An introduction to membership sites

Jul 13, 2018 by
An introduction to membership sites

Recurring income is often considered the holy grail for internet marketers. One of the ways to achieve it is by creating a membership site, where people can pay for access to exclusive content, training and community features.

Ray Stendall explains the importance of membership sites:

A membership site provides community for your customers. Customers want to interact with other customers who have purchased the same product or service to solve a specific problem.

Focus on your customers, not you

For you, the entrepreneur, the benefits of hosting a membership site are obvious. However, that’s not going to matter much to the potential customers you need. Before someone signs up for membership, they need to feel as if they’re going to receive a tonne of value.

Membership sites should promise to help people with a specific problem and provide the resources that they need to move forward. In order to know what type of membership site to create, you need to think about your audience.

For example, personal development blogger Steve Pavlina owns a membership site called Conscious Growth Club where members can discuss personal growth topics on a private forum and receive highly specialised training on subjects such as financial growth, productivity, health and more. Because Steve has produced countless free articles on similar subjects, he already has a good idea of exactly the type of content that resonates with his audience.

You shouldn’t need any underhanded persuasion tactics in order to encourage signups. If your potential customers aren’t immediately thrilled at the thought of joining, then your value proposition isn’t strong enough.

Common features

Although each membership site will be unique, there are some common features that will help your customers have a positive experience. If the membership site is training-oriented, some features may include:

  • Weekly or monthly coaching calls with Q and A sessions.
  • Private community forums.
  • Downloadable resources, content and video seminars.
  • Case studies that demonstrate how previous clients achieved success using your methodology.
  • Behind-the-scenes footage and bonus material.

Consider your pricing options

Pricing optionsFor some sites, there is only one pricing option available. This is okay, but you might be leaving significant amounts of money on the table and potentially ostracising great members.

As an alternative, consider having silver, gold and platinum membership tiers. The gold option should be attractive for 70% of your potential customers, while silver should contain the bare bones of your material and be available for those who are more price sensitive. If you feel you can deliver a supreme tailored service to a select few individuals, it’s worth having a platinum option too. Giving members the choice to pay upfront or over a period of numerous installments is also a great idea to encourage conversions.

Rewards, honourable mentions and community building

In addition to the direct benefits that each member will get as a result of your training, many people join membership sites to connect with people who share similar values. Be sure to maintain a two-way dialogue with your members, give shoutouts to members who’ve applied your formula successfully and mention those who are contributing to the community spirit.

You may even wish to consider awarding free places to followers who can’t afford membership but who will undoubtedly make a positive contribution. Anyone who shares your content, leaves insightful blog comments and is a repeat purchaser would be a great candidate.

Finally, don’t be afraid to shift the focus of your site depending on the evolving needs and desires of your community. It’s a lot easier to build a service for an existing community than find a new community for an existing service!