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14 Membership Retention Strategies to Reduce Members Churn in 2023

Last updated: June 9, 2023

In a world where acquisition costs are getting higher and higher, keeping customers around is just as important as getting new ones. That’s why many creators pay special attention to their membership retention strategies.

When you do it right, a strategic membership retention program can have huge benefits for your brand. You’ll be able to keep more customers for longer, increasing your revenue and the lifetime value of your customers. You’ll also be able to tap into the opinions and experiences of those members, which can be invaluable when it comes to improving your brand for future customers.

Say goodbye to the revolving door of members and hello to a thriving, loyal community that drives your membership site’s success. Let’s dive in and make this year the year of member retention!

Why is Membership Retention Important?

Membership retention is crucial for the success of every membership-based business. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Retaining existing members is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, as the recurring revenue generated by loyal customers outweighs the effort and expense required to attract one-time customers. According to Harvard Business School, even a 5% increase in membership retention can bring a 25 to 95% increase in profits
  • Referral potential: Bain & Company’s research shows that a customer who has made multiple purchases is more likely to refer others. By focusing on retaining your current members, you can leverage their advocacy and turn them into brand ambassadors, leading to organic growth via word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Financial stability: Constant churn can make your membership site financially unsustainable. On average, it costs 6-7 times more to win a new member than it does to hold on to an existing one. By implementing effective membership retention strategies, you can reduce member turnover and ensure a stable revenue stream, making it easier to invest in growth initiatives.

14 Membership Retention Strategies to Increase Member Retention

Here are 14 membership retention strategies that you can try on your membership site today:

  1. Create a stellar onboarding experience
  2. Build a library of resources and engaging content
  3. Offer exclusive perks and benefits
  4. Launch membership challenges to increase member engagement
  5. Create a membership calendar for upcoming events
  6. Integrate flexibility into your membership
  7. Provide options for longer-term commitment
  8. Use the right membership platform to host your membership site
  9. Get in touch with churning members
  10. Gather data on what you’ve done right
  11. Create a limited membership level
  12. Share member success stories
  13. Celebrate renewals/acknowledge your members
  14. Be present!

membership retention strategies

1. Create a stellar onboarding experience

The first step to ensuring a high retention rate is to start by creating a memorable member onboarding experience. A simple and well-structured onboarding process is essential for new members to comprehend how your content can address their problems and effectively utilize the benefits you offer. Think about providing clear instructions on how, when, and where they can access the membership benefits that you offer. Without proper guidance, members may feel left to their own devices, leading to feelings of uncertainty and a potential for them to leave your membership and feel like it wasn’t worth their money.

One of the most important aspects of creating a spectacular onboarding experience is by creating an email drip campaign that includes a welcome email.

Immediately after a new member signs up, send a personalized welcome email or message that expresses gratitude and provides an overview of what they can expect from the membership. Make them feel valued and excited about being part of the community.

To be clear, we’re not recommending you to send emails manually to each of your new members one by one. Instead, leverage an email marketing platform to set up an automated email drip campaign. Craft a series of 4-5 personalized emails that guide new members through your membership site, highlighting important features like the resource library and upcoming events. Encourage immediate engagement by prompting them to leave comments on membership posts and join the community. Let automation do the work while you create a stellar onboarding experience.

2. Build a library of resources and engaging content

When new members join a membership site, they expect to have immediate access to relevant resources and content. Having a pre-existing library ensures that you can fulfill these expectations from the start to increase your chances of being able to retain them in the long run. It demonstrates your commitment to providing a valuable experience and helps new members feel that their investment in the membership is worthwhile.

When new members can explore a library of resources right away, they are more likely to engage with the content, participate in discussions, and contribute to the community. This engagement fosters a sense of belonging and encourages members to continue their active involvement over time.

Using platforms like Payhip will allow you to be able to create exclusive and engaging members content with various formats such as videos, text, file attachments, surveys, polls and more! Your members will also be able to engage with your content through likes and comments, encouraging more members to engage with your content.

