This tutorial is not intended to make you an expert in planning for, setting up, operating, and marketing a membership site. It will, however, provide you a good base from which you can start.
It is essential to know the basics when considering starting a membership site, so you include all the necessary elements and have it provide what you envision, and also have it provide what members are looking for…
We will start with the very basics and work our way through and at the end of the training, you will have the option to pick up a couple of handy eBooks that will help you even more.
Finally, at the end of the tutorial, you see that I ask for feedback and input. In the comment section, we have an opportunity to learn from others, get questions answered, and generally, discuss membership sites further and in more detail.
So let’s get started…
WHAT ARE MEMBERSHIP SITES
Membership websites are an excellent tool for you to create a valuable central resource location that you fill with good actionable tools, resources such as eBooks, lead magnets, and whatever else that may be appropriate for your members who sign up to access.
Membership sites provide an excellent way for you to build an on-going revenue stream. Some people refer to this as residual income, wherein on a monthly basis you have members paying to have the privilege of accessing the valuable information, tools, and tips you provide.
So in reality, it is a win-win situation, and as you add more and more information, you can choose the way that members get access, and also create levels of access, so that top level members will have more training and tools than lower level members.
While this sounds easy and makes a lot of sense, and of course is one of the most lucrative profit opportunities you have available to yourself online, to make a go of it successfully, it is important to understand what all the necessary elements you must plan for and act on to have a successful membership website.
We are going to explore all of the key components that must be used when you plan for and launch a membership website…
Starting at the beginning stage, we’ll look at brainstorming or mind-mapping, then move into the planning phase, cover the launch, and lastly cover some post-launch imperatives.
Understanding what a membership site is at face value will not help much unless you know the process of constructing a successful membership website. If you do it right, however, you can achieve success using this business opportunity that you have always dreamed of.
ADVANTAGES OF CREATING A MEMBERSHIP SITE
You may be asking what can a membership website do for me? Why go through all the trouble to get one in place? What will it do for me? Is it worth the time I will have to invest? How expensive is it going to be? Is it even worth my time?
There are likely more questions I could include, but you get the point. Truthfully there are many advantages over and above the monetary aspect I spoke of above to getting a membership site im place…Let me fill you in…
Advantage # 1: Authority
One of the most critical is the ability you have to establish your reputation or your brand. If you have a membership site for whatever niche that you happen to be in people will naturally perceive you to have more knowledge about that particular niche than John Doe who is just selling another ebook.
In this manner, it makes it possible for your site to become an authority site. That is something that you cannot establish with just a thank you page or a sales page.
Advantage # 2. Fewer Opt-outs
Running a membership site also offers another distinct advantage in the ability to establish a relationship with your customers. Stop and think about it for a moment…
What happens when you have a subscriber list and all you are doing is sending out emails or newsletters?
There is a good chance that at least a percentage of those subscribers are going to be lost through the opt-out or unsubscribe option.
This is something that is not nearly as easy with a membership site…
That is not to say that there will not still be a small number of people who may choose to leave, but if they want to do so they will need to come back to the site to do it.
Advantage # 3. Improved Security
Another keen advantage of the membership site is that it allows you to have far better security. It is much more difficult for someone to break into a membership site than it is for them to hack your thank you page and then proceed to download your product without paying for it.
Advantage # 4. Increased Traffic
Also, you have to factor in what is often known as the stickiness factor. With a membership site you have a greater potential for repeat traffic…
Consider for a moment how many times you have ever returned to visit a thank you page…
The answer is probably never and that is precisely what you can expect when you try to sell products without using a membership site.
While people may not return to a thank you page, if you provide enough high quality, relevant and helpful content and products on your membership site you can rest assured that people will come back.
The key is to make sure that you give them a reason to come back and that can be accomplished through a contant supply of fresh articles, perhaps a blog, new products, etc.
Advantage # 5. Easier Bonus Delivery
It is also much easier to deliver additional bonuses or whatever you want at a later point…
Unfortunately, what some people try to do is simply deliver their product through email and then toss in a line telling the customer that they can also download a bonus.
If you have a membership website you have the opportunity to send out an email and request that the customer log into their member area to download the brand new bonus that you have uploaded just for them as a way to say think you for being a customer.
See how much more personal this is and how much easier it is to customize this type of message?
When they do log in to the member area they will also be able to see links to other products that you have posted as well as links to other sites that you may have and practically anything else you wanted to put there.
This is an excellent way to earn some passive income!
Advantage # 6. Passive Income
Membership websites offer the ability to greatly increase your passive income because you will know that your customers will be coming back again and again.
