How to Attract Better Members Who Will Stick Around Long Term
Attracting the right people to your membership is essential for the growth of your business.
Not all members are created equal – the best ones will consume your content, positively engage with your community and actually use what they're paying for.
These are the members who will stick around for the long term.
But how do you tailor your marketing to ensure you're attracting better members?
What do better members look like?
Before we start thinking about attracting “better members”, I should probably clarify exactly what I mean by that term.
The ideal member might look different in different memberships, but I think most of us can agree it would be ideal if we only had members who:
- Stay a member for a long time (and certainly beyond your guarantee period)
- Remain consistently active
- Participate positively
There may be some particular traits that make your perfect member, but those are universal characteristics that most of us would like to see more of.
Unfortunately, not every member looks like that.
Some hit and run (I’ve talked about them before!), some dip in and out of engaging, some cancel and re-join over and over again, and others subscribe and just do… nothing.
They pay their money every month, but don’t download anything. They don’t view any content. They don’t even log in!
To some people, that might sound great. A paid-up member who you don’t have to bother with after sign-up. But is that really what you want in your membership?
Why you want engaged, not easy, members
Pretty simply, you want members to use what they’re paying for!
You should want your members to get results and make progress. As a proud owner, you should want members to use your site and get the results they want, making progress in their journey and being a part of their transformation.
And this isn’t an ego thing – it’s for the good of your business, too. Members who are engaged and happy are going to stick around for longer and keep paying. Plus, they’re an ultra-valuable source of referrals, recommendations, and testimonials.
Silent members, on the other hand, may well come back to you and ask for a refund on the membership they’ve never used. It’s pretty tough to argue that a member who’s never even logged in doesn’t deserve a refund!
Ultimately, you want great members who value your membership. Good attracts good. It’s infectious.
The membership model is not sustainable if you’re focusing on sales at any cost. It only works if you’re generating quality sales. Getting loads of people through the door won’t cut it, because memberships cannot survive on single transactions. Memberships cannot survive on members who stick around for a month or two.
Engaged members will keep your membership alive. Easy members will kill it.
How do you attract better members?
Remember, there isn’t a silver bullet for this, but there a few things you can do to lose the lightweight members and have more heavy hitters.
The first step is to stop messing around with marketing tricks, quick fixes, countdown timers, and all of that nonsense.
Do you want somebody who only joined your membership out of a feeling of pressure because of a deadline? I can tell you now, regret is not a good retention strategy.
This means you need to re-evaluate your marketing strategy. Cheap tactics like flash sales and clickbait are going to harm your membership long-term. Attracting the right people to your membership is a process of trust and building a relationship. It’s a marathon and treating it like a sprint will only make it harder for you to get the members you really want.
As I mentioned before, you will never be profitable from a bulk of single purchases. True value and revenue generation comes from long-term members. Your marketing strategy needs to reflect that.
So, the first thing you need to do in order to attract better members is… stop trying to attract members. Or at least the wrong kind. That does sound a bit backward but remember, we’re after quality, not quantity.
Attract more members like your best ones
Think about who you want to serve and how your marketing can attract them.
My friend Chris Ducker (founder of Youpreneur, speaker, and all-round great guy) has a brilliant saying:
“Your marketing should attract the best and repel the rest.”
If you want to find better members, it’s best to start with your existing members.
- Who are your best members at the moment?
- What are their reasons for being in your membership?
- What content have they found to be most valuable?
Asking questions like this will help you work out who it is you actually want to attract. Then you can tailor your marketing towards them.
Your marketing should reflect the people you want to reach, not the membership you want people to see.
So step two, just as counter-intuitive as the first, is that you should embrace putting people off your membership.
It’s not just about personality, it’s about readiness
It’s not just about personality and temperament, it’s also about going after people at the correct stage of their journey.
What is the ideal starting point for somebody who’s going to stick with it? Do you want somebody at square one or do you want people who are well-versed in your subject area already?
The latter group are more likely to be committed to the learning experience, rather than having a general interest.
You can direct your marketing towards those people who are already into your subject area, but it’s also worth trying to work on those people a few steps back.
What information and validation would they need to be ready to join your membership and get maximum value from it?
What can you do to help someone who is interested in your subject but has yet to engage or commit to it yet?
As an example from our own membership, we spend more time telling people not to start a membership than anything else.
Lots of people who contact us are just toying with the idea of some easy passive income and a life on a beach in Bali. Once we tell them that it isn’t quite like that, their interest drops off pretty quickly.
We only want members who understand what our membership requires of them, and who are willing to put in that work.
If people join our membership only to have their bubbles burst after a week or two, they’ll leave and potentially spread bad reviews, ask for refunds, or just generally cause us a bit of a headache. Weeding out those ‘passing interest’ members saves us that hassle.
So, when looking for better quality members, the third thing to consider is where in their journey you want new members to be.
How do I make all of this happen?
Content marketing is the key.
Focus your time and energy on creating content that helps move people along their journey.
The kind of content that the great members you want are looking for.
You’ve done your research – you know who your ideal member is, where they are in their journey, and the kind of content they find most valuable.
So focus on marketing to them as a priority!
Then, think about ways you can create content that helps potential members who aren’t quite there yet move into a space where your membership will be the perfect fit.
You could create a membership level available for free that centers around getting people to a stage where they’re ready to join your paid membership.
Giving a little away for free can help progress those ‘passing interest’ prospects onto being concrete members.
Once they’ve had that push they needed, there’s a good chance that they’ll graduate to your paid membership because they’ll have made that commitment to themselves before making it to you.
Take a step back and refocus your marketing
It’s not the easiest thing to do. You might have been running certain campaigns for a while and recruiting members at a good rate, but that’s not why you’re reading this post.
If you want better members, you’re probably going to get fewer people through the door.
But they will stick around for longer and have far, far greater long-term value to you.
One quality member is worth 10 bad ones. Now it’s up to you to get those quality members on board.