How To Get New Members For Your Membership Program (And Get Them To Stick)

Membership programs are an increasingly popular way to improve the image and reach of your brand, while simultaneously rewarding and encouraging existing customer loyalty. Though many variations exist, the basic idea is to collect information on customers who buy your products and services, sometimes collecting a fee for the privilege of being a member, then rewarding members with exclusive benefits.

These programs can be highly effective, but only if they’re appealing enough to attract actual members. So what steps can you take to make your membership program more attractive?

Membership program benefits members and the service provider

How to Make a Membership Program More Appealing

These strategies and ideas should help you make your membership program more attractive to your customers:

1. Offer discounts on popular items

First and foremost, make sure you offer financial benefits to being a member, like exclusive discounts on event tickets, or on your most popular items. This is one of the most straightforward, yet most effective ways to ensure your program gets attention. People love to save money, especially when it’s on products or services they were going to buy anyway. The trick is to ensure that these discounts are steep enough to be seen as significant, and attached to things that your customers truly want to buy.

2. Nail the initial pitch

Every member in your program will begin as a non-member customer who hears about the program. Accordingly, if you want a higher conversion rate, you have to make their first exposure to this program count. If you can nail the pitch, you’ll be much more likely to attract people to your program. Try to make it as short and concise as possible (since people often struggle with short attention spans), and highlight the most important benefits. You might only get a few seconds to make an impression, so lead with the most valuable details.

3. Make it easier to sign up

If your customer is interested in becoming a member, they’re going to begin the signup process. However, if that process is in any way daunting or intimidating, they might bail. It’s in your best interest to make this process easy; only collect the customer information you really need, and offer the initial membership form in multiple formats or mediums to appeal to the largest number of people.

4. Send exclusive content via email

Your members won’t always be shopping with you or taking advantage of discounts, so it’s important to periodically remind them why it pays to be a member. One easy way to do this is to create a stream of members-only content; here, you’ll send an email newsletter and/or long-form pieces of content only to your members as a value-add. You could even send new blog posts or podcasts to them ahead of the typical release.

Members-only business networking event

5. Host a members-only event

Occasionally, it pays to show your appreciation for your existing membership. A members-only event (preferably free, or at least inexpensive) will make your customers feel appreciated, and give them a chance to engage with one another, strengthening their sense of community. For example, you could have a members-only day sale at your retail establishment, or you could host a cookout or banquet to celebrate your members.

6. Encourage online engagement

Online engagement is important for several reasons. First, it gives people the sense that they’re part of a larger community. Second, it keeps your brand top of mind. Third, their engagements are viewable by people who are non-members, incentivizing them to join. Consider creating a Facebook group, or regularly conversing with your members on the platform of your choice.

7. Include surprise rewards

People love surprises. They provide a solid dose of feel-good chemicals, and are much more memorable than events we come to expect. Accordingly, surprising your members with a new reward or a free product could go a long way in cementing your reputation with them. Give it a try!

Online customer feedback

Collecting Customer Feedback

One of the most important steps you can take for the future of your membership program (and your business) is collecting feedback from the customers who are currently enrolled. Distribute surveys or ask them in person to find out what they currently like about it, what they dislike about it, and what they’d like to see in the future. Odds are, you’ll see some important patterns emerge, and from there, you’ll be able to brainstorm new ways to keep your members engaged.

Membership programs rarely work exactly the way they were initially conceived. If you’re going to be successful, you need to be willing to try out new ideas, experiment with different angles, and tinker with your strategy until you find some combination that works.