The Forgotten Metrics For Membership Growth
Claudia Pilgrim Monday, October 16, 2017
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Tribe, member, customers, groupie, posse, clique.
No matter the identifier they all boil down to one commonality. Members.
Membership can come in many forms paid and unpaid; from offline gyms to organizations like churches and temples; to online Facebook™ groups or courses.
No matter the membership framework you have in place today we’re going to cover some of the forgotten metrics to leverage for membership attraction, retention, and growth.
There are 5 growth areas to focus on: (1) Decide What Growth Means To Your Business, (2) Determine Measurements of Success, (3) Review Your Customer Journey Map, (4) Membership Engagement, (5) Segmentation and (6) Retention.
#1 Decide What Growth Means To Your Business
According to Dr. Zachary First, growth in your business should be your goal but membership is your measure.
Growth in your business looks at where the greatest impact can be achieved. Depending on where you are in the maturity of your membership program the type of growth you focus on will vary. For instance, you could look at growth by:
Increase in members
Change to the quality of members coming in
Increase to your competitive market share
Bringing in more referrals
#2 Determine Measurements of Success
Based on your business goals what objectives are you going to use to quantify member success?
- Types of packages offered; do they meet your customer/member at their level?
- Type of interactions; what groups of interactions are the members taking in your community?
- Points for intervention; where are members getting stuck?
- Members engagement; segment the hyper-interactions from the non-hypers and determine the most viable way to bridge the gap
#3 Review Your Customer Journey Map
Your customer journey map contains the experiences your customer takes when being introduced to your brand and all throughout their customer relationship. The paths a customer can take in their journey can be broken into 3 major areas: initial contact, engagement and long term relationship.
Here’s a more detailed type of customer journey map from Harry Brignull where the horizontal axis (which can change depending on your growth goals) looks at the steps a customer takes over time and the vertical axis (which pretty much stays the same) looks at themes for analysis.
- Actions: the thing the user needs to do to move to the next step
- Questions: things the user needs answering before they’ll be willing to move to the next step
- Happy moments: positive, enjoyable things that improve the experience
- Pain points: frustrations and annoyances that spoil the experience
- Opportunities: design enhancements that you could implement in a new product, that address any of the problems identified.
While reviewing you customer journey map think about how people are becoming members?
Are the majority becoming members through an assumed path (e.g. Facebook™ ad → landing page → offer → customer →member) or do they deviate from the path (e.g. blog post → email list → offer →member). This will lead to identifying opportunities for nurturing and following up to retain members longer, ideally lifetime.
#4 Membership Engagement
The lifeline of any successfully members program is based on the variations of engagement with its members and between its members. Engagement is not limited to virtual discussion boards, things like frequency of meetings both virtually or for a live event, reinforces belonging and retention.
One of the growing trends of successful membership programs, is having deeper insights about members, and a strong customer life cycle, which starts prior to the onboarding process.
It also helps if you’re able to measure steps along your customer journey path. This includes but isn’t limited to talking on the phone with your members to find out what they love about the program along with what they don’t like so much, it’ll help bring insights you may not otherwise would have known.
The market has a number of membership engagement software tools to pick from and it’s best to go with the one that most aligns with your growth goals here are a few tools for consideration.
Membership Engagement Tools
iZooto Wordpress Plugin
Socious (acquired by Higher Logic)
One of the pillars of segmentation is the ability to identify the hyper from non-hyper members and bridging the gap. A method towards accomplishing this is by segmenting your email list.
Members on your list are in different points in their journey and an email blast to everyone which doesn’t necessarily address their current need will likely cause them to unsubscribe and cancel their membership.
Instead, start asking earlier on in the nurturing process, where they need the most support or have interest in, and let them decide (hint hint) what’s valuable and informative to them. This will not only help in reducing your churn rate but when implemented correctly it will also help increase retention.
Ok it’s a sad moment you have a member who wants to leave, what do you do?
At a minimum don’t just let them leave.
Find out why they are leaving or offer them a different rate for staying on as a member, put together a re-engage & retain membership plan to be ready when the time comes.
There are opportunities to retain them before they actually walk away. Use this time to improve what you are offering and don’t take offense if it wasn’t meant to be.
At last, we’ve covered the six areas for membership growth along with the strategy, tools and tactics you can use to reach your business goals, and support your member acquisition strategy. Remember - having membership metrics in place will ultimately translate into measurable growth for your business. How will you start implementing?
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