3. Offer exclusive perks and benefits

Who doesn’t love deals? Consider sending exclusive perks like freebies, early access, and special discounts as part of your membership retention strategy. And at the same time, these perks will also help to attract new members in addition to satisfying your existing ones. That’s what we like to call a win-win.

If you’re using Payhip, you’ll be able to sell various other digital products such as digital downloads (e.g. eBooks), online courses, coaching services, as well as be able to offer specials and discounts on your products directly within the platform. This can help provide more value-add and keep everyone coming back for more.

4. Launch membership challenges to increase member engagement

membership challenges

Launching regular member challenges can really help with your long term retention strategies as well as increase the membership rate for new members. Challenges provide a focused and interactive experience for members, encouraging them to actively participate and engage with your membership site. By setting goals, completing tasks, or participating in group activities, members become more involved and motivated to take action, leading to higher engagement levels.

Membership challenges can help retain members by providing ongoing value and a sense of progression. Challenges offer new and exciting content that keeps members invested and interested in the membership site over time. When members have a reason to continually engage, they are more likely to renew their membership.

Consider challenges that are related to your brand and niche, like a drawing challenge for an art site, a 30-day meditation challenge for a wellness site, or a 7-day decluttering challenge for a home and organization site.

Here’s a bonus tip: Encourage your members to share their challenge progress on social media, as it can help you tap into their networks and attract new members who might be interested to join your membership site!

5. Create a membership calendar for upcoming events

A membership calendar serves as a centralized platform to communicate important dates to your members. It provides a clear and organized overview of what’s happening within the membership community, ensuring that members stay informed and up-to-date on upcoming events, deadlines, webinars, workshops, or any other scheduled activities.

This can help provide your members with a sense of structure and a roadmap of what to expect. It also encourages regular interaction and involvement, leading to a more vibrant and dynamic membership experience. You are more likely to be able to retain your members when they can see a variety of events and activities planned ahead, as your members can expect continued benefits from participating in the community. It keeps the membership site relevant and demonstrates a commitment to providing a robust and active community experience.

From an administrative perspective, a membership calendar helps you stay organized and streamline your planning process. It allows you to schedule and manage events in advance, coordinate resources, and allocate time and effort accordingly.

6. Integrate flexibility into your membership management

A solid membership retention idea is to keep things flexible for your customers. Offer them different options to get to the same end goal, like different payment structures and membership tiers. This shows them that you care more about their experience than the money—which is a sentiment that every customer can appreciate.

Try allowing them to pay their membership fees in multiple smaller amounts, or you can even consider extending a renewal discount to keep them around. With Payhip, you can easily provide various payment options for membership fees including one-time fees, recurring fees, payment plans, and more. You’ll also be able to easily provide discount codes with time limits.

7. Provide options for a longer-term commitment

While monthly memberships offer flexibility, they can also lead to higher churn rates. By offering longer-term options such as quarterly or annual subscriptions, you not only incentivize members to make a greater commitment but also provide them with added value. Longer-term commitments often come with benefits like discounted rates or exclusive perks, further enhancing the overall membership experience. This strategy encourages members to stay engaged for an extended period, fostering loyalty and reducing the likelihood of churn.

8. Use the right membership platform to host your membership site


Using the right membership platform is crucial for a successful membership site. It enhances user experience, facilitates content management, simplifies membership administration, ensures secure payment processing, offers scalability and customization options, and enables seamless integration with other tools. Choosing a suitable platform optimizes member satisfaction, engagement, and retention, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of your membership site.

We recommend using Payhip as the platform is completely free and it provides robust tools for you to build and grow your membership business.

Here are some notable features when creating your membership website using Payhip:

  • Generous forever free plan
  • Unlimited members and membership levels
  • Allow members to choose from various recurring intervals (weekly, monthly, annually, or lifetime) for their memberships
  • Customize content based on membership levels to provide targeted value to each member
  • Ensure a fast, secure, and seamless checkout process for easy membership purchases
  • PUtilize powerful content creation features including scheduled posts, live previews, and rich media options
  • Foster member engagement through comments and likes for interactive community participation
  • Create highly converting landing pages for your membership site with no technical headaches
  • Provide options for free trials or different first-time fees to encourage membership sign-ups
  • Enjoy a free fully-hosted domain from Payhip, or easily connect any custom domain to your Payhip account
  • Gain valuable insights by integrating Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel tracking for customer analytics

Sign up for a free account on Payhip – no payment info required, so you can take your time to explore the platform and decide if it is right for you

You can also check out our guide on how to build a membership website for a more thorough step-by-step guide.


