Businesses that rely on membership have the ability to double sales in a matter of months if they dedicate time and effort to learning and implementing new sales and marketing tactics.
In this article, we’ll teach you seven low-cost tactics that, when properly executed, can attract wave after wave of new customers.
Some that we’ll cover include optimizing your price, creating a value proposition, upselling current customers, and starting a referral program.
Read on to learn how to execute each to start generating more leads and revenue for your membership business.
- Optimize Your Pricing
- Highlight Your Value Proposition
- Focus On Your Marketing Efforts
- Offer a Free Trial to Potential Members
- Upsell Your Current Members
- Create a Membership Referral Program
- Improve the Efficiency of Your Processes
Optimize Your Pricing
Selecting the price that members are willing to pay for membership is important for increasing revenue and user retention.
There are numerous factors to take into account when setting your pricing, including market precedents, your offer’s value, business costs, revenue goals, and your target audience’s income level.
To figure out the right pricing, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my competitors in this market charging?
- What is the average disposable income level of my target audience?
- How much profit do I want to make from each sale?
- How much value am I creating for customers?
Finding the optimal pricing for your offer is usually an iterative process. It’s rare to identify the best price on your first try.
Instead, pick a number that covers your costs, is representative of the value you create for customers, and comes close to the prices your competitors are using.
Then conduct A/B tests to determine your price. In short, create two pricing versions, and show one to Group A and the other to Group B.
Each group should be equal in size and randomly assorted.
Track a few metrics that align with your goals—e.g., conversion rates and revenue earned.
When the test is over, implement the price that has delivered better results on those two fronts.
There are many software tools out there to help you set up and run successful A/B tests.
Neil Patel shares his favorites in his article 15 Best A/B Testing Tools, so be sure to check them out if you need some ideas.
In addition to a specific number to charge your customers, you also have to decide which pricing model to use—freemium, flat rate, per user, or some hybrid between them.
Each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Weigh the pros and cons of each model before you decide which one best meets your business’s unique needs.
Highlight Your Value Proposition
If you want to increase sales, make sure that you’re giving your leads a compelling reason to become members.
Create and promote your value proposition, a 1-3 sentence statement that explains to ideal customers why your business would be valuable to them.
There are three elements to a successful value proposition:
|A problem you solve for your customers|
|How your business solves the issue|
|The major benefits customers receive|
For example, a membership site that teaches people how to create blogs might have the following value proposition:
Scared of spending hundreds of hours writing blog posts and ending up with little to show for it? Our online blogging course teaches busy professionals how to rank articles on Google for competitive keywords and create a blog that’s earning $4,000 per month by the end of a year.
To create a compelling value proposition, pinpoint your positioning in the market, understand your target audience and their needs, and define how becoming a member is a solution to your audience’s pain points.
Once you have one, you can say it verbatim to potential customers, write it on your landing pages, and take fragments and rephrasings of it and use them in your advertisements and marketing material.
For example, Neil Patel uses the phrase “Want more traffic?” as a short representation of his software tool’s value proposition on his website’s homepage:
Source: Neil Patel
Your value proposition can be thought of as a guiding principle governing your marketing efforts.
With one, you become a lot more deliberate and effective in your sales messaging.
After interacting with your brand on multiple fronts, and repeatedly being reminded that you can help them, leads will start to consider buying from you.
Focus On Your Marketing Efforts
Membership businesses should focus on branding and being consistent in their marketing output to increase brand awareness and sell more memberships.
Below are some marketing methods to consider adding to your marketing mix:
|Content Marketing||Write valuable blog posts that answer questions your target audience is asking on Google. When done consistently, this is a great way to drive traffic to your website and build trust with your audience.|
|Social Media Marketing||Create entertaining and educational social media content and post it on social networks where your target audience is active.|
|Paid Advertising||Run online ads on Google and social media websites to drive traffic to your service or to a lead magnet.|
|Referrals||Offer rewards and discounts to incentivize current customers to get their friends and peers to subscribe to your membership business.|
When marketing a membership site, it’s vital that you come off as an expert in your space. This makes your customers trust you.
So join forums, create educational videos, give your opinion on industry trends on social media, and do your best to show people how well-versed you are in the problems and issues your target audience faces.
Offer a Free Trial to Potential Members
Offering a free trial is an opportunity to convince those who are not ready to make a commitment right away to become paying members after their free trial expires.
It gives them the ability to test drive your product or service without any risk, so consider offering one to win over those skeptical and hesitant buyers.
The Economist, for example, offers a free first month to its subscribers:
Source: The Economist
Keep in mind that, compared to the average free trial period, The Economist’s is considered long.
