Technology has made everything around us easy. Everything from shopping, to transportation, or even finding love. Everything is a button – or swipe – away.
There’s one particular activity that technology has made easier than ever before: selling products. In 2017, about 1.6 billion people worldwide bought products online. Studies further revealed that online retail sales were approximately $2.3 trillion. A number that is expected to double by 2021.
Looking at these numbers, it is no surprise that more and more people are converting to online transactions. Those transactions often develop into patterns. And patterns get structured into businesses. Internet has made doing business accessible more than anytime before. And everyone loves it.
Technology and internet have cut down the resources you need to start a business. To start a business today, all you need is a computer and internet. And one of the easiest businesses you can start from your computer today is membership sites.
A membership site is one of the best ways to make passive income. The fantasy of making money while you’re sleeping is not a myth. It’s totally possible. And we’re showing how to achieve that in this guide.
This is an extensive guide that will take you step by step through the process of creating a membership site. From finding a profitable idea to growing your member base. You’ll find everything you need to launch a membership site.
To make it easy to navigate the guide, here’s a table of content presenting the different parts of the guide:
Table of Contents
- What is a Membership Site?
- Who is a Membership Site for?
- Types of Membership Sites
- Benefits of Launching a Membership Site
- Finding a Profitable Niche for Your Membership Site
- How To Choose And Validate An Idea For Your Membership Site
- How To Create and Deliver Content For Your Membership Site
- How To Price Your Membership Site
- The Only Tool You Need To Build A Profitable Membership Site
- Build A Sales Funnel For Your Membership Site
- Attract New Members to Your Membership Site
- Reduce Churn in Your Membership Site
Part 1 – Introduction to Membership Sites
What is a Membership Site?
We are all subscribed to some kind of membership. A gym membership, Netflix or a magazine.
Memberships are based on the principle of paying a recurring fee for access to exclusive content or service.
A membership site is similar. It is a password-protected part of your site. Members pay a recurring fee to have continuous access to that content. The content you create for the membership site can vary. It’s mainly digital products, and it can be e-books, online courses, webinar training or coaching.
More often than not, people subscribe to membership sites for more than the access to the content. A membership site biggest asset is its community.
Who Is a Membership Site For?
There is one element you absolutely need to build a membership site, and that’s expertise.
If you have an exceptional knowledge in a particular field, then you have to start a membership site. It doesn’t really matter what the topic of your expertise is. You can always niche it down and turn it into something that people are willing to pay money for.
The point is, you have to find your forte and capitalize on it. You expertise and knowledge are your most valuable assets. Invest in your expertise, it will pay you back.
You also need to be consistent. Without consistency, you will struggle to grow your membership. Every step of the process needs hard work, and only those who persevere will make it through.
Types of Membership Sites
There are several types of membership sites you can create. The one you choose will depend on how much work you are willing to put in. Your dedication will, in turn, determine how much money you make. Listed below are some of the most popular membership site models you can choose from.
- The Content Publishing Model
The content publisher is one of the most popular type of membership sites. It consists of continuously publishing content for your members. On the other hand, members are charged a recurring fee. They pay to have continued access to new content updates.
The success of this model depends on your ability to publish valuable content on a regular basis. Emphasis on the words consistency and value. You risk losing your members if you don’t deliver on both.
- The Content Library Model
This is a popular choice for people with a large content library. Members in this case get access to a library of content. It’s a one time access to the whole content. The content might be updated and added on but that’s not required.
It’s value resides in the collection of valuable content you give your members access to.
Another idea is to provide Private Label Rights to your content library. That gives members access to distribute your work for profit.
- The Professional Service Model
As its naming entails, this model is for professionals. Freelancers, consultants, digital marketers, software developers, graphic designers, chiropractors, or lawyers . The professional service model allows you to productize and sell your services with a membership subscription.
- The Product Based Model
This model works best for entrepreneurs who sell software or information products. Products could be ebooks, online courses or audio books.
The Product Based Model allows those digital products to be safe and secure. Access is only granted after members complete the payment.
- The Coach-Client Model
This membership site model is suitable for coaches and consultants looking to take their businesses to the next level. The coach-client model allows you to provide a more personalised experience for your clients at scale.
Instead of limiting yourself to a specific number of coaching clients, you can offer a group session through your site’s private area. This allows you to add more clients without compromising the quality of service.
While these membership models might seem different, they do have one thing in common. It is the ability to build a community or tribe around them.
