Gamify Your Membership Site
The first method for engaging your students and members (and thus reducing churn) is to gamify your site. This includes doing things such as tracking your members’ progress, quizzing them, and rewarding them for completing certain tasks. Let’s look at each of these separately…
Tracking Member Progress
If your membership site offers some sort of training to members, then one good way to engage them is by tracking their progress.
For example, let’s imagine you have a video course with ten modules. As your members work their way through the modules, you can show them a progress bar that gives them a visual indicator of how much of the course they’ve completed, and how much they still need to review. For instance, once they’ve gone through three of ten modules, they’ll see that they’ve completed 30% of the course and they still have 70% to go.
Now the reason showing a progress bar to members works so well is because it provides a little psychological poke in the ribs to keep going. Once people have started something, they like to finish it. And the progress bar is the reminder that they need to finish something.
You can see this psychology in action every day. For example, people start Netflix movies or a series, and they can easily see the “progress bar” showing them how much they have left. Even if the person is starting to lose interest in the movie or series, they’ll finish it – because psychologically, people feel much more comfortable when they see something through to the end.
Another way to look at it is when you see charities use a visual representation to show progress on a particular fundraiser. One example is a GoFundMe campaign. The campaign has a goal (such as $10,000), and the fundraising page has a progress bar showing how much of the goal is remaining. When people share their fundraiser on social media, such as on Facebook, the progress bar shows in their post.
Psychologically, this works best if there is at least a little bit showing on the progress bar. This applies whether we’re talking about a fundraiser or the progress bar that you show to your members.
If there’s a little bit of progress – just one step – then you’ve triggered that psychological part in your members who now want to see through the entire process. And the closer the progress bar gets to 100%, the more urgency your members will feel to finish the task.
This is why it’s so important for you to create an onboarding sequence where you encourage members to take a few small, easy steps – and then you include those steps in your progress bar. Your members will feel good about starting and seeing the progress bar will encourage them to continue.
Which brings us to another point…
Another reason it works so well is because the progress bar provides a constant reminder that the student still has more to do. Sure, if there wasn’t a progress bar, most members would know approximately how much of the material they still need to get through. But this progress bar becomes a constant visual reminder, which produces an added sense of urgency to complete the task.
Now, you can kick this strategy up a notch by rewarding your members for completing certain tasks (such as viewing all the modules in a course), or by completing any other task inside your membership site.
Another way to gamify your site and help boost engagement and retention is by rewarding members for completing certain tasks. For example, you can reward someone who finishes watching a multimodule course inside your membership site, you can reward them for joining on a discussion, you can reward them for viewing the bonus products in your membership, and so on. You can even reward someone for remaining a member month after month after month.
What you want to do first is decide what tasks you’d MOST like your members to complete, such as viewing a course. Whatever you deem as the most important tasks are the ones you should reward.
Then you need to decide what sort of reward to offer. The level of reward obviously depends on the importance of the task.
For example, if you’re rewarding participation in a group, a simple “badge” works well as a reward. You can hand out different badges for different levels of participation. For example, someone who makes their first post gets some sort of participation badge. Once someone has been around for a while and made multiple really good posts or comments, then you can reward them with a next-level badge, such as “Top Contributor” badge or an “Expert” badge.
Another way to reward someone is by offering them “certification” if they complete training inside your membership site. For example, if someone in a search engine optimization membership site completes all your SEO training, you can “certify” that they have finished the training. It’s basically a psychological reward that makes people feel good. And when people feel good about your membership, they’re likely to remain active members.
However, in some cases you might be able to make this certification worth something even more to members. Let’s go back to the example of teaching SEO. You might help those who’ve been certified to find SEO clients. Those who don’t complete the training won’t get this sort of valuable help from you.
Still another way to reward someone is by offering a bonus, discount, gift card or other item. For example, when someone completes a simple task within your site, they get a 25% discount on any of your products. If they complete a bigger and more important task, you might reward them with a 50% discount coupon. And if they complete the most important task within your membership site – such as completing the training – then you can give them a free product.
Still another way to make a certification more valuable is to partner with other people in your niche, and have them provide rewards to those who are certified. For example, your partners can provide discount coupon codes to those members in your site who meet certain criteria.
If you have multiple partners offering rewards to your members, then you’ve just kicked the gamification of your site up a major notch! End result? Happier members and much higher retention rates.
And here’s one more want to increase retention inside your membership site…
Another very good way to engage your members is by quizzing them. Not only does this engage members, it also lets both you and your members track their progress. You can even include quizzes as part of the certification process to ensure that members not only completed the training, but they understand and have retained what they’ve learned.
In most cases, we’re talking about setting up serious quizzes to gauge student progress and/or to help with the certification process.
For example, you might include a quiz at the end of a module. If the student gets a high score, you can congratulate them and send them onto the next module. If they get an “okay” score, you can tell them to review the questions they got wrong, and not move on until they understand the concept. If they get a low score, you can encourage them to review the module again and re-take the quiz.
While the serious quiz provides the most useful insights to you and your students about their progress, you can also sprinkle in fun quizzes here and there for the purpose of boosting engagement.
What do we mean by a “fun” quiz?
For starters, the fun quizzes should be optional. You don’t want to necessarily tie them into gamification, certification, rewards or anything like that. A fun quiz isn’t actually fun if someone is forced to take it. That’s why fun quizzes should be completely optional… only for those who genuinely like doing that sort of thing.
Just think of those quizzes you’ve seen on social media, especially on Facebook. People are always voluntarily taking these sorts of quizzes and posting the results on Facebook. Sometimes the quizzes test their knowledge about something, such as 80s rock bands. But many times, these quizzes are just silly fun, such as when someone takes a quiz telling them what sort of witch they’d be.
In order to create this sort of silly/fun quiz, you need to tie it into your niche. For example, if you have a dog-training site, then you can create a fun quiz where people answer a few questions, the quiz tells them what breed of dog they would be and why.
Or let’s suppose you have a cooking site. You can have people choose their favorite meal from a list of half a dozen, and then you can reveal what their choice tells you about their personality. It’s complete BS of course, as the quiz really doesn’t give any insight. But nonetheless, people take these quizzes because it’s all in good fun.
Plus, people really like learning about themselves – we are all different degrees of narcissists – so a quiz that promises to reveal insights about a person tends to get a lot of engagement.
So the point is, you can use serious quizzes to gauge progress and fun quizzes to boost engagement. Either way, both types of quizzes are going to help boost engagement, member satisfaction, and retention. And likewise, you get the same good benefits when you use the other rewards, certifications, and gamification that you just got done learning about.