8 ways your membership business is vulnerable (and you can lose members)

May 31, 2017

Membership business can be vulnerable to multiple failures during their operation. If your membership business isn’t protected you’re risking member retention and revenue.

Taking your website, members and platform for granted is a dangerous strategy. Especially when your revenue depends on so many operation points working.

If even a single one of this 8 points fails, then you’re risking income, revenue, membership retention and trust.

We’re going to explore 8 common points of failure for membership businesses as well as the safest and most efficient way to protect and maintain them.

Website failure

If your membership business relies on a website either to sell, deliver or manage your members, you could be open to a host of fail points.

Aside from server, hosting, browser and CMS vulnerabilities. Your website is open to a host of weaknesses which can never be 100% fully secured.

If your website goes down, your business doesn’t have a marketing, delivery, sales or growth platform. Splinter sales, member information, marketing outreach. They’re all vulnerable based on the security of your website.

Google actually ranks sites that have been attacked, hacked or have code problems lower. As well as displaying if your site is vulnerable.

On top of all that, if your website does go down, how do you get back up and running? If your website host and their servers fail, what are you going to do?

You need to chose a host with reliable and secure hosting. Paying for quality hosting over budget is always smarter. Make sure your website is protected and backed up. Maintaining your website is critical to the success of your membership business.

Data corruption

Membership businesses rely on enormous amounts of data. User data, personal information, contact information, payment details. Depending on where you store and how you access that information, it’s open to failure.

Let’s say your members details are all stored on your website host. Sometimes you export a CSV file as a backup, but overall, it’s left untouched.

If that database or data comes under attack, (and there are over 10 ways that it can be attacked) you’ve lost the people who make up your membership.

Login details, certification completion, user privileges, they all go out the window.

Backup your user data and keep multiple versions. Have a disaster recovery plan too. Recovering and restoring data is not as easy as it sounds and can be an operation in itself even if you have all the data.

Platform¬†bait ‘n’ switch

Facebook, Teachable, uDemy and all the other thousands of membership platforms allow people to create courses and memberships easier than ever.

Facebook could turn around tomorrow and decide that private member groups can’t exist. They probably won’t but they are going to start allowing advertising within groups.

So that private group you’ve set up? I can now advertise to your members inside that and there’s nothing you can do about it.

uDemy has changed it’s pricing policy 3 times in 2 years. You’re not even in total control of your own content.

Unless you’re building entirely on your platform, on your own turf, you’re leaving your membership open to the whims of larger businesses.

If you’re never going to change over to your own platform, then you need to have a contingency in place. Do you even own your content and course? Do you even own the database of your members?

Taking members for granted

If you’re expecting members to just keep paying for no reason, you’re in for a shock. You need to be constantly at the front of their mind, being as helpful and useful as possible.

Often membership businesses focus too much on finding more members, leaving the current members to it. However if you’re not as equally focused on retaining your current members, you’re going to struggle to grow.

Are your members joining as quickly as the they’re leaving? Why do people leave? Do you need to address the ways you interact with your members and add new benefits and results to their membership.

Payment failure

PayPal is notorious for blocking payments and frankly, sucking at taking recurring payments. Stripe is better, but it’s still not perfect.

No payment platform will ever be perfect. But aside from people not having the cash in their account, how does your payment system work? Are you open to vulnerabilities through your payment process?

PayPal can even freeze your account if you make too MUCH money.

PayPal has done an incredible job revolutionising the world of payments and money. But it’s still their rules and platform. Don’t leave yourself open to problems with your payment system.

Outdated practice

Part of the problem with courses and online content is that it can be quickly outdated. If you’re teaching people how to use Photoshop, are you focusing on the 2015 version or do you upgrade to Creative Cloud (Photoshop’s latest release).

If you teach people how to use a certain technology, is it going to be out of date soon? We’ve seen hundreds of social media, SEO and website design courses become obsolete overnight.

The practice you teach MUST be updated over time. Even if it’s not based on a technology or expiry. ¬†It has to move and evolve with new members.

New delivery methods, community design and coaching are all things you need to start looking at in order to stay relevant.

No new blood

No new members is a killer when it comes to keeping members. It’s obvious that without new members you’ll never grow. But it can also affect your membership attrition rate.

Current members will leave if they don’t see new people join. It’s critical to a membership that we drive more people to sign up.

But it isn’t just members, are your members getting bored of you? Do you need to bring other instructors, mentors or coaches on board? Often a fresh set of eyes and a new authority for your members to turn towards is a big boost to growing and keeping members.

Human error

Finally, human error. Your membership business can fail due to the very things that make it a membership business.

Malicious users can open up flaws in your platform. People can keep a password as “password” and leave it open. You can have toxic members who make other feel uncomfortable.

The beauty of membership business is that you’ll get to meet and help people from all walks of life. This brings with it the same issues as any other group of people.

Friction, mistakes, difference of opinion. How are you going to manage the human side of your business, in order to protect your business?



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