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Increase engagement for your online membership (7 tips)


Getting customers into your membership isn’t your only goal. Once they become members, you want them to view posts, leave comments, and interact with other members. So how do you increase engagement in your membership site? In this video, we’ll share seven tips to help you do just that.

Hello creators, I’m Ben Toalson from Podia where we empower creators like you to make a living doing what you love.

Members who are engaged get more value, stick around longer, and are more likely to purchase upsells or new products. Let’s dive into these seven tips that will get your members more engaged.

Tip number 1: Define who your membership is for (and who it’s not for)

Even though this tip addresses something that happens before someone joins, it can have a huge impact on engagement. One of the biggest reasons members may not be staying engaged is that your content or the community is not a good fit for them. So how do you ensure the people who join your membership will be a good match?

First, on your sales page and in your marketing, be very clear about who your membership is for. The more specific you can be, the better. For example, let’s say you run an online membership for women business owners. If you market to all women, but your content speaks more to busy moms, some of your members may feel like your content isn’t relevant to them.

Second, it’s also okay to say who your membership isn’t for. Using our example, maybe your membership is for more advanced business owners in the later stages of their business. You can say something like, “If you’re just starting out in business, this membership won’t be a great fit.” This signals to advanced business owners that your content is more likely to meet them where they are.

It may feel like you’re narrowing your membership pool, but you’re actually making it easier for the right people to find you and more likely that they’ll stay engaged once they’ve joined.

Tip number 2: Offer different membership tiers

While you can’t control every factor that affects member engagement, you can set expectations for the member experience and offer them different levels of engagement. Having multiple tiers or plans allows you to give your members options to choose from that best fit their circumstances.

Let’s look at the busy moms example. There are likely some customers in that group that don’t have enough flexibility with their time to stay engaged. They could benefit from an entry-level tier or plan that still provides value but doesn’t come with the expectation of regular interaction.

Then you could have a more interactive level with clear expectations for member engagement, so the members who do have the ability to engage know that membership tier or plan would be a good fit.

By setting clear expectations upfront and offering different options that fit your members' needs, you ensure that members can choose a level of engagement that works for them.

Tip number 3: Set the right tone with your onboarding

When a new person joins your membership, they’re often at their most enthusiastic. This is a great time to get them plugged in and set a precedent for future engagement. There are a number of different ways you can do this:

  • Create a new member checklist — give new members a list of fun tasks to complete as their first “assignment”

  • Offer a new member quiz — direct your new member to a form where they can answer questions about who they are and what they hope to get out of their membership

  • Make an introduction — connect your new member with another established member or group within your membership

  • Share an onboarding video — provide a short video that walks your new member through the different ways they can engage and get value from their new membership

Finding creative ways to get your members involved right from the beginning is a great way to encourage future engagement.

Tip number 4: Create a weekly rhythm

Just like with any kind of content marketing, the more consistent you are, the more likely people are to interact with your content, and membership content is no exception. Whether it’s membership posts, a group session, or one-on-one interaction with you, let it happen on the same day and time each week.

This makes it easier for others to fit you into their weekly schedules so they’re more likely to show up and engage. If you can create daily opportunities for engagement, that’s even better. The key here is to be consistent. It’s easier to plan for what you can predict.

Tip number 5: Gamify the membership experience

Gamify basically means to make a game out of something. For example, when it’s time to tidy the house, I have each of my kids work different zones. Once they finish their zone, they get to draw for a prize. The prizes are simple, like 5 minutes of jumping on the trampoline or playing the piano, but it’s amazing how much easier it is for them to focus.

Gamifying your membership could look like holding some kind of challenge for your members where they have to work toward a common goal. It could look like offering digital badges or “stickers” for making a certain number of connections or leaving a certain number of comments. You could have some kind of leaderboard or point system.

Even if the rewards are simple, gamifying can add an extra layer of motivation to keep your members coming back and engaging.

Tip number 6: Give your members access to you

Especially when you’re just starting out, allowing your members to interact directly with you, either one on one or in a small group setting, can be a great incentive to stay engaged. If someone found your content valuable enough to join your membership, they’d probably be really excited to get to talk to you directly.

As your membership grows, be sure to manage your availability in a way that’s sustainable. In the beginning, it might be feasible to do one-on-one calls with each member. Eventually, you may need to shift to a text-based solution, like the messaging feature we offer through Podia. Group calls might eventually need to replace one on one, or you may need to make it to where you’re only available for direct contact in your more expensive membership tiers or plans.

Being available to your members, within appropriate boundaries, can be a great way to encourage engagement.

Tip number 7: Make video content

If you don’t already provide video content with your membership, I can’t encourage you enough to start. Video increases engagement across multiple platforms and adds value to the membership experience. And, your videos don’t have to be perfectly polished. Just turn on your webcam, share your knowledge, answer questions, and post it. Your members will love it. If they’re not able to speak with you directly, seeing you on video is the next best thing.

And you don’t have to do this in place of your written content. One of the ways I make videos more efficiently is I deliver my video based on the same outline that I’ll later use for my written content. Not only does it save time, but it also gives me an opportunity to think through my content a bit more before I sit down to write.

We made this video to help you get started with making videos, even if all you have is a smartphone.

And those are our seven tips for increasing engagement in your online membership. Comment below and let us know which one of these you’re going to try out.

About the author

Ben is a video content marketer for Podia, an all-in-one platform where online courses, digital downloads, and membership websites – alongside their creators – thrive.