9 Simple Membership Marketing Tactics That’ll Get You More Members
Your membership might be the best thing since sliced bread, but if you aren’t marketing it correctly, you aren’t going to be getting the sales you deserve.
There are some simple steps you can take to get the most out of marketing, reach more people, and turn those on-the-fencers into fully-fledged members.
Here are 9 simple membership marketing tactics that'll help you get ahead:
1. Don’t keep your membership a secret
You wouldn’t do that. Nobody would, right?
It’s amazing how many businesses I’ve seen that have their membership hidden away behind pages and pages of content, with no links in the navigation bar, and just the occasional whisper about it on social media.
Those are often the people who say they can’t work out why their membership isn’t growing!
If you’re selling a membership, let people know about it and above all else – make it easy for them to access it!
Unfortunately there are some internet marketers who have popularised the notion that you absolutely cannot tell someone about your product until they've gone through some uber-complicated 24 part sales funnel.
It’s not an offence to tell people what you’re selling and often, the simple nudge to remind them that you offer a membership is all they’ll need.
And in fact – you're doing people a disservice if you don't tell people about your solution to their problems!
So link to your membership in your site menu, mention it in your content, talk about it on social media – don't be the best kept secret in your industry!
2. Don’t let new email subscribers go cold
Your email list Thank you page is one of the few places you can be sure of a visitor’s state of mind.
They’ve just pressed that magic button that says “Yes, I like this, and I want more of it.”
Don’t let that go to waste.
There are a few ways you can get the most out of their receptive mindset, from helpful lighter touch actions to fast-tracking them several steps further down your sales funnel.
Show them their next steps
Just because they’ve given you their email address, doesn’t mean they’re suddenly going to hand over their hard-earned cash.
That being said, they’ve subscribed because they think you’re either nice or interesting (maybe both) – making them the kind of person who may want to be a member in the future.
Keep that up by walking them through the things they can do next.
Say more than just: “Thanks for subscribing.”
Add: “You’ll get a confirmation email from us in a few minutes, but in the meantime, you can get straight into the discussion in our Facebook group or look at this interesting blog post.”
Just like that, you’re keeping their attention on you by helping them and providing even more value. They’re hopefully going to either stay on your website or go to another of your touchpoints.
They’ve told you they like what you do – so give them more of it!
Sweeten the deal with an exclusive offer
If you’re feeling confident (hopefully not desperate), you can use your Thank you page to move prospects further along their journey to buying.
Once they’ve joined your email list, use that high engagement to offer them a free trial, a limited time discount, a splinter product (more on those later), or some small taster of what being a full member is like.
Whichever approach you feel is right, the overarching idea is that you’ve got these people at a point where you know – 100%, zero doubt, surer than sure – that they’re interested to some degree.
The ‘Thank you' page is prime real estate for cementing your value in their mind.
3. Use your content as a window into your membership
Your social media channels, your podcast, your blog – whatever the free content is that you are producing – shouldn’t exist in a vacuum.
Your membership should be the context for why it exists.
That doesn’t mean every post and episode you produce should be shouting: “Sign up now! You need to sign up now!”
It means producing a podcast episode about a new trend in your industry that starts with: “We’ve had some great discussions about this in our members’ area over the last week and some great ideas came up. So, we wanted to share some of those discussions with you in this episode.”
Using your membership as a ‘framing device'.
This keeps your membership, your product, at the forefront of everything you are producing and putting out.
So often, all people need is the awareness that your product exists to encourage them to purchase.
If they’re consuming your content, they’re engaged and might just need reminding that you can offer them even more.
Don’t be scared to sell.
4. Develop a daily bragging ritual… for your members
Don’t worry, that made my inner-Brit recoil in horror too.
Showing off isn’t in our nature, I know, but bear with me on this.
I’m not telling you to go around telling everyone how amazing you are, but if you’re doing your job right, your members are going to be getting something out of your work.
And that’s what you need to brag about.
Every positive comment on social, every lovely thank you email, every testimonial, every success story or big win.
Make sure you are celebrating them.
Bad showing off looks like: “I did this, aren’t I great?”
Good showing off looks like: “Look at what our members are achieving, we’re so proud of them and happy for them!”
This is social proof at its finest and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more compelling sales tool than someone outside of your business expressing their gratitude for its existence.
One of the oldest tricks in the marketing book is “show, don’t tell.” This is that in action.
5. Use member-first messaging
It’s a bit of a misconception that content and messaging – especially on social media – should be targeted at newcomers and non-members.
That’s definitely a good idea, but it shouldn’t be what you’re doing 100% of the time.
Talk as if your audience is already on the inside, act with a little wilful ignorance, and you’ll pique their curiosity.
If they’re looking at your social posts, they must be a fan of yours.
And if they’re a fan of yours, well, they must be a member.
Every now and again, maybe once or twice a week (depending on your posting schedule), publish something that is written with the assumption that everyone reading is a member and knows exactly what you’re talking about.
Instead of writing a post explaining what it’s like to be a member, share a post that tells your members what they’re going to be getting this week.
