Boosting Your Membership Retention: Getting Feedback

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If your business relies heavily on subscriptions or memberships, you face a unique set of challenges when it comes to creating sustainable success. Not only do you need to master the art of making the sale, you also need to create a customer experience that continues to deliver value. As a result, your subscriber retention rate is a huge indicator of the health of the business.

Inevitably, some of your subscribers will leave. That’s the nature of any subscription-based business. But if that retention rate really starts to slip, you’ll need to be proactive about making changes to your member communication, your value proposition, and even the specifics of your service or product.

The best place to start this process to find the reasons your members aren’t sticking around. These three tips will help you get started.

1. Understand the value that your clients are getting from your business. I’ve become famous for saying that the best way to find out what someone is thinking is to ask them. If you aren’t getting the kind of feedback you need, you probably need to change the way you’re asking for it.

This can be as simple as looking at how you’re currently interacting and communicating with your subscribers. Then, change one element about how you connect with them to see what, if anything, changes. This is a form of simple A/B testing, and it can be incredibly effective when done right.

These changes can be as simple as changing the subject lines of your emails, asking your subscribers to answer a question, or even changing the day and time you send out emails or social media blasts. Keep track of the results, and keep those changes which yield the best results.

2. If you’re an online business, try taking it offline. People who subscribe to your online content or service might appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to connect in real life. It’s a rare thing for a software-as-a-service company, an online retailer or a digital content provider to reach out individually to customers, and it can create an outstanding level of engagement.

This can be anything from a subscriber-only mastermind retreat to an advisory board. It doesn’t absolutely have to be offline, either. Many projects have seen success by creating a teleconferencing-based workshop or focus group. If these subscribers care enough about your products or services, they’ll be happy to contribute to the overall direction of the business. Use what you learn at these events to truly listen to steadily improve upon your current model.

By the way, the reverse also holds true. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business with a membership-based model — a yoga studio, a co-working space, a community supported-agriculture farm — try inviting your subscribers or members to participate in discussions on a private Facebook page or email list.

3. Be mindful of your tone. The last thing you want is to give your subscribers the impression that you’re resentful some members aren’t renewing. It’s important to be direct, and approach the problem from a position of improving the business and the member experience.

One great way to do this is by letting your subscribers give you direct feedback. If you run a fitness-oriented business, for instance, odds are that you will see spike in memberships at the start of the year, followed by a steep drop off. Sending out a message asking what your business can do to keep people on their fitness goals — and retaining their memberships — is a great, helpful way of asking for the exact feedback you’re looking for.

In the next post, I’ll cover a highly valuable form of user feedback: Former subscribers who have signed back up.