Paying for a service is a complex buying decision, we get that. We especially understand the thought process that then goes into renewing or even just continuing to pay for that service.
Cara is the FD of CMA and is forever giving me a hard time…
“Why do we pay them? What’s this for?”
That’s why it’s no surprise to us when a CMA member decides that we are no longer of value to them.
Most members will let us know they’re leaving, in the main because they genuinely like us as real human beings.
The nature of our role as teachers, mentors and consultants means it’s often hard for us to take it on when someone says they’re leaving. We like to think that we can help everyone, that everyone is capable and that our members are the best people on the planet.
It really breaks our feels when they say things like;
- It’s a money thing, we’re making cut backs
- I haven’t been active in Slack (Forum)
- I don’t have time to concentrate on content at the moment
- I’m not seeing the results I’d hope for
I often reflect on what could I do better. What do I need to do so members don’t get to this point?
Cara doesn’t reflect that way. Her pragmatic view is that a member who cancels isn’t in the right place to commit.
Which is true, however. There’s more to it than that.
In this blog we’ll talk about the pitfalls of failed memberships and how to get the most value from yours.
Back in the beginning, I’d run a face to face service whereby people would sign up to a 6-month masterclass – I’d have clients and I’d consult. I was building an audience for a new service – one that would be subscription based and provide a membership model for people who wanted to LEARN content marketing.
Emphasis on the ‘learn’ because this is the first of 5 reasons people falter with their commitment to CMA.
1. Learning isn’t easy
Everyone has their own style and it requires focus and dedication, something that business and life often don’t allow for.
The CSF programme is specifically created to guide new members through the fundamental basics of what Content Marketing really is as well as an introduction to Big 5 and TAYA.
I can think of one member who cancelled after completing CSF and that’s before it was free to members. All other cancellations are people who have not completed the training they effectively paid for.
A willingness to learn needs to come from within. If a person doesn’t commit to the learning it’s not the staying still that will make them cancel it’s the moving backwards.
Learning is a continual process, small steps each day, moving forward, always.
2. Next up is…TIME!
I wonder how many cancelled memberships have heard us talk about time as not an excuse?
We spend a fair amount of our promotional marketing for membership creating awareness about the time that is needed to implement content marketing.
Some start out thinking, oh i’ll just do it when I get a wee minute, catch up at the end of the day and work on it at night time. They associate content marketing with social media – as some kind of desirable but not completely necessary business element.
After a little more detail people soon catch on to the level of commitment required.
A really good way to start is head first in to the 90 Day Challenge – committing yourself to dedicated time.
Those entering in to Membership at 90 Day Challenge time are far more likely to continue with their membership and see the results that come from their consistency than members who join but don’t do anything – and I mean anything.
I have one member in mind who joined and for a whole 12 months hadn’t responded to any engagement until renewal at which point they didn’t realise they had a membership?
Getting off to a good start is crucial. No-one wants to quit before they’ve even started but many do.
- I don’t have the time to write a blog (Podcast)
- I don’t have the time for content marketing (Podcast)
- How content marketers can use their time more effectively (Podcast)
3. I just can’t do it Capitan!
We know the CMA way is a lot to ask of some. People who have went to market in a very traditional way for many years do feel the pull. The controversy of answering your customer’s questions for them not yourself is a daunting one. It goes against everything we’re taught in education, where Sales and Marketing are separate.
However, if you are at the point in which you are actually paying for a CMA membership we’d like to think you get the gist of what’s expected of you.
So what is it that stops folk from doing it? The FEAR! We are so consumed with it.
Fear of being noticed, fear of being identified for your work, fear of being vulnerable enough to let people see you, fear of being judged for who you are, fear of believing in yourself and your own thoughts, fear of choosing ‘your thing’ owning it and being responsible for it, fear of comparison against others… Fear of not being liked.
All the little put-downs, the you-can’ts and the that’ll-never-work-for-you’s that people tell themselves on the daily is what stops them from doing the work.
And this is true for every single person – fleeting doubt, momentary negatives, tinted lenses… We ALL have it.
So what is it that gets the people goin’? ACTION!
And before Anxious Annie has a look in, you’ll be on day 14 of the membership. You will have followed Nic’s instructions to the letter – all set, all prepared and more confident than ever that the CMA way is 100% for you.