Not only are you building that all important trust with your customers but when they see that you have recommended something they are going to be far more likely to check it out and actually buy it.
Advantage # 7. Pricing
When it comes to pricing your membership websites, there are a couple of different ways that you can handle this. One way would be to charge a one-time fee while another option would be to charge a recurring fee.
One thing to keep in mind if you choose a recurring fee is that it can become more complicated with recurring billing unless you have it set up so that people do not mind the recurrent billing for whatever service you are providing.
Really, this all comes down to whatever niche or market you happen to be in. There are some markets where it is going to be easier to charge recurring billing than others.
So, make sure you give some thought to which pricing model is best for the particular market that you happen to be in…
PARTNERING FOR YOUR MEMBERSHIP SITE
One of the biggest mistakes that most people make when they first enter the online business world is trying to go it alone. This is why it is important to understand that making online is very much like a team sport.
It is crucial that you find someone or perhaps even a small group of individuals with whom you can partner and work with on a regular basis. You can help each other, support one another, and grow together…
The same principle holds true regarding a membership site or sites…
The key for making such a partnership or team concept work is to find people that you will feel comfortable working with over the long term.
It is virtually impossible for you to go it alone in this type of business and the sooner you embrace that idea, the sooner you will be able to begin on a journey of success.
What to Look for
There are quite possibly an invariable number of different possibilities available, meaning that you will need to focus on looking for the right personality traits and characteristics.
The first thing to focus on is finding people who have a mindset that is similar to your own. You must have a fairly good idea of who that person is if you are going to be working with them closely over the long-term.
Keep in mind when you are looking for people to partner with that you do not necessarily need to work within the same office. This is one of the great benefits of being able to conduct business online.
When you find the right person to partner with you can be thousands of miles away from one another and still make the partnership work through the marvels of the modern world.
The fact that you are not actually in the same office with one another can actually prove to be a benefit in and of itself because this means that you are held accountable to each of your partners and them to you in terms of the results produced.
There are no temptations to sit the and waste time, take long leisurely lunches together, go out after work and have a drink, etc. This actually makes it much easier to get far more accomplished.
The idea of a virtual team can actually prove to be advantageous in many different ways…
When you are working virtually, there is no one there looking over your shoulder, forcing you to feel as though you need to stay engaged in busy work just to look as though you are getting something done.
This means that every member of the team can be far more productive during the time when they are working…
While it is important to look for someone who has the same mindset as you that does not mean that you need to find someone who is exactly like you.
The goal is to find someone who will complement you. For example, if you are a copywriter then you would not want to partner with someone who is a copywriter.
If you develop software, then you should not look for someone who is also engaged in this niche of developing software…
This is because when you are both involved in the exact same field, there is much greater potential for there to occasionally be disagreements….
Ideally, you and your partners should all complement one another. They should be strong in areas where perhaps you may be weaker and vice versa. When you are together you will be much stronger.
This type of arrangement can work with only two people but it can also work with more people in a larger group working together as well.
You could even have up to a dozen people working on the same project if you wanted to do so and everyone brought something positive to the team.
The main thing to understand is that with joint venture partnership, you really need to find someone who will complement your skills. You never want to have a situation where different people are essentially doing the same things.
By creating a team of at least two members, everyone will be accountable for their own actions. This means that there should naturally be much more productivity occurring.
The fact that you are accountable to others means that you nor your partners can afford to simply sit around and put work off until the next day because you do not see it as important.
This type of extra incentive can really light a fire and ensure that everyone on the team continues going and accomplishes everything they need to do so they can check in with the others.
ELEMENTS OF A MEMBERSHIP SITE
Ok, now that we have covered the advantages of getting a membership site in place, and also looked at the advantages or partnering with someone or a team to get your membership site in place, now we can dig down into what the elements are and order the elements…
Element # 1. Your Niche
Beyond setting up your team, one of the critical elements in developing a membership website is deciding upon your niche. The thing to focus on with this is to spend some time looking at where a demand for products exists.
When you can see an area of the market where there is obviously a huge demand, you can see an opportunity that will exist for your membership website.
At the same time, you want to make sure that you avoid areas of the market that have been clearly over-saturated. You need to find a market area where there is a demand but very little business.
This may sound as though it would be difficult and to a degree it is, but the thing to keep in mind is that any type of business, whether it is online or offline, requires a tremendous amount of drive and determination.
Element # 2. Your Mindset
The mindset that you have can be one of the most important elements in determining the success of your business. If you have the wrong mindset you will likely find that you have a much harder time in developing your business.