Another important point to note is that you can also create hybrid models. With a hybrid model, you can mix and match any of these models as you see fit. The models are flexible and can adapt to your business objectives.
Benefits of Launching a Membership Site
Many well-known businesses including Microsoft, Adobe, and even the Wall Street Journal have embraced the membership site model. It’s because it offers many benefits over other business models. Besides the financial side, here are some of the benefits of creating a membership site:
- Build Credibility
One of the key advantages of building a membership site is the ability to establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
People have access to a lot of free content online, but people pay for more than just information. They pay for your expertise.
When you offer your knowledge and expertise as a service, you position yourself as a leader in that field. The more value you provide, the more credible and reliable you become.
So, by bringing new things to the table, both you and your members win. Your members get valuable content, and you establish an image and reputation for yourself.
- Generate a Steady Income
Recurring income is the holy grail of any business, whether online or offline. A membership site allows you to achieve that without the urge to hunt new customers. You can forecast revenue numbers each month. For example, if you have 100 members and you charge $50, you can be sure to net $5,000 every month.
Unlike when you sell information products like e-books or courses, a membership site enables you to earn recurring income from your members. Of course you will need to market and bring in members before you reach that. But the lifetime value of each customer is 10x more than that of someone who buys a one-off product.[cp_modal display=”inline” id=”cp_id_c25d2″][/cp_modal]
- Build a Loyal and Engaged Community
Another benefit of starting a membership site is the loyal and engaged community you get from it. Companies like Apple have leveraged this strategy for years. Now, thanks to the internet, you can too.
There are several advantages to building a loyal and engaged community including:
- The opportunity to sell new products to them as a warm audience
- Send them affiliate products where you earn a commission
- Turn them into affiliates and have them bring in new members on autopilot
- Use their feedback to build or fine-tune new products or services etc.
- Your Membership Site Increases in Value Over Time
The more high-quality content you create, the more valuable your membership site becomes. A library of articles, online courses, training videos, and exclusive interviews are priceless.
When a membership site boasts of such a library, it becomes a valuable piece of digital real estate. A digital real estate that you can sell for a LOT of money if you decide you want to move on to something else.
Now that you know what a membership site is and why it is the best online business model, it’s time for part two. The next section teaches you how to plan and launch yours.
Part 2 – How to Prepare For Your Membership Site
Many new businesses fail in their first few years or months of operation for a number of reasons.
One of the primary causes behind a startup failure is not having a concrete plan.
A plan is akin to a map that enables you to go from point A to point B with no bad surprises. Unfortunately, many new business owners start their journey without a map.
They assume they do not need one because they are starting an “online” business. Starting an online business – like all businesses – needs before head planning and strategizing.
Having a plan in place will increase your chances of success. This section walks you through the process Kyvio users have used to build their six-figure membership sites.
Step 1: Find a Profitable Niche for Your Membership Site
Picking the right niche is the first step towards setting your membership up for success. Unfortunately, many online entrepreneurs find this very difficult – and for a good reason.
There is nothing like the perfect niche. The next best thing is the right niche for you.
There are several niches you can decide to explore for your membership site. The three core niches that almost every business (both online and off) revolves around are:
Of course, there are sub-niches within these categories to consider. After choosing a generic niche you start the brainstorming and research. Brainstorming helps you uncover what you are good at, whereas research helps you compare that to what the market.
RELATED: 5 PROFITABLE NICHES FOR 2018
One of the secrets to running a successful business is to have domain expertise. Meaning, you must know your topic inside out. Otherwise, you will come across as incompetent to your audience.
Focusing on what you are good at is not enough. You also need to align your expertise with what people are willing to pay for. Finding the intersection between what you are good at and what people are willing to pay for is gold. It is what Natalie Sisson – from The Suitcase Entrepreneur – refers to as the “Sweet Spot.”
Luckily, finding out what people are willing to spend money on is not impossible. All you need to do is find the answer to three simple questions.
Question 1 – Is the niche you chose currently being served?
Contrary to what anyone might try to make you believe, competition is a good thing. The fastest way to find out if a niche is worth looking into is to research other products in the market.
If there are online courses, ebooks, or membership sites in this niche, then it is a hot market. A hot market has healthy competition, passionate buyers, and a blue ocean you can exploit.
