Loyalty is the cornerstone of a successful membership organization. While it might seem like an obvious pillar, many programs fail to effectively retain members. In fact, the majority of loyalty studies point to member retention as the most important success metric for any membership program.

In order to keep members happy and loyal, it’s essential to have a solid retention strategy in place from the get-go. You see, not everyone will stay once they’ve joined your community. This means you need to create an effective plan right away that will keep your new members around for good. 

In this article, we’ll explore different strategies for retaining members — both current and new — so that you can build lifelong customer relationships instead of just one-time guests.

Creating a Membership With ThriveCart and ThriveCart Learn

Before we dig into member retention strategies, did you know that you can create and host a membership on ThriveCart?

It’s true!

You can create a membership product with a recurring subscription payment option and host the membership portal in ThriveCart Learn, like you would a course or digital product.

Looking for a Thrivecart sales page template for your Membership? Shop our full-funnel templates for Thrivecart here.

One Important Challenge for Memberships with ThriveCart:

Right now, ThriveCart doesn’t have the capability to see when the member’s last payment came out for cancellations. 

For example: If a member signs up for an annual membership in July and cancels in December, they should keep access until the following July, right? But, ThriveCart immediately removes their access to the Learn product when their membership is canceled.

It’s an important quirk to keep in mind, but it can easily be resolved by using Zapier or Slack notifications to manually review annual cancellations.

One membership host I asked has this process when a member cancels:

– They receive an automatic cancellation notice in a Slack channel

– Their VA (virtual assistant) reviews the cancellation dates and adds their access back to the membership in Learn

– Next, the VA creates a task in ClickUp (their project management system of choice) with a due date of the actual date their membership access would expire

– When that due date rolls around, the VA manually removes their access and finalizes the membership cancellation

It’s not a perfect system at the moment, but it works to avoid membership complaints and issues with members not having access to things they should.

Why Is Member Retention Important?

Member retention is necessary because it keeps members engaged. Retaining members not only ensures that the community will be successful in the long term but also prevents members from leaving for competitors.

As a member of a group, you’re more likely to stay if other members are satisfied with the program. 

For example, if you’ve been involved in a fitness group for six months. In that case, you’re less likely to leave than someone who was just introduced to the program and had no connection with previous members. 

Membership owners should focus on retention as they want to ensure their community is sustainable in the long term and avoids costly membership churn rate spikes.

Member Retention Strategies

1. Personal and Professional Development Strategies

Members can make the best use of their membership by focusing on personal and professional development. The truth is many people leave because they lose touch with memberships after a while. This happens when members stop using their programs to improve themselves and just join for social reasons. But if you focus on personal and professional development, your members will stay engaged throughout their relationship with your program.

One fun way to do this and encourage engagement is by running live events, networking events, or live challenges.

2. Fix Your Onboarding Experience

One of the best ways to create a more ethical and engaging membership program is by focusing on the onboarding experience. If a new member has a wonderful experience right from the start, it makes a great first impression. 

A great first experience will make them want to stick around.

Review and improve your welcome videos, your welcome email sequence, and everything else that a new member first experiences.

3. Offer Discounts and Other Negotiating Tools

One way to keep members loyal is to offer them discounts and other negotiating tools. You could easily add in a couple of emails that someone receives at the 50-day mark as a monthly member to upgrade to annual.

Why the 50-day mark? Because we don’t want to offer them this when they just had a monthly payment come out, but we also want to give them some time to think it over.

Another way to keep members around is by offering membership benefits that they can’t find anywhere else. People love exciting additions and exclusive offers! A benefit like this helps retain members for years.

4. Always Get Feedback From Your Members

One of the best ways to keep members engaged and loyal is to ask them what they want. Send market research surveys, let them vote on content – this allows them to feel heard and supported. This strategy will establish you as an accessible resource and make it easier for people to feel connected with your membership. 

By engaging in these types of practices, members are more likely to feel like valued customers who know how much you value them.


Member retention strategies are valuable for any business. By implementing these strategies, you can improve the quality of your membership experience and grow your membership!

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