In Part 1 of this article series, we explored the true meaning of retention and how it can make or break us in such a tough economy. I went through real-life examples of how two businesses have successfully turned around and managed to convert their satisfied clients into loyal ones. After all, that is the key here…nothing but LOYALTY!
Now It’s YOUR Turn!
In order for webmasters to properly increase their member retention, I mentioned before that a Client Retention Plan (CRP) is very important. In this business, you could also easily call it a Member Retention Plan (MRP). Either way it’s the same thing. While some large companies develop and deploy huge CRP’s (100+ pages), it is not necessarily required for this industry. Why you may ask? Large corporations have many different products and services which they sell to many different client types. Each client type needs to be addressed separately (along with the different products and services which they buy).
In the online adult industry, the majority of web sites cater to one type of “niche-related” member (ie: the member that enjoys large breasts). If you happened to own many adult sites catering to different niches, that’s fine. The same basic retention principles I will be outlining here can be applied across the board – regardless of how many multiple niche sites you may have. Having had the personal experience of developing large CRP’s, I’d like to outline a basic plan which is outlined by the following key and fundamental points that these larger plans include:
Ready? Let’s Start!
To achieve maximum potential, the following key steps should be executed in order.
STEP 1) Understand why you want to increase retention. While the answer to this question may seem obvious (I want to make more money!), and YES… that’s the typical answer folks. But let’s take another important look at it. Do you want to increase retention because your retention has been slipping lately and you want to bring it back up to where it used to be? Is it because you are trying to sell your business and the potential buyer has said “I’ll buy it if you can get them to stay longer...”, or is it because you want to reach a certain goal of having a certain amount of members (more for prestige)?
STEP 2) Get to know your members to the best of your ability. Regardless of why you want to increase your retention, getting to know your members as best you can will help you directly address your question as to why you want to increase member retention. For example, if you have noticed that your retention has been slipping lately, then simply ASK WHY! By putting a simple feedback form asking your members to comment on what they like and especially what they don’t like, you’ll be surprised what you can learn (even if not all the members will comment).
In fact, one way to entice them to fill out the feedback form is to announce that if they fill out the form, they will automatically be entered to win a draw for a free Adult DVD (or some other prize). You can code it so that each user is only allowed to enter the feedback form once to avoid duplication. This simple, inexpensive tactic will allow you to gain more knowledge from your members and as a result, you get to know them better. Very important point!
STEP 3) Identify and analyze your current retention rates. Obviously the next step is to research and track how your site(s) have been doing. Otherwise, you will not be able to think of realistic, achievable goals and you won’t be able to compare it to future data. Try to go back as far as you can. I know that some credit card processors will provide the information. Perhaps your web server already logs it? That would depend on how you or your host has set it up. Regardless of how you get the data, once you get it you should analyze it and chart it on a graph so you can see the past month-to-month and year-over-year results.
STEP 4) Observe, model and implement real-life (successful) examples. This is where it gets fun! As I go through this section, please keep in the back of your mind that in order to create loyalty, besides content...you MUST GIVE SOMETHING BACK to your members in exchange for their hard-earned dollar. That’s the way it works.
One thing you can do is by observing and then learn from real-life examples which you may have already experienced in day-to-day life.
Remember the coffee shop and the gas station in my first article? Well, just like when the coffee shop gave me a free muffin with my coffee in the morning, you could offer a free prize of some sort for new members who sign-up! While this is not directly related to your existing members, it is important to note that once the new user signs up, he/she in fact automatically becomes one of your members and will feel good that they received something else in return! As a result they will feel more loyalty towards your site rather than another site which offers nothing.
Now for the gas station example. For every 25 fill-ups, they were giving out a free fill-up. This technique is very powerful! Make no mistake. They make you come back again and again. For example, you could offer your members a free month if they remain your member for “X” amount of months. What the “X” value equals is up to you and your goals.
In part 3, I will go over the balance of the steps and will dig deep into one of the best Member Loyalty retention tactics every created. In the meantime, I will leave you with 2 quotes from Frederick Reichheld from Bain & Co. in an article from Fortune magazine, Dec 1995:
“Getting clients is only half the battle…Keeping them is the real challenge.”
“It takes anywhere from three to eight new clients to replace the profitability of each mature client lost.”
Editor's Note: Adrian will be featuring an exclusive monthly article series here at XBiz, detailing the intracisies of membership retention and building customer loyalty. Stay tuned as our new "Retention Expert" shows YOU how to make more money from your existing customers!