Question: How do you serve the different needs of new members vs. long-term members as they will be at different stages in their journey.
If you are going to be serving members at different levels of experience (and most of us do), I believe the only way to give them a really powerful experience is by designing the experience specifically to meet the needs of the people in each level.
I think of it as tracks. You'd have a track for your newcomers to the industry and you have a track for your people who have been in the industry for a while.
You often see this track approach when you go to conferences, especially if it's a large conference. They'll split their attendees up based on their interest area or specifically what career path they’re in or something like that. Depending on which track you choose, everything that’s offered is specific to what your interest area is.
You can apply that same concept in your membership. You simply have to know what it is that your membership is going to offer to specific types of people.
If I am in your newbie track, I'll need to see things that are specific to my needs as a newcomer. If I am a veteran, I don’t want to see all the beginner stuff, I want to see things that are really going to help me advance as someone who has been in industry for a long time.
Now, if you're mixing those messages and you are trying to be a little bit of all things to all people, it weakens the message.
So that’s why I advocate for tracks.
One common exercise that you might work on is to create an avatar for each membership type. Let's say you have Nancy Newbie and Victor Veteran. As you are planning your next 6 months or your next year or whatever you’re planning period is, look at what Nancy Newbie's experience going to be. What's her membership experience going to be like with you? what is the change that she is going to want? What is it that you'll be offering to her as you go along through the period that you're planning for?
Similarly, you'll do the same thing for Victor Veteran. What is he is going to experience in his membership with you over the next year?
Keeping these tracks separate doesn't mean that you can't combine things on your website calendar or that you can't be talking about both things in your newsletter.
However, if I'm Nancy Newbie, I want to see that you understand that I am a newcomer and that I need things that are suited to a newcomer. So, to the extent that you can segment messages to me and invite me just to the things to make sense for me and do follow-up after events in the way that make sense for me. I am going to have a more powerful experience with you.
The same thing applies for Victor.
One silly sounding thing I heard from a copywriter one time was that when she writes for an audience, she literally prints out a picture and has it posted and she writes to that person. If she's writing an email, she is writing to Nancy Newbie or she’s writing to Victor Veteran. The picture makes the person real.
So you can just go to Google and find an image of someone who you think looks like a perfect Nancy Newbie or a Victor Veteran and post it on the wall by your desk and when you are planning. Does this work for Nancy? Does this work for Victor? How should I talk about it to Nancy? How should I talk about it to Victor? Has Victor got enough value?
It might seem kind of silly but she swore by it. She said it made her writing more personal and stronger. She felt like there was more of an emotional impact because your writing to someone specific.