Seven Systems of Growing Membership Business

If you would like to build a membership business, keep members from quitting and have predictable recurring income, then this will be the most important article you read all year.

Every membership business has Seven Systems. They exist whether you know it or not.

In the same way your body has systems (like your respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, muscular, etc.), your membership program has systems too.

When they work together, you have a healthy body.

When one of the systems in your body is unhealthy, there’s a word for it. It’s called disease, or DIS-EASE.

So it is with your membership business. Healthy systems, healthy membership program.

Unhealthy systems will lead to lost members, low retention, unhealthy members and low profits.

So what are they?

This system focuses on the “features” of your membership business. You have to answer the questions of:
– What will you provide?
– How will you provide it?
– How frequently will you provide it?
– We’ll evaluate the effectiveness to make sure that we’re over-delivering on what we promised to your members.

This system consists of the three C’s of Content:

Content Catalog:  This is a list of all the items you can provide your members.  If you are a service provider, this is the menu of all the services you can provide.

Content Calendar: With the Content Calendar you determine when and how often you’re going to deliver your content to your members.  (Keep in mind the number one reason people quit is because of content overload.)  You have to know the right balance between delivering too much and delivering too little.

You may need to “drip” your content based on the steps your members need to take. You may need to “broadcast” your content so that every member gets the same content every month.

Your content calendar helps you find the right balance on what you deliver and when.

Content Categories:  Once you have Content Catalog, you have to divide your content into categories so that you can know what categories of content should be delivered.  There may be seasons to your content or services.  There may be a “right way” to implement.

Your content categories help you deliver a balance of content to your members. There are other questions to consider when it comes to your content:

  • What external problems does your membership solve that your members face?
  • What internal problems does your membership solve that your members face?
  • What modalities will you use to deliver your content?
  • What content can you re-purpose?  Just because you delivered the content once, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be delivered again at just the right time.

This Content System will remove the frustration and guesswork of knowing what you’re going to do for your members.  You’ll have a complete system on when, what, and how often to deliver to your members.

This system will show you how to you get members to become fully engaged in your program.

There are specific steps you must take to assimilate your members. This system guides you through each of these steps and ensures that when a member joins, you’re giving them the best opportunity to stay for the long-haul.

When you assimilate new members, you have to answer the questions:

1- What do you want your members to RECEIVE?

What do we you every new member to get in the first:

  • Hour
  • Day
  • Week
  • Month
  • Quarter
  • Six Months
  • One Year

It’s important to think through all that you want your member to receive.  They’re no longer a customer.  They’re now a member.  You have to onboard them to your membership program and reinforce their decision to become a member.

2- What do you want your members to believe?

Yes, you have to work the “beliefs” of your members.  I’ll give you an example:

My wife and I have a grocery delivery membership.  For those who don’t know, my wife is a full-time teacher.  She loves what she does.  A while back, I gave her a membership to this grocery delivery service.  How does that impact my beliefs?

Well, my wife and I have to believe that getting someone to deliver our groceries will save us time, relieve stress and create other better opportunities to use your time.  It’s a change in our beliefs that we’re willing to be a member of service.

When it comes to changing beliefs, you have to sometimes change:

  • The mindset of your members.  You have to help them see things differently.
  • The conversation in their head.  For some membership business, you have to change the conversation (negative self-talk) that your members have in their head.
  • The belief they have about their business or personal life.  You have to help them see the benefits of their membership and the membership will make life easier, reduce stress or provide them with a greater sense of value.

3- What you want your members to achieve?

Your members have a reason or goal for joining your membership.  Will your membership deliver on the reason why your members joined?

The very reason members join a membership is because they want to achieve a goal.  You have to clearly identify that goal and repeatedly deliver on that goal for your members.

The goal of this system is to attract prospects with your marketing, nurture them and get them to become members.

This is where you build your marketing funnel, develop your lead magnet that will attract you the best possible prospects, nurture those prospects and build a desire for your membership program.

You demonstrate your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), show prospects the benefits of your program and use testimonies to share the success of others.

As a marketer of your business, you have to have three core marketing beliefs:
– Marketing is the most important activity you do in your business
– Marketing is never something you finish learning, it’s an ongoing education
– The difference between ordinary and extraordinary income is implementation

In this system there the “Five C’s of Marketing a Membership Business”

You have to build a crowd with your marketing.  This is your list of prospects.  These are the people that enter into your sphere of influence.

After you nurture your crowd, you then convert them to members and get them in your membership program. You have to make sure that your marketing matches your membership.

You have to market to your members and build your membership into a community. Just because they joined your membership program doesn’t mean you stop marketing to them.  You have to create a relationship with your members and create a community.

Once you have your membership program, you develop “next steps” for your members to take to increase their loyalty to your membership. You identify new revenue streams within your membership business and market to your members to get them to increase their commitment and you increase or deliver a higher level service or goods.

These are the members at the heart of your membership program. These are your raving fans. These are the people who bring you referrals and add other people to your program.

