Start The Month With Automatic Income
Membership sites are great. Your ability as an information marketer to go into a month with knowledge already of some baseline level of income you’ll have from your members can significantly reduce your stress level.
The biggest regret most well-known online marketers have is not building some type of continuity revenue component, such as a membership site, much earlier into their business.
But, just like with flash drives, you have to deal with the “out of sight, out of mind” issue. But it is even worse with online membership sites because there is typically no physical component whatsoever that might sit on their shelf or desktop to remind them that they have your product and should be going through it.
Lost And Forgotten On Your Computer
How many digital products have you purchased and downloaded that you were going to get to later…only later never came and that audio mp3 or video mp4 file languished on your computer for years, never to be found again.
When someone signs up for your membership site, the first thing you want to try to get them to do it to create a desktop icon for your site that will always be on their computer screen.
That way whenever they turn on their computer there’s an opportunity for them to see your icon and be reminded of the great content that they have waiting for them within your membership site.
Next, you need to be sure you are communicating with your members regularly and frequently. They need to know you’re out there providing them fresh, relevant content that can help them take their business to the next level.
You should preview coming attractions, whether it’s a live training or some new content going into the members’ area so they are aware of it.
Don’t hesitate to remind them of older content within your site. You should be regularly attempting to drive them back into your membership site to consume additional content. We know of some marketers who operate from the premise that they don’t want to communicate with their membership because if we remind them we’re here they’ll drop out.
Frankly, we abhor that approach to the business of a membership site. You should be about providing on-going value to your members and not trying to hide for fear that they’ll leave if they remember they’re a member.
If you’re all about a money grab and not about providing service and value then, in our opinion, you’re in the business for the wrong reason and your future will probably be short-lived.
Email will certainly be your major tool for conversing with your membership. And you should have within your email system an on-going set of autoresponder messages that drive people back to the membership site. Autoresponders aren’t just a great sales tool, they’re also a great consumption tool for any information product including membership sites.
Incorporate A Physical Magazine
If your pricing allows it consider incorporating an offline element into your membership. A monthly physical newsletter or magazine (Like Marketing University’s “Traces” magazine) can be used to provide additional content and to highlight other content inside the members’ area.
This physical component seems to have a positive impact on the length of time someone remains a member of your program. That once a month reminder of the value they’re receiving that doesn’t rely on them having to access your site is worth it, if the numbers allow.
You can’t do it for a $7 per month membership but if they’re spending $97 a month or more, I’d definitely consider adding a physical component.
Now, like any physical information product, with membership sites, you have to guide them through the consumption process. Chances are, over time, your membership site will contain a lot of content. Someone visiting the site for the first time (or at any other time) can easily become overwhelmed and not know where to start. So they don’t.
Create A Welcome Video
You should have a Welcome Video on your main page when they login that gives them the “lay of the land” of your site. Highly encourage them to watch this video first. Some memberships have had great success with burning this welcome video to a DVD and including it as part of an initial welcome package that is sent via mail to a new member signup.
This video should provide them a suggested path with which to consume your content. Tell then to start by listening to this audio or watching this video or whatever it might be. Be sure any piece of content, within your site has, at a minimum, a two to three sentence description of what that content is all about stated from a user’s benefit perspective.
If you have a lot of new members sign up within a short period of time (for example, maybe you promoted your membership at a live event from stage) then you should do a live welcome call where you guide them through the site and answer any questions they have.
The warmer and fuzzier they feel about you the more likely they are to remain a member for a longer period of time and consume your content.
On-going new trainings will continue to add value to their membership. It’s important that fresh content be added to your site on some regular basis, be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly so your members feel like they are getting current information and your site isn’t growing stale.
Don’t hesitate to call upon your own membership who have expertise that would benefit the other members to help provide some of those new trainings.
How Much Direct Contact should You Have
People are more likely to participate in things which they helped to create. So involve your membership in helping to determine what additional content might be added to your site.
One of the key things you’ll need to decide early in the game, as you’re structuring your membership site, is how much direct contact they might get with you, as the principal, as a part of that membership.
Typically, the more people pay as part of a membership the more direct access they expect with you. It can be a tough decision, as the time suck on you can become a bit of a problem.
So think carefully about whether your membership is just content within a site or whether it’s going to involve interaction with you personally.