Membership Retention Rate

How To Increase Your Membership Retention Rate

Mitch Colleran
August 26, 2021
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Converting members into your membership group is vital for long-term success for your business. At times, it can take more time to win a new member than it does to hold on to an existing one, and if you’re losing more members than you bring in, your membership group won’t be around for much longer. There are a few important rules for converting newcomers into regular members of your group. 

Aligning with Member Interests

One of the largest determining factors on whether a visitor becomes a regular member is an accessibility to their available topics. The more your community concepts align with their interest, the more they will participate in the group. If you already have trouble with participation, you can narrow the interest to a much stronger interest shared by a more specific group of people. Then, you can approach those people in the group to join the community and establish momentum. 

For example, a graphic designer would be far more likely to participate in a group that is specific to graphic designers than a group filled with painters or artists in general. 

Be exclusive when building the concept for the group you are trying to attract. Keep in mind that you will most likely be competing with larger, more established communities. By excluding a huge percentage of people, you ensure that those visiting are more likely to remain active. 

Staying Up-To-Date

If you’re like most membership group owners, you wait for visitors to stumble upon the website. Then, you throw a ton of information at them to try and convince them to remain active! This isn’t a great option. The goal here is to gain a higher conversion rate by ensuring that your interested visitors already know they will become a part of it before they sign up. You can’t pull this off if the only visitors you are getting are just passing by! You need to be more deliberate in your growth strategy. You need to reach your members before they visit your website. 

Reaching New Members

Generally, there are four ways to grow your group: direct invitations, word of mouth from existing members, outbound promotions, and search traffic. 

If you want a higher conversion rate, you need to identify discussions, activities, and topics taking place that new members might be interested in. Then, you need to endorse these discussions, activities, and events through various channels. For instance, you can invite five members a day who may have mentioned an interest in something relevant to community discussion. These can be located on social media sites such as Twitter, blogs, news stories, or any other relevant channel. You can ask them to share their thoughts on the issue and send them a link. 

Another idea is to create an ebook filled with advice from the community. You can ask members or anyone with an excellent idea to join the group to contribute! Then you can publish the ebook with links to include areas of your community to discuss the topic even further. 

You can also invite a VIP in your community’s environment via events or special interviews. You can solicit questions beforehand from members and ask some top bloggers or influencers if they have any questions for the individual, which may lead to you gaining coverage on their platforms. Your target audience has to become involved to ask questions and visit to see what the responses are.

Another option is to create a poll! You can promote your poll on a social media platform or even through your mailing list and ask members to vote.

After The Registration

The conversion process doesn’t start with the registration page, nor does it end with the registration page. The registration page can provide you with a directional idea of interest in your group rather than a genuine attempt to gather any useful data. Besides gaining the member’s email address and ensuring they use a consistent name throughout the community, what else do you require?

You need to concentrate on how many active, participating members you currently have. To do so, you need to focus on what happened after they’ve gone through the registration page.

The conversion process all comes down to optimizing the exploration. To optimize this exploration, you need to understand its major milestones.

For most communities, members must register before they can participate. Once they’ve completed the registration page, the very next page must be either the activity they have selected to participate in or an invitation to participate in a topical discussion. For example, after a member registers, they may be taken to a page that says: “Welcome to the community, we’re eager for you to begin. Perhaps you can tell us if you believe that (opinion) on (topical issue)?” 

You can also include this in the confirmation email to make things easier! 

 The idea here is that you must do absolutely everything you can to persuade the newcomers to make their first contribution within the first visit. Once they’ve contributed, they become a part of the notification cycle. They’re notified when people reply to their contributions. They are motivated to see how people will respond to their contributions and make further contributions themselves. Just make sure you continue to update the topical discussion on a weekly or bi-weekly basis! You can test various sorts of discussions to assess which has the highest conversion ratio.

While it is important to improve membership retention rates, it is equally vital to attract new members to your organization. Take a look at our membership marketing blog posts, authored by our experts, where we share the latest marketing trends.

Encouraging Contributions

A single contribution isn’t enough to sustain the community. You need to keep members active for at least three to six months! Only a high amount of contributions over a sustained period will make sure they become regular members of your online community. This is where the part was you combine social and technological processes to optimize the conversion process. 

Here’s how you can get started with technological processing.

The objective isn’t to stir up interactions, but to ensure the members feel a greater sense of community as they continue to participate. You can do this with email reminders! There are two kinds of email reminders: the first email reminder is after a member has been a member for a certain amount of time or made a certain number of posts. The second is an email reminder after a member has been absent for a certain amount of time.

For example, after a member has posted their first contribution, you may want to set up an email that explains a little more about the community they’ve joined. It can go into details about the history of the community, or even mention some of the top members, or highlight other activities the members may enjoy participating in. It should also include a link to ask questions about the community. The more members contribute, the more they get involved with the community and learn about what's going on. This shouldn’t feel overwhelming. You may start with establishing an automatic email after members have made five posts, then 20, then 50, and so forth.   

Membership certification is also a great way to reward your members when they have achieved something. You can visit our blog post to learn more about membership certification and download free templates.

Social Processes

Lastly, you can integrate various social processes to keep members further engaged for a greater period. Certain communities run an adopt-a-buddy program in which a volunteer group of members adopt a new member and slowly guide them through becoming active community members. This method works quite well, but requires the help of a large group of willing members to pull this off. That can take quite a while to nurture, but it’s worth it.

Another option is to have new members-related threads, beginner tips, questions, graduation, and awards. Come up with activities specifically made for new members. For example, you may give specific threads to new members at an early stage of the community process. You can also host beginner tips where experienced members can advise new members and direct the newcomers to said advice. 

A “new member of the month” award is another interesting option, in which other members can vote which newcomer has made a significant amount of posts to the community and have them win a small prize. Or you may have a graduation of sorts for new members who have reached a certain level of posts or been a member for a certain amount of time. Congratulate them in a news post or newsletter, or by granting them access to a unique community area and including them in a list of regular, active members.

Helping Newcomers 

Newcomers of a community can have an inherent social fear about participating in a new community! This happens to everyone since most people are afraid of being socially rejected. The fear of asking a stupid question or not receiving any response to one's posts can prevent contributing. This fear reduces the number of potential participation newcomers can make to the community and prevents them from posting anything important. They may feel they could never be accepted as members of this group.

Here are several ways you can help these new members overcome their social fears! 

  • Make sure every discussion receives a response within 24 hours: If new members see that every discussion receives a reply, they won’t have to worry about being seen as an idiot that no one responded to their discussion. It reduces the chances of fear. 
  • Ask new members to start a discussion: While this may sound obvious, asking members to create a discussion on a certain topic will really encourage them to do so. In your automated messages or the broader group, you can invite them to start a discussion from a newcomer’s perspective on a new topic. Provide them with a list of topics they can discuss, or you can ask them to reply to those existing questions. 
  • Feature active discussions: you can encourage the motivation to make a post. You can feature the most popular discussions in the most prominent spots. This acts as social proof to others and shows them how to participate and benefit from doing so. 

Wrapping Up

Maybe you’re reading this post because only a few of your members are active. In that case, it’s most likely due to your conversion strategy being limited to a welcome email and a boring greeting from the community manager! Try out these tips and let us know how your conversion rate increases! 

Need some help managing your group? Join It is free to try! 

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Mitch Colleran
Founder / CEO

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