There are many moving parts to managing a membership website and so often times it can be easy to make one or two mistakes… Our goal in this article is to prevent that from happening by pointing out some important elements that go into maintaining a membership website.
Membership and directory websites are a type of ecommerce that is centered around user experience and real-world value. The business model is actually much more detailed than simply recurring payments.
Here are some common mistakes to think about and how to avoid them:
1. Putting New Members Before Existing Members
Memberships typically revolve around recurring payment models and that means the members must feel that they are always receiving value from your website. While you might feel like you need to focus energy on getting new members, it’s just as important, if not more, to focus on your existing member relationships. Always keep them happy and provide them with value!
The membership websites that are successful are those that prioritize the feeling of community and keeping their existing members engaged. To be successful yourself, don’t just focus on making a sale, but try to build your website into a real community. This will improve your business’ bottom line whiling developing a full community atmosphere to keep your members happy and engaged.
2. Not Focussing on User Experience
According to Rita Moore, a marketer at UK Writings and Best Australian Writers, “People sign up for a membership to enjoy the experience and receive valuable information. If it’s a poorly designed website with sparse content or an interface that isn’t user-friendly, then that will affect your ability to retain members and get new ones.”
It’s helpful to periodically click through your website as if you were a brand new visitor. Put yourself in their shoes and assume you know nothing about your website. Does the information and messaging make sense? Is it easy to navigate? Is it aesthetically appealing? These are important questions to revisit from time to time to ensure your website is always up to date.
3. No New Content
When you have a membership website, members pay you monthly or annually expecting new content and/or ongoing services. If you don’t provide new content to your members to consume, these loyal users may look elsewhere to obtain whatever it is that they’re currently looking to your website to provide.
Most people think a lot about what they spend their money on, so you need to take their investment in your membership site seriously to avoid them cancelling their membership. Create a content strategy for your site so you can follow a simple, pre-planned schedule for you to content creation and hold yourself accountable.
4. Putting Quantity Before Quality
Even though it’s important to publish content frequently that will engage your members or provide them with leads for potential business, you shouldn’t be sacrificing quality for quantity. If you feel like you’re out of ideas or you don’t want to put the effort into providing good content and services, keep your members in mind and your content strategy at the forefront. If your content has real value it will benefit your business by keeping your members engaged.
5. Making Too Many Big Changes
There is always a new trend to add to your membership site, but if you start making too many major changes too often, you risk overwhelming your members which may lead them to become confused and frustrated. Keep your site and brand as consistent as possible. Create a standard style and establish a transparent way of doing things so you build trust and loyalty when your members see how dependable you are and always know what to expect.
It’s okay to make changes, but when you do make those changes, do so slowly and incrementally so as to not overwhelm or confuse your members.
6. Sending Too Many Emails
The last thing people want is to receive multiple emails every day from the same website. You don’t want to annoy your members with too much communication and eventually lead them to ignore your future emails or worse, cause them to cancel their membership. In particular with up-sells, keep them relevant and as reasonable and infrequent as possible.
As Andrew Tallin, a business blogger at State of Writing and Revieweal explains, “Your members are already paying you to be a part of your community so if you keep spamming them to try to get more out of them, they will start feeling like they’re not valued and you’re just milking them for more money.”
A good point to remember is that if you can consistently provide your members with the resources, information and services they need then you’re keeping them happy. But if you can exceed their expectations then they may be more willing to upgrade to a higher tier membership later on.
7. Poor Customer Service
Customer service is by far the most important aspect of virtually all businesses, and a membership website is no different. It can be difficult to give good customer service at times… retail workers know this all too well. However, not prioritizing customer service can cause you to lose members and potential clients, in addition to giving your community and business a bad reputation due to poor online reviews.
Don’t be combative with your members as that’s a sure strategy to lose them. You also want to make it as easy as possible to sign up to your website – don’t make users jump through hoops just to sign up.
Additionally, when it comes to members closing their accounts, let them know that’s an option if they wish to cancel their membership, but maybe request them to contact you instead of allowing them to close their account themself. This gives you one last opportunity to salvage their membership and retain them as a customer. And at the end of the day if you’ve done all you can do and they still want to cancel, that’s okay too. They’ll respect you for respecting their wishes and may return to your community in the future.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you’re setting up your membership site for long term success and engagement.
If you have any strategy-related questions regarding your membership community you should consider joining our private Facebook group! Over 3,000 membership website owners discuss topics just like this on a daily basis. Click HERE to join!
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