If your answer is yes then you are not alone – perhaps it’s just me but I’ve noticed a growing interest in this area.
So based on my experience of running Gain Higher Ground Membership and setting up other membership style sites I thought I’d put together this blog post to help guide you in the right direction.
Why Build A Membership Site?
Owning a successful membership site is a wonderful thing, here are some of the benefits….
1. Less product creation worries
Although creating a membership site does require a fair amount of work it means that you don’t have to rely on perpetually inventing, creating and launching new products.
2. You only have to sell ONCE
If you are promoting lots of different products, either your own or by being an affiliate, you need to be in selling and promoting mode a LOT. This is a pain and especially if you’re like me and don’t really like the thought of selling anyway! Owning a membership site on the other hand means that once your subscribers become members they then will stay with you as customers without you having to pitch to them again.
3. Continuity Income
By having a recurring billing structure built in to your product you are (by definition) going to get paid every month, quarter or year. This is really the holy grail of running any business – constant cash flow.
Content – Go Evergreen!
My top recommendation for creating content for your membership site is to try to keep it as evergreen as possible.
By this I mean that it should be information that is useful not only today but, next month, in 6 months and preferably in 2 years’ time. This way whatever content you do create you, and your subscribers, can reap the benefits from it over a long period of time.
Of course, you’ll need to update it from time to time but try your best to go as evergreen as possible!
When it comes to what kind of content to create then really it’s your choice. Use the “Content Mix” (as I like to call it) to ensure that you account for your members’ differing preferences for varying types of content.
Here are my favourite kinds of content that I publish:
- Tutorial videos – Use Camtasia to record them
- Webinars – Interactive and FUN to create!
- Audio Interviews – The FASTEST way to create content ever
- PDF Cheat Sheets – Members love ‘em! Lists of resources, mindmaps, flowcharts.
- Articles – Either publish these on a member’s only blog or convert them to PDF for download
Which Membership Site Software Is Best?
You could write an essay on this!
aMember, Digital Access Pass, Wishlist Member, Membergate, Easy Member Pro, the list goes on and on.
Personally, I use:
1. Membergate – Expensive monthly cost but very good
2. Wishlist Member – Much cheaper and a one off cost but also very good
Unless you have specific reasons for not doing so my recommendation is to go with Wishlist Member which integrates with WordPress. You’ll also need a good WordPress theme to make your site look attractive and for this I’d recommend OptimizePress.
Start low to launch your site and then increase the price.
Not only will this get more members through the door to start with it will also encourage them not to cancel after you raise the price for new members.
It’s much hard to decrease the price than increase it so keep this in mind too. And take a look at the other membership sites in your niche to get an idea of the correct level of pricing that you can use.
I once tested a choice between monthly payment options and a one off charge for 12 month access and found that 79% of people chose the one off payment.
So this is something to keep in mind. Obviously, you forgo the luxury of being paid every month but some people are averse to this so by offering both options you are likely to get more people through the door.
How To Accept Payments
Paypal is the easiest and you can be up and running in just a few minutes.
Clickbank or similar solution offers more analytics and features but it will cost you some money to start with plus it takes time for your product to be approved.
It doesn’t really matter which one but I’d highly recommend either of these choices unless you have a very good reason for not using them.
How To Market Your Site
As I ALWAYS say (yawn!) build your list first.
Then build trust with your subscribers through your autoresponder sequence and by emailing them your blog updates.
Then introduce them to the option of your membership site.
The model works really well as lots of people like being your subscriber and consuming your free updates but some who are more serious will always want to take things to next level so it really makes sense to present them with the option of joining your members site.
Once you’ve got people into your membership site you need to do everything possible to keep them there.
Here’s a 3 point checklist:
1. Do consistent updates to the members’ area content at regular intervals
2. Offer the BEST support you can either via email, on a private Facebook page or via a members’ forum
3. Can you offer them tools, software or access to something that they will find useful going forward? This is a great way to keep members
Building a membership site does take time and effort, there’s certainly no doubt about that.
However, once it is there it is really a very enjoyable experience running it and well worth the initial effort. Overall, just try to keep things SIMPLE. It’s so easy to overcomplicate things, especially when it comes to internet marketing.
Are you inspired (or put off!) to start your own membership site? Please click LIKE if you enjoyed this and let me know what you think in the comments section below…