"The Forever Transaction," by Robbie Kellman Baxter

We’ve all been there: You get your latest credit card bill or bank statement, and you scan your eyes over all the charges. 

Yep, yep, yep that makes sense. But am I really paying THIS for that service?

The next move means pulling out a laptop or making a phone call, canceling a membership for the gym you never go to or the online subscription for a website you never visit. 

But how do we, as membership organizations, make sure that reaction isn’t about us? It takes fighting subscription fatigue, according to “Membership Economy” author Robbie Kellman Baxter, whose latest book, “The Forever Transaction,” is due out in April. To celebrate the release of the new title, Baxter is joining AssociationSuccess.org for a special webinar, which will be pre-recorded so attendees can choose one of three times to join the conversation on April 16! And the first 20 registrants will get a FREE copy of Baxter’s new book, “The Forever Transaction!” 

In the book, Baxter tackles how to turn your membership organization into a thriving business, and one of the obstacles is combating subscription fatigue. With so many companies offering membership, Baxter identifies three drivers of the problem:

1 — Your subscription just isn’t very good. A lot of associations struggle with this, Baxter argues, so it takes a good, hard look in the mirror and asking, what do your members actually get for their membership? And are those elements valuable enough to get someone to even sign up in the first place? 

“That’s a product-market fit issue,” Baxter explains. “Does it look like everything you threw together, like, oh, we have this old whitepaper, let’s throw that in for members, and we have these ugly T-shirts we made 10 years ago, let’s throw that in. … It’s the mindset of, if we have it, let’s through it in the bundle for membership, but it does not necessarily signal value to the members. What’s in there is not helping the members achieve their goals.” 

2 — Your members have subscription guilt. If your members are thinking “I love the organization, and I think their membership is amazing, but it’s my fault I don’t use the resources they give me,” you’ve got problems. An example of this? Someone who always registers for events or webinars but never shows up. 

“If you get that feedback, where members tell us they love the benefits but they’re too busy,” Baxter said, “that’s like someone breaking up with you and saying, ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’ It’s kind of true. ‘It’s not you. You’re a good person. I just don’t want to spend the rest of my life with you.’”

3 — You’re hiding the cancel button. Let’s be clear: Getting out of your membership should be just as easy as getting into it. While you might think making cancelation difficult means you keep people in your organization — like, for example, by only allowing exits once a year, or if they write a letter — it’s also keeping members from signing up in the first place. 

Want more from Robbie Kellman Baxter? Join us for our April 16 webinar! 

Chelsea Brasted is the writer and editor who serves as content manager for AssociationSuccess.org. A former reporter and breaking news editor for The Times-Picayune, she lives in New Orleans with her husband and two rescue dogs.

Chelsea Brasted is the writer and editor who serves as content manager for AssociationSuccess.org. A former reporter and breaking news editor for The Times-Picayune, she lives in New Orleans with her husband and two rescue dogs.

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