To find out if there are any paid courses and membership sites serving this market, do the following:
- Log into Google.com
- Search for your market keyword plus either “online course” or “membership site”, or
- Log into Clickbank.com
- Navigate to the search bar and enter your niche market keyword,
- Navigate through the results to see all the sub-niches available, or
- Log into Amazon.com
- Enter your niche market keyword plus book
- Look through the results, click on the ones most like what you want to do and read the reviews
The higher the number of membership sites, online courses, and books you find, the better. Your results will help you determine whether to dig further or not.
If you can find other products and services in this market, then people are actually buying. That means it is a hot market. The next step is to determine if you can carve a niche for yourself in that hot market.
Question 2 – Can you create a blue ocean in your chosen niche?
In the business marketing world, there is a concept called the blue ocean strategy.
The concept comes from a book with the same name. The premise of the book is to look for “uncontested market space” instead of competing in a crowded market.
The analogy used to describe this concept is blue ocean vs. red ocean.
The red ocean is a marketplace filled with vicious competition. The possibility for profit and growth are very low because the competition relies on the price.
Meanwhile, a blue ocean refers to a marketplace filled with little to no competition. The prospects for growth are high and you have a chance to dominate the market.
The question now is can you carve a niche for your membership site in your chosen market? Focusing on a niche enables you to position yourself as an authority and expert in that niche.
That, in turn, opens doors for collaborations with others in that niche that will help you grow. These include joint ventures, podcast or webinar interviews, guest blogging, etc.
Question 3 – Are the people in your chosen niche passionate?
Another important question to ask is are the people you are willing to serve passionate. Passionate people spend more money than other people.
Examples of very passionate niche markets are golfing, fishing, camping or bodybuilding. Again, the key is to look for an underserved segment of any niche market you choose to create a blue ocean in.
Signs that your niche is passionate include having a thriving online community. This could be a Facebook group or an online forum. Industry magazines and live events are also very good signs.
Follow these steps to find the online communities and magazines your niche market are participating in and reading respectively.
- Log on to Google.com and search for niche plus forum, or
- Log on to Board Reader, and enter your niche keyword into the search box. You will get results from every community site about your niche, or
- Log into Facebook.com. Search for your niche market, narrow down the result to the only Group, and review the results
- To find if there is a magazine in your chosen niche, log into Amazon’s Magazine section and search for your niche market. Or search niche plus magazine on Google.
You will know you have hit a goldmine with your chosen niche market if all the answers to these questions are yes.
Take as much time as needed to carry out the necessary research to dig into these questions. It will help you setting your membership site for success.
STEP 2: Choose And Validate An Idea For Your Membership Site
Every business idea needs to have an initial hypothesis that needs to be confirmed.
The hypothesis should be that the solution you’re offering resolves an existing problem.
After you have chosen a profitable niche, you need to select and validate your core hypothesis.
There are several reasons why you should validate your idea before building your membership site. Some of these reasons include:
- Save time and money from waste on an idea nobody will join
- Talk to your potential customers to understand their pain points. It will help you build a better solution for them
- Make sure your idea matches the market needs
Validating your idea is an excellent way to set your membership site up for success. It eliminates guesswork and narrows your focus on the most important things.
So, how exactly do you choose and validate an idea for your site? The following steps will walk you through the entire process.
Map Out Your Ideal Customer Or “Member Persona”
This is one of the most critical stages of this entire guide. Why? Because without a good understanding of your ideal customer, building a thriving community would be impossible.
When you have a clear representation of your perfect member, everything else falls into place. You will write better copy and make better business marketing decisions.
To map out your perfect member persona, you will need to create a customer avatar. To do that, you will need some personal information. For instance, their demographics, their aspirations and their pain points.
You can find a here a downloadable Customer Avatar Worksheet
Pro Tip: Consider creating a male and female avatar to represent both sexes you are targeting. The only exception is if you are only targeting a specific gender, for example, stay at home moms.
Be Clear on The Results You Want to Get For Your Member Persona
One of the major setbacks for many new entrepreneurs is not having a clear understanding of the result they want to get for their customers. Instead, they focus on what they do and how they do it, and they tend to forget what the customer receives.
Remember, we are all problem solvers. Customers do not care about how cool your product or software is. They care about how it’s solving their own problems.
For example, our software, Kyvio, helps entrepreneurs build successful online businesses. Our all-in-one platform eliminates countless integrations and saves hours of technical setup. But those are only features. The end result we are selling is freedom – both financial and physical to our customers.
You need to sit down and do the same for your idea. You need to be clear on concrete results your members get. Not just the benefits they will get when they join your membership.
Once the objectives are clear, you can map out the exact steps it takes to achieve them. Think of it like a roadmap or a Table of Contents for an instructional book. Getting this part right will help you with the rest of the idea validation exercise.