It also puts your business at a greater risk for failure. Therefore, it is crucial that you have the correct mindset…
Essentially, you must make the change in your mind from being an employee and begin to think like an entrepreneur. Of course, this does involve a lot of thinking and it also involves a tremendous amount of learning on your part.
Some of the most critical things you can do to plan and prepare for the success of your business is to watch DVDs, listen to audios and read books that relate to what you are trying to do.
Make a point to find someone who is succeeding in what it is that you are trying to accomplish. Your goal here should be study individuals who are currently doing more than you and that you would like to emulate.
The learning process should be completely ongoing. You must never stop trying new things. Set a goal of locating at least a couple of books each month that you can learn from.
Always make an effort to try to absorb some new material each and every day so that you can improve your business…
It is also important to avail yourself of all of the technology that is available today. Studying technology is another excellent action that you can take to benefit your business.
In all of these activities, it is important to view them as a learning experience. Make it a goal to learn something from everything that you do.
This is an excellent way to learn much more in-depth regarding how things work behind the scenes in relation to online business, particularly membership sites.
Element # 3. What is the Market
Making sure that you have a good idea and background knowledge of the marketplace is critical to your success. It is not that difficult to lose money when you try to promote something that you are not familiar with.
Individuals who are successful with their business have taken the time to get to know the market. You have to consider the fact that you are basically your own customer.
If you are able to look at yourself in this perspective, it is enough to get you at least halfway to where you need to be in order to begin planning the next stage of your business.
This is how crucial understanding the market really is…
You must be aware of what the issues are that are affecting people within that marketplace as well. Part of the successful formula is also relying on that basic intuition.
You should certainly never rely on intuition alone because that can be quite risky but you must make sure you are listening to your customers…
One way to do that is to run a survey. Stop and think about it. What better way to know what your customers want than to simply ask them. Ask them to let you know how you can help them.
- What is it that they don’t have in their business right now that they need?
- What is it that they want to learn?
- How much money are they making and how much money would they like to make?
- What is currently causing them the biggest problems
- How can those problems be resolved?
These are all important questions that you need to be asking when studying the market. Ask your customers what they need, listen to what they have to say and you will find yourself positioned much better for success.
Element # 4. Brainstorming and Planning
When it comes to building membership sites, one of the best ways to approach it is to build the sites from scratch…
The only real way to do this is to simply take an idea, put it down on paper and then begin brainstorming regarding what you can do with that idea to make it come to life.
Eventually, you will take that idea and test it and launch to sell a service or product, but initially, you will focus on brainstorming and planning.
If you find it hard to get your brainstorming going, you may find it easier to bounce ideas off people who actually know the market that you want to infiltrate than if you just sit down with paper and pen and try to come up with ideas.
So, how far in advance should you start this? Keep in mind that everyone and every project is certainly different but it is not a bad idea to try to start the brainstorming and planning phase at least a year ahead of time.
You must be flexible when you are in these early stages as anything can happen but there can also be positive changes that will occur as well which could enhance your planning.
THREE PHASES TO SUCCESS
Generally, we think about three phases in most projects that I have been involved in, and membership sites are no different. There is the pre-launch, the launch itself, and then the post-launch. Let’s look at each one…
Let me say that the first phase may seem like one you do not have to pay much attention to, but that is NOT true. This phase sets the stage for everything that will follow. Screw this up, and your chances of success diminish significantly…
Phase # 1. Pre-Launch
This phase is what comes after you have gone through the elements mentioned above, which are planning and brainstorming or mind-mapping steps.
You need to get people interested in your project. In order to do this after you have a plan and know what your goals are, you must pay careful attention to detail in this pre-launch phase.
Not only do you have to start executing on getting the site(s) up and ready, you need to get the information you will load ready, the pages and pricing set, the pages and etc. set up for marketing, and so much more.
Affiliates must be prepped, affiliate pages and contests set up and marketed, and more…I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. During this phase, you will get everything from top to bottom on your task list completed, and tested, and ready…
Additionally, you have to think about how to get attention to the product you are launching. Here are some areas you will need to think about and act on:
Question # 1. How Will You Gain Attention
Over and above all the tasks of getting the site and systems in place, you also will need to look at getting people interested in what you have to offer by gaining their attention and then when you have it demonstrating to them that there is value in what you are doing.
This is one of the main goals of the pre-launch period. Getting attention using various techniques will provide the buzz you need to have a successful launch.
A good analogy to demonstrate this is the movie industry. They do this pre-launch stuff really good. As you know a good pre-launch plan is used for any successful movie and normally it begins well in advance of the movie actually being shown in a theater.
This pre-launch series may use:
- Radio plugs
- Television commercials
They spend a tremendous amount of time setting all this up and then taking action to fulfill each of the marketing segments. They have set the stage when they doing this for massive audiences pouring into the theaters once it launches because there is a lot of attention and people at tat point WANT to see that movie!
