An introduction to membership churn in online communities
No matter what kind of online community you run, you want it to be sustainable, healthy, and profitable, right?
Well, if you want your online community to thrive, you need to ensure that your metrics reflect healthy growth — and one of those essential metrics is membership churn.
Being unaware of the essential data regarding your online community can result in fewer members, less engagement, and even complete failure. So, here’s everything you need to know about membership churn, plus how you can reduce membership churn in any online community.
What is membership churn in an online community?
When it comes to online communities, many managers focus on membership retention — how many members stay active and remain engaged. But focusing on membership churn and how to avoid it should not be overlooked.
So, exactly what is membership churn?
Membership churn refers to the number of members that leave an online community, and it can be measured by lapses in account activity, account deactivation, or cancellations.
the number of members that leave an online community, it can be measured by lapses in account activity, account deactivation, or cancellations.
To be clear, having membership churn isn’t necessarily bad. Most sites have an average churn rate of 6.7%. However, keeping existing members in your online community is a much easier task than converting new ones — so low membership churn is certainly a positive goal.
A healthy membership churn rate is also a good indicator of how much value your site offers members — which is why it should never be ignored.
8 techniques for reducing membership churn in an online community
1. Make sure everyone feels comfortable and safe
Regardless of the type of community you run, every member must feel:
- and welcome
These emotions will keep people coming back (and they’ll reduce membership churn).
Any online community needs management, moderation, and engagement from the hosts. Be sure that you run your space in a way that promotes a healthy atmosphere that won’t drive people away.
Be sure that you run your space in a way that promotes a healthy atmosphere that won’t drive people away.
2. Maintain a clear value proposition
People join online communities because they see value in them — whether that be connecting with people, receiving exclusive opportunities, staying up to date, or something else. Ensure that every member of your online community knows the value that you have to offer.
3. Put the community first
While you should be clear about your value proposition, you need to maintain balance. If you have a brand, product, or service that you want your online community members to purchase, don’t be too in-your-face about it.
Online communities thrive when members have shared values and interests and a deep emotional connection to each other. Promote engagement between members and always put the community first over profitability.
4. Prioritize humanity over technology
While technology is necessary to get you where you want to go, many online community members feel disconnected when technology overcomes a sense of humanity.
Don’t leave members waiting a long time for a response — or worse, allow them to be trapped in a maze of robotic emails or voice memos.
Be mindful of adding a human touch to everything you do, from automated emails to blogs and posts.
5. Receive constant feedback from members
There will always be a number one reason your members leave, but it will vary from site to site. When you encourage members to give you feedback, you can identify and rectify the issues that increase membership churn in online communities.
Continuously prompt members for feedback at the right times and make the process of submitting feedback as painless as possible.
6. Focus on the first three months
The first three months of any membership are the most crucial because this is the time members are most likely to leave. Ensuring customer success in the initial three months will help you avoid high membership churn rates. Depending on your online community, that might mean increasing (or decreasing) prompts for engagement, improving customer service, or showcasing (or adding) value.
The first three months of any membership are the most crucial because this is the time members are most likely to leave.
7. Don’t overlook the aesthetics
A beautiful landing page, a memorable email newsletter, or a stunning blog can mean the difference between aesthetics that keep people around and a boring vibe that pushes members away.
Don’t ignore the importance of attractive visuals in everything you do.
8. Discover patterns
The data and analytics are there for a reason. When you focus on the statistics, you can identify weak areas in your online community. Maybe it’s a certain time of the year or a length of time when people decide they’ve gotten all they can get out of your community. Whatever it is, identify the patterns so that you can implement strategies to reduce membership churn.
Reduce membership churn in your online community
Now that you know what membership churn is and how to reduce it, you can move towards hosting a better online community that provides members with more value and less hassle.