s so simple, it’s so fundamental, and yet so few people do it. Wow your members.
Number three – a satisfied customer is a terrible standard for success. Instead, aim for members who become raving lunatics, no raving fans! Raving fans! Most business surveys ask the question, “Are you satisfied with your experience?” What a terrible question to ask. Terrible! Satisfied, that’s the lowest part.
That’s like going to a restaurant and saying, “Did we give you food poisoning this evening?” “No? Great! Thank you for coming.” Or “Did this food make you less hungry than when you came in?” What?!
Number four – membership is all about relationship. This is the most important. When a member knows, likes and trusts you, they are much more likely to stay. This is so, so critical. You see, it’s easy to kind of hide in a dark corner of the internet especially if you hate people. This is true.
The most successful membership site owners are the ones that build the relationships. Just like James has done. That’s why you’re here. It’s because of James. Because many of you have interacted with him directly in the community. So this stuff works. It’s often been said, “People do not care about how much you know,” can you finish it? “Until they know how much you care.” How true that is.
That’s it for me. Please feel free to reach out. Thanks very much!
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