Do businesses need to build a virtual membership option?

Attracting and keeping customers is the bread and butter of running any business.

Any business that offers membership options is constantly trying to find the next big thing that will attract new members or keep existing ones engaged with their brand, their services, or their community.

The problem is, finding time and resources to spend between acquisition and retention strategies can be extremely difficult as you grow and develop your business. This is particularly true for small businesses who don’t have a lot of staff, resources, or money yet.

But consider this.

According to one report on member engagement and retention, it has been shown to cost a whopping nine times as much to acquire a new member as it does to simply retain an existing one.

In fact, according to Bain & Company, increasing member retention rates by just 5% has been shown to increase profits by between 25% and 95%.

It’s pretty clear, then, that putting time and effort into the right retention strategy can yield massive benefits. In this article, we’ll be discussing how businesses can build virtual membership options into their offerings to amp up their member retention rates and, ultimately, their profit.

What are virtual memberships?

Virtual memberships allow your members to engage with your business, even if they’re not on your premises.

For example, gyms that offer virtual memberships might provide video-based gym classes that members can access from their own home or wherever is convenient for them.

This allows businesses to retain members who might otherwise leave or cancel their membership because they simply don’t have time to make the most of member benefits, they can’t physically attend your premises or have moved away.

It also helps to recruit people who otherwise might not join your membership programme.

What makes a good virtual offering?

Of course, your virtual offering needs to be something special in order to provide value to your members.

But what makes a good virtual offering?

Offerings that are easy to do remotely, convenient, and simple to access are proving to be the most popular and most successful.

For example, the Nike Training App offers a video series of gym workouts. Users need only download the app to access a wide range of different types of workout that vary in length, intensity, and movement.

Are virtual offerings here to stay in the longer term?

The COVID-19 crisis has seen the closure of many different sites, affecting lots of businesses, and changing the way in which they are run.

One of the good things to come out of the situation is the expansion of different services, offerings, and services. Virtual offerings are a piece of this.

With the popularity of at-home workouts and other virtual offerings becoming clear, it’s likely that this type of membership is here to stay. These offerings tap into the convenience that members are craving, offering them a way to engage with your club without leaving the comfort of their own home.

Make sure you have the right technology to support a virtual membership

So, virtual memberships are an undeniable asset to your business and your members. However, you also need the appropriate administrative software and technology to support the option.

  1. Joining. Your joining system needs to be able to allow virtual members to sign-up and pay their memberships online. Imagine having an online membership option but then having to call your office to join and pay. It would, understandably, turn your customers off. DFC’s FastDD Platinum solution acts as a 24/7 sales aid to sign up new members even outside of your office hours.
  2. Access. Your members need a virtual members-only website that will allow them access to your valuable content resources, such as video content, discussion forums, and expert guidance. This may become the cornerstone of your virtual members’ experience.
  3. Reporting. Being able to create custom reports and keep on track of Direct Debit payments is extremely important when managing your cashflow. DFC’s innovative 24-hour Data Retrieval Service lets your business track, analyse, and keep ahead of your Direct Debit collections. You can stay informed about defaulted and cancelled payments.

In summary

Expanding your membership offerings improves your business’ reach and lets you appeal to busy or physically distant people.

The main thing that you need to ensure is that your virtual offering addresses a need that people have, whether that’s convenience or expert guidance. If you offer valuable and useful content to your members, have the technology to make it a smooth journey, and have an attractive price, your virtual members will get a lot out of your membership offering.

Whilst this can sometimes take some time to put in place, your business can amp up its profits with an expanded membership selection.

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