You want to do the same so when it comes time to actually launch the site, all you have to do is activate the order button and wait for the membership sign ups to pour in…
It seems like a logical and easy thing to do, but the truth of the matter is that you will need to put in a lot of time and effort during this pre-launch phase to make it that simple.
Good Sales Copy…
You will need to make sure that you have excellent sales copy and that does not happen overnight, although it is certainly much easier when you have someone on your team that excels in that particular area.
Focus as well on determining how you can demonstrate to prospective customers that there is value in what you are offering. This is really the crux of gaining the attention of your target market.
Design A Giveaway…
There are many different ways that you can go about this. For example, you could give away something for free, such as an audio, movie, book, etc. The key is that whatever you choose to give away must be of extremely high quality.
This is your chance to make a good first impression and we all know how important those are…
You simply cannot just give away something that is really nothing more than a sales plug for your product. You are going to need to make sure you have something to give away that is solid.
This is something to focus on during the planning phase. Focus on how you can develop something to give away for free that will really nab the attention of your target audience.
There are really no limits here. You do not have to restrict yourself to just giving one thing away. Look at as many options as you can come up with.
The goal is to have people look at what you have to give away and show them what they can do with the main product, developing a desire within them to buy it.
Question # 2. What Does My Target Market Want/Need
During this phase, precisely knowing your target market is of extreme importance. You without a doubt must know who the people are that you want to see your marketing and buy your products.
Having this clearly in your mind will help you make sure that every single thing you do during this phase will have a purpose and reason…
There are really two audiences you need to address at this stage.
(1) The first is the users, so everything you are developing, standing up, and putting in place has to meet the needs or wants of the buyers of your product or service.
(2) The second targets here are the persons that are going to help you sell the product to the mass market mentioned above. They are key as well…
Assuming you have planned well, and done surveys and cross checked again and again during your planning phase, let;s say that what you are putting together is what the niche members want, so just building that takes care of the first concern.
Let’s move on to the second audience, which at this stage, are VERY important…
If you have partners or are in a Joint Venture, it is key that you make a strong effort to remain in continuous and open communication with your partners. make an extraordinary effort to take the time to confer with them personally.
You are trying to build a team, so when you are speaking with your partners, use language that will help build and maintain a strong relationship that is at the same time warm and cordial.
There is more that is to be gained by using this strategy. When you stay in close contact with your partners during this pre-launch phase you will actually also accomplish much more than if you were simply out there on your own.
By working together, you can more quickly cover each and every angle and feed ideas off of each other, and then act on them. Your end product likely will be that much better for the effort.
By you communicating often and openly, you will be covering one the most important elements in your business which is to get the word of mouth out in the market about you and your upcoming products.
Of course, when people start talking about your business and your products, and in a positive manner, you will then be in a much better position for success.
The thing to consider here is that you have to keep the tone of the talk within the scope of your goals, so it is important to manage the conversation about your business.
Do not try to overstate what it is that you are offering, or make claims about more than what it really can do. Hyping or overblowing what your deliverable is tempting, but not advisable because it will damage you later when you cannot deliver on your promises or claims.
It just is not very prudent, truth be told…Better is to ALWAYS be absolutely straight with all of your partners…
You will be busy covering all the actual steps to get the physical part of the site set up, all of the information and tools, training, CMR, Pay buttons, download pages, autoresponder, landing pages, affiliate page and program, etc, in place.
But the word of mouth mission must also remain close to the top considerations of the many you have at this stage…Remember it sets that stage for the launch and post-launch stages, and how you handle this period will affect to a great degree your success.
As you go through this process, document what you are doing for future launches. This will help you refine the process. But remember that all products are different and so you may find that you need to alter your methodology for the next one. That is OK because it should be faster and easier…
Attracting a Wider Audience
When it becomes necessary for you to attract a wider audience, you will need to focus on creating an appeal that is broader in nature…
Remember that everything online is sub-divided into a number of different niches. Building up the desire during the pre-launch is certainly important but there are other factors that you need to consider as well.
Here are a few:
Creating a buzz is important no matter what you do. Regardless of what it is that you are giving away and trying to sell, you need to create that buzz to get people talking about it.
There are plenty of ways that you can do this, including through the use of press releases. Press releases can be used quite extensively and it is an inexpensive way to get the word out about what you are doing.
The press release should be used to announce the launch, but you need to get it out there during the pre-launch…
At its most basic, the press release will be used to inform people about what you have coming and when they can expect it to arrive. The press release is also a tool to be used for letting people know what the product will do for them and where they can find it.
