The Making of a Member
‘Just give us your money.'
It might sound blunt but this, in reality, is how a lot of companies sees customers - a cash machine ploughing bucks into their increasingly fattening cow. But people are paying subscriptions for your service/information.
You don't have customers, you have members. They are two completely different animals. Membership opens the door to more effective communication, and the key to building a fruitful following lies in how you reach out and touch each member, so to speak.
Customer Vs. Member
Essentially, a customer will use your service or buy your product, but a member buys into much more than that. They keep coming back because they love what you do and feel at home within your world. They'll be attracted by your presentation and intrigued by the added benefits that membership promises to offer. Thus, it's important that you make signing-up a worthwhile process, with perks and incentives that really enhance the user's experience. Capture and convert The most obvious way to woo potential clients is to provide exclusive content when they join the inner sanctum. Think about what sets you apart from the competition: What's different about you? What can you offer? Why are you better?
Many methods can be employed to help capture your audience; perhaps you can produce expert blogs, arrange personalized tutorials, or run active forums?
Depending upon your business model, you could also offer discounts and rewards to loyal followers. Think of all the bonus schemes that retailers use to draw in the crowds. Whichever route you take, the main thing is to generate an inclusive sense of belonging to something special and unique; this is what convinces people to sign on the dotted line and pledge allegiance to your tribe.
If members are paying their dues, it's important that you stick to your side of the bargain and deliver what you promise. The most successful sites are regularly updated and maintained, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and guaranteeing people get their money's worth.
Posting a good range of both visual and written content will get people coming back for more, especially if it's fresh and frequent. You could start a newsletter with the latest goings-on, or run exclusive competitions to boost excitement and make users feel they're part of an active, thriving community. Perhaps even organise real-life events to bring your mini-community together.
It's also wise to ask subscribers what they expect from membership and encourage them to get in touch with constructive feedback. This shows that you're open to change and are striving to satisfy their needs, which, in turn, will make them feel valued.
Ultimately, if you're trustworthy and meet expectations then your audience will consider their member-only privileges to be a worthy investment.