Build a Facebook Group and Run an Ask Campaign
There is ONE thing you can do start ASAP that will impact the success and growth of your membership site. It is to create a private Facebook group.
Creating a private group for your business on Facebook has several advantages. Here are some of them:
- It helps you build a rapport with your potential members. To run a successful business online, you need to build up your KLT (Know, Like, Trust) factor. A Facebook group gets people to Know you. Once you start posting valuable content that helps solve their problems, they will Like and Trust you.
- It helps you position yourself as an authority in your niche. Not everyone will wake up one day and create a Facebook group around a subject of their expertise. When you do this, people will realize that you are an expert, which further increases the KLT factor.
- Your customers are already on Facebook. Over 2 billion people using the platform every day. Chances are most of your potential members are already on Facebook. Creating a group around your niche will help you bring like-minded people together.
- It is an excellent source of immediate feedback. One of the coolest things about Facebook groups is the ability to run a poll. This will come in useful when you want to run an Ask Campaign. An Ask Campaign is asking your audience about their problem(s). They will describe it in their own words. If done right, you can quickly see patterns that will help you flesh out your idea.
A Facebook group could also be the launch pad for your membership site when you later on build it. The key is to deliver value to your community. Before you run the Ask Campaign, share some content related to the issue you’re solving on the group.
When you finally run your campaign, you can iterate your idea based on that feedback. By then you can go about building a “lite version” or an MVP (minimum viable product) of your membership site.
Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Creating a “lite” version of your membership site is a great way to find and keep early adopters of your idea. Those are the very first people that are willing to pay for your idea.
When creating your MVP, keep in mind that it should solve a part of the problem you want to help your customers solve. Once you are clear about your MVP, write a detailed advertorial copy for it. This ad copy will include the benefits of your MVP, how it costs and what members would get after payment.
Next, post your ad copy on your Facebook group. You should also send it to everyone on your email list.
The next section walks you through the content creation process for your membership.
Note: Inability to get anyone to download your free offer is a sign nobody is interested in your idea. If that is the case, brainstorm new ideas in your niche market. If you still cannot come up with anything, explore other niches that overlap with yours.
Part 3 – How To Set Your Membership Site Up For Success
Creating and Delivering Content For Your Membership Site
Creating content is the next step after validating your idea. Your content’s primary goal would be engaging your members and adding value to their lives.
Many people struggle to create the right content for their membership sites.
One of the main reasons people struggle in creating adequate content is because they base their strategy on financial objectives. They usually choose their market (and idea) based on how much money it can make them.
That is a losing tactic.
It is vital to focus on creating content based on how much value you can offer. Also, content must be original if you want to build and nurture a loyal community. You will struggle to grow if your content creation strategy relies on paraphrasing existing content.
Most Popular Types of Membership Content
There are various formats of content you can use for your membership site. The ones you choose will depend on two variables. One, the membership model you choose. And two, the amount of time you want to dedicate to creating content.
In no particular order, these are the most popular types of membership site content:
Online courses are one of the most popular types of content you will find on any membership website. They work best if you are teaching a topic with a specific outcome or learning objective(s). This is because of the start and finish structure most online courses have.
The easiest way to deliver online courses is creating slides with a voice-over. A more sophisticated format is recording videos where you explain your lesson.[cp_modal display=”inline” id=”cp_id_aa583″][/cp_modal]
Live Webinar Training
Live webinar trainings are excellent for fostering engagement within your community. During a webinar, people engage with you and your content, but also with each other. And that is very important within a community.
One great advantage of webinars is the ability to conduct a Q&A session. A Q&A session is very important in getting feedback and questions from your community. It helps you know better their needs and pain points.
You can also bring expert guests to your webinar training. It leverage the potential of your webinar into converting more people.
You can use tools like GoToWebinar or Zoom to do webinars.
Another way to provide massive value to your community is by creating guides. For instance, how-to articles, tutorials or long-form blog posts.
The primary purpose of this type of content is to help your members solve a particular problem. Your guide would show them the exact steps to do that.
They can work either as standalone content or as a supplement to a more extensive online course. The goal is to provide in-depth material to support your member’s training.
A content library serves as a central location for all your content. This includes your content guides, online courses and webinar trainings.
Members will have access to all these content after they join. They can even access training sessions they missed. You only need to create these training videos once. They keep serving your community over and over again.
A live mastermind or Q&A call can be a valuable addition to your membership site.
