Why They Don’t Join (and How to Change That) – Part 4 of 4

Mar 4, 2020

Today, I’m wrapping up our 4-part series on the topic, “Why They Don't Join.”

While I personally don’t believe this is the biggest growth problem that membership organizations face, it is probably the most popular one for people to talk about. It is undeniably frustrating to know that your organization can help, but people won’t take that one step forward to become a member.

If you’ve missed the previous topics in this series, use these links to catch up:

Week 1 – their needs are being satisfied without joining

Week 2 – they’ve gone offer-blind

Week 3 – they need something different than what you’re offering

I would be remiss if I didn’t spend one week in this series talking about the impact of subscription fatigue.

Have you noticed the massive increase in services that are available via subscription in recent years? It’s no longer just associations and trade groups wanting recurring dollars. It is entertainment channels, food delivery services, warehouse buying clubs, services that let you rent clothing and handbags, even personal care items like cosmetics and shaving razors.

I saw one study recently that said that 80+ percent of companies would be offering some type of recurring product or service by the end of 2020.  Eighty percent! That is mind-boggling.

The result of all of this is that there is more competition than ever before for a share of these dollars.

I say this not to be discouraging, but to amplify the idea that your value proposition must be stronger than ever before if you want your organization’s recurring invoice to be the one that is paid month after month and year after year.

So, how do you combat subscription fatigue? In a word, creativity… but here are a few specific tips:

  • Be essential. Are you offering anything that someone in your industry or concerned about your cause simply can’t be without, anything that can’t easily be replaced? Walking away from the only goose that lays golden eggs would be pretty tough.
  • Pre-address the objections. Be open-minded about the reasons people wouldn’t join. Whether you agree or not is irrelevant. Common objections might be budget, time to participate, won’t use enough benefits to be worthwhile, already involved in a similar organization, etc.
  • Develop new options. Your existing membership levels and benefit bundles may need to be revisited. Consider creative new options like virtual-only memberships, create-your-own group rates, or a la carte menus that allow every member to choose exactly the right benefits for themselves.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on subscription fatigue. Is this something that you’ve noticed in members – or perhaps in yourself?

Hey there.  I’m Joy Duling, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

Clients hire me to help them design and deliver exceptional member experiences. If you lead an association, trade group, or membership-based nonprofit, you can find FREE resources to help you run and grow your membership organization by visiting here: http://joyofmembership.com/help

I look forward to connecting with you there.