joan butts bridge headshot

Joan Butts Bridge provides an online bridge card game improvement course to 1,500+ members. Below is their MemberSpace case study which contains website screenshots of their membership setup along with a short founder interview.

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Home Page

Joan Butts Bridge's home page uses a nice mix of color images/graphics and large fonts to help guide her audience (who is mostly 65+ in age). They're able to easily find the main areas of the website without having to scroll. She also has multiple member login buttons in clear view (top navigation and bottom right corner).

joan butts bridge home page screenshot
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Sales Page

Their sales page separates their plan offerings into clear sections with multiple payment options (and incentives to join longer term plans - which helps decrease cancellations). They also have a link to an FAQ page which is always helpful since folks usually have questions before paying for something.

joan butts bridge sales page screenshot
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Member Navigation

After paying to become a member, people visit this navigation page which Joan Butts Bridge designed. The various member navigation options are all in one area and styled so they stand out (e.g. the gold background). They also have the first week's lesson visible so the member can get value immediately.

joan butts bridge navigation page screenshot
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Member Pages & Content

Here is one of the member pages they provide for their members which lists out all the various lessons in their library. Members just click on whichever lesson they want and can then view the member only page which contains a combination of videos, images, and text.

joan butts bridge member page screenshot
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Interview with the Founder

Why did you start your business?

I've been teaching bridge for more than 25 years. I have written several books, taught bridge all around Australia, coordinated teacher training, ran my own bridge club and offer several bridge holidays each year.

In 2016, we built a simplified Squarespace website, but were still running all of the game card hands off a third-party website and giving away all online lessons for free. Adding MemberSpace to our website meant we could incorporate the online bridge games on our website, handle our own payments, and establish the Joan Butts Online School of Bridge.

How does your business model work?

We have established three subscription levels - Free, Silver and Gold. Free members can play one bridge hand each day and access some special hands. Our Silver Members can play unlimited bridge hands, while our Gold Members get unlimited bridge hands and full access to the Online School of Bridge.

What sets our lessons apart are the interactive online bridge hands which are specifically written to match the lessons. As it is a subscription service, members can only access these lessons and play the bridge hands with a valid membership. Even if someone copies all of the lesson content - they cannot play the lesson hands without a valid membership.

How do you continue to build your membership?

Since I've been teaching bridge for so long, I already had a significant email list built up when we launched the Online School of Bridge. However, it was a challenge to convince some people to pay for online lessons that were previously offered for free. To counter this, we went all out with the lessons, incorporating multiple lesson hands, videos that show the best way to play the hands, a quiz and more.

Our free Challenge Hands are a great recruitment tool for our site. Each month we send out an e-newsletter with a free bridge hand. Anyone registered with the site can play this bridge hand. This email regularly is opened by up to 60% of our email list and we see a spike in new members signing up each month. The challenge hand is also shared on our social media channels.

Finally, to convince people to upgrade from free to Gold members, we offer a free example lesson which gives them a taste of what is offered in the Online School of Bridge.

How do you keep cancellations down?

Most of our members and potential members fall in the 65+ demographic. That's not to say young people don't play bridge, but the majority of our members are older and are generally less familiar with websites and technology than digital natives. We have to be really mindful of making the website as simple as possible with very clear calls to action so our members can find everything they need.

A lot of our support emails go a lot further than explaining where to find something or advice on managing memberships. We have developed an extensive tech support guide that goes much further than telling people to turn their computer off and on again, because if they can't log in or play the game they will cancel their membership.