When we think of members of our community, they are no longer just one-time customers. Instead, they are now part of a Member Lifecycle Journey. They are part of a community on a platform that we are responsible for managing and growing.
Therefore, it is our responsibility to understand this lifecycle journey. This tells us whether members are moving smoothly through the stages of community engagement. Or whether the relationship is becoming stale.
What Is the Member Lifecycle Journey?
The Member Lifecycle Journey is a framework that explores the different phases members go through when interacting with your business. It helps you optimize your organization’s member engagement efforts.
As part of this process, we also identify the key factors that influence each step of the journey. The result is a more strategic approach to member engagement. Better resource utilization and more effective communication across all channels will help!
5 Stages of the Member Journey You Need to Know
You can apply the Member Lifecycle Journey to any type of membership organization. It could be a fitness center, a country club, a community center, or any other membership-based service organization.
Understanding the Member Lifecycle Journey will help you better manage your relationships with your members. It will also help you understand how to provide them with quality services, products, or content through strategic planning and effective marketing.
The first step is about getting people to join your membership program. This can include things like social media advertising, SEO and content marketing, sales copy optimization, and more.
In this phase, members are just learning about your company, brand, or organization (brand awareness). They’re learning about the value your business can provide. They may have heard about your company through an ad or read an article about it. But they’re not yet sure if it’s useful to them or if they even need it.
So at this stage, it’s important to educate them on what benefits they can expect from your brand or community membership. And give examples of how others have benefited!
In short, your first phase strategy should focus on attracting new members by creating a compelling value proposition and marketing it where your target audience can see it.
The second phase is about converting your leads into paying customers. In other words, this is the phase where users begin to understand your company’s value proposition and how it can help them achieve their goals. They may be interested in trying some of your services or products for free, but they aren’t yet committed.
At this stage, you should focus on setting up payment processing, signing users up for an onboarding sequence, or setting up email drip campaigns to engage them as soon as possible. Another good option is to offer new members an incentive they can’t refuse – for example, a free trial!
This is the case when members are truly committed to your brand but haven’t yet made long-term commitments. They may be paying monthly for services or products, but there’s no long-term commitment yet. At this stage, you need to make sure members are getting value from your offering.
Retention is the percentage of members who come back after their initial experience. This is an important metric to measure how well your product or service is working. Higher member retention usually means a better user experience.
While each step is essential, retention is an important step in your Member Lifecycle Journey because high retention means members see value in your company, brand, or organization. So if your members are choosing you for the second time, that’s a good sign! ✨
#4: Engagement & Advocacy
This phase is about converting casual users into loyal fans who want more of your product or service. So this is the phase where members who use your product or service realize its benefits and become advocates for your organization.
Advocates can be really helpful for starting and maintaining conversations and attracting more people to your brand and/or community.
Last but not least, this last phase mainly consists of convincing non-paying users to upgrade their accounts or purchase additional products or services from you. Therefore, it is important to keep your paying users happy so that they remain active members.
Community as a Tool for Every Stage in the Member Lifecycle
Community-based marketing is about building a two-way conversation between your brand and your audience. When you build a community around your product or brand, you want to engage your audience in an unobtrusive and transparent way. Also, the community-based model allows users to provide feedback and have a say in the development of new products and services.
The member lifecycle is a journey. And communities are a tool for each stage of that journey. As we mentioned earlier, the journey through the member lifecycle is typically divided into five phases. Each phase has its own goals and challenges. However, communities can be used as a tool for each phase of the member lifecycle.
Community builders can use communities as part of their marketing strategy to attract new members (awareness), educate and support them, and encourage them to join the membership program or purchase products or services (activation). They can also help engage members with content and activities (engagement & advocacy).
In addition, with the advent of consumer review platforms, it has become increasingly difficult for brands to engage customers. It only takes one or two bad reviews for customers to look elsewhere.
Building a strong community is an effective way to keep customers engaged (retention). They feel comfortable in a group of like-minded people and become loyal not only to the brand but also to each other.
In some situations, it still makes sense to pay for advertising on social media and search engines. But it can get expensive very quickly. If you instead build a community of engaged customers who already know your brand, you can sell directly to them (conversion) with less effort.
Remember, however, that people do not join a community to get sold something. Instead of overwhelming your members with sales offers, make it easier for them to buy directly from the community.
Community marketing is about building meaningful long-term relationships and connecting with people to develop and grow the brand together!