You have to market to them and give them opportunities to share what they’ve experienced.  Equip them to get you referrals and add new members to your program.

Here’s what I know – it is easy to see cancellations happen and immediately venture out to get as many new members as possible to try to make up for it.

When that happens – you enter the rat wheel of just always trying to keep up.

That is one way to do it but NOT the best way.

The real goal ought to be to increase the retention of members instead of just replacing canceled members with new members.

The fastest way to increase your revenue by double-digit percentages is to lower your churn rate, thereby increasing the lifetime value of every member.

You have to develop a pathway for people to follow so that they don’t lose interest in your program and quit.

Most members quit during the third month. The problem is most businesses wait to develop a plan. They wait until month three. By that time it’s too late! You have to develop a plan that will get members to stay beyond month three. Then develop a pathway to keep members engaged and stay for the long-haul.

You do this by helping members increase their RELATIONSHIP + RESULTS:

Let’s take a look at the first – RESULTS:

When you get your members results and they see their success tied to your membership program, they’ll be hard to lose.

You’ll make them a fan. They’ll see their achievement is tied to what you’re providing and the direction you’re taking them.

But RESULTS don’t stand alone. You have to have a RELATIONSHIP.

When you tie the results to a relationship with you – it will keep your competitors at a distance.

Let’s face it, your competitors can produce results too. Maybe not to the same extent that you can but they produce results.

Your relationship with your members is what becomes the iron fence that will keep your competitors out.

The stronger your relationship plus the greater the results you provide for your members the more difficult it will be for your members to quit your membership program.

You do these two things, there’s no reason a person would quit your membership program!

This system focuses on ascension, descension, retention and achievement within your membership program.

If you’re going to have a membership program you need to have a way that members can progress through their membership. Creating an ascension model for your program will help your members and increase your revenue.

Plus, before you let a member quit, there should be a descension process in place to help them through whatever barrier they may be facing that is causing them to quit.

To have a healthy ascension system you must have:
• Ascension
• Descension
• Retention
• Achievement

This of this system like a ladder.  A ladder has two rails and multiple rungs on the ladder.

The rungs on your ladder are ascension and descension.  As your members climb the ladder they ascend the ladder and the different opportunities you provide.

As your members descend the ladder, they’re able to do so using those opportunities you provide.

The two rails holding the rungs in place:  Retention and Achievement

This Ascension System keeps people from quitting.  Everybody knows jumping off a ladder is dangerous.  You don’t let your members jump off the ladder.  Instead, you give them opportunities to ascend or descend and stay in your membership program.

What tweaks can you make to increase membership, increase retention, reduce cancellations and create more profit? This system helps you to constantly look for opportunities and new ventures to provide your members.

Are there new products, services, events that you can have for your members that will benefit them and better serve the goals of your membership program?

The strategy system includes:
• Membership pricing strategies
• Member acquisition strategies
• Ascension strategies
• Tracking Retention (and what to do at the chokepoints)
• Evaluating your membership program
• Staffing your growing membership business

You owe it to your members to constantly improve your program and give them the best service possible.

Developing your personal leadership so that you can lead your members.

John Maxwell says, “He that thinketh he leadeth, and hath no one following, is only taking a walk.” If you’re all alone as a leader, are you really leading? Losing touch with your people is a huge leadership landmine. It will damage your credibility and destroy your influence. How do you avoid losing touch?

You must constantly get ahead of your members and L-E-A-D:


  • What books are you reading?
  • What seminars are you attending?
  • What coaching networks are you a member of?


  • What personal experiences?
  • What financial experiences have you gone through?
  • What family experiences?
  • What life experiences have you gone through that can benefit your members or your business?


It’s not enough to learn and experience. You have to apply what you’re learning.

  • What new disciplines are you developing?
  • What hobbies or talents are you learning?
  • What actions are you taking as a result of what you’re learning?


  • What action plans are you executing in your business?
  • How are you helping people around you become better?
  • How are you developing at becoming a better leader?

These are the “Seven Systems of a Healthy Membership Business.”  When these systems are healthy, your membership business will be healthy.

If you’re experiencing “DIS-EASE” with your membership business, it’s because one or more of these systems aren’t functioning at their optimal level.

So how healthy is your membership business?

At some point, everybody needs a doctor to diagnose their disease.  I want to help you further diagnose the “dis-ease” within your membership business.

Over the years, I’ve worked directly with members and membership businesses.  I’ve heard every excuse as to why people quit their membership.  So I decided to compile the most common excuses and wrote an e-book titled, “Why People Quit Your Membership Program and What You Can Do About It.”

I also included six tools you can quickly implement to improve your membership program.

I’d like to give you a FREE copy.  All you have to do is click here to get a FREE copy of my e-book “Why People Quit Your Membership Business and What You Can Do About It.”

I look forward to helping you launch, grow and build a membership business.


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About Scott Whitaker

Scott is an expert in creating and building membership programs within businesses, giving greater value to customers and multiplying income. Using his "Seven Systems of a Healthy Membership Program," he will help you get new members, increase retention and structure your membership program for long-term growth.