For anyone who wants the flexibility to work from home and run a successful business online, then a membership site is one of the best ways to form an online business. And for this to work, you have to get on building your membership funnel.
A membership site is a closed part of an online business that allows only members who subscribe to access exclusive content, special offers, and even be part of a community of other members who also get to interact directly with you.
Membership sites are usually based on popular niches, such as digital marketing, weight loss, or fitness. All you have to do is add new content at the beginning of a month and grant your members access as long as the membership agreements are kept.
The basics of creating a membership site start with identifying and establishing a membership base after identifying the niche that best suits you. When you have this, you will be able to create specialized content that your members will be willing to pay for. After that, building your membership funnel becomes the next worry, then creating a way for your users to join the community, pay the token, and access the content you have for them.
As a beginner, the best approach is to create information on products that you know people will find useful and relevant. As long as you keep your content relevant, you stay in touch with your customer base and build authority in your market.
Why You Start a Membership Site
As we have mentioned above, there are various reasons that propel you to start a membership site.
The major ones are listed below;
- Membership sites can help generate a steady and legitimate stream of income.
- Membership sites serve as one of the best ways to implement digital marketing strategies.
- Membership Sites are fairly easy to set up and maintain with tools like Funneljoy.
- You can grow your site and membership base by applying social media and optimize it for search with search engine best practices.
- Membership sites allow you to share your valuable content yet minimize people from easily stealing it.
- Membership sites allow you to build a community you can rely on for your content.
- With a membership site, it is easy to track and measure the activities of your content, since they are shared in a closed site.
Who Is a Membership Site For?
The biggest asset to a membership site is the community that is built. To be able to achieve this excellently well, there is a need to be an expert at the niche you decide to focus on. If you are an expert in a particular field, then starting a membership field will be easier than someone who is a newbie in the field. The interesting thing about it is that irrespective of your field of expertise, you can always narrow it down and build a membership site around it.
The point here is that you have to find what you are really good at and capitalize on it. Your expertise and vast knowledge in that field is what will serve as your most valuable assets.
Not only that, to build a membership site, you have to be consistent. Without consistency, the struggle to grow your membership funnel will be great. Every step of the funnel will require your detailed attention and hard work.
Types of Membership Sites
There are several types of membership sites you can create. The one you choose will depend on how much work you are willing to put in and your level of expertise in the field. Your dedication and knowledge will, in turn, determine how much money you make.
Below are some of the most popular membership site models you can choose from.
- Professional Service Model
This model is strictly for professionals. Freelancers, consultants, digital marketers, software developers, or graphic designers. The professional service model allows you to productize and sell your services with a membership subscription to a community that understands and has a need for your services.
- Content Library Model
This model works majorly for people with a large inventory of content. Building a membership site in this case means that you are giving members access to your library of content. The way you then decide to distribute the content is left to you, you can either make it a one time access to the entire content or add the contents in bits.
- Content Publishing Model
This model allows you to constantly publish content for members of your site while they pay a recurring fee in order to have access to new updates. To ensure that the site is a success, you have to ensure that only valuable contents are published on a regular basis. Another thing is that with this model, consistency is key in order to stay relevant. The minute your members realize or feel that you don’t have content of value for them again they move to the next valuable site.
- Product Based Model
This model works best for entrepreneurs who sell software or information products. The products could be in the form of ebooks, online courses or audio books. With this model, the digital products you decide to sell to your members are secure and safe as you have the assurance that only members who have completed payment get access to them.
- Coach-Client Model
This model is for coaches and consultants who plan on taking their businesses to the next level. With this model, you can provide personalized experiences and services to your members. It allows you the flexibility of approach and does not limit the quality of the service you have to offer.
6. Hybrid model
With a hybrid model, you can mix and match any of these models as you see fit. The models are flexible and can adapt to your business objectives. As long as you are positive and assured of your expertise and consistency to the brand.
Building Your Membership Funnel
Having a funnel while building your membership site ensures that you stay on track and focus on what’s important to those you intend to serve your content to. An example of a funnel for a membership site might take this course from top to bottom:
- Sign-up to opt-in for a free service or gift
- An interesting product offered on the thank you page at a low cost. This is called a tripwire that serves as a low-cost trial of your membership site.
- Building a relationship with the subscriber based on their purchase or not from the above.
- Offering other tripwires that introduces them and promotes your membership site.
- If they opt for the membership you proceed to do an onboarding
- If they don’t find an alternative to satisfying their needs.
The whole point of a membership funnel is to ensure that you stay on track and cover all touchpoints involved in building your membership site.
7 Things to Note While Building Your Membership Funnel
- Find a Profitable Niche for Your Membership Site
Picking the right niche is the first step towards setting your membership up for success and building the perfect membership funnel for every member you intend to bring on board. Knowing that there is nothing like the perfect niche makes the selection process better.
What you should rather opt for is the best thing that is the right niche for you. To do this you have to know if the niche is currently being served if you can create a blue ocean approach to the niche and if the people in the chosen niche are passionate about it.
- Choose And Validate An Idea For Your Membership Site
After selecting the niche you should be able to narrow it down to a specific idea that you want to be known for in that niche. Doing this will help you to build a funnel that will cater for everyone at various phases of the funnel because you are not dealing with a very wide niche that makes you lose focus of what’s important and what isn’t.
After you have chosen a profitable niche, you need to select and validate your core hypothesis. You have to map out the ideal customer or member persona and understand the journey it will take them till they become loyal members. Be clear on the results you want to get for your member persona, build a Facebook group and run an ask campaign to help you understand what your customers really want and how best to deliver it to them at different points. Then go-ahead to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with a tool like Funneljoy that you can sell to your members.
- The benefits you intend your membership site to provide
Many well-known businesses because it offers many benefits over other business models. Besides the financial side other benefits include the fact that it builds credibility, generates a steady income, builds a loyal and engaged community, and creates value to all members over time.
- Creating and Delivering Content For Your Membership Site
Creating content is the next step after knowing what benefits members of your site stand to gain. Your content’s primary goal would be engaging your members and adding value to their lives and many people struggle to create the right content for their membership sites.
One of the main reasons for this is because they focus too much on the financial gains and lose focus on the value and benefits they should be serving members of the site. It is important to focus on creating content based on how much value you can offer and build a loyal community you have to ensure your contents are original as well.
You can rely on a variety of content structures to pass across your message in order not to bore your members. Online Courses, Live Webinar Training, Content Guides, Content Library, Mastermind Calls, Downloadable Content, Exclusive Interviews, Community Forum are some content formats that can be used to provide valuable contents.
6. The Tools You Need To Build a Profitable Membership Site
It’s important to know what resources and technologies you’re gonna need to launch your membership site. A functional membership site has a lot of moving parts that you need to manage and knowing them from the get go helps you prepare adequately for every part. These include a site builder, a content management system, a payment processor, an email marketing software, a designer to set up your landing pages, sales pages
7. The Right Pricing Strategy For Your Membership Site
Choosing the right price for your membership site is as important as every other detail here. If you charge too much, you might struggle to attract new members, and if your charges are too low, people might become skeptical of the value of your membership site. The key is to find a sweet spot in-between and leverage on it.
Choosing the right pricing strategy involves two key parts; knowing what to charge and how often to charge it. Finding this balance and having a great understanding of it means that every member of your site who goes through every stage of your funnel is assured of the value they are set to receive and are eager to journey all the way to get to it.