These calls could be weekly or monthly and should focus on one of your members. It will almost be like you’re having them on a show where you get to know your members personally. They would ask you questions about the problems they are facing. You provide them with actionable tips to help them overcome these challenges.
These calls could also help highlight your member’s success stories. They will include the hurdles they faced, and the role your membership site played in overcoming them. This serves as a confidence booster for the rest of your community. You can also use it as marketing material to attract new members.
There are several tools you can use to make this mastermind calls interactive. Examples include GoToWebinar, Zoom, Blab and Skype.
Your membership site should be the hub for all your premium content. You can include some resources for download. These resources could be workbooks, checklists, cheat-sheets or action plans. Their primary purpose is to help your members achieve the objectives.
People sign up for more than just information. They need a step-by-step guide towards achieving their goals. The extra resources you offer would provide a blueprint to do that. These downloadable content will help your members take action after each training you offer.
Note: Software, plug-ins, eBooks and other related tools and resources are also examples of downloadable content you can offer your members. The key is for it to be in line with your topic, provide value and help them move towards their end-goals.
If you want to blow your competitors out of the market and over-deliver value to your members, this type of content is an absolute must.
There are specific issues your members will have that you cannot solve. This is where bringing in subject matter experts can be beneficial. Unlike live training webinars that cover in-depth how-to’s, these interviews focus on the strategies and techniques that can easily be implemented by your members.
These interviews should be exclusive to your members. You can always share some exciting segments on your blog, podcast or YouTube channel. Sharing will increase demand for your membership site and help with your marketing.
The community is the lifeblood of any membership site. In most cases, it is what keeps members subscribed for years, even when they have gone through all your training courses and content guides.
A community forum helps your members to learn from one another. It also allow you get inspiration for content and training ideas.
Implementing a community forum into your membership site is essential. It could be as simple as a discussion section for your training material(s). It is advisable to use the Facebook group you created during your validation exercise.
Some of the most successful membership sites have combined all these content types. Note that you’re not obliged to create all these content sorts. You should always be careful not to overwhelm your members.
Pro Tip: You can leverage the expertise of freelancers on platforms like Upwork to create content for your membership site. Find a freelancer with experience in your chosen niche and develop a professional relationship with them. This will reduce your workload significantly.
Content Delivery Options
Choosing the right content delivery method will determine the effectiveness of your membership. People drop out of membership sites for several reasons. Feeling overwhelmed is one of them.
The more crowded your content library is, the more anxious new members will feel. On the flip side, if your content library is sparse, new members might feel your membership isn’t worth it. Both examples will result in a cancellation.
The key is to find a sweet spot between overwhelm and impressive. The three common content delivery options to choose from are:
- Instant Content Delivery: This option gives new members instant access to all the site’s premium content as soon as they sign up.
- Ongoing Content Delivery: This option involves constant content publishing. The frequency is usually per month, and the content is always new.
- Drip Content Delivery: This option is the most popular. It works by releasing content to your members at regular intervals, hence “drip”. It is easier for new members to consume “dripped” content as opposed to instant access.
Feedback from your members should determine the delivery method you choose. The best way to know what they want is to ask them.
How To Choose The Right Pricing Strategy For Your Membership Site
Choosing the right price for your membership site is more of an art than a science. You will most likely go through a trial and error process before you can determine the right price to charge for your membership site.
If you charge too much, you might struggle to attract new members. If you charge too little, people might become skeptical of the value of your membership site. The key is to find a sweet spot in-between.
Choosing the right pricing strategy consists of two parts; knowing what to charge and how often to charge it.
How to Determine What to Charge Your Members
Several factors will determine how much you charge your members. These include:
- How much it costed you to create the content you’re offering – both in terms of time and effort.
- The quality of your audio-visual content – if any
- What your competitors are currently charging their members in comparison to the value they are offering in return.
- The financial or emotional value of the “end-result” your members will get when they invest in your membership site.
- How you position yourself and your membership site in the marketplace. Do you want to your site to be accessible to everyone or do you want it to only appeal to a selected few?
- How much personal access you want to offer your members. This ties into the point above – the more high-end and expensive you position yourself, the more of your time your members will expect.
- Your membership site’s goals and objectives. If you want to build the largest possible membership base, then low pricing will help you achieve that. If you want to make maximum cash, then pricing should be relative to the value exchange and access to your time.
- The operational cost of running and marketing your membership site. And the profit margin you expect to make after deducting those costs.
