How to Retain Members Through Content and Marketing
Whether you create online courses, run a membership site or operate any other type of subscription-based business, you’ll need to generate enticing and useful content as a bare minimum. Then, you’ll need a system to market this content to get it in front of as many of the right eyeballs (aka, your target audience) as possible.
To grow any successful subscription-based business, you must have two main ingredients:
1. A proven way to acquire customers.
2. A strategy to retain these customers.
These principles are the bread-and-butter of customer retention and growth. You can't ignore either of them if you want to build a successful company.
Harvard research has found that increasing your customer retention by just 5% can increase your profits by 25% to 95%. You need content to show your members that their cash investment is well-spent. You also need to create value with your subscription or membership offering.
To create the best subscription marketing strategies, you must start with your customer's buying journey. Build a marketing plan, familiarize yourself with your customer churn stats and develop a plan of action to increase customer retention.
Your strategy should include different stages of the customer acquisition and retention process, including:
- Lead generation
- Trial sign-ups
- Customer retention
Harvard research has found that increasing your customer retention by just 5% can increase your profits by 25% to 95%.
Content is King
Unique content is essential for every phase of the customer’s journey. Creating the right targeted content is a major part of membership site marketing. You’ll use it to find new customers while also creating value for existing members.
Here are some ways to retain members using content:
1. Send attention-grabbing onboarding emails
A lot of attention to detail must be put into deciding how to onboard customers to reduce churn.
The SaaS metric company, Preact, has found that 23% of user churn is due to bad onboarding. It’s important to send onboarding emails early and make them interesting. No one wants to read boring emails with only blocks of text. So, incorporate images, animations and links, maybe even offer a discount.
Your welcome email sets the tone for the type of relationship you will establish with your members. You can use your customer data to personalize onboarding emails. For example, send an email when a member:
- Hasn't logged in for a certain amount of time.
- Has reached a specific feature and logged off.
- Has started a task but hasn’t finished it. They could be unsure how to continue. An email sent at that point can help them through the process.
2. Use customer intelligence in a smart way
Your membership content creation should be driven by the information you already have. If you make good use of your data, you'll be in a good position to know exactly what your current users want.
Although data is a treasure trove for membership and subscription-based businesses, a study by MIT Technology Review says that only 0.5% of data collected will be used by a business. Why collect all this data if you’re not going to use it? If you take a more focused approach to using your data correctly, you’ll be well ahead of most of your competitors.
When creating content for members, focus on content that provides an “aha” moment — a wow factor. You can use customer analytic tools in your email or site platform to create segments and analyze data on member behavior. Keep the information you find at the center of your retention efforts to reduce membership churn.
Customer intelligence data can boost member satisfaction on your site. It helps customers feel supported. They will assume you have mind-reading capabilities because you’re giving them exactly what they want before they even ask for it. An example of this is Trello. They sent an email based on their “Never Miss a Deadline” blog showing how to set custom due date reminders. Trello capitalized on the fact that the due date function is one of the most popular features.
Email subscribers got a recap of the due date feature and how to customize reminders for it. Trello also included summaries of other new features in the same email.
The email provides value to existing Trello customers while also boosting a well-known and loved feature.
When creating content for members, focus on content that provides an “aha” moment — a wow factor.
3. Create a help and resource center
Zendesk conducted a study and found that 67% of people would rather use a self-service help center than speak to a customer service rep. A decent help and resource center will help retain your members, as it will increase satisfaction and cut down the time that they have to spend talking to agents.
To start a help center, you need to make good use of collected data to find out the most frequently asked questions. You can also include information about under-utilized features and services. Provide content on how these overlooked services will help your members. Who knows, maybe one of these undiscovered features will be the next star of your service?
It’s also a good idea to keep a calendar that shows the frequency and type of any updates to your help center. In this way, members will be able to plan around them.
Your help center can include a “how to” guide or feature that asks members what they would like to see included in your membership site or subscription service.
4. Make use of webinars
Webinars are famous for their usefulness in acquiring customers. Most subscription- and membership-based businesses use this type of content to bring in customers and generate leads.
