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10 Strategies for Increasing Membership Sales

Online membership sales can be a great way to generate recurring revenue for your business. The best membership websites offer exclusive content, live events, and community forums that are not available anywhere else – but how do you get people to buy?

In this post, you’ll find the best strategies for increasing membership sales for business owners and online course creators. In it, we cover how to create your membership sales and marketing plan, ways to incentivize more registrations, and more!

Where to start with your membership recruitment strategy?

Getting started with your membership recruitment strategy requires two critical questions to be addressed:

  • What does your current member base look like?
  • What are your future membership goals for your online community?

A key aspect to answer these questions is that you need to understand your target audience and the overall member experience that you are offering them since day one (Yes, even in the recruitment stage!).

The Best Marketing Strategies for Membership Site Owners

Despite your best efforts no matter how successful you have been with your sales process, you’ve likely found yourself asking, “How do I get more membership sales?”.

These 10 strategies are sure-fire ways to take your leads from prospect to member. It’s all a matter of reaching your target audience and marketing to them in a way that is authentic, provides value nd generates positive experiences for them.

Keep reading for more information about the best strategies to increase membership sales!

1. Offer a Free Trial for Potential Members

Offering a free trial membership for the first 30 days can be a great way to start building your membership community and get people comfortable with what they’ll find on your site or within your course.

You’ll want to ensure your onboarding experience helps your new members get acclimated to your membership experience quickly. Your goal is to provide the best experience possible so they achieve some big wins in those first 30 days of their membership.

Overdelivering on your membership benefits early on is a great tactic to ensure members stay engaged and active in your membership beyond their trial.

Be sure to capture the member’s payment details at the time of their trial enrollment so their membership will automatically renew once the trial offer expires, without using lengthy forms to get that information.

While the trial is free and the member won’t be charged yet, you’ll want to be sure you send a renewal reminder before the renewal date. This helps build trust between your business and the member. Sending a simple reminder is a nice gesture to ensure the member is prepared for and aware of the upcoming credit card charge.

2. Increase Sales with a Video Training Series

Give your members a taste of the value they will receive as part of your membership site experience by delivering high-value content through a limited-time free video training series.

This pre-launch strategy is a great way to build interest in your business as you approach the enrollment period for your membership. While this product launch formula style launch strategy is most ideal for membership website owners who only open enrollment for a limited time, it can also be used if you have an evergreen enrollment period.

Your video training series is used as an automated lead magnet for memberships with an evergreen enrollment period that drips out each video over a predetermined period of time. Upon opt-in prospects will receive the first video in the series right away, and will receive the remaining videos every few days followed by a sales pitch for your membership after the last video.

3. Host a Live Webinar

When your membership is open for enrollment, hosting a live webinar is a great opportunity for you to get your leads excited about what your membership has to offer.

You can use this medium to show your future members around with a tour of your membership, give them a taste of the content you provide by offering free training that leads into the content your membership includes, and answer any questions live during the webinar.

To help your attendees make a decision during or shortly after your webinar, a good practice is to offer a limited-time bonus exclusive to webinar attendees. This will help maximize the effectiveness of your webinar sales process as well as create a sense of urgency for potential members.

4. Enable Live Chat on Your Membership Sales Page

Your sales page should communicate the benefits of your membership offers clearly, however, potential members are still going to have questions about your offer, no matter how thorough the content is on your sales page. Enabling a live chat option for visitors to get real-time answers right there on the page when they’re deciding to buy will help increase sales conversions.

This is a great strategy to test in your sales process, especially if you find users are spending an extended period of time on your sales page, but aren’t converting to new sales.

You can also use live chat as an opportunity to have live sales conversations with visitors how have been on the page for a specified period of time but haven’t clicked the checkout button.

Not only will this help increase membership sales, but it’s a great way to build trust in your potential members by showing them your customer service team is available to answer any questions they might have, now or in the future.

5. Recapture Lost Sales with an Abandoned Cart Campaign

Creating an automated email campaign for potential members who do not complete the checkout process will also help to increase your membership sales.

A great way to incentivize users who abandoned their cart is to include a discount code or voucher in the email. This is a limited-time offer only available to these potential buyers.

This will encourage people to complete the checkout process with your membership site and help increase membership sales.

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6. Create an Affiliate Program

Sales based on a referral or through word-of-mouth marketing are some of the easiest ones to make. Creating an affiliate program is a great way to get your membership offer in front of a larger audience.

Providing a monetary incentive to your affiliates as a thank you for their referral helps make this marketing strategy a win-win for all parties involved.

Your affiliates earn a commission for the referral, you boost your sales and revenue totals, and the new member knows they will be joining a great community based on the trusted recommendation they received from your affiliate.

Pro tip: be sure that your affiliate management tool integrates with your membership plugin or shopping cart so your leads and sales are properly tracked.

