There is a reason that the word ‘profit’ has been included in this title. You need to be rewarded for the hard work that you do and a membership site, when done properly, can be both a lucrative and fulfilling way to achieve your goals. Membership sites cover a number of verticals, interests and passions and can encompass everything from a content-based service to the more popular video uploads. People enjoy being part of a private group, knowing that they are privy to special information that is only shared within their association. Offering a membership site will take some serious thought and planning and these tips should be valuable in setting you on your course.
1} Validate your audience: Before you start on your membership site journey, make sure that you have done ‘due diligence’ in knowing that you are offering a topic of interest. If you already have a website or following, you may want to do a brief survey with your readers/viewers.
2} Your membership site type: There are a number of ways to offer a membership site. Some of these require a lot of sophistication in the set up. All will require e-commerce ability with payment processes through a valid e-comm vendor, some services such as Uscreen include a pay wall and e-commerce service, so you don’t need to look for a separate service. A content rich site will require consistent changes and (potentially) a staff of writers, and you will need to be prepared with good content on the launch date. Video membership sites bring a better value as these can now be viewed on multiple devices and require fewer staff and less time. There are now websites, such as Uscreen that offers video upload, e-comm ability and skips over the old school requirement of YouTube uploads, giving you full control of your membership site.
3}Decide on your platform: It is important to note that the type of platform you decide upon should be taken seriously. Making the right decision will keep you from the hassles of making changes later. Your platform should include a content management system that is relatively easy to use. There are a number of web-based platforms that are cost-effective, but your choice will depend on how deep you want to get into the system. Things to consider: content drip, custom coding, content protection, payment methods (outside of PayPal), and ease of use
4} Content platforms: Paid Memberships Pro is a ‘free’ platform on WordPress. It brings a lot of value for download and plugins, but the downside is this it isn’t a platform for drip content. Restrict Content Pro is another highly rated platform at a ridiculously cheap price, but again, no drip content and it is questionable regarding safeguarding and protecting your content. For ease of use and content protection, Exchange and Memberpress are becoming a favorite. Another popular platform that allow content drip and custom coding is Membermouse.
5}Video platforms: These have by far become a popular method for membership sites, however, you need to take heed that some of the web-based platforms do not offer video content security. This can make or break your membership site. Additional things to consider includes the space limitations allowed and ease of use. Uscreen offers total security, an easy content manager, flexibility for member charges, a completely secure payment method, easy uploads, and adjustable methods to view and pay for your members on a variety of digital options.
6} Create an easy to use site: You will receive higher viewing with a site that has simple instructions for use. The design of your membership site should have a straightforward appeal, easy sign up process and excellent graphics.
7} Your fees and charges: You may wish to start you membership fees on the low end. Let your viewing public know they are getting reduced rates as part of the introductory launch. You will get recurring revenue, but will also have a higher signup due to the lesser cost. Another concept that has shown some remarkable success is to initially offer a limited number of ‘free’ members.
8} Plan your marketing well: Decide on a short (but hot) tagline. The tagline should reflect exactly what you are offering and appeal to your audience. Set up social media for your site and use this as part of your marketing to attract viewers and have them ‘get the word out’ to their friends and this is also where the reduced rates will be the ‘draw’ for more members. Generate a ‘buzz’ of excitement using social media for pre-launch. Collecting emails may sound old school, but if you use notifications carefully and sparingly, it will pay off when your membership site has its official launch.
9} Membership interaction is the key: Your site should have a private member group for internal discussions or an area where members can offer input. These can be available in chat rooms as well as open forums. This is an important element to engage and encourage members to feel like they ‘belong’ to your group. Be sure to be involved in your membership interaction as they want to know that you are listening
10} Offer a ‘Welcome’ for new members: Validating the new member is like opening the door to your home. Members need to get the ‘warm fuzzies’ when they sign up and this will differentiate you from any of the other membership sites. Send a personal welcome email and have an announcement page that introduces the new member to others. Make sure there is a ‘welcome guide’ that demonstrates ease of navigation.
11} Importance of a ‘sales page’: Your site needs to have a captivating sales page that will help to sell your membership. The tagline may capture attention, but this is the page that validates what your goals are for the site and what the member will expect to receive. As your site and offerings evolve, it will be important to update this page on a consistent basis.
11} Be ready for change: The net as well as our society is in a state of constant change. To maintain interest and get new members, you need to ensure that your membership site is flexible to offer the latest trends and membership needs. ‘Listen’ to your member feedback and make plans ahead of time to incorporate the changes that make sense. This is also where your platform decision will come into play, as change is inevitable and you should be able to adopt with ease.