How to Increase The Efficiency of Your Membership Site

member engagement tracking advice for entrepreneurs

Engagement Tracking

Engagement tracking simply means understanding and keeping tabs on how members are interacting (or not!) with your membership site and then taking appropriate action to either bring a disengaged member back into participation and value recognition, or conversely, to offer your most engaged members relevant, useful upsells to maximize their LCV.

People often join a membership site when they are really pumped up and excited from your amazing marketing and lead nurture efforts – the promise of a better version of themselves! And maybe they engage with your site initially, but at some point, life happens and they get distracted or other pressing matters demand their attention. Or perhaps they didn’t ever establish a habit around coming to your site during that crucial 90-day period right after they joined.

The result: they fall into disengagement from your site despite fitting your ideal customer profile and your best efforts to help them recognize value.

Don’t let the importance of this membership system get lost on you. Most of us spend an unbelievable amount of time and effort and money to acquire new customers. That is the focus of most businesses. But, Harvard Business Review tells us that it takes between five and 25 times the dollars to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.

Think about that for a second…

Put another way, to keep an existing member is between five and 25 times cheaper than acquiring a new one.

best way to improve your customer acquisition cost

Build a Profitable Membership Site

The path to creating a very profitable membership site is not just acquiring new members, but keeping track of who is most and least engaged, and then doing something about it.

If you don’t have visibility into engagement metrics and a process for maximizing LCV you’re leaving dollars on the table. In many cases, lots of dollars – not only in the short term, but the aggregate effect of compounding that additional profit over time. Take a second and put your site’s numbers into our churn calculator to see the effect of lowering your churn rate and increasing upsells right here.

I understand that churn is a natural thing that happens on all membership sites. No one stays on a membership site forever. But the point is to maximize each member’s lifetime value. Your marketing promised certain desirable outcomes for your members – your job as the site owner is to help those people who are paying you money to actually realize those outcomes.

Let’s talk about how to track engagement and what to do with that information.

To accurately track member engagement, you need to look at the 3 most common ways members engage with a membership site: on-site activity, discussion forum participation, and email opens and click throughs. Membership plugins are very helpful at this point for reporting some level of engagement metrics. That’s hugely helpful and you should be paying attention to that intel. Many email service providers also score your list based on opens and click through rates over time.

Intercom is a helpful tool for engagement tracking, though not purpose built for it. We created a purpose-built engagement reporting tool for membership sites that aggregates a rolling score for each of your site’s members based on their activity on your membership site, discussion forum participation, and email engagement. Learn more about MemberScore here.

Once you have a tracking tool in place, you need a process document that explains in detail what actions need to be taken based on your engagement tracking information in order to maximize your LCV.

There are 2 primary scenarios you need to be prepared for in your PD: how to bring disengaged members back into active participation and value recognition on your site, and second, how to offer appropriate upsells to your most engaged members (power users).

how to watch your member engagement levels

Keep Your Eye On Member Engagement

Once a member reaches disengagement territory, kick off a re-engagement email sequence that aims to help re-establish a habit around participating on your site. Grab my re-engagement email templates here, fill in your particulars, update your teaser content monthly, and you’re all set!

On a more positive note, offer upsells to your most engaged members through a smartly worded email. The simplest upsell you can offer is to upgrade from a monthly to an annual payment plan on your site. Otherwise, a higher membership tier, one-on-one service offering, or one-off product is great too. Make sure you are using appropriate tags in your membership plugin so you’re not sending the same offer over and over again. It would be embarrassing to offer an annual plan to someone who is already one on.

Also, if you’re offering an upsell to a subset of members, they are also some best candidates to provide you with stellar testimonials. Politely ask for them and incorporate them as appropriate into your marketing.

Outline in your PD how much time you plan to spend on engagement tracking related actions each month and then mark your calendar accordingly. Once you have your tracking tool in place (one automated process), cull your process document over time for maximum efficiency, and of course, track the effectiveness of your email sequences (another automation). Once you have a dialed-in engagement tracking PD, hand the task off to someone else if you can. Otherwise, stick with it each month and enjoy the benefits of maximizing your members’ lifetime value and the resulting profits.

best practices for increasing the efficiency of your membership site

Wrapping Up

That’s all for Part 2 in this series on strengthening your Revenue Generating Activity muscles. In Part 1 we looked at the three primary ways you can increase the profitability of your membership site. And in this post we looked at how you can increase the efficiency of your systems and processes around marketing, lead nurturing, onboarding, and engagement tracking.

Processes, delegations, and automations are really great, but they don’t mean much if you can’t monetize them. Grab my email course on how to maximize revenue with the members you already have right here. And if you’re just starting out or your marketing machine has run dry, pick up my free ebook on membership site marketing now.

You can read the third and final installment of this series on RGA’s here: How to Optimize Your Membership Site with Smart Systems. In this post, we look at specific ways you can decrease expenses around content creation, community management, customer success, and general business management. I hope you enjoyed this post and now have some valuable strategies you can implement in your business.


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About Amanda Northcutt

Amanda is a revenue strategy consultant for online businesses with recurring revenue models. She lives in Fort Collins, CO and spends her free time with her family, cycling, hiking, and pretty much any mountain sport under the sun.