There are many different places where you can send out a press release, PR Web being one of the best simply because they receive such massive exposure.
They have the ability to syndicate press release very quickly, which can allow you to gain far more traffic than you would be able to otherwise.
The press release needs to be written in a style that will not only attract business owners and other customers but Internet marketers and entrepreneurs as well, depending upon the nature of the product and how suitable it will be for the market.
Along with promoting the actual product itself using press releases, there are also many other ways that you can get the word out, including
- TV reports
- YouTube videos
- Social networking
Today the sky is virtually the limit when it comes to the many different techniques that you can use to get the word out about your upcoming product.
Use whatever you have available to you in order to attract attention as well as create interest and ultimately build a desire within the public to purchase your product.
Keep your mind on technology at the same time so that you are never in a position where you cannot take quick advantage of the evolving technology.
Phase # 2. The Launch
Once you are at the point, where you are ready to launch your site, one thing that you need to focus on as well is building buzz not only amongst potential customers but also among your affiliates as well.
Building the Buzz
This means that you must really know what makes them tick. For most people that is going to mean incorporating some kind of competition into the mix…
You could also offer a first place prize for the partner that sells the most within a certain amount of time, but if your JV partners are doing the job they should be, even throwing a bit of money at them is not going to be enough to motivate them because they are going to be doing that anywhere.
Establishing that competitive element among your JV partners is an excellent way to get them buzzing about your products… It works by gaining the attention you need during the pre-launch while at the same time generating interest and then desire in order to get them to take the required action.
It works by gaining the attention you need during the pre-launch while at the same time generating interest and then desire in order to get them to take the required action.
The nuts and bolts of this is that you need some kind of incentive to get your partners promoting for you. ..
Money is just kind of like an extra little bit of gravy. Launching the products to your JV partners is just as important as launching the product to your customers in order to ensure a successful outcome.
This means that you really need to focus on getting started at least three to four months in advance of what is actually coming…
Giving people plenty of notice is absolutely essential. The worst thing you can do is give your JV partners basically no notice whatsoever of what is coming.
You must give yourself and them plenty of time for them to act. If you plan everything out well enough in advance this should not be a problem.
Remember that your JV partners have a schedule just like you do and to get the most out of their efforts, you need to respect that schedule and make sure that you are not wasting their time.
Plan correctly and you will be fine…
At the same time, you also need to know what is going on with your JV partners. This is especially true in regards to your best producers…
If you know that they are going to have a launch of their own around the same time, you are basically going to be cutting your own throat if you try to release something at the same time.
You absolutely must keep your eye on the marketplace and know what is going on so that you do not make these kinds of mistakes.
One thing you might think about doing is sending out a chance for your JV partners to review the product in advance…
Go ahead and give them full access to the product along with a write-up of the sales copy so they can begin thinking about how they will promote it.
This is something that is really so important you cannot afford to overlook it…
Keep in mind that it is only natural for everyone to think they have the best product in the world. The real trick is trying to convince others that you have a product that is worth putting all of their time and efforts into promoting the product.
If you spend some time and effort doing this right they will easily be able to see the value in your product, understand that it will be in demand, there is money to be made from it and will want to promote it for you.
If you do not spend the appropriate amount of time on this you are likely going to find that when the time comes to launch your product, you are not going to have enough buzz generated about your products to receive the results that you want.
This does bring to bear the fact that you must be selective about the people that you choose to help you in this regard. Remember that this is your name and your business that you are putting on the line, so you do not want to put it into the hands of just anyone.
The Importance of Having Everything in Place
There are many things that you need to pay attention to when you move into launch mode. The most important thing is that you must make sure everything is in place. This is absolutely critical.
You have to spend the time necessary to test and be sure that everything will work in advance. You must be sure that your site is ready and that the people who are working with you are prepped.
In addition, you must make sure that you have a backup plan in place for absolutely everything, including payment solutions and providers.
Test the download link and the payment links. ..
Do not leave it up to chance to find out whether they really work or not on the day that you go live…
This brings up another very important point. If you do not have a support desk, you really need to consider getting one…
You must have a support desk that will be able to respond back to your customers. If you try to go this alone on your own when you are planning a huge launch you will instantly regret it.
Keep in mind that while planning is certainly boring, it can save you from a tremendous amount of stress and hassle later on…
Remember that while you are putting in a lot of time and money in the pre-launch phase, you certainly want to make sure that the actual launch of your product will work. Everything must work because if it doesn’t, you will have a huge problem on your hands.
Your Server and Hosting
This is where the importance of testing your server comes in. It is crucial that you make sure you have a reliable server and support that will not go down.
