50 Tips for Starting and Marketing a Membership Site

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  1. Use a CMS (content management system) – Don’t do it by hand, unless you are HTML proficient. Trying to manage a membership site by hand is incredibly difficult.
  2. Do your market research. Look for unsolved problems or sub-niches that nobody else is addressing. Don’t do a membership site that’s the same as another established site on the market.
  3. Have a launch budget. It’s easy to accidentally spend way more money than you planned to if you don’t budget carefully.
  4. Do a test buy with a real credit card. Make sure your shopping cart is properly integrated with your membership site software.

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  1. Try buying banner ads on related websites. Look for sites that your target market would browse and post ads on them.
  2. Have a SEOed site that feeds into your membership site. Most membership sites block their content from search engines, so make sure you do have a content based site that search engines can see.
  3. Get someone on Odesk to configure a WordPress multi-site for you or consider using a plugin like ManageWP. If you’re using WordPress and you own multiple sites, a multisite will allow you to control all your sites from one control panel.

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  1. Try out PPC traffic. Once you have a few sales and have a proven funnel, use PPC traffic to drive new people to your sales page.
  2. Contact others in the industry to do JVs. Get them to promote your membership site.

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  1. Offer an affiliate program that pays out every month. Alternatively, you can offer an upfront payment for their subscription. For example, for a $40 a month membership program, you can pay out $100 upfront for that subscriber.
  2. Give a lot of free content away. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your best content has to be reserved only for your free membership site. Free content helps build credibility.
  3. Recycle old content for SEO. Any content that you don’t use anymore, put it up for free.
  4. Don’t sell your membership right upfront. Instead, collect an email and let people get to know you before asking them for their money.
  5. Split test different price points. Don’t just assume you know the best amount to charge.
  6. Don’t be attached to high prices. Sometimes you’ll make more with a $7 a month membership program than a $20 one, because so many more people will sign up.
  7. Split test different delivery models. For example, if you do audios, try a $40 a month subscription where you actually send them CDs, as well as a $15 a month program where they just download the MP3s.

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  1. Avoid open archives. Don’t let existing members have access to all your old content, or people will just wait to sign up so they can get more content when they sign up.
  2. Followup, followup, followup. If you don’t make the sale the first time, keep adding value and keep asking for the sale.
  3. Sell your specific month’s content each month. If you’re doing a download this month about “The 5 Top Running Mistakes People Make,” then do an email blast talking about how harmful these problems are and talk up this month’s program. Often time’s people won’t necessarily want to be on your subscription in general, but might sign up just so they can get this month’s program – And end up staying on.
  4. Give them a free trial. This often helps enrolment.
  5. Package it with a product. If you sell a $47 product, why not throw in a month or two to your subscription for free? If they don’t cancel, they’ll get billed, but make sure this is very clear in your marketing materials.
  6. Have more than one front end product. The more products you have feeding into your membership program, the more members you’ll have.
  7. Make it seem like an off hand add-on. Try selling your program hard, as well as try just mentioning it very briefly at the end of the salesletter.
  8. Deliver incredible content. This is really the best way to keep people subscribed.
  9. Vary your content so people don’t get bored.
  10. Give an unexpected bonus around the 3 month mark. Many marketers see a sharp dropoff at the three month mark. Giving an unexpected bonus can help keep people who’re on the fence on your program. 

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  1. Time monthly content with product launches. If you’re launching a product on “How to Increase Your Productivity,” this month’s content might be about “7 Productivity Tricks.” The buzz from your membership can help promote your launch.
  2. Do a content piece on a hot topic for your members.
  3. Use real world examples. People love hearing how people did things in the real world.
  4. Build your credibility through other avenues, like speaking and writing. This helps increase your conversions and your retention through increased name recognition. 

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  1. Have a higher end tier. Don’t just charge one price for your membership program.
  2. Think twice before starting a member forum. It’s very hard to populate a forum.
  3. Get it launched. Don’t spend ages getting it perfect. You can launch with just a simple autoresponder drip feed system. 

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  1. Ask your customers for feedback. Ask them how you can improve the program, or what content they’d like you to offer.

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  1. Launch with a good amount of content. People shouldn’t feel disappointed when they first see your member’s area.
  2. Your member area should be well designed. Just because it’s not part of your main site doesn’t mean you can skimp on design. Remember: Paying members can cancel any time.
  3. Promise small and over deliver, rather than over promise and under deliver.
  4. Have a few months of backup content. This helps prevent dropped balls and missed content dates.
  5. Stay ahead of your earliest member. If you have a member that’s been around for 1 years and 2 months, you better have autoresponder content for at least 1 year and 2 months.
  6. Get a top notch copywriter to write your salesletter. It makes a big difference.
  7. Include a welcome package. Give people a ton of value the moment they join your program
  8. Give them discounts on your other products. This increases the value of the membership, as well as helps sell other products.
  9. Test a sales video. They often out convert pure text salesletters. 

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  1. Have members only contests. This builds a lot of buzz and excitement.
  2. Give surprise bonuses and content as often as you can.
  3. Get people from your offline network on your membership program. Send anyone who expresses curiosity about it to your site.
  4. Consider getting your program on Clickbank. A lot of affiliates use Clickbank as a resource for finding affiliate programs to promote. 

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  1. If you’re shipping CDs, make sure you get the CDs to fulfillment as early as possible. The time between getting them to audio and them being ready to shop can be longer than you think.
  2. Every once in a while, do something that focuses on you rather than your audience. For example, your background story or your personal thoughts and tips.
  3. Use a service like CloudFlare to ensure the uptime of your membership site. Among other features, CloudFlare will jump in anytime your site goes down to make sure your users can still access an archived version of your site. 

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2017-08-08T17:39:50-07:00By |

About the Author:

Founder and CEO of Start Ranking Now, Inc. Workshop and Seminar Speaker at Industry Events such as OMS, SMSS, SEOPros, WeddingMBA, LoveMexico, SmallBizExpo and more. Author: 7 Figure Marketing Blueprint Marketing Consultant Business Coach