My Dad is a computer programmer, his work on “Diabetes My Way” – an interface developed for the NHS in 2008 – helps my now stepson Paddy (born in 2008) manage his diabetes.
Computers existed in my home before I did. I’ve grown up surrounded by technology and all its wonder.
This has given me an innate ability to accept technology for what it is at any given level. When most are completely infuriated by its constraints and processes when trying to operate it, I can look at it from a sympathetic approach, knowing that maybe it’s just not there yet.
This has helped me teach the latest developments of online marketing to my members for over 6 years. I’ve worked with some of the most incredible people, not least my partner Cara and watched them absolutely lose the plot over Mailchimp – a software designed for email marketing.
I’ve witnessed how technology can completely disable a persons ability to make progress.
The beautiful thing about CMA is how many of our members have overcome their technical struggles. Observing their learning and patience to succeed on their bigger picture is remarkable.
How they do this is together.
- “What’s a Facebook Pixel and how do I get it on my website?”
- “Is it worth setting up and Personal and a Business LinkedIn?”
- “Who do you use for SEO checking for your blogs?”
- “If I’m wanting to create a sign up for emails how do I get it on my homepage?”
- “What’s better Camtasia or just YouTube for editing videos?”
I remember back in 2015 when I first introduced Slack as our forum – it was met with mix reviews. I looked at the technicalities and appreciated in full its functionality. Such a good platform!!
Members who are used to online forums and that are in that space, get it – it’s just how the digital world works.
Members who are fresh out of BNI and Chamber or never even dipped their big toe in the world of a business community have no idea what CMA is talking about!!
And it’s there that the first technological hurdle is met. It’s not social media, it’s not meant for Instagram updates, and it has no ‘share’ button? It’s a forum. It’s for communicating on mass in an organised matter.
Why? The Zone of Proximal Development. That’s why.
Members that don’t engage with the community miss out on the most important part of CMA – learning from your peers.
All the questions listed and thousands more are answered, in an instant. The person who you see scaling the YouTube charts and the Podcast polls are the very same people who were once in your shoes struggling to pull together their first take, their first published article, their first piece of online presence.
Speak to them. They want to help. Learning from their ‘figuring out’ will fast track your learning on the very same thing.
I do not accept that technology is optional anymore. You must embrace technology and continue to develop in order to serve your customers.
On average, over 70% of the buying decision is made online before the first contact, and if you’re not there, you don’t exist.
CMA is the gateway to all you need to know in order to succeed in the modern business world.
- The importance of learning in groups (Article)
- Only mediocre people are at their best (Facebook Live)
5. The quick fix
I can safely say I’ve read at least 400 books relating directly to business, sales and marketing. I can also say, thankfully, that I stopped reading any business books over 2 years ago. When I know what it is that I’m supposed to be doing, I go all in.
Cara says my ability to study is “fuckin’ no’ right”. Cara describes my approach as way beyond the lengths that others will go to.
When I see the behaviours of those who sack their membership, It’s clear to me their need to find that something to do it for them is far greater than the willingness to just get on with it.
Surface level approach, tinker, dip in…
“Ah so I see what you’re ‘trying’ to do here, okay this makes sense, so will this do? What about this? Yes, I know BIG 5 – I can do that…I’ll stick a chatbot on it, add a funnel and create a landing page linked to a Facebook ad.”
There’s a time and a place for everything, and with each step there’s a lesson and a progression. Ramming every single shiny ball you found on to your website is not the answer.
You can’t magic organic search, you can’t fake customer engagement and you can’t buy hard work.
Most people overestimate what they can do in a day, and underestimate what they can do in a year.
It’s up to you to see how much change you can make happen in a year at CMA.
- Interview with Russ Haworth: How content marketing can shape your career in a niche industry (Podcast)
- Interview with Pete Matthew:
The CMA Way
CMA exists because of the people in it. We’re long before making money from this business which means we run entirely on the belief and success of our members.
So, in short…Cara is right. If it’s not the right time for you to commit, you will quit. My guess is, if you’ve come this far in my tirade of 6 years managing a membership, you are CMA and you’re ready to find your way.
- How does content marketing lead to sales? (Article)
- Interview with Debbie Ekins: How content marketing directly impacts sales (Podcast)
- Interview with Jack O’Brien – How to scale B2B and B2B companies with content marketing (Podcast)