How to Retain Members and Reduce Churn

Whether you’re running a gym, an alumni association, a nonprofit organization, or you’re an online content creator, member churn is likely one thing that is top of mind for you. Gathering new members is great, but if they won’t stick around for the long term, that acquisition isn’t worth much. How do you make sure that you can retain the members you have and reduce unnecessary churn?

Provide Ongoing Value

While this is frequently a tip for gaining subscribers in the first place, your subscribers won’t want to keep a recurring subscription if you aren’t offering ongoing value. This could be regular invites to exclusive events, access to members’ only communication (like a private Facebook group or email newsletter), or access to recorded webinars that have been made in the past. Whatever it is, it should keep renewing itself long after your customer has initially signed up.

Be Available for Feedback (and Take It!)

Making yourself available for feedback is essential. Reach out to customers regularly so they know they can send ideas, edits, new product recommendations, event venue considerations, or whatever other information they might be keeping to themselves. You want to create a relationship with your customers, and feedback through a dedicated review platform like Yelp or Google or your website itself is invaluable.

And be prepared to take that advice, if you think it’s worth it! Many companies offer lip service and say they’ll “send recommendations along for consideration” and then users hear nothing else about the matter. If you implement something based on user feedback, say so! Send out an email reminding folks that they can submit feedback to make your product or service better because you take it! Then, highlight a recommendation that you just implemented based on numerous emails and comments from subscribers! It’s an easy way to keep users engaged and loyal.

Reward Loyalty

Speaking of loyalty, be sure you’re rewarding loyal customers. These customers who have been with you for years obviously believe in your product or service and deserve to be recognized for it. Consider something like an anniversary or birthday email! Depending on the nature of your service and customers, you could even do a shoutout once a month to specific customers who have been with you for milestones like 2, 5, or 10 years, or even longer in the case of some industries!

Start a Referral Program

Turning your existing customers into the coveted “brand evangelist” is a dream. While it’s always an organization’s job to market themselves, having loyal customers market the service for an organization is even better. Offering a referral program is a great way to get that process started! You can offer a discounted product for referrals, send a kickback to the customer who referred your new user, or simply send a thank you email to the person who sent a referral your way. Appreciation and gratitude go a long way to maintaining loyalty and a referral program is a good way to bake that into your processes.

Refine Your Onboarding Process

Do you send one welcome email and then your subscribers get radio silence? Do you even send a welcome email? Maybe you send too many emails, and new users feel bombarded with new information and get overwhelmed.

If you’re seeing a lot of churn in the first month to three months of signing up, your onboarding process (or lack thereof) may be to blame. Your welcome email should come just moments after sign up and should contain valuable information for keeping your newest user engaged; where to find important things like account information, how to contact you in the event they need help, and where else to find your organization on social media. Follow this welcome email up with another email in a few days with additional valuable resources, like some content you offer. The goal is to keep new subscribers engaged within a critical window of time for adoption.

Have a Re-Engagement Initiative

Maybe your customers are signing up, using resources for a little while, and then drop off. Maybe they sign up and don’t make use of your resources at all! How do you make sure they aren’t a lost cause? Re-engagement initiatives. Have a plan for when this happens, because it inevitably will happen, and reach out accordingly.

Sometimes users don’t keep using a service because they have too many questions to get started on their own. Send an email directing them to your most frequently visited blog posts where you answer common questions. Send them a link to your contact page to get in touch. Or better yet, have customer service reach out and see what they can do to help.

Sometimes users will start a trial and not use it because they’ve lost track of time. Offer to extend their trial so they can get a good feel for the content or service that you’re providing them. It also gives you a good opportunity to ask questions about what would have made the process easier for them.

These are both examples of re-engagement initiatives that can help you capture users who might otherwise just turn into another churn statistic.

Talk Less, Listen More

Many companies are so absorbed in making sure their messaging is right, that they’re sending out enough emails, posting on social media enough, having events often enough, that they forget to listen to their customers. Your users are your most valuable asset in terms of prioritizing where you should place your efforts on improving your systems and processes.

Talk to your best customers. Your longtime users, your high-value package holders, the ones who keep upgrading and keep subscribing. Ask them what keeps them around. Ask them what makes your service an essential part of their day-to-day operations. Ask them what they want to see from you next!

No matter how hard you try and reduce churn, it will still happen. Take it as an opportunity to ask the same question to your users who don’t renew: why did they choose you in the first place, and why are they leaving? What could you have done differently to have made the process or product a better fit for them? Sometimes, a product just isn’t suited to a particular user, and that’s okay. But it’s best to know that quantitatively rather than just guessing.

Looking for a solution to your member management? Join It can help! We integrate with tools like MailChimp, SurveyMonkey, Zapier, and others! Sign up now for a free 14-day trial and see what we can do for you.

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Marketing Manager at Big fan of snacks. Like, in general.

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