Online membership sites can be a great way to create a stable stream of revenue for a business or organization. You can set up the site and populate it with content that appeals to a specific segment of people. Of course, the challenge for many membership organizations is finding ways to keep membership growing.
There are many different tactics that you can employ to increase membership sales, from running special promotions to hosting a contest to paying for ads. The key is to consider your current membership and what you want it to be. You can then use that information to develop a thoughtful strategy to increase membership sales, such as by offering discounted membership for students to add younger members.
At Inclind, we help membership organizations design and develop beautiful, effective websites. We understand the unique needs of member sites and offer a range of services designed to help you achieve these goals. Reach out today to talk to a member of our award-winning design and development team about your membership organization website.
How to Increase Membership Sales
A membership site can be a great business strategy. You can create a good or service and then charge members for access. In this way, you can often generate a substantial amount of recurring income for the same amount of work.
However, recruiting new members can be a challenge - particularly when you have already tapped into your main sources for referrals. If your membership is stagnant, these strategies can help you generate new leads and increase sales.
Offer a Free Trial for New Members
One of the challenges of running a membership organization is getting people to commit to a membership before knowing what they will get in return. A free trial period can help show people what they get for their money.
Be sure to capture payment details when someone signs up so that you can enroll them at the end of the trial period. However, you should send a reminder email before charging their cards. Members will appreciate this, and it will help to build trust.
Post a Training Video
When you run a membership organization, you want people to join because they want what you're offering, whether it be a product or service. Offering a free training video can be a great way to generate interest and sales. Ideally, you will collect emails as part of the training video to use later as a lead.
For example, if you offer online piano lessons for kids, you can offer an introductory course online. The video can be posted on your website, where parents can input their information to sample it with their kids. They might sign up on the spot because of the quality of the video - or they be enticed by later emails offering them a special discount for doing the training.
Host a Live Webinar
If you want to get people excited about your organization, one of the best ways to do so is by showing them what you have to offer. A live webinar can do just that by showing them what membership entails, giving them a sample of your content, and answering any questions they might have. At the same time, you can gather emails to follow up with potential leads.
As part of your webinar, you can offer a limited-time offer to attendees. This can help encourage people to sign up for membership and feel more urgent about doing so.
Develop an Affiliate Program
One of the best ways to increase membership sales is through word-of-mouth. If someone has personal experience with your organization and is happy with it, they can be a great ambassador. Creating an official affiliate program is a good way to incentivize your members to reach out to their contacts and invite them to join.
Affiliate programs can work in different ways. You might offer discounts or a commission for referrals. Whatever program options you choose, make sure that the incentives are worth it for your members so that they are invested in getting new members.
Run a Promotion
Let’s face it - everyone loves a deal. If your sales have been slow, one way to boost them is by offering a discount or special deal. This could be anything from a BOGO (buy one get one free) deal to an additional product to a percentage-off deal. For example, Master Class is known for its “Buy One, Get One” deal, where someone can purchase a membership andthen send a membership to someone as a gift.
Offering any kind of deal can be enticing to someone who is on the fence about joining. Once they become members, you can then keep them hooked by offering excellent value and high-quality products or services.
Offer Membership Tiers
If you want to reach a wider audience, then you may consider offering different membership tiers. For example, if you run a professional networking organization, you could offer a lower cost limited membership for students. If you offer online classes, you could give different levels of access to classes based on membership tiers.
Doing this can give potential members more options based on their budget. Once you get them signed up for a membership, you can work hard to ensure they get a lot of value - which may lead to them continuing or even upgrading their membership.
Create Demand Through Enrollment Periods
As we all learned during the COVID-19 toilet paper shortages, scarcity creates demand. If you notice that membership sales are lagging, you may be able to generate interest by creating a demand for your product or services through limited enrollment periods. When people can’t just sign up for a membership at any time, they may be more likely to view your organization as high-value and desirable.
The key here is to create periods of time where new members can enroll and have closed membership at other times of the year. This strategy also gives you the opportunity to focus on your goods and services during closed enrollment times. Of course, you run the risk of losing potential members when enrollment is closed - but you may also see an explosion in sales when you open enrollment up because you have made membership seem desirable.
Content marketing is a great way to generate interest in your brand. When done correctly, it can help with search engine optimization (SEO), attract new members, and build credibility as a brand. Ultimately, this will lead to increased membership sales.
