Should Your Membership Always Be Open?

Have you ever launched an online membership only to hit a plateau or see a decline in new members?

It's a scenario many wellness creators face:

You launch with a strong start, sales are strong, and the rush of new members joining your community is exhilarating. But over time, things fizzle out, and members start trickling away. You're left confused, wondering how to reignite that initial spark.

If this sounds familiar, it's not a reflection on you or your business. It's simply the ebb and flow of the membership business model. 

But it means it's time to get strategic about growing your audience and your membership. When selling your online membership, there are specific strategies you can use: evergreen and launch. 

Both strategies have pros and cons, so let’s explore their differences. By determining the right fit for your business, you can start breathing new life into your online community and turn things around.

What is an Evergreen Membership?

An evergreen strategy is the most common for wellness creators when selling their memberships. We call this the 24/7 strategy—your membership doors are always open, day in and day out. 

Although it may seem inclusive and reassuring, there's an underlying fear-driven mindset at play. Keeping it open is often driven by the fear of missing out on potential revenue opportunities.

And here's why it often leads to stagnation:

There’s no real incentive for potential members to join. Picture this: someone stumbles upon your membership through a social media post or YouTube video. They think, "This looks great. I’ll bookmark it and come back later."

And the thing is, they probably mean it! 

But in reality, the chances of that happening are slim. You've missed the opportunity to convert their interest into action while you have it.

And it’s hard to get attention online. We’re competing against a sea of creators and content. Once you have someone’s attention, you want to give them a reason for them to grab their credit card right now. 

Even if a person is genuinely excited about the transformation you offer, without a sense of urgency, distractions like buzzing phones or demanding toddlers can easily divert their attention.

Plus, an evergreen membership means you're always in selling mode. It's a constant hustle that drains your energy and focus. 

This perpetual cycle takes your attention away from serving your members at your best or infusing creativity and joy into your membership experience because you're always chasing the next sale.

How to Make an Evergreen Model Work For Your Online Membership

While evergreen isn’t our top choice for growing and selling your online membership, there are still ways to make it effective.

What you probably want to avoid is constantly bombarding your audience with promotions or sales pitches for your program. Especially in the wellness industry--we aren't the type to flood social media feeds or inboxes multiple times a day just to sell something. 

That strategy doesn’t feel good.

But we also understand that some creators need to keep their doors open for business, and that’s okay. However, you’ll need to inject some incentives into your marketing to attract new members.

One effective way to do that is to offer a limited-time bonus. 

For example, let’s say you’re selling a membership in February. You could offer a bonus that expires at the end of the month, meaning new members who join in March won’t have access to it. 

This incentive can motivate potential members to join before they miss out on the bonus.

What is a Membership Drive Strategy?

This launch strategy is when you close the doors to your memberships. We call this the Membership Drive strategy—your membership doors are only open for a specific time frame.

We typically encourage our clients to use this strategy, but it can feel hard at first. There can be a lot of emotions involved. You might feel like you’re being mean or rejecting potential students into your membership. 

But what a launch campaign does is it allows you to be in selling mode only a few times a year, which is way less exhausting. You’re not always in selling mode. Instead, there are small windows where you’re selling.

You’re not always worried about trying to get new members to join. Plus, it will increase the number of new members you bring in each launch. When your doors are closed, you want to start a wait-list where people can sign up to join your next round. 

It lets you build up an audience. Think of it like you're putting up a gate where people will gather behind. When you open that gate, they come flooding in. 

It feels very counterintuitive, but it’s extremely effective.

When you’re not selling all the time, it lets you show up and serve your people throughout the year. You’re just creating valuable content through whatever visibility vehicle you use—whether it’s social media, blogging, podcasting, or YouTube. 

It’s not a totally transactional relationship with your audience. You’re able to just freely give without asking for anything in return. Not only is that a gift to yourself but also to your audience of people who don’t have to get sold to and marketed to every day.

How to Make a Membership Drive Work For You

When it comes to using the Membership Drive model, timing is key. 

How many times you launch will depend on factors like your audience size, availability, and skill. But ideally, you want to aim for two to four big launches per year—no more than once per quarter. 

This leaves you with plenty of time in between to grow your audience and put all of your attention on catering to your existing members.

Imagine this: you get to delight your members with valuable content and attract new ones to your mailing list, all while gearing up for your next big launch.

Most importantly, you have built-in incentives.

It gives you time to plan these windows of selling. You can plan your launch, write emails, and polish your messaging and sales pages. Sure, it can feel daunting to temporarily close shop, but it's also a welcome break from the constant sales hustle. 

It lets you take a step back and focus on what truly matters.

Ultimately, whether you prefer the excitement of a membership drive or the steady flow of a 24/7 evergreen membership, both approaches have their advantages. It's all about finding what works best for your business goals and deciding whether you want to be open all the time or not.

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