If you are still unsure of what to charge your members, a good strategy is to price your membership low, and then raise prices as you grow. This provides an added benefit to your early adopters who get to keep this low price for as long as they remain members.
How to Choose Payment Frequency
Once you have figured out how much you want to charge your members, the next step is to determine how often you want to charge them.
There are two payment types anyone selling digital products can choose from – one-time fee and recurring payments.
Unless you are selling an online course or ebook, a one-time fee is not always the right option. With a one time fee, you will constantly have to look for new customers. Also, your monthly income is never guaranteed. You can however offer a time limited deal to purchase for a one time fee. It can encourage more people to sign up tp your membership.
Choosing a recurring payment is often the right option for membership sites. Members pay monthly or annual subscriptions to keep accessing your premium content. A recurring payment guarantees a steady income, and helps you cut down your churn rate.
If you decide set up on a recurring payment, you still need to choose between a monthly or annual subscription. Each comes with advantages and disadvantages. For example:
- Pros: Monthly billing is easier to sell than annual billing. It offers a low barrier to entry for new members in costs and commitment. A yearly invoice would be more expensive unless heavily discounted.
- Cons: Monthly billing has a higher churn rate than annual billing. Because of the lack of commitment, new members are more likely to cancel their subscription after a month or two. This makes you work twice as hard to get new members to meet your financial goals.
- Pros: Annual billing enables you to receive a large upfront payment that will help you reach your financial goals faster. Another benefit is higher retention rates. Members are more likely to cancel monthly subscriptions than they are to cancel yearly subscriptions.
- Cons: Annual billing plans have several issues that will require your time in following up with your members. One problem is credit or debit cards expiring in-between payments. Another one is members who have forgotten about their subscriptions. Without consuming your content, members will not find your membership valuable. And if they do not see your membership as useful, they will not renew their subscriptions.
Choosing the right payment option for your membership can be tricky. A simple way to determine the best option is by evaluating your site’s 30-day value delivery.
That means how much value can your site offer within the first 30-days for an average member. If it is a lot, a monthly subscription will definitely blow their mind away. Yet, if it takes six weeks and above to deliver any form of real value, then it is best to stick to annual payments.
Pro Tip: Offer both options on your pricing page. Then add a discount to the yearly subscription to incentive people to choose it.
The Tools You Need To Build a Profitable Membership Site
It’s important to know what resources and technologies you’re gonna need to launch your membership site. A functional membership site has a lot of moving parts that you need to manage. These include:
- A site builder: you will need to create a website and set up a domain to host your membership
- A content management system: to host and manage your membership library
- A payment processor: you’ll need to connect a payment gateway to your site
- An email marketing software: to run your email campaigns and newsletters
- A designer to set up your landing pages, sales pages
Now this might sound overwhelming and way too much for a first step into online business. But the good news are you don’t have to get each and every one of those. Kyvio offers all of those features in one tool.
We created Kyvio specifically for people who want to turn their expertise and knowledge into profitable membership sites without any technical headaches.
Instead of looking for each one separately you can get the whole package all in one place. Here are the different functionalities of Kyvio:
- A page builder: you can easily build your website, design your pages, set up your landing pages and much more with Kyvio. Its simplified drag and drop visual builder allows you to easily design your pages with no technical background or coding.
- A content management system: where you can create and publish your content regardless of the content format. Our smart membership module allows you to upload your content and display it to you members. Your content is protected and secured.
- An email management system: allows you to communicate with your members through bulk emails. And you can manage your email marketing campaigns and newsletters.
- Various possible integrations: you can connect Kyvio to so many other software. You can choose the payment gateway that suits you best. Then you can link it to your email processor.
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With Kyvio, you can build online courses and membership sites without spending a fortune and without one line of code. In fact, you can create your membership site in less than a day if you have all your content and resources in place.
After your membership site is all set up and ready to go, the next step is for you to launch and grow it. The following section walks you through the process you need to do just that. We show you through how to attract, engage, convert and retain members for your membership site to remain profitable.
Part 4 – How To Attract, Engage, Convert and Retain Customers For Your Membership Site
Contrary to popular opinion, having a huge launch for your membership site is not the ideal first step to attract members. The only time you should consider a big launch is when you want to enter the red ocean of your market. For now, dominating your blue ocean is a top priority.
This section will help you dominate your niche without spending thousands of dollars on advertising. By the end of this section, you will learn how to build a community around your members, and position yourself as a leader in that niche.