Non-members are going to see the value members get – and the value they’re missing out on.
6. Take people behind the scenes
This might be the best marketing asset you have.
Memberships can be hard to sell, especially to the uninitiated.
They’re abstract, they’re not always quantifiable, they’re essentially a big box of little things.
You and your prospects aren’t going to be able to open up that box and go through every little component in one go.
It takes too much time for both of you.
If instead, you focus on sharing behind-the-scenes content at different stages of your sales funnel, you’re going to show non-members what’s inside the box and give them a true sense of the totality of your membership.
It’s one of the best ways to explain what you’re about.
Your behind-the-scenes content could be teasers of what your members get, posts that detail projects you’re working on, or even live Q&As.
Anything you can think of that shows people that:
- You’re not just a sexy sales page and a clever sales funnel – you’re actually offering something of substance.
- You’re a real person who works with other real people! Showing your human side and dropping the veneer of social media perfection will prove that you are trustworthy and authentic.
7. Tighten up your cart abandonment strategy
If you don’t have a cart abandonment strategy, there’s a little red X in the top corner of your browser that you need to click right now so you can go and research this topic!
There is no excuse not to have a cart abandonment strategy.
Not having one means you could be missing out on an unreal number of sales.
If people are moments away from clicking that buy button but they aren’t doing it, you need to put in the work to get them back.
It isn’t always you, it could be a distraction – a knock at the door, a phone call, the ping of the microwave – or a slip-up on their part, like not having their credit card to hand.
Whatever their reason for not finishing that final step, you need to get them back.
You’ll never be closer to a potential customer.
How to win cart abandoners back
- Use a platform like Active Campaign, Keap, or ConvertKit. Anything that lets you automate a chain of events. You can use these platforms to contact people who are abandoning their carts and ask if they need help, if they have questions, if anything went wrong for them.
- Use Facebook pixel for remarketing. You can set it up so that a specific set of ads are presented to people who visit your checkout page but not your confirmation page. Tailor your ads to the reasons they may have abandoned their cart – distraction, perceived risks, and uncertainty. A set of ads that remind, reassure, and restate the value of your product might be exactly what they need.
How to reduce cart abandonments
What’s better than winning back abandoned carts?
Not having them abandoned in the first place.
Here’s a couple of quick wins you can achieve to stop people abandoning their carts at your checkout:
- Take the coupon code off your checkout page. If you see a coupon field on a checkout page, you’re going to go off to Google to see if you can find a discount. 10 minutes later and you’re 5 quizzes deep on Buzzfeed, finding out which Friends character really is your spirit animal.
- Don’t hide your pricing until the checkout page. No shop does it, no ecommerce site does it, and you don’t do it. Not after reading this, at least. 9 times out of 10, people heading to your checkout page are only doing it to see what it’s going to cost them. Putting your prices on your sales page will slash your abandonment rates.
8. Reward people for skipping the trial
If you offer a trial of your membership, try bribing people to forego the trial and skip to paying straight away.
Sounds a little cut-throat, doesn’t it?
But if the only way to join your membership is through a free trial, that means a lot of people signing up are going to pay anyway.
So why are you making them wait 7 or 14 days to do so?
If you can get people through the door with a paying membership sooner, do it.
Sure, keep the option of a trial – some people are going to need it and it’ll really help them convert to members.
But give people a little extra incentive to skip it and get straight into their full membership.
Sweeten the deal a bit with a freebie, a small discount, or something else that makes joining as a full member immediately less risky and more appealing.
9. Sell splinter products for those hard-to-budge subscribers
Subscribers on your email list who haven’t become members aren’t dead ends, they’re just as valuable as other prospects.
Your job is to put together the right combination of messages to turn them into members.
If the usual plan hasn’t worked (including the previous 8 tips!) think about breaking your core offering up into a set of splinter products.
The idea is to break up parts of your membership into some very small pieces – individual courses, workshops, bundles, downloads, tutorials, ebooks, whatever fits. Package up some smaller parts of your membership and offer them as a one-time purchase.
There’s a lot to be said for simply starting that commercial relationship in any small way.
Getting somebody to pay once for something should make the second purchase easier, and the third, and the fourth, until they’re a paying member.
By offering splinter products, you’re letting those stubborn subscribers get a taste of your membership whilst positioning yourself to upsell, safe in the knowledge that they know just how good life is on the inside.
Where did these tips come from?
I know we’ve just entered the Roaring 20s, but Retain Live was one of the highlights of 2019.
Our very first conference went down a storm and we had a fantastic time, full of inspiring keynotes, practical workshops, and plenty of friends old and new.
These 9 tips came from one of our “Quick Win” sessions that Callie and I ran throughout the two days.
We used these sessions to give people practical, actionable advice quickly and clearly; sharing tips that people could take away and use to improve their membership platforms straight away.
And of course, we also recorded every session along with all the Q&A panels and keynotes – which we're making exclusively available to attendees and members of our Academy.
If you’d like to hear the rest of them, head over to the website to join the Membership Academy and unlock all the insights from Retain Live – plus you’ll get all the other exclusive content and resources we produce for our members!