Membership Retention Tools

Stephen Yagielowicz
There's an old and very wise saying about a person's financial state that goes, "It's not what you make, but what you get to keep." For owners of paysites who want to maximize their income, a similarly wise saying might be, "It's not how many surfers you can get to join your website, but how many members you can keep from month to month." Here's a selection of helpful tips to keep them coming back for more:

Keep Them Interested
The best and most important tool for retaining members is to keep them interested in what you have to offer, and you can only do that by constantly offering something new. While many of the other retention tools discussed in this article are basically bonuses, without the solid foundation that frequent and regular updates of your website's core content provide, there is little reason for members to remain members.

It's not just enough to update your website; you must also let your website members know that you've added content. Having a "what's new" section in your members area is the best way to do this. If your updates are frequent enough, you might also consider making these update notifications a part of your tour. After all, today's surfer is pretty savvy and has likely been a member of other websites -- websites that might have not offered regular updates. Showing visitors that you update regularly will increase sales, while the actual updates will keep members recurring in order to see more.

Smaller operations with limited content budgets can still provide the illusion of regular updates by simply rotating content. The fact is that most members will rarely see all that a website has to offer, so regular updates are as easy as featuring a "Gallery of the Week" selected from the current offerings. This won't take the place of true updates, but it helps.

Another option that may have appeal for smaller operations seeking to increase retention rates is to offer access to their website through an adult verification system, which offers recurring payouts. In addition to the content within your own members area, members can access thousands -- in some cases, hundreds of thousands -- of additional websites, as well as the often feature- and content-laden members area that the AVS itself provides. One great way to test the profitability of this approach is by offering the AVS membership via an exit console popped off of your standard join page that says, in essence: "If you didn't like that offer at that price, try this offer at this price." Measure the retention rates of regular members against AVS members -- you might be pleasantly surprised.

Get Them Involved
Another proven way to increase retention is by developing a community around your website. Rather than simply offering content in a "push" model, offer the customer what he or she wants in a "pull" model. The simplest way to do this is to post an email link that says: "Want something special? Let us know and we'll try to satisfy you!" or something along these lines.

While this is a start, creating a truly interactive experience for your members will make them feel more like "members" rather than "customers." By allowing them a personal stake in your product and making them feel at home, you will keep them returning for more.

Feedback forms, guest books and full-fledged forums allow for easy communication between members and site operators. Interactive stories where members can share their fantasies and two-way webcams with live chat that allow members to control the model as well as to be seen by her or him and other immersive technologies such as remote control sex toys for both model and member, all play a role.

By making the member involved in the ongoing development of your site and its content and delivering this content in as personalized a way as possible, you rise above the ordinary and provide added reasons for the member to remain a member.

Reward Their Participation
One great way to increase retention is by directly rewarding members with something tangible. This can take the form of physical products such as a DVD, bonus material such as special content that is only available as a "continued membership reward," or even discounted fees for long-standing members.

Internet Payment Service Providers such as CCBill or Paycom provide an easy way to offer discounted memberships, such as 25 percent off for members after three months and 50 percent off after six months. While these discounts can erode per-sale membership fees, the added retention should make up for it over the long run, and because the fees are lower, members may be more willing to pay for upsale items such as live chat shows, pay-per-minute videos and items from any online stores that you promote.

Another way to reward member loyalty is by offering a Member Loyalty Program such as the one from Adult Loyalty. This system lets website owners give members points for each time they log in and even more points for each month they remain a member. The member can then bid their points in an online auction for adult-related prizes such as adult DVDs. Should the member accumulate enough points over time, they can actually redeem them for the same prizes. There are also other optional methods such as surveys where the member can get more points.

As you can see, there are many ways in which a paysite owner can increase member retention and thus recurring profits. Savvy operators will employ as many of these techniques as possible in order to maximize their per-member income. Creativity in your approach is the only limit to your success.