Co-founder at The Membership Guys
Mike Morrison is one half of The Membership Guys, and along with his partner Callie Willows has spent years guiding the growth of 6 and 7 figure memberships, e-learning businesses and online communities. Now they run the Member Site Academy, where they teach thousands of small business owners and entrepreneurs the skills and strategies they need to build and grow their own successful membership website.
How To Welcome New Members With A 5 Step Onboarding Process
Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Mike’s success
Using a 5 step onboarding process to welcome new members
Result if you follow the steps in Mike’s session
A stronger onboarding process for your new members that make them feel comfortable and at home in your community
Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more
Expert session snapshot
You know, I think when it comes to member retention, it’s realizing that retention start day one, minute one. The second somebody joins your membership site, the clock is ticking. So you need to make sure that you are getting your onboarding right.
So you’re looking after people during their initial few days, their initial few weeks and their initial few months of their experience as a member. So there’s some specific things you can do with that. And I’ll talk through, you know, what people should be thinking in terms of the onboarding process, if that’s something I think that your community would be interested in Liam?
Yeah, definitely. Just in terms of how do we get people through those first few days, you said, they’re crucial for retention and, you know, minimizing cancellations, if you like, what are some of the steps there that mentioned we should be taking?
Yeah, well, first of all, you need to make sure that anyone joining your site is given a warm welcome. It’s a simple thing, but it’s so often underestimated in terms of its impact.
You probably have the feeling yourself when you buy something, you join a membership, you purchase a course, you have that little voice in the back of your head, a little bit of buyer’s remorse or, “I hope I’ve made the right call. Have I just wasted my money? Am I actually getting, you know, what I paid for? Is this living up to the hype”? So that welcome that initial reaction.
The first thing that somebody sees when they join your membership after they’ve completed registration is key to setting the tone. So you should have that friendly welcome message or, ideally, a personal video from you, welcoming them to the site, making them feel good about their decision to join, then they can stop worrying about whether they’ve made the right call and they start focusing on actually making use of their membership. They’re feeling good, they’re feeling warm and fuzzy about this community that they just joined.
From there, it’s crucial to provide some form of orientation. Don’t leave new members scratching their heads trying to figure out where everything is in your site. Provide a walkthrough video, or even some sort of interactive tour that shows people step by step how to use your website.
Then think about what the ideal four to five steps you would want every single new member of your site to take in order to help them get off to the best start. So, you want to provide these as a checklist or maybe even new member course. This might be something as simple as getting them to watch your video to get to complete their community profile.
If you have a forum to apply to join your Facebook group, if you have a private member’s group, maybe you’ve got them to fill in a new member questionnaire, whatever it is, that is going to give your members the greatest chance of getting up to the best possible start and building habits of using your site have been attracted and been directed towards your best content and all that sort of stuff.
Lay this out as an activity that every new member needs to go through. So you know, at the very least, you’ve got the basics down, the fill in the community event with juice themselves in your forum, they have given you information that helps you point towards the most useful content tailor content to them. So lay that out as a checklist, a worksheet for them to go through, an exercise to go through.
And then really, it’s a case of staying in contact. Keep that dialogue going throughout that first month or, you know, if they’re on trial period throughout their trial period, you want to be checking in with them by email using an autoresponder series where you’re highlighting your content, you’re checking in and managing, okay, that they know where to turn to for support.
You’re showcasing maybe features that you know, that most your members engage with, perhaps you’re directing them to specific content in relation to you know, a questionnaire they filled in when they first signed up. It’s really just keeping that dialogue going.
Not only to make sure that you’re putting the best foot forward for your site, but also give them an opportunity to hit reply and let you know if they’re having a problem or not. Most people, they’re having a little bit of a niggle, a little bit of a problem, something’s not quite working.
Quite often they’ll be, they’ll just let that fester. And they’ll leave without saying anything. If you don’t start that dialogue with them, that gives them the opportunity to hit reply and say, well, actually really struggling to find this. So I really wanted this thing and I can’t quite find it.
You want to make sure that those lines of communication have opened. And then towards the end of the first month, someone’s with you or the end of their trial period. You want to kind of pivot your onboarding email series to become a little bit more about signposting the future value that your membership offers.
So letting them know what content is coming up, what features have been added, what guests are coming in to their workshops, we start signposting that future value, it means that any decision about whether they stay or go is no just based on the value that they’ve had during their first month, but also what they’re going to miss out on if they decide to leave.
So you’re creating that pain of disconnect that can be very compelling for getting people to stick around beyond their first month. And to build up that momentum now to keep subscribe long term.