Creating great content - such as a blog post explaining a facet of your organization’s specialty - will rank well in search results. It will also be shared by people who find value in the content. Over time, this can lead to thousands of people seeing your content and considering membership - without spending anything on advertising.
When creating a video, blog post, or another type of content, make sure that you provide clear, actionable steps that people can follow. You should also make it easy for visitors to your site to opt-in to emails and more content. By regularly sharing quality content, you can then generate more interest in membership.
Consider Running Paid Ads
Social media algorithms change frequently, which can make it hard to reach followers and break through the digital “noise.” This can make it hard to get attention organically. A paid ad strategy can help you reach even more followers, particularly if you are smart about targeting likely members.
A paid ad strategy can be run on a number of different platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Google Ads. Before you develop an ad campaign, make sure that you dive into your Google Analytics and other data to ensure that you are reaching your target audience where they are most likely to be. For example, if you want Gen Z subscribers, you will likely be wasting your money by running Facebook ads - but you might succeed on Instagram or TikTok.
Use Automated Emails to Recapture Potential Members
If you have ever gotten an email from a company reminding you about the items that you looked at on their website or not to abandon your shopping cart, then you understand the power of automated emails. You can use the same strategy for website visitors who start but do not complete the membership process.
In the email, you may consider listing the advantages of membership - and offering a promotional code for a discount. This will encourage people to complete the process and become members.
Get Rid of Coupon Codes at Checkout
Having a spot for a coupon code can actually cause you to lose out on membership sales. This may seem counterintuitive, but it makes sense to anyone who has ever abandoned their online shopping to go look for a coupon code. When you see the box for a coupon code, you think that you must be missing a deal - and if you don’t find a coupon code, you may even abandon the process entirely in frustration.
Getting rid of the coupon code box at checkout can avoid this problem. This doesn’t mean that you can’t offer discounts - instead, you should set up a separate pagethat incorporates the discount automatically. You can then use this link in emails, ads, and wherever else you want to offer a discount.
Offer Snippets of Content as a Teaser
If you want people to sign up for a membership, you must show them what you offer. You may not want to release a full video, white paper, or webinar for free. That is where a different strategy can come into play: snippets of content.
For example, you may allow visitors to your site to view the first 30 seconds or a minute of a video for free. They will then get a prompt to sign up to view the rest. The trick here is to make that snippet as compelling as possible to entice visitors to want more.
Host a Social Media Challenge
A social media challenge can greatly increase membership sales - if you do it correctly. You can do this in various ways, such as by offering giveaways and prizes related to your purpose. As part of the contest entry, you could pitch your membership - and collect emails for future marketing.
For example, if your company offers online cooking lessons, you could do a giveaway of a set of high-end pots and pans or a specialty food package. When visitors sign up for the contest, they will get your membership pitch. They could even get additional entries for sharing the challenge, which can generate even more potential leads.
Offer a Registration Bonus
One of the unique aspects of joining a membership organization is having an affiliation with something that matters to you. One way to increase membership sales is by acknowledging this reality with some type of membership or promotional gift. For example, you could offer a free branded hat or tote bag as a bonus for signing up for a membership.
Alternatively, you could offer something like special access to a course just for new members. The key here is to develop something that makes potential members feel special so they are compelled to complete their membership registration.
Enable the Live Chat Function on Your Membership Page
Your membership page should contain detailed information about the benefits of joining. However, site visitors may still have questions even if you break everything down in granular detail. Having a live chat option can help them get answers - and may help you convert visitors into members.
A live chat function is particularly useful if you notice that visitors tend to spend a fair amount of time on your membership page but aren’t moving forward with the process. It can also be a way to pitch visitors and show that you value customer service.
Build A Better Membership Site With Inclind
A membership strategy is key to retaining existing members and attracting new ones. Whether you choose to offer a free gift, create demand with limited enrollment, or employ another tactic, you should thoughtfully consider your membership goals and how you can achieve them.
Inclind works with membership organizations and other entities to help them create a website that meets their needs. We offer a full range of website design and development services, including custom integrations, accessibility, and ongoing support and maintenance. Our team has particular experience with membership sites and can advise you of different options for implementing your membership strategy.
We are always here to chat with you if you'd like to know more about our web design, development, and support services. You can fill out our online contact form or hit the live chat button to speak to one of our experts about your membership website.