Most membership businesses offer free trial periods in the duration of between seven and fourteen days.
Userpilot has a great article to help you choose the right free trial length for your business.
Of course, regardless of length, you want to convince people using your free trial to become members when it ends.
To convert users from a trial membership to a paid one, offer them the best possible experience.
Provide excellent customer support, and teach them how to navigate your membership site or use your product.
Send them a welcome email that walks them through all they need to know.
A quality registration software tool will allow you to set up a trigger-based email campaign that initiates once a user registers for your free trial.
Consider including an introductory video, as Ahrefs does for people who sign up for their free trial:
A welcome or training email sequence prevents free trial users from feeling like your product isn’t valuable when really it’s just that they don’t know how to use it.
As they use your offer, send them emails reminding them that their free trial period is coming to an end.
In these emails, also convince them of the value of becoming a paying member. Before they know it, they’ll be unable to take their hands off the wheel.
Upsell Your Current Members
When it comes to increasing sales for your membership site, upselling your current customers is an effective approach that requires relatively little effort.
These people already trust your brand, enjoy your products and services, and are confident in the value of membership, so they’ll be more receptive to sales offers than cold leads.
A great time to make your upsell to a customer is when it’s time for them to renew their current membership.
In renewal reminder emails and during checkout, promote add-ons and more advanced plans to your customers.
Consider offering an upgrade at a discounted rate to sweeten the deal, as Grammarly does in their renewal email:
For best results, integrate upselling into your marketing process.
For example, you could set up an upsell email campaign in your registration software or CRM that automatically begins six months after a customer purchases a membership.
Within these emails, explain why the upgrade is valuable.
Share customer success stories showing why people opted for an upgrade, and what it did for them.
And educate your customers on the importance of the features they’re currently missing out on.
In sum, it’s important to turn that positive reputation you’ve worked so hard to build with customers into additional sales and monthly revenue.
Create a Membership Referral Program
A membership referral program is a marketing strategy where you offer your customers a reward for successfully influencing someone else to purchase from your business.
Creating an exciting referral program will motivate your existing members to recommend your membership business to others, thereby increasing sales through word-of-mouth referrals.
For it to work, the reward must be enticing. Below are some great incentives:
|Discounts||Give customers a discount storewide or for a specific product or service line.|
|Store Credit||Give them funds they can use in your store, or a number of free months using your service.|
|Raffle||Enter customers into a sweepstakes competition to win something awesome, be it concert tickets or a vacation.|
|Charity Donation||Allow customers to pick a charity from a list and promise to donate a set amount of money to the charity.|
ReferralCandy wrote an informative article on seven referral program rewards that work wonders, and one that doesn’t. Give it a read to figure out which reward is right for you.
After creating your referral program, promote it on your website, social media, and through email to increase awareness among existing members.
For example, here’s an email that Sheertex sends its customers to promote its referral program:
As long as you’re providing your customers with excellent service that they think their friends and peers would benefit from, and your reward is desirable, a referral program is a great way to increase your sales.
Improve the Efficiency of Your Processes
You should set aside time each month to review your current business processes to identify inefficiencies that may be holding your membership business back from selling more memberships.
Processes worth analyzing for bottlenecks include email marketing, customer registration, social media marketing, and others that help you attract and close new customers.
For example, one company might take a look at its email marketing process and find that one email is receiving dismal open rates because of its inadequate subject line.
They might also discover that they aren’t sending enough follow-up emails to their warm leads.
This is a common problem with many marketing sequences, for reasons you can see below:
Then, upon analysis of their registration process, they could find that their online registration form is too long, and that this length is responsible for their high form abandonment rate.
A great way to ensure that your processes are running like clockwork, and that you have access to data and reporting tools that help you spot when a gear is stuck, is to use some form of membership management software.
Regpack is one such tool.
It helps membership businesses streamline and automate processes like customer billing (via recurring billing), customer registration, and email marketing.
For example, you can create trigger-based email automations, so that leads receive personalized emails when they take a specific action:
Nudging leads toward the purchase line becomes easier when they’re always receiving relevant marketing emails at the right time.
Furthermore, with Regpack’s customized reports, membership businesses can make informed decisions about further improving their processes.
Membership businesses have a lot of methods at their disposal to increase sales and revenue, from optimizing prices through A/B testing and market research to offering a free trial to win over users who need a test drive before they’re comfortable buying.
Since each of the methods mentioned in this article require time and attention to roll out effectively, focus on successfully doing one at a time before moving on to the next.
If you attempt to do all of them at once, it’s going to be overwhelming, and it’s likely that you won’t see the results your membership site deserves.
However, with a measured approach, you will be one step closer to success.