The next right step to improve the growth of a business is to create a membership platform. Though you can find several training courses on how to create a membership program, the information provided in this write-up can make things easier for you in this regard. It will help you in improving your skills to make your service providing business more powerful.
This write-up will enable you to create a membership program by answering a few questions like:
- What exactly is a membership program or site?
- Who should initiate a membership program?
- How to know whether a membership site is desired by your audience?
- How to create your membership program?
- How can you accept payments?
- How much should you charge?
- How to create the content for your membership program?
After going through this write-up, we are sure you will be able to create a membership program for increasing leads and sales for your business.
What Is a Membership Program?
A membership program can be defined as a website that can provide exclusive content to its members only after they pay charges for it. It creates a win-win situation for both your business and members of your membership program. You are regularly getting some revenue in the form of the fee paid annually or monthly by the members and members will regularly get access to information and support provided by your program.
Though the content of different membership programs can be different still some of the common things it may include can be eBooks and guides, Q&A’s, live webinars, online courses, forum or Facebook groups for members-only, pre-recorded tutorials and videos, exclusive discounts for businesses partnering in the program, technical support, audio lessons, live phone calls for members-only, exclusive discounts on your services, templates or worksheets, Facebook lives and calls for one-on-one coaching, etc.
In this way, a membership program can offer various types of content to its members. Your program can also have all or some of these contents and some other content than these.
So, while creating a membership program you are recommended to opt for 3-4 alternatives to choose the easiest one for you. You can add more content to your program later on, as and when required, as creating a program for membership is a long-standing venture.
Who Should Initiate a Membership Site?
The best way to create a membership program is to create a membership website so that you can earn money for sharing your knowledge exclusively with your members as it is not available for everyone.
Before starting to create your membership program you must fulfill three requirements like:
Your passion: As the owner of a membership site, you must be obsessive about your niche or topic so that your members may find you deeply connected with the topic of your site. If you are doing it for many years then it should be interesting enough that you and your members do not get bored with it. You should change your topic or niche if it does not show your passion about it.
Your time: While creating a site for a membership program and growing it, you must have enough time to devote for this purpose as it is a lasting venture. It can be a whole-time job for you. Creating a membership program can be the wrong choice for you if you cannot seriously devote enough time to it.
Your audience: You must have or want to contain an audience through your social media account, an email list of a good size, and a blog. If you do not have an audience then you must have plans to get it. So, before creating a membership program you must implement your plans to create an audience for you.
In this way, you can start to build a program for membership if you notice several indications about fulfilling the requirements discussed above.
How to Know Whether a Membership Site Is Desired by Your Audience?
Though it is undoubtedly very exciting, before developing a membership site you must ensure whether your audience is interested in accepting it. Though you have a good idea to share with your audience, if they are not interested in it, then a lot of time and money spent by you on it will be in vain. So before investing your money and time on this project you are recommended to test the potential of your idea by following the steps suggested hereunder:
Build an Audience
Before starting to create a membership program you should, first of all, grow your audience. You can use your blog, email list, and social media accounts for this purpose. It will help people to recognize you.
As mentioned above, you should ensure that you can attract the attention of your audience as ultimately they will have to pay a fee to be a member of your program, before starting to build it. To make it possible you will have to create blogs on your topic regularly and post them to your social media accounts so that you can encourage people to read it. It will help you in growing your audience on social media where they used to meet regularly.
You can also start a free group on LinkedIn or Facebook to support people in the market you are targeting at.
Thus, using these methods, you can easily build your audience through an email list, social media, and blogs. You can continue to use these strategies to increase your audience when you build your site for a membership program.