You must be certain that your site will not ever go down and that means monitoring it during the launch phase extremely carefully…
When it comes to hosting keep in mind that while you could settle for extremely cheap hosting, don’t..
if you are going to go all the way and you know that you are going to have a ton of people going to your site during the launch, it simply does not make sense to try and cut corners by going with cheap hosting that you probably will not be able to rely on.
If you do this, you will only regret it…
There are many different excellent options to consider but there are a few things that you need to look for when choosing the right hosting provider for your site.
First, you need to make sure you know how reliable you can expect that provider to be. Your goal should be to locate a provider that will offer as close to zero percent downtime as possible.
It is understandable that you might experience a small glitch every now and again, but that sort of thing should be easily fixed and should not be a matter of course.
You also need to look for high quality and excellent customer service. It should be very rare that you have any problems but in the event that you do or even if you just simply have a question, your hosting provider should have a reliable customer service that you can rely upon to respond to you quickly.
For the most part, you are going to find that what you really need for this type of site is a dedicated server. Fully dedicated servers and private racks are essential when you are planning to roll out an extremely large membership site.
You need something that is extremely robust to make sure that you do not ever have to concern yourself with any downtime because downtime is the same as lost revenue.
Keep in mind that this type of hosting is going to cost more than you would pay for standard hosting, but when you are planning to have a large amount of traffic and revenue coming in through that site, it is definitely worth the investment.
Another element to consider is how much help the server offers in terms of technical matters. If you are not an expert in programming and things of that nature, you need to make sure you know exactly what kinds of services are offered.
In this case, it would really be best to choose a server that is going to handle all of the technical elements for you…
You also need to give some thought to your payment processing. Think about how you are going to collect payments. There are plenty of different types of payment processors that are available today. One of the biggest names in the business is PayPal. There are also other options such as:
One of the biggest names in the business is PayPal. There are also other options such as:
You could also choose to use your own merchant account if you wanted to go that route. Regardless of which route you choose to go, you must make sure that everything related to payment processing is already set-up and is ready to be fully operable.
This means that you must test it. Test and test it again if you need to do so…
If you know ahead of time that you are going to be expecting a very high volume, it is a good idea to get in contact with them ahead of time and let them know what is going on so that you do not have any inadvertent problems on the day of your launch.
Lining up Everything
Always make sure that you have plenty of help lined up. Be sure that hosting and payment process are lined up and tested. They form the backbone of your actual product launch.
You should make sure that you have all of this done in advance so that you have ample time to tweak something if you see that it needs it. All tests should be performed well in advance.
The importance of having your support desk in place at this point really cannot be underscored enough. There is really no realistic way that you can expect to handle all of the marketing as well as the support.
You will only make yourself crazy if you attempt to do so. You need to make sure that you are free to get into contact with your affiliates and JV partners not have to be concerned with support problems that may pop up.
One of the more important things that you want to make sure happens when you actually go live with your launch is that people take action right away.
The way to make sure of this is to build in some incentives and bonuses. One of the most traditional ways to do that is to say okay, the first ten people who respond will get this and the first fifty people who respond will get something else, etc, etc.
This probably sounds like it might be a really good idea, but the problem that lies in this approach is that once all of the bonuses are gone, you are going to see your sales drop.
One thing that you can do is to put a time limit on every single thing that you do. For example, you might put ten days on one thing and seven days on something else.
This allows people to know that they have a very specific amount of time in which to respond and then it’s over and gone. That’s it.
The key to making this work is that you can’t make any extensions because if you do then people will know that they really do not have to stick to that timeframe.
Ultimately, you have to give customers a reason to buy your product right now not at some vague point in the future.
If you leave it open-ended that is exactly what is going to happen…
Consider it for a moment. You very well might be able to make more money eventually if you leave it indefinitely open-ended, but do you really want to have to wait to have the money slowly trickling in?
If you put a definite time frame on it, you will have a much better chance of increasing the amount of money that flows in through your site during those first few crucial days.
Bonuses are another excellent way to establish value and demonstrate to people that they must act right away…
Taking the time to make sure that you have everything lined up and planned well in advance of your launch is perhaps one of the most crucial things that you can do to assure the success of your website.
In the end, it really does not matter what kind of products you have to offer, if you do not heed the importance of this step…
You could easily have very high-quality products and you could have taken the time to build up interest in your products and it would all be nothing if you have not worked on being sure that everything is appropriately set up, tested and planned for.
