To build a thriving and loyal community, the main thing is to keep your members engaged. According to Jessie Breugel, to keep your member retention and engagement levels up there are two key ingredients that can’t be missing in your community: valuable content and consistency.
One of the most important metrics to measure community engagement is retention. And specifically in the case of online groups, member retention.
Member retention is the percentage of members who join the community and return within a given period of time. Therefore, how you welcome new members plays a big part in retention (and follow-up is also essential).
Why Is Member Retention Important?
If your members join and then stay in your community, it’s a good sign. High retention levels mean that members find value in your community. So that’s when producing valuable content and being consistent in its publication come into play!
Later in this post, we’ll discuss some strategies to help you decrease membership turnover and increase overall engagement. But for now, let’s try to understand how to measure retention.
While you can manually calculate retention, this will quickly become too tedious as you’ll need to be monitoring your metrics. However, many analytics tools will measure retention for you, making this process much easier. These tools include Google Analytics or Discord Insights. In addition, these allow you to measure retention and other useful metrics automatically.
How to Measure Member Retention Rate
In order to measure your community’s member retention rate, you’ll have to compare your average community member vs your average non-community member customer. You’ll have to take into account dimensions such as churn, MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), and LTV (Lifetime Value) among others.
6 Strategies to Decrease Membership Turnover
- Ensuring members feel welcome
- Networking activities
- Learning events
- Share curated content
- Offer coupons, discounts & exclusive offers
- Job boards
1. Ensuring Members Feel Welcome
The first good strategy to improve member retention in your community is to make sure your members feel welcome. You can achieve this with a welcoming onboarding process, which should suggest some first steps new members can take to begin to integrate into the community.
The onboarding process usually includes information about the community and its purpose. While it is important to understand that it’s not possible to have a perfect onboarding strategy, there’s one fundamental thing to keep in mind. Be authentic! And let your values and core beliefs shine through the onboarding process.
✍️ Keep in mind: When building your onboarding process, think about what experience you want new members to have. How can you make sure they feel comfortable and welcome?
💡 Pro tip: The first thing you have to do when creating the onboarding process is to craft your new members’ welcome message. Show them how and where they can ask for help, incorporate the community guidelines, include links, and collect feedback before writing the actual message.
2. Networking Activities
This is a strategy most communities use to decrease membership turnover. One of the main reasons people join communities is because it helps them connect with like-minded people. So offering networking events and activities is a sure bet. That’s why communities usually organize virtual or hybrid events, such as webinars, AMAs, and interviews with experts. Also, you could explore in-person options, such as regular local chapters and members-only breakfasts or dinners.
✍️ Keep in mind: Building a thriving community requires cultivating habits that encourage members’ participation. So hosting regular activities is crucial to create a feeling of periodicity that pushes your members to come back for more.
💡 Pro tip: Don’t overcharge your community’s agenda! The key is to host regular meetings and events that naturally fit your online group’s interests.
3. Learning Events
You can offer your community members learning resources, online courses, workshops, boot camps, and exclusive training. Also, in this line, you can apply a tiered membership model and, the more subscribers move up the hierarchy of the membership model, the more access they’ll have to the community’s benefits, including all these learning events.
💡 Pro tip: You can also offer certifications that members can use to land a new job or get promoted.
The Community Club ✨
Join them to find networking, mentorship, job opportunities, and exclusive industry events. It’s the perfect place to stay updated and learn from fellow community builders.
4. Share Curated Content
Quality content is key to keeping member retention at stake, as it will probably be that added value you’ll be offering your users.
✍️ Keep in mind: To offer this type of content, try to ask yourself: what topics should I address in my community? What kind of content will I share regularly?
💡 Pro tip: When you’ve decided what kind of content you’ll be sharing, it’s essential to focus on frequency and consistency. In this line, planning will be essential, as it will help you save time, organize yourself and your content, and have foresight.
5. Offer Coupons, Discounts & Exclusive Offers
In order to improve member retention and engagement, you could offer valuable deals to your members, including coupons, discounts, and exclusive offers. As they allow you to incentivize people by offering something valuable to them, that’s more expensive or unavailable for non-members.
💡 Pro tip: Try partnering with complementary businesses and other communities that can offer valuable deals to your members!
6. Job Boards
Job boards are great for some kinds of communities. Professionals can benefit greatly from a community that provides them with the strategic connections needed in order to grow in their careers.
✍️ Keep in mind: A job board allows members to browse through different job postings and apply to the roles they’re interested in. In addition, some communities’ job boards also allow members to upload their CVs and companies to post open roles.
💡 Pro tip: If you have a career-centered community, incentive founders to post their projects and which open roles are available in that specific project. This builds a community where founders and makers can come together and grow professionally.
There are many activities you can rely on to improve member retention and community engagement. However, these activities have to align with your group’s purpose and provide real value for members.
If you meet these conditions, community-building activities can make a real difference in how engaged your members are! The following questions might help: given my community’s average member profile, what will make them want to return, interact, and spend more time in the community? Is it regular content, learning events, networking opportunities, or something else?