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Stu McLaren's Membership Experience saved my business. It's as simple as that.
How? Read on, friend. I have quite the story to share.
First, some backstory.
I started my social marketing coaching business six years ago. It grew out of my own success in direct sales and people asking me to come train their teams on value-based marketing, sponsoring, and leadership strategies.
Within a short time, I grew a free Facebook group to over 100,000 members based on the premise of leading with value, engagement, and authenticity.
Then people started asking for private coaching to build their own direct sales/micro-entrepreneur social marketing strategy. And I was quickly booked with over 75 private clients having basically the same type of introductory call:
- Who is your ideal client?
- What content will serve him or her?
- What is the value of your offering?
It became apparent that if I ever wanted to have dinner with my family again I would need to find a solution that would scale for all my clients. So I decided to create a private coaching group in early 2017.
I had never been in a private coaching group and had no reference point for creating one.
My thought process was that if I bring all these clients together into one space, I could reduce the per-client price, deliver my content once, and the community would provide additional value for all.
Within a year, the private coaching community exploded to 3000 members on an open membership model (people continually coming and going) paying either $12.99 or $14.99 per month. And it was built primarily on word of mouth, which is very common within the direct sales industry. Good resources get quickly shared with teams, uplines, and peers.
I scaled my own team to manage the volume of members, including administrative support, graphics, project management, and video editing.
I now had a membership group…and realized I was in over my head.
For that first year, things were okay. I went live multiple times per week, created challenges, created new content continually, and had guest speakers often. Members invited new members and the culture was tight.
Everything was good. Until it wasn't.
We realized we had many issues:
- We lost nearly 50% of our membership after the first year.
- PayPal was cumbersome and clunky.
- Everything was housed on Facebook, creating a major risk point.
- People were overwhelmed with the volume of content and lack of direction.
- We had tapped out our primary network and were struggling to grow to new markets and attract new members.
- We were spinning our wheels working harder to create new content for less and less return.
I naively thought “if some is good, more is better” when it came to content. So I created copious amounts. More lives, more printables, more workbooks, more value! And that led to a huge attrition driven by overwhelm, compounded by the direct sales industry which already has a high turnover rate as companies come and go and consultants launch and fizzle.
And then I found Stu McLaren's Membership experience.
In March of 2019, one of my team members mentioned Stu McLaren.
I had never heard of Stu, but dove headfirst into the deep-end of his free resources. Timing was fortuitous as his free Membership Experience Workshop was just opening up the following month.
I was in a unique position in that I already had an existing membership group. It was housed entirely on Facebook and had a bunch of issues, but we had one nonetheless and it was generating consistent 5-figure monthly revenue. So whatever we were going to do with The Membership Experience, we had to do while maintaining continuity for our existing members.
I joined The Membership Experience the second it opened and grabbed up every early bonus available.
How I approached The Membership Experience.
Because we had an existing membership already, we had to focus on fixing the existing problems before we could launch to new members under a new strategic marketing plan. Following is the approximate timeline we used to manage The Membership Experience.
Was it hard work? Yes. Was it worth it? Also yes.
April/May 2019: Phase 1
- Complete TME coursework, including building a brand new membership Success Path.
- Close current membership to new members.
- Setup new membership platform structure and new membership content (we chose Thinkific, as it was where our video courses were already housed).
May/June 2019: Phase 2
- Setup new payment gateway on Stripe.
- Move all existing members (about 1500 at that time) to new membership portal with as low attrition as possible. This was our biggest challenge. I communicated openly and often about the overall program strategy so everyone knew what was changing, why, when, how, and where.
June/July 2019: Phase 3
- Plan public launch using new The Membership Experience launch strategy. We followed Stu's launch model to the letter including workshop strategy and scripts, email scripts, and launch calendar.
- Conduct full public launch.
- In July 2019 we welcomed 484 new members to our private membership group, resulting in a 6-figure launch of monthly-recurring and one-time annual payments.
August 2019: The Membership Experience Live
I wrote Stu and told him about our success and he invited me to speak at The Membership Experience Live about our successful launch. It was a pure honor to speak on stage and share our story as a brand new The Membership Experience alumni.
It's now April 2021. We have since done a many launches, both big productions as well as small “internal” launches, bringing in hundreds of new members. We've reduced our attrition to less than 5% per month and put content structure in place against a clear Success Path.
We've created a masterclass model and are thrilled to partner with amazing experts each month to bring even more value to our community.
Our membership is now around 2000 members. We are slowly rebuilding back up to our peak with Success Path-centered action plans.
Our members are happier, less overwhelmed, and still sharing with their teams and networks. We've setup a waitlist and a new free community group and are nurturing that group with continuous value between launches.
We've also been referred by direct sales leaders to their corporate brands and now have nine corporate clients whom we support with varying degrees of coaching, exclusive membership-based content, and keynote speaking.
The Membership Experience saved my business.
I don't think I've ever said this about a course or program, but The Membership Experience literally saved us.
I had no idea what I was doing wrong.
Another few months and we likely would have closed it all down. That's how perilous it was back in early 2019.
Through Stu McLaren's The Membership Experience, I learned and fixed the following:
- How membership strategy works, and why it's so urgent for business owners in this moment of pandemic and online living.
- How to create the Success Path that my members need.
- How to reduce member overwhelm.
- How to create the right pricing strategy.
- How to build member retention and loyalty.
- How to build a launch strategy with value and urgency.
- Why a closed vs. open membership model works better for my business.
- How to market with clear value that focuses on what my members are seeking.
If we had continued at our then-attrition rate without The Membership Experience, I'm quite sure I'd have given up already. Instead, my membership is thriving, my community members are happy and deeply embedded in our culture, and I can create things like this video.
Do you need Stu McLaren's The Membership Experience?
Is recurring revenue and financial stability a part of your business plan?
Then yes. You need The Membership Experience.
I won't lie… The Membership Experience is a lot of work. We were able to do it all within just a few months while running an existing membership. Basically, we turned our car into an airplane while it was flying down the road at 80 miles per hour.
And you can too.
The Suite Membership Experience Partnership
I am a proud The Membership Experience affiliate and am thrilled to share my own The Membership Experience bonuses in 2022. But first, you need to register for his free The Membership Experience workshop.
Then come join me in my free Suite Tribe Experience popup groups where I'll be sharing my own The Membership Experience bonuses:
- The exclusive launch planner and calendar that we created and used, that followed The Membership Experience model.
- A graphics pack of Success Path templates (Canva or PicMonkey).
- A graphics pack of launch images (Canva or PicMonkey).
- “Monetize Your Social Strategy” video course to expand upon your membership.
- A Mastermind group and weekly group coaching call for the 8-week duration of The Membership Experience.
- An exclusive bonuses for those who pay-in-full.
It's a Suite TME bonus pack that is going to change…..your…..business. Just like it changed mine.
Let's get started!