Create a List of Members
While planning to create your membership site, you should start advertising it to your target audience by creating a waitlist. It will help you to have a rough idea about the interest of your audience in your topic or program. It can be done by:
- Using your favorite software of email marketing to create a new email list which you can use as the waitlist for your membership program
- Creating a form to opt-in so that you can get some fundamental information about your audiences like their email address and name etc. You can easily create a form to choose by using the templates provided by various email marketing platforms
- If you have a website or blog then you can create a new page on it and add your opt-in form to it to create a waitlist of the prospective members for your membership program
Now you can start making a list of the people in your audience who are interested in joining your program by promoting this additional page. In this way, you can easily know if your audience is interested in your membership program or not
Sell Your Program Before Launching It
After generating your audience as well as the waitlist of probable members, you should also try to know the number of people that are interested in buying your program. You can know about this by creating a page for selling your program and promoting it not only to your audience but also to the waitlist you have created.
You must have a good idea about your topic, the type of content you want to provide on your membership site, and its membership price to build a page for selling your program before launching it.
Your audience and waitlist will get an overview of your program along with the date of its release through your sales page. Your sales page should also include a “Buy Now” button along with a promising discount for the early birds so that your audience is encouraged to sign it up before its actual launch.
The early bird incentives you announce to attract an audience to sign up your program should start immediately. These incentives can be calls for one-on-one coaching or membership for a Facebook group etc. for members-only. It will be the best way to ensure whether you will be able to sell your program before you start investing your money and time to create it.
How to Create a Site for Your Membership Program?
While creating a membership program, most people find it difficult to create a membership site for it. You can create a membership website just by using a few basic things like:
- Deciding about hosting sight for your website
- Selecting the software you want to use for your membership program
- Selecting the payment option and set it up
- Creating content for your membership site
After deciding the ways to convey your content, there are several other things to be decided by you like the method of accepting payment form the members of your membership program.
How to Accept Payments for Your Membership Program?
You will have to choose a way to accept payment from your members unless you are offering it for free. Moreover, you should choose a gateway to accept payment continuously as your members will be paying you regularly on a monthly or yearly basis. Most of the membership sites usually use three payment gateways like Stripe, Square, and PayPal. All these gateways are briefly discussed hereunder for your consideration.
This platform is popular among membership programs because no monthly fee is charged by them. The transaction fee they charge is 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction which is equivalent to the fee charged by PayPal, another popular payment gateway.
But the main drawback of using this payment gateway is that you cannot accept payments made through PayPal. However, this problem can be resolved by allowing your members to pay on your PayPal account.
It will take some time to understand the working of this payment gateway as it is based on an invoice system. But if you use it with the free retail POS system of Square then you can use it easily to accept payments from your members. It also allows you to accept payments offline as well as online.
However, the main drawback of this payment gateway is its higher transaction fee than PayPal and Stripe. They automatically charge 3.5% + $0.15 for every recurring payment.
It is very easy to use this payment gateway as most of the people use this platform for making payments throughout the world. It is recommended to use this payment platform along with other platforms, if you opt for, to make it convenient for your members to pay your membership charges regularly.
However, the main drawback of using this platform is the monthly fee you will have to pay for accepting payments consistently. You will have to pay $30 per month for signing up for a Pro payments account and $10 per month for accepting recurring payments along with the transaction fee charged usually i.e. 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
How Much Will You Charge for Your Membership Program?
While creating a membership program the most offensive decision to make is to fix the charges for the members. While fixing charges for your membership program you should neither underrate the time and money spent by you on creating it nor make it unaffordable for your members. Some suggestions are provided hereunder to help you in knowing the willingness of your target audience to pay and fixing the reasonable charges for your membership program as there is no formula for this purpose.
- Consider the charges charged by your competitors
- Determine the position you want to be on
- Evaluate your costs
- Determine different levels of pricing
How to Create Content for Your Membership Website?
It is probably the most important part of the process of creating a membership program. Through the content of your membership website, you can share whatever you want with your members. You can create various types of content for your membership site, including worksheets, guides or eBooks, video content like Q&As or tutorials as well as audio content like lessons or podcasts, etc.
But you will have to create content consistently for your membership site even after launching your membership program to keep your audience engaged in it. You will have to invest most of your ideas and time on creating content for your site for the first time. If you are not an expert in creating content, then you can create professional-quality and polished content by using some tools available online.