Membership Geeks

Building a Thriving Member Community with Melissa West

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In this episode of Behind the Membership Callie is talking with Dr. Melissa West all about her longstanding yoga membership.

Melissa has had her membership for nearly eight years now and here she shares how she went from burnout teaching in-person classes to setting up her membership with her husband Tim, how the membership has evolved over the years, and the importance of community and relationships in her long term success.

Melissa also talks about how she uses YouTube to attract new members (she has over 48,000 subscribers on her core YouTube channel), and some of the things that she does to ensure her membership community continues to thrive, including how she's built a team of committed volunteers that help her with her membership on a day-to-day basis, and a counterintuitive content strategy that she has introduced that is working really well for increasing engagement and retention.

“You definitely have to find what works for you, and not do what other people are doing. That takes, I think, a lot of courage, and it takes putting on the blinders, and staying in your own lane or if you're into yoga, just keeping your eyes on your own yoga mat and figuring out what works for you for everything because honestly, that's what's going to resonate with your own audience the most, too.”

Listen in to hear:

  • How running in person yoga classes led to burnout and Melissa starting the membership
  • Getting started with recording classes for YouTube in 2009
  • How Melissa was able to bring her husband Tim into the business and move across Canada
  • The different roles Melissa and Tim play in the business and how they are able to work together successfully
  • The challenge of learning to let go of certain members and how doing so has improved the membership
  • How the membership was run entirely through vbulletin (forum software) for the first 7 years and why they have recently undergone a big revamp and move to WordPress & IPboard
  • Making use of monthly themes and and curated content to band the community together and reduce overwhelm
  • How Melissa has grow a volunteer team of 11 from within her membership who help with the day to day running of the community
  • The different ways that Melissa constantly engages her community – without causing overwhelm
  • Why introducing small group application based advanced courses as part of the membership has aided retention
  • How Melissa manages to find time to support individual members more deeply during difficult periods
  • And much more!

Connect with Melissa:


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