A successful membership and subscription (M&S) community entails deep trust, loyalty, and a sense of belonging. In a membership programme, members receive ongoing access to the community’s activities and its offering. In a subscription programme, subscribers pay for the ongoing use of a product or service.
Nevertheless, both types are united by their recurring revenue models (RRM). As regular monthly or yearly income is the foundation for stability, common M&S business strategies involve controlling retention rates, identifying motivations for customer churn, and maintaining long-lasting relationships.
At Ugenie, we service the M&S industry. Therefore, we’ll be examining 3 key tips for building such a community, considering the strategies mentioned above.
Tip 1: Strongly Consider Your Pricing Strategy
To acquire new customers, increase value for existing customers, and reduce churn rates, a carefully considered pricing strategy is essential.
There are a multitude of pricing models, ranging from ‘fixed term membership’ to ‘utility pricing’. Donation systems and free trials are even possible. Smart Insights note that Geeks Life tested a “pay with what you can” approach, which proved popular. For greater complexity, one option is to tailor price levels or tiers to different customers, based on in-depth avatars. The lowest tier could comprise of the minimum level of community access. For higher tiers, additional perks, such as free event tickets, can incentivise member loyalty over a longer period.
A/B testing is one way of finding the right prices to sustain recurring revenue. To estimate two initial sets of prices, ask a sample of your target demographic on their willingness to pay (WTP) for your offering, whilst analysing five close competitors. Then, compare your member or subscriber acquisition rates from these two price sets, over two separate one-month periods, whilst pondering over other significant factors.
Suppose you’ve come to a final decision. Is it simple enough for your target member or subscriber to understand? With an overload of information or jargon, ‘decision paralysis’ or ‘the paradox of choice’ may disengage prospects. So, keep it simple!
Tip 2: Make Customer Retention Your Main Priority
There’s no denying that M&S communities are driven by strong relationships with members or subscribers. Retention keeps the revenue recurring.
Each community member has an average lifetime value (LTV). If a member perceives growth in their LTV, loyalty is likely. But where, other than through your core deliverables, is value derived from?
Tien Tzuo, the CEO of Zuora, states that customers want to experience ‘freedom’ after purchasing a product or service. For an M&S base, ‘freedom’ is synonymous with efficient customer service and two-way communication.
Regular surveys may preserve your community’s continuous improvement processes (CIP). Gathering feedback on user experience, or searching for inspiring content ideas, may help your community function better. A Google Form is a great starting point. Why not add a section for referrals too? If you truly have brand ambassadors, they’ll be plentiful. Incentivising your community to provide referrals can test loyalty as well as generate new leads, with a lower level of resources.
Onboarding processes matter. If a short, personalised welcome video were sent to each of your members, would it not demonstrate attention to detail and fantastic community spirit? Furthermore, with a strong customer support process to solve technical issues and enquiries, your churn rates may decrease.
Customer retention is the priority of any M&S business. Invest in your community like they invest in you. It takes two to make a relationship work!
Tip 3: Implement And Integrate The Right Technology Effective technology is the brickwork for a functional M&S community, be it through an app, system, or website. For resounding structure, the bricks must fit together well. In other words, your community’s technology must integrate, for a quality offering. Have you considered conducting a technology audit? Once you’re aware of your current technology position, you can anticipate future R&D investments. Cost, ease of transition, and ROI are three points to contemplate when making those decisions. It sounds obvious, but an M&S business’s recurring revenue stream would disintegrate without payments. Improving payment processes and recurring billing technologies may add a touch of convenience for your members or subscribers. Moreover, sending a renewal reminder through an automated email may demonstrate transparency.
Do you use an analytics software, and if so, how so? Standalone platforms such as Google Analytics help to an extent. For rigorous audience segmentation, an integrated analytics software may be more of an asset. Enterprise Technology Trends found that 69% of IT leaders note ‘lack of integration’ as a cause for disconnected customer experiences at their company. An ‘all-in-one’ approach reduces your burden, whilst unifying all community members.
If parts of your community are dispersed across the web, is your community as united as it could be? Integrating membership management, a CMS, messaging functions, forums, and other features, may seamlessly create a cohesive group.
Check out how one of our clients using Ugenie to host their community and our first every joint-mastermind.
The PCT Formula
As mentioned before, most M&S businesses operate on a revenue recurring model. To sustain this, the right pricing, customer relationship management, and technology integration strategies, are necessary. Let’s label this the ‘PCT Formula’. P stands for ‘price’, C for ‘customer’, and ‘T’ for technology.
We urge you to research further into PCT. If the implementation and integration of new technology is part of your plan for your M&S community, we encourage you to complete Ugenie’s free 30-day trial. Be sure to share any ideas in the comments below!