Learning how to start a membership site is a fantastic way to generate income while creating a loyal customer base. If you’ve been trying to figure out the steps to starting a membership website, we have some crucial advice to consider. With the correct methods, you’ll be able to begin your journey towards a sustainable income.
Are Membership Sites Profitable?
Before you get started, the first thing you’ll want to ask yourself is whether membership sites are as profitable as advertised. It’s easy to get swept away in the notion that membership/subscription services, like Netflix, make millions annually. With the right strategy, products, and services, it is possible to generate sustainable income from a membership website.
Will you make thousands of dollars overnight? Likely not, but over time, you’ll be able to transform your existing infrastructure into something financially dependable. As long as you have products and services that consumers are interested in, you’ll generate income.
The entire premise behind a membership website is to allow customers to unlock content through paid tiers. If your content is desirable enough, people will surely pay to gain access, and this is where your income comes from. As this entire project will be based online with minimal overhead, your costs should be relatively limited.
What Should a Membership Site Include?
Knowing how to create a membership site starts with research and then putting your plan into action. More than anything, the first thing you should figure out is the type of membership site you want to develop.
1. Types of Memberships
There are three main ways that you can put a membership website to good use.
Paid Membership-Only Sites
If you’re starting a new venture and not looking to improve your existing infrastructure, a membership-only site is useful. With this, customers will have to buy a subscription or membership to unlock any content on your site.
Aside from the “free” information you provide, such as explaining your products or showing images, everything else is hidden. If customers are enticed enough to learn more about your offerings, they’re bound to pay for a membership. They can then unlock the secrets behind your platform to see what you have available.
Tiered memberships can often be preferred, depending on the business, especially if you have an existing infrastructure. For example, if you already sell products online and want to create an exclusive database of members, this option is for you.
You can continue selling your products and services as expected, and implement paid tiers that unlock further rewards. Doing this helps you retain your existing client base while also attracting higher-paying customers. It also gives clients the prospective allure of accessing exclusive items that no one can access without a membership.
Free memberships are also quite popular, especially among already-established brands. With this option, you’ll give customers the ability to become a member for free to be given specific rewards.
For example, you might give out coupons or host special sales exclusive to members. It differs from the other two options because signing up for the membership is free for consumers. You’ll find that you will profit from increased sales, although you won’t generate profit from sign-ups. Plenty of retailers, for example, use this process to encourage customers to shop more with their brand.
2. Digital Content
Suppose you’re not interested in selling a specific product, such as clothing. In that case, digital content needs to be on your membership site. This content can come in various ways, whether you want to educate or connect with your audience.
Some of the most popular types of digital content you’ll find on membership websites include:
Courses are the most important as far as most of these sites are concerned. You’ll be able to develop short, 30-minute videos to provide your audience with learning objectives. You’ll also be able to define the outcomes of the courses, ensuring your members are served appropriately.
There are plenty of different types of courses you can offer based on your business objectives. For example, you can offer 30-minute courses that teach someone how to build a website or two-hour lessons explaining search engine optimization.
Another popular type of digital content you’ll find on these sites is digital webinars. Using this format, you take a more one-on-one approach with your audience to discuss a specific topic. It involves plenty of teaching while also interacting with your customers, delivering the value they’ve paid for.
One of the things we love most about webinars is that it helps to foster a community environment. With a live chat function, your audience can communicate with you as well as other members. The more engaged your participants are, the more loyal they’ll become to your brand.
Although live teaching opportunities are beneficial, it’s essential to note your members will be based worldwide. You might find certain participants aren’t able to fit your live webinars or courses into their schedules. This area is where content archives become handy, as all of your previous content is stored and easily accessible.
With a membership, people can access all of your previous discussions to review on their own time. It’s also a fantastic way to welcome newcomers to the community, as they won’t feel like they missed out.
It’s good to have a ton of reviewable digital content on your website, but actionable content is also essential. Your customers will want to learn through doing, which is where activities and worksheets come into play.
By providing regular exercises, your community will hone their skills while putting your advice to use. Over time, they’ll begin to realize that your teachings are significantly helping them to improve. Also, giving actionable content will encourage people to stick to their goals, likely extending their subscriptions.
The importance of community cannot be understated when learning how to create a membership website. Engaging your consumers is incredibly important, as it’s what will keep them returning to your company over others. You’ll need to ensure there’s some type of community forum available to discuss among their peers.
A fantastic benefit of forums is that it also allows you, as the website owner, to address questions and concerns. You’ll also be able to review community feedback to learn all of the different ways you can improve your content. By opening this level of communication, your audience will feel like they’re a part of something greater.
4. Membership Perks
The value of membership can make or break whether someone decides to pay for one. If you offer membership without any rewards or special bonuses, people won’t be willing to sign up. You’ll not only need to ensure that you have enough perks but that they’re also worth the cost of your membership.
