Are You Making These 7 Fatal Membership Mistakes?
I'm going to let you in on a little secret…
Everyone – even us – makes mistakes with their membership website.
In fact it's often from those mistakes that we learn the most important lessons about what works and what doesn't for our own particular product.
Most “membership mistakes” are harmless and go by unnoticed; but there are some whoppers that can do real damage to the potential success of your membership website – so let us save you from the biggest boo-boo's a membership site owner can make:
Rushing ahead without validating your idea
We see this happen far too often – people get carried away with the excitement of having what they feel is a great idea and end up rushing headlong into turning that idea into a reality without ever stopping to verify whether it's a diamond or a dud.
It's so important that you take the time to research and validate your idea – determine that there's a market for it, and more importantly a paying market.
By failing to do this you could be setting yourself up for a fall.
Your idea is the foundation of your membership site, make sure it's solid otherwise it won't be long before the walls will come tumbling down.
Only focusing on making sales
Membership sites represent a shift in terms of how you sell an information product.
Typically when selling a course, or an ebook, the “end goal” is getting the sale.
With a membership website, the sale is just the beginning…
Member retention is equally – if not more – important than acquisition; research shows that it costs significantly more to attract a new customer than it does to retain and existing one.
Make sure you're not focusing so much on bringing in new members through the front door that you miss the stampede of people leaving via the back exit.
Prioritizing what you want to create over what your members want and need
This is an easy trap to fall into – getting totally caught up in creating the courses and training materials that we want to create, or focusing on the things we are interested in or enjoy talking about without any consideration for whether it's actually right for our members.
Everything you do with your membership site should be in pursuit of delivering the “transformation” that your members want.
That could be filling their knowledge gaps, learning specific technical processes, reaching a goal or achieving a specific income.
Servicing that “end result” should inform the material you create, the courses you produce and the resources you provide.
Ensure that this takes priority over your own personal interests and preferences.
Not providing fresh content
Upon joining your site, a member enters into a “value exchange” with you.
They keep paying for as long as they feel you're providing them with value.
If the content you provide is static or very infrequently updated or added to, then there is a finite amount of time until your member stops receiving value from their investment in your membership site, and as a result will end up leaving.
If you want members to stick around and continue to pay then you need to provide continuous value.
Bombarding your members with upsells
There's nothing wrong with promoting other product you offer to members of your membership site.
What is wrong – however – is shoving your other products in the faces of your paying members on a constant basis.
If you put more time into trying to push your upsell products to your members than you do to delivering value through their membership, then that's a fast route to alienating your members, making them feel undervalued and ultimately losing them completely.
Becoming a stranger in your own community
When positioned as an authority in your industry, many people will join your membership site primarily for access to you.
This doesn't necessarily mean that they expect you to be at their beck and call; but they want to swim in the same pond that you do and be afforded the opportunity to engage with you more directly than they would outside of your community.
To that end, not getting involved in your own community can be a death sentence for “expert-centric” membership sites.
Your community will quickly become a ghost town.
If you're not showing up and participating in your own community, why would anyone else?
If you don't have time – find time.
Deliberately making it difficult to cancel
Nobody wants to lose members.
However we need to deal with the fact that it's just part of the member lifecycle. It will happen, for a variety of reasons. You can't take it personally!
Not every outgoing member cancels because they're unhappy or unsatisfied – but if you make it harder than it needs to be for them to cancel then you pretty much guarantee that their mood will change, ruling out the possibility that they may return in future.
Make sure you're not unnecessarily burning your bridges with members who decide to leave.
These aren't the only mistakes people make with their membership website but they're certainly amongst the worst – but the good news is that if you're making any of these mistakes it's not too late!
Hopefully this article provides either the motivation to turn things around, or at least a roadmap for new and future membership owners on what to avoid.
What mistakes have you made with your own membership site and what did you learn from them? What are your biggest bugbears as a member of someone else's membership site?
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