A membership website has the power to generate a consistent stream of cash. Once your site is set up and your systems are in place, it’s a fantastic source of passive income.
Membership marketing and various membership site models are effective and profitable for a wide variety of business niche ideas and business models. It’s a highly profitable business model because it gives you the unique ability to create and tap into several buying behaviors and triggers.
Whether you’re adding a membership site to an existing business or starting a new business, this blueprint is designed to help you get your membership site up and running.
Step #1 Define Your Business Goals
What goals do you have for your membership site as they relate to your current business? Do you want to increase your traffic, customers and prospects or do you simply want to offer your current customers more options to buy from you and more value?
Document your goals for your membership site.
- What do you want it to accomplish?
- How do you want it to help build and grow your business?
If you’re adding it to an existing business then your goals will be applied to your business as a whole.
For example, if you presently have an information marketing business and you’d like to add a report of the month club to your business model then you’d consider how the report of the month club will help grow your information marketing business.
A goal might be to increase your customer base by 10% or to add $5000 to your monthly income by offering current customers and prospects a new product – your membership site. Goals need to be measureable so you can know when you’ve achieved success.
A goal that says, “I want to make more money,” is vague and difficult to plan for.
Step #2 Choosing Your Membership Site Mission and Vision
Once you’ve determined your business goals, it’s time to decide how your membership site is going to accomplish those goals. Vision and mission statements will help you begin to create the framework for your membership site.
Vision Statements are active statements that describe your company’s purpose in terms of your values. It provides a direction for you to go and helps keep you on track when you base future decisions on your vision.
For example, “To help saltwater aquarium enthusiasts connect and have access to the best information available on how to care for and create magnificent and thriving saltwater aquariums.”
To create your vision statement, answer the following questions:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What is your business product or service?
Your mission statement defines your purpose and primary objectives. For example, “To become the number one membership website on salt water aquariums by providing an active community and the best information on species and care with more than 10,000 articles and resources.”
To create your mission statement, answer the following questions:
- What do you have to offer your customers?
- What makes you unique or different?
- Who are your customers?
- What is your business model?
Step #3 Choosing your Membership Model
Now that you have your goals and your mission and vision statement, it’s time to create or choose your membership model.
While there are a number of membership models and you can combine them to create a membership site that fits your unique needs, the most common models include:
- Publisher model – this membership site would be set up to give members access to regular content.
- Information marketing model – this membership model provides regular, monthly usually, content in the form of ebooks, reports, and software to members.
- Training model – this membership model is established to provide some sort of training online. They’re given a new course or new group of lessons in regular installments.
- Coaching model – many service providers and particularly coaches and mentors use membership sites to provide more value to their customers and clients.
- Product/service delivery model – this membership generally delivers a product each month.
Of course you may find a combination of these models or a completely different business model best fits your needs and the needs of your customers. Before you move onto the next step, outline your chosen business model as it fits in line with your business goals and membership site mission and vision.
Now it’s time to start thinking specifically about profits.
Step #4 Monetizing Your Membership Site
The most basic way to monetize a membership site is to charge a membership fee. This generates a consistent cash flow. There are of course then many options for how much you charge, when you charge and whether you charge a flat rate, offer a tiered membership, or give away memberships for free.
You also need to decide how often a membership is paid. There are monthly, quarterly, annual and of course lifetime memberships. You can also offer a micro continuity membership where the membership runs out after a specified period of time.
Outline your membership fees and what you will provide members. For example, “I will charge a monthly recurring membership fee and deliver a thirty page ebook each month on my niche topic. Members can cancel at any time.”
In addition to membership fees, there are other ways to monetize your membership site. They include:
- Marketing affiliate products to your members
- Marketing your products and services to members
- Selling advertising space & AdSense type programs
Step #5 Choosing your Membership Site Software
Most often, business owners will need to turn to a membership site software program to help them achieve their goals. Because finding the right membership software for your business is so important we’ve broken it down into these quick steps.
Define Your Needs
What do you need your membership site to do? For example:
- Do you need a site you can brand to your existing business?
- Do you need to be able to create membership levels?
- Do you need to be able to add unlimited article categories?
- Do you need to be able to set access privileges to categories?
- Do you need an autoresponder?
- Do you need it to work with a WordPress website?
Research Membership Site Software Options
Now it’s time to do some research. Get online, ask friends, family and associates and find programs that look like they’ll meet your needs. You’ll probably want to come up with a list of a few potential candidates. Here's a sample table below for you to use to compare products:
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Finding the right membership site software is an important choice. You want to find a product or service you can be happy with for the life of your membership site. Take your time, plan wisely and find a product that can help you reach your goals.
Step #6 Creating Your Membership Site Content/Products/Services
For many membership models creating new content is the next step. If you’re offering a service or a community and new content isn’t part of what you’re offering you can skip this step and move onto #7.
If you’re creating content or products as part of your membership website, then the next step is to get that ball rolling. You have a few important decisions:
1. What type of content are you creating?
2. How are you going to create it? Namely, will you create it yourself or outsource it?
Iutline what type of content you’ll be creating. Keep in mind that most often it’s important to establish some sort of consistency. This can be established by the format and the frequency of the content delivery but also by the look and feel of the content. You’ll want to create a consistent brand image. For example, if you’re offering a ‘report of the month club’ then each report should look similar to the next. They should have a consistent voice, appearance and theme or format.
- Describe your content.
- What will you be creating and how will you create consistency?
- How will you create the content?
- Will you outsource some of it or all of it?
- Or will you create it yourself?
Create a schedule for content creation so it’s always delivered on time and a plan for getting it completed.
Step #7 Marketing Your Membership Site
Congratulations! You’re now ready to market your membership site. If you are adding a membership site to a current business then your next step is to create a cohesive marketing strategy.
For example, if you’re using social networking to market your business then you’ll naturally add your membership site into that marketing tactic.
- List the marketing tactics you’re currently using and outline how you can integrate your membership site into these tactics.
- If you’re starting a standalone membership site, what two marketing tactics will you focus on first?
- Outline your marketing strategy including your goals and how you’re going to test and track success.
A membership site is a great business decision. With proper planning and implementation it can offer a consistent stream of passive income for years to come. It can grow an existing business or generate profits as a new and independent business model. Choose your business model and monetization strategy to support these goals and find a software product that will help you achieve them.
To your success!