As mentioned, perks can come in several ways, such as discounts, coupons, sales events, or accessing locked content. All of your member rewards need to be indisputably worth the cost of your membership.
5. Interviews and Insights
There’s nothing better than learning about techniques and skills from industry leaders. By bringing in experts in your field, you can create an assortment of high-quality interviews filled with pertinent information. Not only will you be able to network, but you’ll also give your audience top-tier knowledge they won’t find elsewhere.
You’ll want to focus on specific questions you think your community would like to ask rather than fluff pieces. A phenomenal advantage of interviews is that you can also use them as a marketing tool. You can quickly take an excerpt to entice the audience, encouraging them to see the entire discussion.
How Do I Create a Free Membership Website?
The next step to starting a membership website is to begin putting a plan in place so that you can develop your platform. From developing a membership plan to building your website with unique plug-ins, there’s plenty to consider.
How Do I Create a Subscription Website From Scratch?
Let’s delve into the world of learning how to create a membership site that’s bound to be profitable over time.
Step 1: Creating the Membership Plan
When you’re developing the model for your membership website, you’ll need to consider three main topics. First, ask what reasons you are giving your members for joining. Next, determine what membership tiers you will offer. It’s also essential to create a content calendar during this phase to know what information will be pushed to your audience and when.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. If you were about to sign up for a membership site, you’d want to ensure you’re getting good value for your money. Typically, these sites will offer access to online courses, insider industry information, workshops, discounts, and more. You’ll want to create a plan to determine what you intend to give to your audience in exchange for their support.
Anyone involved with internet content creation is aware of a content calendar. Basically, you’ll devise a plan describing what type of information you’ll push to your website on a specific day. With this, you’ll be able to ensure your website is regularly updated with current content.
Step 2: Improving Client Databases
When introducing a membership component to your site, you’ll need to improve your existing client database. Otherwise, you’ll be pushing content out to duplicate addresses or old and outdated emails. You’ll also want to ensure that your new database contains all of the fields necessary to process payments quickly.
For example, you should have the following fields:
- User/Member ID
- First and last name
- Email address
- Phone number
- Membership tier
- Join date
- Membership renewal date
Keeping your database clean and updated will ensure you don’t have to double-check data.
Step 3: Building a Membership Website With Memberium
Now that you have all of the planning complete, it’s time to start building your website. Ideally, you’ll want to use a platform or plug-in specifically designed for these types of sites, such as Memberium.
Memberium helps to avoid the extra cost of hiring a website developer by allowing you to customize your membership site. This plug-in is designed for you if you’re someone who uses either ActiveCampaign or Keap/Infusionsoft CRMs. It boasts incredible integration with Keap, especially as it was intended for this CRM from the beginning.
You will also have access to an endless number of tools and resources to put to good use, including:
- Automated course creation
- Video and article tutorials
- 15-minute site builder
- Unlimited stackable membership offers
- Unified WordPress integration
- Lightweight API usage
- Impressive flexibility for small and large organizations
- Advanced shortcodes
- Unlimited membership levels
- Compatibility with popular WordPress plug-ins
- Advanced analytics
- Social media integration
Step 4: Developing Web Pages
With the skeleton of your website complete using a resource like Memberium, you’ll need plenty of content per page. Ideally, there are four primary web pages that every membership site should have. These include:
An about page is where your members can learn more about your organization’s mission and purpose. Prospective clients will likely want this information before signing up for an account.
On your offers page, you’ll want to give as much information you can about the resources you’ll be offering. Think about what makes you unique from other membership sites in the same industry. It’s important to answer the question, “Why choose us?”
You’ll also need to prove that your courses or program is frequently updated with new and exciting events. We recommend adding a calendar for prospective members to review to see the exciting events they can participate in.
Showing that you have a healthy and thriving community environment is essential for learning how to create a membership website. Entice prospective consumers to see a small snippet of the conversations they can expect by signing up.
Once you’ve piqued the curiosity of prospective members, the next step is to make it easy for them to become a part of your group. By creating a “Join Us” page, you’ll be able to showcase all of the payment options and membership tiers available. This page is ideal for showing the most important information each member will need before signing up.
Step 5: Upload Your Contacts
The final step to developing a membership site is to begin uploading your contacts for outreach. It’s also an essential part of streamlining the administrative tasks associated with ownership. By completing this task, you’ll be able to send reminders, newsletters, and email blasts. You’ll also have the benefit of collecting payments, processing automated dues, and more.
How To Start a Membership Site
When figuring out how to start a membership site, one of the most important things is to have a reliable platform to use. With site builders, all of the essential features you’ll need can be added to your framework to begin signing up new clients. Also, with resources like Memberium, you can create a high-profile membership site with little experience.