Phase # 3. The Post-Launch
Once you have the launch set and up, the next thing that you need to begin focusing on is what you do after the post-launch…
There is a lot of planning that goes into the launch phase and it is somewhat natural to think that once you have that out of the way you can simply sit back, relax and take a deep breath…
The truth of the matter is that even after you have the launch taken care of, you still have some work left that you need to take care of…
You must continue to look forward and make sure you are poised to capitalize on the success you have achieved with your site.
Ask yourself what is going to happen next…
It can be awfully tempting to want to just move right on to the next project, but it can be helpful in many ways to take some moments to sit back and somewhat take stock of what has happened with this project.
See where there may have possibly been problems so that you can work on correcting them to avoid those problems in the future…
Customer Service and Support
This is also the time when you need to make sure that you are continuing to focus on support issues. Remember that you are now dealing with your customers, not prospects. You must do all that you can to take care of them and do whatever you can to help them.
During about the first month after your launch, you will need to focus on fixing any problems that may come up and answering any support questions.
This is where having a support and tech team can really come in handy. Keep in mind that you should expect that you will most likely have some refunds that will come in.
This can happen even on the higher end items. It is simply a part of common business practices. Every business has refunds, so you should expect your share.
Do not allow yourself to get down about refunds. You can easily make sure that you are prepared for this type of thing by figuring between 5% and 10% for a refund rate.
If at all possible, try to have someone you can dedicate to simply handle any refund issues for you…
There is no point in your having to waste any valuable time handling these issues when there are other people that you can delegate these tasks to so that your time is freed up for moving other things forward.
One of the more important things to focus on during the post-launch is to make sure that you are doing things to actually keep moving forward.
Send updates out to members, make announcements to your JV partners regarding contest winners and of course, always make sure that you are paying your commissions on time.
Be sure that you have specified to your affiliates when commissions will be paid and make certain that they are paid by that day so there is no question or concern about it.
This is incredibly important in terms of being able to keep your affiliates. Remember that without your affiliates it is virtually impossible to get anything accomplished.
This is a mutually beneficial relationship so make sure that you respect them and show them how you appreciate their efforts by keeping them in the loop and paying them on time.
At the same time, you need to be asking yourself what you can do to make your customers happy…
One of the things you can do is to send out a survey simply asking them how they like the product or whether there is anything you can do to help them in any way.
You might also think about setting up a forum for your customers. Whatever you do, make sure that you have provided your customers with easy access to your support desk.
One thing that you do not want to do is to begin hitting your customers with more offers the moment they have become a customer.
There have been plenty of people who have done this and it is a huge mistake to instantly bombard them with more offers. Focus on taking it easy.
This is crucial if you are selling higher end items. Instead of immediately sending forward more offers just do whatever you can at this point to help your customers.
What you really need to focus on is building and maintaining relationships…
This is not to say that you can’t sell things through thank you pages and other forms of backend selling, but in the end, the true way to establish wealth is by establishing relationships with your customers.
This makes it much easier to develop repeat customers because customers are far more loyal and will be much more likely to buy from you again when they feel like they have an actual relationship with you and they really know you.
Overall, there is not usually much of an opportunity to build wealth from one-time sales. Wealth is created by establishing relationships and developing those repeat customers. T
To do that you must have outstanding products and you must spend time on developing those relationships…
One of the most beneficial aspects of the membership system is that it allows you to build those relationships in a very effective manner… It really does not manner what it is that you sell on your site. It could be
It really does not manner what it is that you sell on your site. It could be eBooks, software, DVDs, whatever. No matter what it is, you can turn it into a membership site fairly easily.
All you really need is a membership site so that people can download the products… This makes it much easier to build in value to the product. For example, you could choose to provide an instruction manual along with your product. You could link to related services and products.
This makes it much easier to build in value to the product. For example, you could choose to provide an instruction manual along with your product. You could link to related services and products.
Basically, a membership site allows you to start the process of establishing a relationship in a much more effective way than if you simply used a thank you page where a customer downloaded the product and then they just went away.
With the latter type of method, the chances that you will never see the customer again are pretty high… On the other hand, if you have something available that will encourage them to keep coming back, you have an opening for building that relationship.
On the other hand, if you have something available that will encourage them to keep coming back, you have an opening for building that relationship.
These are all things that you simply cannot accomplish with a simple download page or thank you page, which is what makes a membership site absolutely ideal for establishing yourself within your chosen niche market.
So there you have it. A roadmap of how to plan for and execute your membership site! Of course, there are also drill down concerns over and above these, of which I will cover a couple here, but you already have a good bit of knowledge with which to get underway!
SUGGESTED CONTENT TO INCLUDE
Content can include almost anything of value that members of the niche would find useful for their own programs or interests. Things I can think of include videos, PLR, educational training, tips, a forum area, specials, bonuses, etc.
