Membership retention is the key to any successful long-term recurring membership site. But figuring out why members are leaving and how you can keep serving them isn’t always easy.
In this in-depth case study, we’ll take a look at a paid monthly membership site that was enrolling new members regularly but losing 12–15% of them each month. We'll learn what ideas and strategies helped turn the site around.
Believe it or not, a 10% increase in membership retention results in a 30% increase in the value of your company.
If you have an existing membership site or you’re thinking of adding one to your business model, then keep reading to find out how to prevent churn and retain members!
Meet Nutritionist and Coach Melissa Ramos
In this membership case study, we’re looking at Melissa Ramos’ profitable membership program called Sexy Lady Balls, which stands for ovaries, in case you’re wondering!
Melissa Ramos, founder of Sexy Food Therapy, is a nutritionist with a background in Chinese medicine.
She's a health expert on CTV’s The Social, an official health writer for the Huffington Post, and a TEDx Speaker. She's affectionately known as the hormone and poop whisperer.
Yes, Melissa combines her silly sense of humor with compassion and heart because she knows firsthand how tough it can be to suffer from hormone-related health issues.
Take a Video Tour of The Sexy Lady Balls Membership Site
You’ll find the step-by-step member retention ideas and tips that Melissa implemented below, but if you want to see what it looks like inside this hormone membership site - just watch this video:
Member Retention Ideas To Reduce Churn
Monthly membership sites are a lot more work than people realize, and before implementing these member retention strategies Melissa was considering scrapping hers entirely.
Instead, she decided to dig into the numbers and see how she could support her members over a longer period of time.
Before restructuring her membership site, which is set up using AccessAlly, she was seeing between 12–15% of members churn and cancel each month.
“Previously when people signed up, they got all the content and we thought maybe just the coaching would be enough of an incentive,” shares Melissa.
After implementing some of the membership retention advice below, the new churn rate for this monthly membership is down to just 5%.
Let’s take a look at exactly what changed inside the membership site to reduce churn and increase retention.
Not tracking these metrics for your site yet? Find out how and why in our article Tracking Metrics: 11 Business Metrics for Membership Sites!
1. Provide Targeted Content With a Quiz or Questionnaire
In the first version of the membership site, all of the content was unlocked and if you didn’t know specifically what you were looking for you might not have a clear next step.
Now, when you login to the members' area, you’re taken to a questionnaire (also built with AccessAlly), where you answer a few questions to determine which specific hormone issues you need help with.
For example, if you’re pregnant or going through menopause you’ll need a totally different set of directions and accompanying content.
Once you fill out the quiz, you’re then tagged and the appropriate section of the membership website is unlocked for you.
This reduces overwhelm, and it also guides people in a much clearer path to content that needs their unique needs. Plus, you’ll also get emails that tie back into the specific issue, so you’ll never get lost or feel like the membership experience is focusing on other people.
In terms of member retention strategies, this ranks at the top because it helps personalize the experience and deliver better results, too.
2. Drip Membership Content Out Over Time
Instead of unlocking all of the content for the hormonal issue that you identified in the quiz, Melissa and her team have created content that drips out over time.
The structure for Sexy Lady Balls is to drip new content every week for nine months - with more content being added now to get to a full 12 months.
“You can imagine how much work that was to create,” shares Melissa. It’s true, this isn’t as easy as dumping all of your content behind a members area - but the numbers show that this provides a better client experience.
Having been through the membership site myself, I can vouch for the effectiveness of breaking down a big topic into smaller doable weekly steps.
If you consider that making lifestyle changes to improve your hormonal balance doesn’t happen overnight, then you can see how having ongoing renewed energy each week for months can get people the results they want.
In effect, by breaking things down into dripped content that gets released through an AccessAlly's LMS integration options, you’re providing just the right amount of information at the right time and keeping member motivation going strong.
One more thing that I thought was very smart is to offer a “reassessment” through the quiz once someone has completed their 9–12 months of lessons.
That way, it’s not the end and if there are still hormonal issues to work through (or say someone has given birth and is now in a different phase of post-natal nutrition) then the site will unlock the right next steps.
Remember, membership retention ideas can sometimes come directly from members asking "what happens next?" so make sure you're actively listening and adapting to your students' needs.
3. Remind Members About Upcoming Events
Most people offer ongoing live streams or coaching calls as part of a recurring membership site - it’s a big draw for people who want to work with you but might not be able to hire you for direct consultations.
But most membership site owners might not realize that this live call or video stream is an important touchpoint to keep members engaged.
One thing Melissa Ramos implemented to reduce churn and up member retention is to talk about what’s coming next.
At the start and end of each livestream, she will go over upcoming events, new content, contests, social media challenges, interviews, or other announcements.
That way, members are always kept in the loop and they have a reason to stick around beyond what they’re getting out of the incredible content and support.
4. Run Video View Ads to Existing Members
Another way that Melissa and her team have decided to stay top of mind for members is to run Facebook video view ads to existing members, to let them know what’s coming up.
Now you might be thinking that you don’t want to spend your ad budget on existing customers but consider that running video view ads to existing customers is much cheaper than trying to acquire a new customer in the first place.
If you consider the math, you’ll see that keeping an existing member on longer is always going to be more cost-effective than converting a cold lead into a paid customer.
What I love about what Melissa has done with her video ads, is that she focuses on nurturing her existing people by reaching them where they already are - in this case on Facebook.
As far as member retention advice goes, this is gold.
Of course, you’ll still want to send email reminders about upcoming events or group calls and keep people engaged through other mediums. If you know that people spend a good chunk of time on Facebook, then use that as a way to stay on their radar.
5. Strong Onboarding and Personal Touch
Another strategy that Melissa and her team had to improve membership retention starts at the very beginning, with a personal onboarding sequence.
Because of the nature of the work, Melissa has her membership site clients fill out a legal waiver to make it clear that she is not entering into a medical professional advisor role and that people should still consult their doctor.
From there, a member of the team sends you a personalized welcome video recorded through Bonjoro, where they say hello to you by name. In this video, you'll also be invited to join the Facebook group and really participate in a live environment.
Finally, just in case you haven't taken the onboarding assessment or quiz yet, in this personalized video you'll be given your next step. That way, no member falls through the cracks and the onboarding process is a huge part of providing a great first experience which leads to better membership retention.
Implement These Member Retention Strategies Now
Now that you’ve learned what membership retention ideas and strategies worked for Melissa, it's time to look at your own process.
You might have a different membership site model, or offer content that doesn’t lend itself the same way to quizzes or dripped content release.
By understanding the underpinning mechanisms for membership retention, you’ll be able to apply these or similar ideas to successfully reduce churn for your subscription website.
Of course, if you’re not using a membership plugin that’s flexible enough to do some of the things Melissa mentioned, then take a look at AccessAlly - it’s the #1 LMS plugin for online course creation, recurring subscriptions, membership management, and member directories. It also offers gamification, affiliate marketing management, and awesome reporting dashboards.
If you're undertaking a WordPress membership site migration, take a look at this Monkeypod Marketing case study.
At the end of the day, we all care about member retention but one thing you’ll notice that really drove Melissa and her team is her commitment to delivering results for her members.