How to Retain Members and Reduce Churn

April 19, 2022

By Taryn Hefner

Taryn runs Marketing at Join It and is a lover of all things data! You can frequently find her experimenting in the kitchen, absorbed in a book, or brushing up on her Python coding skills.

View other posts by Taryn

Whether you're running a gym, an alumni association, a nonprofit organization, or you're an online content creator, member churn is likely one thing that is top of mind for you. Gathering new members is great, but that acquisition isn't worth much if they won't stick around for the long term. How do you ensure that you can retain your members and reduce unnecessary churn? 

Provide Ongoing Value 

While this is frequently a tip for gaining subscribers in the first place, your subscribers won't want to keep a recurring subscription if you aren't offering lasting value. This could be regular invites to exclusive events, access to members' only communication (like a private Facebook group or email newsletter), or access to recorded webinars from past events. Whatever it is, it should keep renewing itself long after your customer has initially signed up. 

Be Available for Feedback (and Take It!) 

Making yourself available for feedback is essential. Reach out to customers regularly so they know they can send ideas, edits, new product recommendations, event venue considerations, or whatever other information they might be keeping to themselves. You want to create a relationship with your customers, and feedback through a dedicated review platform like Yelp or Google or your website itself is invaluable. 

And be prepared to take that advice if you think it's worth it! Many companies offer lip service and say they'll "send recommendations along for consideration," and then users hear nothing else about it. If you implement something based on user feedback, say so! Send out an email reminding folks that they can submit feedback to make your product or service better because you take it! Then, highlight a recommendation that you just implemented based on numerous emails and comments from subscribers! It's an easy way to keep users engaged and loyal. 

Reward Loyalty 

Speaking of loyalty, be sure you're rewarding loyal customers. These customers who have been with you for years obviously believe in your product or service and deserve to be recognized for it. Consider something like an anniversary or birthday email! Depending on the nature of your service and customers, you could even do a shoutout once a month to specific customers who have been with you for milestones like 2, 5, or 10 years, or even longer in the case of some industries! 

Start a Referral Program

Turning your existing customers into the coveted "brand evangelist" is a dream. While it's always an organization's job to market itself, having loyal customers market the service for an organization is even better. Offering a referral program is a great way to get that process started! You can offer a discounted product for referrals, send a kickback to the customer who referred your new user, or simply send a thank you email to the person who sent a referral your way. Appreciation and gratitude go a long way to maintaining loyalty, and a referral program is an excellent way to bake that into your processes. 

Refine Your Onboarding Process 

Do you send one welcome email and then let your subscribers languish in radio silence? Do you even send a welcome email? Maybe you send too many emails, and new users feel bombarded with new information and get overwhelmed. 

If you're seeing a lot of churn in the first month to three months of signing up, your onboarding process (or lack thereof) may be to blame. Your welcome email should come just moments after sign up and contain valuable information for keeping your newest user engaged; where to find essential things like account information, how to contact you if they need help, and where to find your organization on social media. Follow this welcome email up with another email in a few days with additional valuable resources, like some content you offer. The goal is to keep new subscribers engaged within a critical window of time for adoption. 

Have a Re-Engagement Initiative 

Maybe your customers are signing up, using resources for a while, and then dropping off. Maybe they sign up and don't use your resources at all! How do you make sure they aren't a lost cause? Re-engagement initiatives. Have a plan for when this happens because it inevitably will happen, and reach out accordingly. 

Sometimes users don't keep using a service because they have too many questions to get started independently. Send an email directing them to your most frequently visited blog posts where you answer common questions. Send them a link to your contact page to get in touch. Or better yet, have customer service reach out and see what they can do to help. 

Sometimes users will start a trial and not use it because they've lost track of time. Offer to extend their trial so they can get a good feel for the content or service that you're providing them. It also gives you a good opportunity to ask questions about what would have made the process easier for them. 

These are both examples of re-engagement initiatives that can help you capture users who might otherwise turn into another churn statistic. 

Talk Less, Listen More 

Many companies are so absorbed in making sure their messaging is correct that they're sending out enough emails, posting on social media, and having events often enough that they forget to listen to their customers! Your users are your most valuable asset in terms of prioritizing where you should place your efforts on improving your systems and processes. 

Talk to your best customers: your longtime users, your high-value package holders, the ones who keep upgrading and keep subscribing. Ask them what keeps them around. Ask them what makes your service an essential part of their day-to-day operations. Ask them what they want to see from you next! 

No matter how hard you try and reduce churn, it will still happen. Take it as an opportunity to ask the same question to your users who don't renew: why did they choose you in the first place, and why are they leaving? What could you have done differently to have made the process or product a better fit for them? Sometimes, a product just isn't suited to a particular user, and that's okay. But it's best to know that quantitatively rather than just guessing. 

Are you looking for a solution for your member management? Join It can help! We integrate with tools like MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, Zapier, and others! Sign up now for a free 14-day trial and see what we can do for you.