From Clients To Members: Is A Subscription Model Right For Your Dog Training Business?

The world of dog training continues to expand, especially when it comes to new ways of educating and connecting with dog lovers. You may have noticed a rise in dog training membership programs and wondered if it’s something you should be doing, too. A membership is a structured program where dog lovers pay a recurring monthly or yearly fee to access training, support services, and/or products. Memberships carry powerful benefits for you and your clients, but they can also feel complicated, especially at the beginning. 

Read on for reasons you might consider a training membership for your business, and things to consider before jumping in.

Assess the benefits

Is a subscription program right for you and your business? These models can be as big or small as you make them, such as an ongoing “Reactive Rover” club with educational sessions and practical workshops, or an enrichment program with tips, videos, and a puzzle toy sent directly to clients each month. A major benefit of these types of programs is the steady and predictable income they provide, allowing for more financial stability. They also encourage greater client commitment – both towards you, and towards their dog. When clients subscribe, they are investing in a long-term relationship. It gives you a chance to experiment with new ideas, refine your offerings, build community, and provide ongoing education. 

While subscription models have a lot of advantages, there are also potential drawbacks. One of these is customer churn – subscribers may cancel their memberships, making that appealing financial stability more difficult. This is more likely if clients don’t feel they are getting great value for money. The perceived commitment of a subscription can also act as a barrier for potential clients. Some may be hesitant to subscribe if they fear a loss of flexibility or worry about being locked into a long-term commitment, especially if they’re uncertain about the ongoing value.

Another major challenge is keeping things fresh. Maintaining member interest over the long term can be demanding as you look for new and engaging content or activities. In some cases, the upfront costs and time to establish a subscription program can also be significant. The initial investment may include developing content, implementing a subscription management system, and marketing efforts to attract and retain members.

If you’ve considered the pros and cons, and feel it’s something you want to add to your dog training repertoire, here are some ways to get started:

Define your offerings

Clearly define what your membership or subscription program will include. Will you offer access to exclusive training content, ongoing virtual sessions, discounted in-person sessions, or a combination of these? Understanding the value you’ll provide is crucial for attracting and retaining clients.

Offer exclusive benefits

Incentivize clients to join your membership program by offering exclusive benefits. This could include access to members-only webinars, regular troubleshooting sessions, early registration for events, or special discounts. Providing tangible perks enhances the value of your membership.

Set clear goals and outcomes

Establish clear goals and objectives for your program. Define what you want to achieve with your membership, whether it’s improving client engagement, increasing training consistency, or expanding your client base. 

Think about the potential goals of your clients. What do you want to help them achieve? What is the shared purpose of the group? Having a clear roadmap of your business goals, as well as the goals of your members, will guide your decisions throughout the program’s development.

Tailor content to different levels

Consider a tiered system that caters to different skill levels, particularly as your subscription grows. Whether your clients are beginners seeking basic manners or more advanced students wanting to work on trick training, providing content that aligns with their needs ensures they will stay engaged and feel the program is for them. 

Determine your pricing structure

Carefully consider the pricing structure for your membership. Research other dog training related subscription programs and the perceived value of your offerings. What is your financial goal with the membership program and what volume are you aiming for? Are you aiming for a large number of members paying a small fee, or a more exclusive membership with limited numbers but a higher price point? Whether it’s a monthly fee, annual subscription, or tiered pricing, ensure it aligns with your business goals and clients’ expectations.

Choose a user-friendly platform

Selecting an effective platform for delivering your membership content is crucial. Whether it’s a dedicated website, an online course platform, or a membership management system, the chosen platform should incorporate easy navigation, seamless access to resources, and a positive user experience. We love Clicks! for its customer service and dog trainer specific focus.

Content is key!

Consistency and quality are the cornerstones when delivering content to your members. Develop a content calendar that provides regular updates, whether it’s weekly training videos, Q&A sessions, or monthly newsletters. Regular quality content is what will keep your subscribers happy and engaged.

Foster community engagement

Encourage a sense of community among your members. This can be done in many different ways, including discussion forums, live chats, or private social media groups where members can interact, share experiences, and support each other. A thriving community enhances the overall membership experience and helps with retention.

Consider a trial period

A trial period allows potential members to experience the benefits firsthand before committing to a long-term subscription. It can be a powerful tool for overcoming initial resistance and getting new members hooked.

Gather feedback and iterate

Regularly gather feedback from your members and use it to keep improving your program. Pay attention to their preferences, suggestions, and areas where they feel more support is needed. An adaptable membership program is more likely to meet the evolving needs of your clients.

Setting up a membership or subscription program for your dog training clients requires thoughtful planning and a commitment to delivering exceptional value. But with a little planning, you can create a program that benefits your clients and adds an exciting new feather to your dog training cap.