7 Tips for Creating and Running Your First Membership Site Does earning a regular monthly income and a bunch of loyal customers sound good to you? Let’s make it even better … what if these paying customers could be a great testing ground for your newest service or product ideas? And better still — what if you had the chance to spend time creating powerful, in-depth content — while getting paid for it over and over again? Well, this doesn’t need to be a “what if” situation for you … Your business can have all this with a membership site: a private website, with exclusive content and (usually) the ability for members to interact with one another. They pay you a monthly fee. You’ve probably come across sites like these before — just like Authority, Copyblogger’s content marketing training and networking community. I’ve had my own membership site up and runnning for a while, and here’s what I’ve learned from a year and a half of running it, boiled down into seven easy-to-use tips: #1: Start before you think you’re ready For years, I knew that I wanted to run a membership site.
I loved the idea of regular Phone Number List monthly income and a dedicated group of writers to work with. But I kept putting it off. I didn’t think I was good enough. I didn’t think I had enough to offer. But I could’ve gotten it going much earlier than I did. You’ll never be completely ready. Start it anyway. Try it: If you’re not sure that you have enough to offer, you can: Start off at a ridiculously low fee. Let your charter members know they’ll basically be acting as guinea pigs — and that you’d love their feedback and ideas. Aim for a minimum viable product (MVP) rather than perfection. Your membership site doesn’t need to be the next Teaching Sells. #2: Learn from membership sites you belong to Do you belong to any membership sites? I had a great time as a member of the first iteration of Authority — and shamelessly stole their structure, starting off my site with: Monthly seminars (sometimes with guest speakers). Monthly Q&A calls — I discontinued these after a few months as not enough questions were coming in. Member forums. And, if you belong to a membership site that isn’t working perfectly for you, ask yourself what you would do differently.
For me, that meant sending weekly emails to my members, letting them know about anything new and highlighting key forum topics. Try it: If you’ve never been part of a membership site before, consider joining one for a month or two. Think about: What’s working well for you in that site? What makes it worth the monthly fee — and how could you replicate this? What doesn’t work for you? If you’re struggling to find time to use the resources, for instance, how could the site owner make that easier? Bring in other learning experiences here, too; perhaps you had a great course (or a terrible one) during college, and you can use aspects of that to help you with your planning. #3: Interact and engage with members Although some membership sites are simply dripped feeds of content, with little or no input from the owner, members will have a much stronger reason to join if they know they’ll have insider access to you. Depending on your set-up, that could mean: Live seminars or webinars where members can ask questions through chat or over the phone. Forums where you post regularly, providing help and support for your members. A text chat room where you hold “office hours” or similar. A private Facebook group where you chat with members. A contact form that ensures you spot members’ messages quickly in your inbox. Try it: Even if you’re busy, stay involved with you membership site. It might help to: Set aside time on a regular basis to interact. E.g. you might check forums daily, send out an email weekly, and hold a live webinar every three months. Lead the way with interaction. (This is on my “get better at” list.) If your forums are quiet, start an extra topic or two — members may be shy about breaking the ice.
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