But webinars can be neglected when it comes to retaining members. When using webinars to retain members, you should provide information on how customers can get the most from their subscription or membership. You can even create a webinar that shows how to successfully navigate the site contents. This will help members gain the maximum benefit from each section.
One company that uses webinars to secure leads and retain customers is Hubspot. On their free webinar page, they’ve uploaded a ton of webinars for potential and existing customers to view on-demand.
The landing page contains a summary of each webinar to encourage people to watch. Hubspot's strategy is a great one. In fact, a recent study has found that 73% of professionals would prefer to watch on-demand videos rather than take the time out of their day to watch live videos.
When using webinars to retain members, ensure that this type of content is available on-demand so that members can view it at their convenience.
How to Market to Retain Customers
Now that we've shown you some ways to retain members with content, here are ways to use marketing to grow your recurring revenue:
1. Be available on different types of social media
Today, just having a telephone number on your site isn’t good enough to retain customers. Because so many people now have smartphones, you need to ensure that your subscription- and membership-based business is visible across different types of social media, especially those most frequently used by your members.
Your members should be able to contact you via social media. You can also provide a specialized email or live chat for them to contact you about any issues they’re facing.
Make sure to use various types of content on different platforms. Bombarding your members with only promotional content is a turnoff. Give genuinely useful tips and create shareable content. Have a member of your team manage your social media account to respond to any queries or comments.
2. Give your existing customers discounts
Marketing to get new members or subscribers normally means offering a discount or special promotion. However, when you offer these incentives, remember to show some love to the customers who have been loyal to you.
When marketing membership sites, use discounts to demonstrate that you still appreciate your current members, not just new ones. Instead of paying monthly, you can offer a discount for the renewal of service or for purchasing multiple months at once. These kinds of touches can make all the difference if a customer is thinking about cancelling their subscription.
3. Make it easy for your customers to give feedback
A good marketing strategy for subscription or membership sites focuses on allowing customers to have their say in how you update your products or services.
This is invaluable because you’ll get information on how to improve your products or services straight from the horse’s mouth.
Your customers use your products or services every day. So, they’re the most qualified to provide you with valuable information about what you’re doing well and what you could improve.
You can use a feedback form on your website or add a link to a survey hosted on a platform, like Survey Monkey. To encourage customers to leave feedback, give them a reward. This could be a free gift or maybe a free month of the next level of membership on your site.
4. Start a referral program
Did you know that people are four times more likely to buy something when it's recommended by a friend? Including a referral program in your membership or subscription marketing is a great way to take advantage of this fact. Using a referral program can help you keep your existing customers by giving them a discount, while also getting new customers.
If you're still on the fence about whether to start a referral program, think about the fact that 74% of consumers say that word of mouth is a major driving factor in their purchasing decisions.
Referral programs can be used for different types of subscription-based businesses. For example, beauty box business, Birchbox, has a great one. They ask current members to refer a friend and the subscriber will receive their next box free of charge.
Just as with any other membership content, your marketing strategy must make sure that people are aware of your latest initiatives. Here are a few ideas to promote and market your referral program:
- Include it in your welcome emails. When a new member has been successfully onboarded, you can send an email about your referral program. It should be linked to a landing page, such as Gravy’s, where members will find more information.
- Use social media. You can start a social media marketing campaign to ask your members to share photos or a specific type of post with a hashtag. Use tracking software to ensure that your members are entered fairly.
Now that you have some information on how to retain your customers with content and marketing, you can prevent voluntary customer churn.
People are four times more likely to buy something when it's recommended by a friend.
If you have a solid marketing strategy and your customers are happy, don't let that hard work go to waste. Address any issues, like failed credit card payments, quickly so they don’t affect your recurring revenues.
Partner with Gravy to get the benefit of a team of customer retention experts and specialists on your side. We help recover failed credit card payments so they don’t affect your business as you build your content and marketing strategies.
You take care of the marketing, while we make sure that your customers continue to access the services they deserve. In doing so, you get the recurring revenue that’s due as you continue to provide a high-quality service.
Book a call with us today to find out how Gravy can help you keep more of your hard-won customers.