Join over 130,000 sellers who have launched their online businesses with Payhip

9. Get in touch with churning members

Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent a member from leaving your site. That’s just the name of the game. So this member retention idea is a more proactive one: find out why members are leaving. This will give you valuable insights into how you can improve the experiences of your other members. Who knows, as an added bonus, you might be able to convince them to stick around after talking to you!

For example: if a churning member says the membership pricing is too high, maybe other members also have the same opinion but have never bothered to voice their opinions to you. If they bring up the fact that your website is too glitchy, you’ll be able to fix the glitches. If they say your products aren’t robust enough, you’ll be able to enrich and expand your offerings. There’s always room for improvement, and your customers are the #1 source to gather that info.

10. Gather data on what you’ve done right!

membership data analytics

Gathering important data about what you’ve done right on your membership site can pinpoint the specific actions, features, or content that have resonated well with your members. This helps you understand what strategies are effective in engaging and retaining members, allowing you to replicate those successes in the future. Here are some tips to gather valuable data from your existing members:

  • Keep track of member activity within your site, including content consumption, participation in discussions, and any other relevant actions. This data can help identify patterns and determine which aspects of your site are resonating with members.
  • Regularly solicit feedback from your members through surveys, polls, or feedback forms. Ask them about their experience, what they find valuable, and areas for improvement. This direct input from members can provide valuable insights into what is working and what can be enhanced.
  • Conduct A/B tests by creating variations of your site or membership offerings to compare performance. This allows you to experiment and gather data on what resonates better with your members and leads to higher engagement or conversions.

Remember, data collection should be an ongoing process. Regularly review and analyze the data you gather to make informed decisions and continually optimize your membership site for better results.

11. Increase membership recruitment activities

It is important for existing members to see that your membership site is continuously growing and acquiring new members. The presence of new members reinforces the attractiveness and value of the membership site. When existing members see others joining, it affirms their own decision to be part of the community. It serves as social proof that the membership site is relevant and desirable, strengthening their commitment and loyalty.

While it is important to retain your existing members, don’t forget to continuously strive to acquire new members for your site through various recruitment activities and marketing campaigns. Additionally, remember that using the right platform to sell memberships can make or break your membership recruitment process.

12. Share member success stories

Social proof is an important way to get the word out about the benefits of your membership site. One great form of social proof is member success stories that showcase how you helped a member accomplish a goal or improve in some way.

These can be posted in various forms, as quotes or videos on your website homepage or a “Member Success Stories” page, as downloadable content like case studies and inside eBooks, or as text and video posts on social media platforms.

13. Celebrate renewals/acknowledge your loyal members

Celebrating and acknowledging your members can be a powerful tool for helping them to feel like they’re truly a part of a community where they belong. You can do this by simply sending them a message or email telling them that you appreciate them. Or you can go a step further by offering special offers and gifts that show your appreciation. Birthdays, anniversaries, and renewals are a great time for these.

14. Be present!

membership retention ideas

One common mistake the creators make in membership retention is neglecting their site after setting it up. Members often join because of their connection with the creator, but when the creator is absent from the community, that connection fades away. By actively engaging with your members and consistently showing up for them, you will persuade them to remain part of your community.

Final Thoughts – Membership Retention Ideas to Try Today!

While implementing strategies to increase retention may require time and effort, it’s important to remember that acquiring new members is significantly costlier than retaining existing ones. Hopefully we’ve provided a good list of efficient and budget-friendly ways to enhance your member experience that you can try out today! Building a reputation for high retention rates showcases your community’s value and attracts new members who want to be part of your exceptional membership program. Improving member retention is an art form that requires time, dedication, and patience, but the result is a masterpiece. Get started on building your membership site with Payhip today!



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