We know how challenging it can be to integrate all of the tools in your tech stack so we’ve built an affiliate management system right into AccessAlly. You won’t need to add a third-party tool for your referral program.

Deeper level tracking and analytics will help you understand which affiliates are driving the most conversions and bringing in high-value members, allowing you to optimize your affiliate program for even greater success.

7. Run a Promotion

If your membership program is open year-round, running a promotion from time to time to boost sales tends to work well.

Whether you decide to run a promotion because sales have been slow, you’re trying to reengage older leads and pique their interest, or your marketing strategy includes an annual promo offered exclusively once a year – everyone loves a good discount.

There’s something about the psychology of saving money or getting a good deal that encourages people to act in their own best interest.

If you have the budget for it, you can offer a free gift, or include an additional product or course access at no cost with each signup. These types of incentives often work well because they make buyers feel even better about deciding to enroll.

When you overdeliver on value, it also helps increase retention and oftentimes leads to additional sales to that customer over time for your other offerings.

8. Host a Social Media Challenge

One of the benefits of running a social media challenge is that it not only gets prospective members engaged with your brand but there tends to be a lot of buzz and excitement around online challenges. Your challenge participants will naturally want to invite their friends to join along with them creating a sense of community in your business. Each participant is a new prospect for you to market to in your business.

Your new leads will be so excited about what you have to offer that they can’t resist sharing it.

You can even incentivize participation by offering prizes and giveaways or discounts to participants throughout the challenge.

When choosing prizes and giveaways, think about what giveaways and prizes would excite your members, but are also related to your membership content. You can use these as an incentive for participation in the social media challenge.

A great marketing strategy we’ve used and seen from hundreds of entrepreneurs is hosting a celebration at the end of the challenge to recognize participants for their participation. You can also announce the winners of your giveaways and prizes and use this opportunity to pitch your membership offer.

Using a social media challenge as a lead generation tool doesn’t always have to be a live challenge. We turned our 30 Day List Building Challenge into an evergreen format after running it live a few times after creating it and continue to see a lot of success with it to this day.

9. Boost Membership Sales with a Paid Ad Strategy

Unfortunately, social media algorithms are always changing so it isn’t as easy to reach all of your social media followers through your posts. However, with a paid ad strategy, you will reach even more of your followers by specifically targeting and retargeting them with your ad campaigns.

Some of the best membership sites have a paid ad strategy in place to help boost their membership sales.

Your paid ad strategy might be comprised of social media advertising and marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or other social media platforms or you may even decide to exclusively run Google Ads based on search terms.

Whichever medium you choose, be sure to make the decision based on what you know about your target market and their online behaviors – you want to market to them where they are already spending their time and use the right communication tools for it.

10. Leverage the Power of Content Marketing

Content marketing is a cost-effective way to create and promote valuable content to your target audience. When done well, it can help you attract your ideal customers while establishing credibility for your brand and business. In turn, leading to more paying members.

The benefits of using content marketing to drive membership sales are endless. Great content will rank well in search results and be shared by visitors who find a lot of value in what you create – this opens you up to an unlimited amount of potential growth.

You’re able to promote your online course or the benefits of membership to new potential customers without spending a dime on advertising campaigns.

The key is to focus on providing a ton of value and actionable takeaways to your potential members, while also implementing a solid SEO strategy to target and reel in the right traffic for your offers.

Once visitors land on your site and begin digesting your content, make it easy for them to opt-in to receive more content and offers from you. Once you’ve captured their email address you’ve opened up a whole new way to connect with potential customers and indoctrinate them into your marketing and sales funnels.

You can also use content marketing as a way to build your reputation in the industry and position yourself as an authority. People will be more likely to become loyal members of your membership site if they trust you, think highly of you, and see that you’re constantly sharing quality information with them on a regular basis.

content optimization SEO tools for membership sales

Create your Membership Marketing Plan

Now it’s time to design your membership sales strategy.

Whether you focus on just one of the selling techniques shared in this post or a combination of the marketing strategies and tips we’ve shared here, you’ll be well on your way to increasing the number of members in your programs.

Don’t overwhelm yourself and try all of these marketing techniques at once, rather do your research on your target market to learn more about their online behaviors and test out the ones that you feel will resonate most with them.

And if your membership sales are strong and you’re looking for insights on how to maximize retention once you’ve welcomed your new members, be sure to dive into our AccessAlly case studies for additional insights and tips for improving member retention rates.

We’d love to know what tips you have – let us know what marketing tactics have worked well for you when converting prospective leads into new members in the comments below.

Nathalie Lussier

I’m a writer, technologist, and regenerative farmer. I founded AccessAlly with my husband in one frantic weekend to solve my immediate course platform issues. Over a decade later the company has grown, and our product has evolved to serve millions of learners across the globe.

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