The best way to determine what would work, analyze your niche and see what is being requested. Use the survey method to get a feel for what niche members may be looking for, and then plan to include whatever practical in your membership site.
You may also want to see what other membership sites are including, and add these items, and more. Your membership site needs to seek to be the best, most active, helpful and sought after place to commiserate for niche members.
Here are a few ideas that will help you get started:
8 Membership Ideas For Your Membership Site:
(1) A ‘Done For You’ Membership – This is where you add new content to the site that members can download to use as they want or you allow. This could be anything such as graphics, templates, PLR, videos, etc.
(2) Product Support Memberships – You provides follow-on product and service support for a software or a tool. This will help members feel like they have an outlet or a virtual town square to visit where they can get help or support when they need it.
(3) Start A Sharing/Feedback Membership Site – This kind of a site is where like-minded people can come to have others look at their work and provide feedback. You learn a lot from this kind of membership site, and the interaction and relationships you can build will help all down the road with their online marketing and sales business. It also gives members a way to promote and encourage one another.
(4) Introduce 30 Day Challenges – This is an idea to keep members engaged and supporting one another for a series of challenges that you control the drip feed for. Examples might be a post a day for 30 days, a video a day for 30 days, etc..
(5) Limited Time Membership – This is a membership site that exists for a finite period, i.e. for a coaching program or a software tool upgrade package. This might be a one-time payment up front, or a pay by month, etc. site.
(6) Start a Software as a Service (SaaS) Membership Site– These are particularly valuable sites to operate. If your web-based software helps members save time or money, and will help increase their sales, subscribers, or similar while you are saving them time and money, you have a winner. Some examples of this are autoresponder sites, video creation sites, tool sites for tracking or posting pages and etc. The key is to have something that will simplify the lives of members while increasing their effectiveness…
(7) Mentor or Expert Membership– People will pay to be part of a group if an expert in a topic is leading the group. (example: expert copywriter giving tips about copy every day, fitness expert sharing diet and exercise tips daily).
(8) Niche Focused Membership – In this kind of a membership site, members must stick to one topic or a series of topics. Outside topics are left outside. This is similar to a forum set up, and you control the membership site, likely with the help of some admin assistants to monitor the site.
These are just a few ideas, there are many other options that you have. I urge you to do some research on your own and see what other ideas that you can come up with.
The elements and considerations included in this quite lengthy tutorial will all be useful no matter the kind of membership site you create! Use them and get people running to join your site!
OK next I want to cover a very important element with membership sites…
HOW MUCH TO CHARGE MEMBERS
This is another area where you have a great latitude with. My advice would be once again to see what the competition is doing and then base your rates and levels to be competitive.
Certainly, I would advise awarding basic free membership as a bonus for some of your affiliate or personal product sales. After that, I would add a total of three, and have the middle level provide lots of value, with the highest containing the most and best.
You could do a $1 trial at the lowest level, then maybe a lower first-month cost, with a regular monthly charge thereafter to entice people to join and stay. You can also do an annual subscription which saves the members a lot over the monthly cost.
There are any number of ways to set up the membership levels and rates, you are only limited by your imagination!
This tutorial should be enough to get your creative juices flowing and have you excited to get started. Follow the steps as described, and work hard to get everything in place.
Of course, this is not going to give you answers to every problem you will undoubtedly face as you start. It will provide a forum for you to get answers you may need as you go along, however. I would like to see an active and helpful set of people contribute below using the comment section to that end.
Because additional information is useful and new perspectives valuable, I decided to add in two more sources for you below. Please check them out and if you are interested, take action through signing up for this page as a subscriber, and get them for free.
Have fun and good luck!
I have two eBooks for you that will provide more information on membership sites and I invite you to download them for adding to your resource library and of course for you to use as you may need.
All I am asking is that you provide me your first name and best email address so I can send you further such information that will help you establish and grow your online marketing business.
Here is the first book:
In this book here are the subjects you will find covered:
As you can see, it offers a good basic starting set of guidelines to setting up and operating a membership site. It is a good place to start your planning and implementation of a membership site of your very own.
Here is the second free eBook for you today:
In this book you will find the following information:
Sign up below to receive a confirmation mail that you wish to subscribe, and immediately after confirming you will receive a second mail with the download link for this eBook.
I invite you to add your thoughts on membership sites below in the comment section. Perhaps you have stood one up before, or most certainly you have been a member of a membership site in the past.
By sharing our insight, experiences, or knowledge with all the readers, a good discussion can ensure and overall we all gain from the effort.
Thanks in advance for your cooperation!