How to Build a Sales Funnel for Your Membership Site
Chances are you have heard the word “sales funnel” before. If not, maybe the words marketing pipeline or conversion funnel sound familiar?
A sales funnel is a series of steps designed to help a business:
- Attract and convert new prospects into customers, and
- Get those customers to buy more and buy more often
Every successful business has some form of funnel in place even though it might not be well optimized. To grow your membership site and dominate your niche, you need a funnel too.
Steps to Build a Sales Funnel
When building a sales funnel for the first time, it is best to keep things simple. Your goal is to attract and convert as many prospects as fast as possible. The following steps will walk you through the process of building a high converting funnel for your membership sites.
Step 1 – Build an Opt-in Page
Every marketing funnel starts with an opt-in page. This is where you will get the contact information of prospective members in exchange for a lead magnet or free offer.
Step 2 – Build a Tripwire Sales Page
A tripwire is a very low-cost offer aimed at converting as many prospects as possible. The goal of this offer is to get people to make a micro-commitment. This offer moves them to the next step of the marketing funnel.
Your tripwire offer could be a 7-day $1 trial of your membership program. Members will be billed the full monthly price at the end of the trial on day 8. Your sales page should highlight the benefits new members will get after they join. Encourage them to click on the buy button, which will take them to the checkout page.
Step 3 – Build an Upsell Page
The next step in the funnel is to offer a one-click one-time offer (OTO) upsell to your $1 customers. We call it a one-click upsell because they can easily buy your OTO without having to enter their credit card information again.
Once your customers buy the $1 trial for your membership site, they are redirected to another page with a sales video offering your OTO. This second video – usually not more than 3 minutes – presents an opportunity to join your membership annual subscription for a massive discount.
Step 4 – Build an Autoresponder Series
Anyone who goes through your funnel will fall into one of three categories. Those who opt-in but do not buy your tripwire. Those who buy your tripwire but do not buy your one-time offer, and those who buy both your tripwire and one-click upsell.
Knowing how to send the right email to the right person is very important. The good news is that with Kyvio, you can create both marketing funnels and an automated email follow-up sequence. And the best part is that the platform is so easy to use.
The goal of your emails is to guide people through your funnel. You should have a set of emails for people who opt-in but do not buy. These emails should encourage them to take advantage of your tripwire.
Note: If you are having trouble writing an autoresponder series, check out this tool that can make that easy for you. You can check out these extra resources:
How to Attract New Members to Your Membership Site
After you get your marketing funnel in place, the next step is to get people to crawl into it. The more traffic you can drive into your funnel, the higher the chances of converting them.
There are several ways to attract new members to your membership site. Some of these methods are free while some are paying. We cover both below:
You should never dump all your money on paid advertising until you are sure of what works and what does not.
For example, everyone says Facebook ads are the best. Yet, your target audience might be more active on LinkedIn and read specific blogs. In a situation like this one, it would make more sense to focus your efforts on guaranteed channels to provide a good return on investment.
Facebook ads are great, but to succeed, you need to know how to target your exact audience.
Another great way to ramp up your sales is by leveraging affiliates. An affiliate is someone who sells someone else’s products and services in exchange for a percentage of the transaction.
Percentages for membership sites are usually in the 25% range. This is unlike one-off products like courses that can be anywhere from 25 to 70 percent.
There are several benefits to promoting your membership with an affiliate program. Besides increased sales, it is cost-effective and boosts brand awareness.
You will need an affiliate network if you want to get affiliate links. Two of the most popular affiliate networks to list your membership site on are ClickBank and JVZoo.
Pro Tip: You can also leverage cross promotion or partnerships to sell your membership. You can collaborate with other online entrepreneurs in a different niche but with a similar audience. They would promote your membership site to their audience for a share of the revenue generated.
Inbound marketing is the oil that will keep your entire funnel running. If you wish, you can continue to spend on advertising to bring in leads. But wouldn’t it be much better to have leads enter your funnel by their own will?
That is the power and beauty of inbound marketing. The inbound method focuses on attracting your clients using educative content. For example blog posts, videos, and podcasts.
You can disseminate your content through various channels including:
- Your blog
- Your social media pages
- Other people’s blogs (guest blogging)
- Your podcast show (and other people’s podcast shows)
- Work with influences with a large following who will help you share your content
- Comment on other people’s blogs with insightful comments and a link back to your membership
It is important to note that the content you are putting out should be strategic. In other words, you should have a goal with every piece of content you put out. Ideally, all your content should have two goals. The first is to position you as an authority in your niche and the second is to drive free traffic into your funnel.
