The 10 Biggest Membership Site Mistakes To Avoid

Like anyone, you want to avoid these 10 Biggest Membership Site Mistakes like the plague.

Picture The Scene…

You’re excited. Your new membership site is up and running after months of hard work preparing content, working with your web developer, and believing that if you build it, they will come!

You’ve built it and they’re not coming! Is all that time, effort, and money wasted?

No – not if you start correcting the mistakes you’re making.

And, if you’re creating a membership site, make sure you go in with your eyes wide open to the mistakes that others make.

There are many “moving parts” to juggle when building an effective membership site and it’s easy to fall for the common mistakes.

From our experience, there are ten whopping mistakes that businesses make when converting to a membership model.

Let’s get straight into the list…

Membership Site Mistakes

1.  Not considering existing customers as VIPs

Unless you’re a start-up business, you already have existing customers with you for a good reason.

A major change to your business like moving to a membership model will involve a transition process that these valuable existing customers (your VIPs) may not appreciate or enjoy.

Make sure that you look after their needs and don’t simply focus on attracting new customers.

If the transition is well-managed, your existing customers can be your most valuable asset in your new business model.

Their loyalty is not to be taken lightly. Make sure they are kept informed, understand what will happen, how it affects them, and give them a chance to have their questions answered.

Then, make sure that you provide ongoing value to them as well as to new members who come on board. Aim to build a community that existing customers feel a valuable part of.

2.  Not looking after the early birds

Many membership sites start off with special low-price deals or promotions to get people through the door. It stands to reason.

After your first round of success, prices are invariably raised and new members pay a little more.

It’s part of the growing process.

However, some sites start treating their lower-paying early-bird members like second-class citizens because they’re not paying as much as new members.

This is poor business practice and will damage your customer numbers, reputation, and growth.

After all, early birds took a gamble on your services when many wouldn’t. They deserve their deal and for you to stick with them.

3.  Not developing trust

Trust is earned not given.

It’s an irreplaceable currency if you’re doing business online. You need to take steps with your online presence to build it.

That involves:

  • Displaying trust “badges” such as professional associations you belong to and awards you’ve received
  • Displaying testimonials that previous customers have provided
  • Featuring case studies that demonstrate results you achieve
  • Developing an About page that explains your background

4.  Ignoring the user experience

Any website in 2020 should place user experience front and center.

When you’re asking people to pay for services, it’s even more important to create an engaging, easy-to-use website that customers want to spend time on, Otherwise, they will simply go elsewhere.

Common mistakes including slow-loading pages, poorly organized information, and a clunky user interface. Hiring an experienced membership site developer will help you avoid this type of problem.

5.  Not developing enough relevant content

If you are asking members to pay for information and resources, it needs to be high quality, highly relevant, and not available for free elsewhere. This is one of the most common Membership Site Mistakes.

If you focus simply on developing volumes of content that does not really answer the main questions of your target audience, you’ll probably find that:

  • New members won’t come
  • They may come but won’t stay and renew their subscription
  • Existing customers may leave

This, of course, is all bad for business.

6.  Not adding new content regularly enough

Membership sites are never “set and forget”. You need to add content regularly to maintain the perception of value for your subscribers.

If you’re expecting customers to pay you every month, they are expecting to receive the benefits of your wisdom every month. If that stops, so does the money.

It makes sense to create a path of content through your site, so that your members progress through different levels, constantly learning valuable information.

When members reach the end of one path, make sure there’s a new path for them to take.

7.  Becoming a marketing “pest”

Over-marketing your membership site will see you end up in spam folders. That’s a problem for your reputation in many ways:

  • Customers who will lose respect for you
  • With email providers, who may restrict your activities
  • ISP's (Internet Service Providers) who will blacklist you.

This is extremely damaging. So, stick to marketing campaigns that are relevant and add value to members and potential members.

Make sure you don’t overdo the upsell or cross-sell by bombarding members or they will head for the exit.

8.  Not meeting customer service expectations

If your customers expect live chat 24/7, an always-open support line, and problems resolved immediately, it’s no use only offering them an email address.

The expectations of customers have changed with social media and chat. If you don’t provide what they demand in this respect, they will find another service that does – and they may leave a bad review for your service as they go (even more damaging).

Communicate with members regularly or you won’t know what they really think. More about this in the next point.

9.  Not communicating enough with members

I said earlier that you shouldn’t spam your members. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t communicate regularly with them.

If you only contact members when you’re trying to get them to upgrade or renew membership, you’re on a slippery slope.

You should be seeking their input, feedback, reviews, and so on too. This will help you shape the future direction of your site.

Remember, they may only be staying with you due to the lack of a better alternative. If that’s the case, as soon as that alternative comes along (as it inevitably will), they’re off.

Prevent customer churn by finding out what more you can be doing to keep them loyal.

10.  Complacency…or tinkering

You need to strike a balance here.

Complacency can cause you to sit back and rest on your laurels. The customers are in, you have your recurring revenue, life’s good. So, you don’t need to do anything, right?


You need to plan your next stage of growth. Whether that means developing more content, designing a new marketing strategy, or getting customer feedback via surveys, it’s not the time to just sit back.

However, on the other end of the scale, there are membership site owners who tinker unnecessarily with aspects of their site that are working well. They get bored or itchy feet and start playing with a winning formula, simply alienating customers who were enjoying the ride to that point.

This should also be avoided. Change for the sake of change is a losing formula.

How many of these Membership Site Mistakes have you made?

Hopefully, you can count your mistakes on a few fingers and don’t need two hands.

Mistakes are part of the learning process but if you can avoid the big ones that others are making, you’ll save yourself time, effort, and money.

If you’re not making any of the above mistakes, you’re well on the way to being ahead of the crowd with a flourishing membership site.

Membership Site Mistakes Needn't Be Made!!

If you enjoyed this article you'd probably also enjoy this one too – Starting a Subscription Business? Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes


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