5 ways to improve engagement on your membership website

Ida Vejzagic
May 29, 2020 5 min read

We’re all well aware of the current economic climate following the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses in all sectors are feeling the financial implications and having to adapt to new ways of working and serving their customers. For membership organisations, this has meant finding new and innovative ways to maintain engagement with their members online. 

So, how do you improve engagement on your membership website? It’s a question that we’re regularly asked, and one that we tackle head-on in every member zone project we deliver.

Naturally, there are plenty of ways you can boost user engagement whilst increasing customer retention, it just takes some outside-of-the-box thinking. Our team at GRM has put together some of the top tricks we’ve discovered over the years whilst working with leading membership organisations such as IOSH and RoSPA

Let’s take a look at a few ways in which you can improve your membership engagement online.

1.    Use gamification to entice members to return

It may seem like an odd idea to add gaming components to non-game websites, but that’s exactly what gamification is - and it’s a key driver for both membership success and retention. Typically, gamification involves adding components like points and badges, enticing people to continue returning to your member zone to complete tasks that increase their score or unlock new features.

Gamification is a great way of enticing and retaining members, however, it’s important to keep it simple and relevant to your member base. Too many components and it will fail to do what you set out to do; motivate and improve engagement with your members. Get the balance right and you’ll see plenty of benefits, including:

  • More control over the behaviour of your members and their journey through your site
  • Encouraging users to complete actions via rewards
  • Improving engagement and user enjoyment throughout your member zone
  • Keeping your members logging in over a long period of time

Take a look at Reddit for a great example of gamification. Reddit uses a trophy system to award users based on their actions on the platform. Trophies are awarded for a whole host of actions, including submitting your first comment, verifying your email address and contributing photos. Simple, yet very effective!

2.    Drive repeat visits with email marketing automation

If you’re looking to boost visits to your member zone, email marketing automation is a cost-effective, low-labour solution. Marketing automation can provide a huge boost to your membership engagement, by enabling you to trigger email sequences based on the needs and actions of your members. 

For example, you could use it to help new members who may be having difficulty navigating their way around the member zone for the first time. The last thing you want in this instance is for them to become frustrated and leave, so a simple, personalised sequence of emails packed with hints and tips could go a long way. 

In addition to new membership, you can also use automation in an attempt to win back lost members after they leave. When a member unsubscribes, you could trigger a ‘win back’ sequence of emails which will be sent to them in a couple of months when their situation may have changed and they might want to rejoin. Include a small returning discount and highlight what they’ve been missing since they left.

3.    Entice members with free upgrades

Everyone loves to feel important, and having multiple levels of membership will help your business take advantage of that. Every membership organisation should have a plan in place to entice upgrades automatically. After all, it’s easier to entice an existing paying member to upgrade, than to acquire a new member on the highest tier of membership (even more so in the current economic climate). By offering free upgrades for a limited period of time, you can regularly entice users to upgrade to the higher membership tier.

The key trick here is to make sure that members are getting access to your very best content during the trial period, that way they’ll know the value of what they’re missing once they resume their standard level of membership. If there are significant differences in price between membership tiers, you may even want to consider running an upgrade offer at the end of the trial period as an extra incentive to get members over the line. 

4.    Personalise the member zone experience

For sites across the world wide web, personalisation is important. But for a membership site, where exclusivity and a personal approach is key, creating your content for your audience becomes more vital than ever. 

Instead of creating a general experience, you need to use personalised data in your member zones to create unique spaces. From adding their name and other important information to their dashboard to recommending parts of the member zone that could be of use to them based on their interests, there are many ways you can create a personalised experience.

A great example of this is Amazon, who use past shopping data to recommend things to buy to their users. This encourages more shopping and entices people to buy items they didn’t even know they wanted. 

You can also personalise your marketing to improve its engagement. Adding names to emails and online ads can instantly boost the success of your marketing, and tailoring your marketed content to the interests of your audience can make it more relevant. 

Personalisation is important to modern-day customers. In fact, 57% are happy to share their data for more personalised experiences. 

5.    Understand and highlight your member's statistics

Use your member zone to showcase any statistics that you collect about your members. This could be anything from how many training courses they’ve attended, how many learning hours they’ve amassed, or how many orders they’ve placed in the last month. What this does is allow your members to keep track of how they’re using your services, how you’re helping them, and whether any membership upgrades would be beneficial. It’s an easy way to remind customers of why they’re using your services and - more importantly - why they should continue to do so. 

Puregym, for example, has a dashboard personal to each member that shows the time spent in their gym and how many monthly visits each individual has made. This encourages their members to log in regularly to check their monthly visits, and also encourages more use of their gyms.

In summary, although it may seem like all is lost during the Coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to push on and as businesses, that means continuing to deliver the best possible services to our customers. Self-isolation has obvious implications for the way that businesses can deliver services, with most moving as much of their strategy online as possible. For membership organisations, there has never been a more important time to adapt and improve the standard of membership delivery online.