Members can join because it is cheaper to be a member or members can join because it is better to be a member. I would rather have members join because it is better to be a member. Apple enthusiasts don’t willingly pay double the cost of a computer for a Macbook Air so they can say they made the thrifty computer buying decision. That purchase is not about price at all. That purchase is about something else entirely. These Mac customers love their computers, their phones and their iPads and they will buy Apple again and again. They value the experience they have with their Apple products and with Apple and the apple community. Affiliating with the Apple brand says something about them. Compare this to the folks that bought a Dell or Lenovo who are buying on price so the next time they buy a computer they will look for the features they want and buy whatever brand has the cheapest price.
Is membership at your organization a transaction?
Are your members buying membership because it’s cheaper to do so? Are they doing the math to figure out the break-even between visits and membership? Or how much less the conference registration fee will be with membership? If this is the appeal you’re making to your members, buy membership because it costs less, you are in the race to the bottom.
The problem with the race to the bottom
Your offering becomes much more commodity like. It’s easy for a competitors to take part of your cheese. For members membership is easy to ignore. Membership is easy to give up. Membership is easily transferrable. Because membership becomes just about cost. When membership is better than not having membership the cost element becomes less important, perhaps just one of many reasons to join.
Move members toward an experience
What do you want members to feel when they are members? How does membership make them feel special? Are they VIP’s? Think about how Disney hosts great costumed kids with a “hello princess!” Will your members get access to valuable information and learning that non-members can’t get and can’t find anywhere else? Only Netflix members can watch Orange is the New Black. Are your members part of an elite club? Ever noticed how classic-style motorcycle drivers acknowledge each other?
Think first about the type of experience you are trying to create. Then determine what tactics will create that experience. Your list of benefits will not move your members. The right experience will.
- Not just a member benefit but an experience
- Attract members and take them on an adventure
- Why it’s not enough to know why members join