by Will Rogers
Often, followers will ask me about what ideas I have to improve their membership sites. Whether you're just starting out your membership site or a veteran, there are so many ways to be creative and engage your audience well. I can’t say exacting what might work for one audience will work for your audience.
But, in many cases, I find that folks forget some of the most tried and true ideas that can really help guide your followers through the experience you want them to have.
There are a ton of things to consider related to user-flow. Here are just a few to be sure you haven’t missed:
What path are you guiding someone through?
What feels natural?
What would you want if you were the follower?
How would you talk with your follower over coffee?
What are your goals at each stage?
What tools are working for you at each stage (ex: email automation, lead generators, and so on.)?
Clearly state what is in each membership tier you’re offering to your followers. Here are a few things to try and avoid doing:
Stay away from cute phrases and words people don’t understand.
It’s great to over-communicate. But, keep your words concise.
Try your best not to leave room for doubt or wonder related to your offer.
I see this often. People forget that followers like options. But, there are some things to be careful about at this step:
Don’t create too many options. Try two or three at most. Too many and you’ll confuse your followers.
Title each membership tier with a name that makes sense. Err on the side of descriptive rather than cute.
Create hidden memberships for VIP groups. Don’t underestimate this option.
Consider a free tier and a paid tier. This could be a great on-ramp for more followers.
Chart out what each tier gets on your site. Be clear and concise.
Creating an onboarding series is one of the biggest things folks forget. But, it can help so much. Think through the following things:
How would you welcome someone if this was an in-person vs. an online community?
Think of the conversations you would have and instructions you would give
What do people need to know right out of the gate?
What questions are your followers asking you by text, email, social, and so on?
What are the big rocks and goals you want to clarify?
When you have a lot to explain or teach new members, consider creating a new member course. We've discussed how to build an online course on this blog before. This is good for several reasons:
It’s a great way to track engagement
Awesome way to lay out just what you want them to learn
You might also consider making an onboarding course a requirement to be part of your community. Imagine how qualified the community would be if everyone knew the same things to start.
If you’re going to grow, you’ll need help. Consider shoulder tapping a few individuals who can reach out to new members to welcome them. Give them the tools they need to connect with other people. Create branded note cards for them to send a handwritten note.
Here are some ideas of where to find hosts:
Who’s been liking your posts the most?
Who comments in your community the most?
Who in your community shows a heart for teaching?
It’s vital you set up a way to continually and automatically learn from your community. Here are a few ways to get feedback and learn the needs of your followers:
Create a survey at key points along the journey
Ask members for what they need and what they are looking for
Ask members about their experience so far (30-60-90 days out?) and what could be improved
Ask leading questions that reveal insights to help you better understand their needs
Consider creating a free tier or offer a 30-day trial to get a follower’s toe in the water, digitally. Don’t make people jump too far to get what you have to offer. You’ll find it’s easier to guide people along by creating small steps to get them in the door and along the path. Guide your followers well through these experiences into a deeper membership. Pretend you’re walking with your follower from start to finish. What will they need to be successful?
Working through these nine (9) ideas will help improve your followers’ experience with your community. Now, the only question is: which idea will you start on today?!
You want to have a dynamic and multi-dimensional community that thrives. In order to do that, you need a strategy of both online and offline engagement. This guide will help you think through your approach to engaging a virtual community. Download the free eBook: How to Take Your Community Digital.
About the author: Will Rogers is the Founder and CEO of CauseMachine. Will’s career has been spent leading organizations and helping to mobilize communities to a shared vision. He has served in various leadership roles to build community engagement and movements teaching him valuable hands-on skills and experience. Will has developed business and community engagement strategies for dozens of organizations in nearly 50 countries. He and his wife have two sons and now live in Kentucky after two decades in Colorado.