Pro Tip: Every piece of content you put must have a call to action (CTA) directing people to take a specific action. That action could be to download your free lead magnet in exchange for their email address. After that, you can send them an email urging to take advantage of your $1 trial.
How to Reduce Churn in Your Membership Site
Attracting and converting people into your membership is great. But the key to real growth is your ability to keep those members subscribed.
Churn rate refers to the number of members who cancel their subscription. The lower your churn rate, the healthier your online business is.
Three months is the average retention rate for most membership sites. That is the major reason our funnel’s goal is to upgrade members to an annual subscription. It is easier to get results for members on an annual subscription than those paying monthly.
There are several ways to reduce churn for your membership site. We cover some tried and trusted tactics below. Leverage these tactics, and the chance of members renewing their subscriptions increases significantly.
Create a Tribe or Community
Creating a community and movement around your membership site will help you stand out in your niche. There are several ways to build a tribe or community around your membership. The first thing you need to do is to create a virtual space where your community will congregate. That could be a private Facebook group or a forum within your membership site.
Next, you need to come up with a cool name to call your tribe. For example, Josh and Jill Stanton from Screw the 9-to-5 membership call their members scroupies. Creating a unique name that your members can identify with fosters a sense of belonging. This sense of belonging is essential to your community.
Finally, there should be some sort of future-based cause that all your members will be striving for. This gives them a sense of accomplishment when they achieve it. Examples of a future-based cause could be getting a certificate of completion or getting to a particular premium level.
Pro Tip: You can use a tool such as Accredible to create a completion certificate your members will love if that is the route you want to go.
Keep Adding Exclusive Content
People join your membership because they believe you have exclusive content they cannot find elsewhere. That is not all. They also want that exclusive content to keep coming regularly.
If you are unable to do any of these, they will most likely cancel their subscription. The only way to keep your members happy and engaged is to create epic content that will blow their minds away, every single time. Consistency is critical, so you should never slack.
Many membership site creators worry about how to create content regularly without burnout. Remember, you will have to create two kinds of content. One is for your members and the other for the marketing your membership.
Avoiding burnout in your online business boils down to one of two options. Either commit to working on your project or hire a virtual assistant to help you.
With that said, there are two ways you can add exclusivity to your content:
- Run a members-only blog: This blog would only be accessible from inside your site’s member area. You should never publish your members-only blog content on your public blog. The only thing you can do is to tease your Facebook group members. People would know you published a new blog post, and only members would be able to check it. It will spark curiosity in non-members and give a sense of exclusivity for members.
- Host monthly training webinars: Webinars are great for building relationships and authority. Hosting a monthly webinar is a great way to get your members excited every month. You can also avoid burnout by bringing on experts to train your members. Hold a Q & A at the end of each training webinar to build a better relationship with your members.
Note: These tips should be inclusive of your regular membership site training content. This will include a mixture of courses, workbooks, and other resources. You should aim to release them to members every week.
Provide Exclusive Offers
Exclusive offers and discounts keep people engaged for a longer period. Examples of exclusive offers you can provide are:
- Direct discounts on products and services you offer or through affiliate links
- Access to exclusive live events
- Discounted tickets to industry events
- Opportunity to feature as a success story to other members
- Priority support for members – or for a particular tier. That depends on your pricing strategy
Additionally, you can reward loyal members with physical gifts they will love. If you have a large member base, you can buy small gift items and ship them to each one of them. This could be for members who renew their yearly subscription. Or those who have been with you for X amount of months
Pro Tip: Another tip you can consider is to launch a podcast. This is hard work, but it yields rewards. If you cannot start one yet, try to get other podcasters in your market to interview you. You can leverage those interviews.
Membership sites are great, but they are not for everyone. They need hard work, consistency, commitment and time. If you have all four, then creating a profitable membership site might be for you.
The best part is that Kyvio makes the whole process of building a membership site very easy. Kyvio has everything you need to:
- Establish yourself as an authority in your niche
- Drive traffic to your membership and convert them into customers
- Keep in touch with your members
To be successful, all you have to do is follow a simple game plan. It all starts with choosing a profitable niche.
Next, you have to validate your membership with an MVP. After that, you go about creating content to deliver massive value to your members. Finally, you create a funnel to attract, engage and keep your customers.
This guide has covered every aspect of this game plan. Following this guide will increase your chances of starting a successful membership site. A membership site with a thriving community that will keep paying for your advice.