In this post I want to talk a little bit about membership sites and why I think it’s extremely important to have one in your online business.
What is a membership site?
A membership site is simply a restricted area in your business that allows people entrance through a “gate” that they most often have to pay to get through to be able to consume the content inside. When we talk about content we are usually referring to something like a video course, ebook, webinars, podcasts or other online courses. Also this allows your customer to interact with you more through a membership portal. It’s quite simple these days to build membership sites as there are various plugins available for WordPress that allow you to build one quickly.
Benefits of a membership site
If you have a certain skill, a background in specific field or some sort of knowledge that is a bit more than most peope, then a great way to showcase that skill is to create a membership site. It’s great way to establish yourself as an authority if say you are an entrepreneur. This way you can pack your value driven content and knowledge into a specific part of your business and have people purchase to get access to it. A membership site in itself is a gread asset but it’s what the asset does to your brand an name that can make wonders as it totally change how people look at your business as it’s a great way to establish you brand and your name as respected.
Do mind that having a membership site does demand work and being constantly updated with value and great content to keep your followers and customers there. They are not going to stick around unless you go above and beyond for them in exchanging value to them for them to keep paying you. If you do however it’s going to make wonders for your business, create a large team of loyal followers and customers that are probably going to spreading the word about your membership site and hopefully your other products also.
Now I’m not going to lie. Starting a membership site is probably not in the “easy category”. It does require some considerable groundwork to be laid before you can start funneling people in there. Even though the idea of plugins and other software is to minimize the technical work for people that are building websites on their own then it can be rather difficult to set everything up. I have been there and done it. But once set in place it get’s easier and most of the work will just be you updating content and communicating with your members.
The most obvious benefit of a successful membership site is of course – wait for it – passive income. It’s most often the bloodline of any good online business and rightfully should be. In my opinion passive income should pay for all your expenses and then some and every extra income in your business should be conidered as a bonus. That way you always know that you expenses are covered and you can sleep calmly each night knowing that you can use other incomes for example investments in your business, to travel, retirement funds, emergency funds etc etc.
As I said when you have the groundwork laid out you just have to put more content in there now and then to get people to stick with you in the long run. Creating the membership can maybe be a one time investment but from there on it’s just about creating more value to give to your members. That way your followers will start to love you and then you can truly talk about passive income in your business. There is nothing as valuable in your online business as loyal customers and followers and you get those by constantly overdelivering valuable content to them.
This way if you are thinking about your audience first, but not just focusing on creating passive income, your membership site will grow each month and thus creating more and more income. There are actually no limits to you membership sites as the options to grow are almost limitless.
What kind of membership site?
What niche your are going into really depends on your backround. Let’s say you are a painter or a drawer. If you feel like you are really good in what you do, an expert or just feel comfortable teaching others to paint or draw, various techniques, tips and other useful content, you could do a membership that build around a video course showing yourself painting or drawing for example. What can you offer your members what no one else is doing? Maybe you could teach them to do a business around drawing portraits or something similar. Maybe landscape painting. The most important thing is to think about your member first. What could be useful for him. Maybe also some PDF learning material, ebooks and audio clips. You can put whatever you want in there.
Also you need to think about time periods when it comes to you membership site. There is nothing written in stone when it comes to this. There are weekly membership sites, monthly, yearly and even life-time memberships. Just make sure it fits the value of the content, and make sure to update on regular basis, otherwise you will see members cancelling their membership.
Good membership software
Now this blogpost is not meant to be a review of membership software but I am going to mention a few just in case if you are wondering what route to take in these matters if you are the webmaster in your own business. First I’m going to mention the two I have used for my own membership sites. Firstly there is OptimizeMember which is an addon-plugin for the amazing OptimizePress theme for WordPress. I had been using the OptimizePress theme for some time for my sales pages and I think it’s a great solution for people that don’t want to code their pages themselves. It has a built in drag-and-drop page builder. They offer a free add-on plugin that activates the membership site option of the theme. It comes with a lot of option and features and does take a little time to setup and understand all the settings but once you have the software offers a lot of solutions for membership sites. One option was missing though and that was having extensive drip-feed abilities. What that means is basically the option to have the software automatically “unlock” certain content for specific members on a specific time interval. So let’s say every month you want your members to get access to a new video in your membership site. I found that OptimizeMember didn’t have the features in hand when it came to restricting access and drip-feeding individual files and folders in a specific time-frame for specific members. Sounds so simple in theory but it’s actually more complicated in praxis. The solution to this was to switch to a membership software called DAP or Digital Access Pass. It’s a beast of a membership software with all the possible features you could want making it a rather complicated piece of software to setup – but boy – I was very happy with it once I got it going. Those are the two I have tried so far but I have also heard very good things about Wishlist Member
Hope this helps if you were wondering about passive income and membership site creation.
To your success,
Hafsteinn Thordarson / Next Step Freedom