strategy tips and tools to maintain membership programs

Maintaining a Membership Program that Engages

Congratulations! You now have a well-established membership site. So how will you protect it and make sure it will continue to flourish? What does it take to build momentum and have your program “level-up”?

It is no secret that attention spans are at an all-time low. A recent study states that humans now have an average attention span of 8 seconds – one second less than a standard goldfish.

So how do you offer a quality membership site that produces maximum engagement from your members? And perhaps most importantly, what are some of the mistakes that can be avoided?

Content Delivery

Few of us have the time and desire to invest in complicated, draining content. That doesn’t mean you should have a monotonous delivery. Quite the opposite – you should captivate your audience by using a variety of different tools and concepts. In addition to the standard written content, choose some or all from the list below to alter the distribution of your materials.

Ideas for content delivery:
  1. Tips Sheets – top 5, 7, or 10 tips that are easy to scan
  2. Program/Software Guides – easy to use step by step instructions
  3. Hardware Suggestions – your list of recommendations
  4. Live/Recorded Training Videos – get personal and get in front of them
  5. Audio Instructions – easy to listen to on the road or at the gym
  6. Quizzes/Assessments – encourage them to take action
  7. Workbooks – teach a skill with an engaging set of exercises
  8. Inside Look at Operations – show them how you do it
  9. Case Study Examples – tell them your results
  10. How-To Ideas – give them DIY options
  11. Interactive Forums – engage where they’re at
  12. Marketing Tips/Tricks – share your secrets
Mistake to Avoid:

content display and accessibilityMake sure that you test accessibility and have at least one other person that uses a different browser and device test and navigate the site and the content. There is no excuse for having technical issues when people are paying for the right to access that information. If it isn’t running smoothly, it isn’t ready to go live.

Consistency and Routine

content plan | content routine | content schedule | content strategyAs much as people like variety, there is also a comfort in knowing what to expect and having those expectations met. To keep your members engaged, there must be a constant flow of ideas, content, and interaction. In the early stages, this may be your job (or your community manager’s job), however, the goal of a membership community is to get it to a point where it can be self-sustaining. If you can get the members interacting and engaging, without prompting, then the viability and longevity of your program is vastly increased. And in reality, you’ve then grown from a program to a community!

Ideas to build consistency and routine:
  1. Create a daily theme for conversation;
  2. Host monthly new member orientations;
  3. Hold bi-monthly live Q & A sessions;
  4. Post something at least once a day, even if it is only an inspirational quote or a link to an article of interest;
  5. Share your own training material at least once/twice a week;
  6. Plan times each day to moderate and reply to comments;
  7. Have weekly pre-set office hours (and be there);
  8. Bring in Specialists/Experts for added value events;
  9. Spotlight work, comments and feedback from your membership – have a “member of the week” internal focus piece.

“Trust is built with consistency.”
-Lincoln Chafee

Mistake to Avoid:

Make sure you eliminate negativity as soon as you notice it. Letting it drag on and breed will be very harmful and stifle all momentum. There will always be those members that troll and have nothing good to add to a community. Just make sure that they are not on your site! Like Juho Tunkelo says did you ever hear anyone say: ‘Hey you gotta join this site, you should see all the hatred going on, it’s awesome!’”

Content Creation

content creation, content plan, content strategyEven with a clear and unique offer, this can often be the most challenging of the requirements. Having to come up with interesting, relevant, fresh content that hasn’t been done before. Not to mention the time to find it, research it, write about it, edit it and post it! But, of course, it absolutely needs to be done.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
-Ernest Hemingway

If you have it in your budget to outsource this task to trusted experts, then great! Having the right professionals assist you will save you hundreds of hours per year and it will be done right. If not, here are some links to some of our own planning tools and some fantastic articles that can help you with your content planning and creation.

Planning tools for content creation:
  1. Annual Blog Planner http://www.marketecs.com/blog-content-plan/
  2. Webinar Planner http://www.marketecs.com/webinar-planning/
  3. Social Media Content Planner http://www.marketecs.com/sm-content-plan/
Articles from some other reputable sources on content creation:
  1. http://www.copyblogger.com/weekly-content-plan
  2. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234238
  3. http://www.dreamgrow.com/content-writing-tools/
Mistake to Avoid:

Also, don’t fill your site with mediocre content. Your members will know the difference and may feel like you are “mailing it in”. Anthony Cassara says You don’t want to fill a site entirely with content that is just “good enough.” You want to know you are putting your best value forward. People are paying to log into your site. They deserve the best you have to offer.”

Major Takeaway: If you don’t have enough “buzz” members will lose interest and move on, quickly. Make sure your main priority is always to build on that energy.

If you need help creating a plan or executing your plan, get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss a strategy and help you implement it.

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