The subtitle for this book is, “The single biggest secret to membership and subscription growth”, which I find a bit misleading (but in a good way) because I believe that there’s more than just a ‘single secret’ in the book. I found a lot of information and thought it was a very valuable read.
Why did I buy this book?
I have another business called “How To Dressage,” and I’m currently developing an analytical application aimed at dressage riders, which will be available to people via a monthly subscription.
I know that SaaS (software as a service) business models can be a bit tricky, especially when it comes to keeping subscribers for the long-term.
So, as I always do in these situations, I looked for a book to help educate me on how best to market and position my business to help give it the best chance of success. And I’m delighted to say that I found the information that I wanted in this book!
I think this book is self-published, and I like that! I have self-published many books myself and I admire the motivation it takes to produce a whole book, along with the guts it takes to actually put it out there.
I also like the fact that the author tells us that he is boarding a 27-hour flight and he’s intending to write the first draft of the book during that flight. He frequenlty makes comments about how long he’s got left to write, which adds a nice touch.
However, I did Google the longest flight, and it’s only 19 hours, so I guess the author has used some artistic license here!
A 1-hour read?
The author states that he intended for the book to be read in an hour. I didn’t time myself (and I read the book over several sitting), but I think if you had a pretty decent reading speed, you could get through this book in an hour.
What’s the book about?
As mentioned, this book aims to help the performance of subscription and membership-based businesses. Specifically, it’s equipping you with the knowledge needed to retain more of your members and subscribers and reduce the amount of ‘churn’.
Churn is usually measured in a percentage and reflects the amount of customers who cancel or fail to renew their subscription.
A high churn-rate is very bad for business. It can indicate a dissatisfaction with the service/product, it reduces the amount of monthly revenue into the business, and it makes it very difficult to grow and scale.
The last thing you want is to work hard to get a subscriber who only stays with you for a couple of months and then leaves. You then have to find another subscriber to replace the one that you lost, as well as trying to find additional subscribers to grow the business. All of this activity is adding to your marketing and administrative costs.
What is the retention point?
The retention point is the term that the author uses to describe a point in time when a subscriber is more likely to stay with you for the long-term.
For example, if a subscriber remains with your company for three months, they are 85% more likely to stick around for the rest of the year rather than cancel. This means that your goal is not just to sign up new subscribers, but to get them to the retention point of 3 months.
Most businesses focus solely on getting that first subscription payment. This book focuses on ways to get your subscriber to the retention point.
The book is set out in short chapters that contain case studies to illustrate the author’s point. (One of the businesses mentioned was Charity:Water and I have read a book all about that business and its founder – you can check it out here.) You can use the examples from the case studies and implement them into your own business model to help give you a head start.
The lessons in this book are applicable to any subscription-based business.
My main takeaway …
My main takeaway from this book is that you can offer someone too much value.
I always thought that was impossible. However, if you give too much, you can overwhelm the customer.
Sending subscribers a ream of PDFs and hours of tutorial videos is effectively sending them ‘work’. Although it may be highly valuable information, if the customer doesn’t have the time to digest everything, they may cancel simply due to information overload, or because they don’t have the time available to get their money’s worth out of your service.
In essence, you need to get your subscriber to the result they want as quickly and painlessly as possible without overburdening them with too much work to do to get there. This is done through a ‘Member-on-ramp’ which is detailed in the book.
What did I think?
Overall, I think this is a great book that’s perfect for anyone who is thinking of starting a subscription-based business.
Around five years ago, I ran a similar model bolted on to an existing business. I made a lot of mistakes, which are mentioned in this book. If I had read this book previously, I think I would have been able to offer a better service to people and offer more of what my subscribers wanted. I also believe that I would have been able to reduce the churn and made my business more profitable.
Have you read Retention Point?
This review is my own personal experience and thoughts.
If you have read this book, please leave your own review for it in the box below.
This book aims to help the performance of subscription and membership-based businesses. Specifically, it's equipping you with the knowledge needed so you can retain more of your members and subscribers and reduce the amount of 'churn'. The retention point is the term that the author uses to describe a point in time when a subscriber is more likely to stay with you for the long-term. Most businesses focus solely on getting that first subscription payment. This book focuses on ways to get your subscriber to that retention point.
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