As an influencer or blogger, you’d have realized that the best way to keep making steady money in these professions is by creating a membership funnel. A membership site is a way to charge for the knowledge you have.
This method simply connotes creating a membership plan, where people subscribe to your content. Your members pay to see or learn your skills, webinar, posts, and the like. A perfect example of a membership site is medium. On the Medium membership plan, you have access to articles ordinary sign up users don’t have access to. And this is why others create websites strictly for this.
To effectively manage the traffic and subscribers to maximize profit, you need a membership funnel. Well, you don’t have to go further.
In this guide, I’ve detailed everything you’d need to know about a membership funnel. You’d know what it is, why it’s important and the tools you’d need to create your very own. So sit back and ride with me.
What is a Membership Funnel?
A membership funnel is the sales funnel you create to help you keep track of each stage of your members’ journey. Once a membership site is created, the work begins. Like every other marketing campaign, you’d have to figure out how to get leads to subscribe to your content. Once they subscribe, your goal will no longer just be focused on getting new members, but also retaining your current members.
Your membership funnel is the map that’ll help you control all these stages. It helps you outline your membership acquisition strategy along with the membership retention strategy. Let’s see an example of a membership funnel.
The beginning of a membership funnel could be in the form of a free trial that announces that this content is accessible to you for a limited period of time. Now, there is no current subscription but you’re allowed to see what you’d be signing up for. The key is to get you hooked enough to willingly become a member.
The next stage can then be nurtured through follow-up emails or content personalization. Before the final step of retention. A great example of a retention stage in the membership funnel is through partner programs.
Altogether, this makes up an example of a membership funnel. Now, before going ahead to draft or sketch out a probable framework, let’s see what the key components of a membership funnel consist of.
Elements of a Membership Funnel
To effectively create a working membership funnel, there are certain components or elements that have to be handy. Now, membership funnels are different in terms of purpose, style, length and a host of others. However, no matter how different they are, the below-listed elements are present in every funnel.
1. The Landing Page
The first contact a visitor comes in contact with before transitioning to a member is the landing page. The page is designed to not only sell the membership site but to get the details of potential leads for subsequent follow-ups. In most cases, the page offers something in exchange for these contacts. The landing page might vary as there are different types for different purposes. However, the intent remains the same; capture leads through their emails.
2. Email Marketing
Once the email addresses are collected, they have to be managed. This is where email marketing comes in. Making subtle pitches, helping out the way you can, and helping them make informed decisions are all part of an email marketing strategy. Email marketing here, helps you build and develop a relationship with your leads. In the creation of every membership funnel, emails are always a strategy found. It is the easiest and fastest way to contact your leads.
3. Traffic or Visitors
The whole point of creating a funnel is getting substantial traffic and nurturing them. Your traffic is determined by the number of people that view your ads and click on them. Showing interest is just the one step that converts them to leads. To gain traffic, you can choose to either market organically or use paid marketing. Once your content is on the web, it should drive traffic. Without traffic, a membership funnel cannot function.
4. A Thank you Page
Once your site visitor signs up for your content or your email, what next? There has to be a page that informs them of successful signup, hints on the next line of action, or tells them what to expect. The thank-you page is an avenue to interact with your leads. It can even further drive sales by showing other features or areas of your membership site.
5. A Sales Page
When dealing with a membership funnel, one quintessential component is a sales page. This is because the service you’re offering is a paid plan that requires some sort of commitment. To get this commitment, you have to make a pitch. The pitch here tells your leads that there’s a lot to gain when they subscribe as a member. This is where your sales page comes in. A sales page either lets them know the benefits or shows them what they can avoid. In the end, they know that it’s in their best interest to become a member.
What are the Stages of a Membership Funnel?
Like every other creation, a membership funnel has required stages that create its framework. You already know what the components are but you need to also know how to align each element. These steps will help you structure your funnel so that it works effectively.
1. The Capture Stage
This stage is similar to the attraction stage of a sales funnel. Here, your primary focus is on getting enough people to show interest in signing up or subscribing to your emails and content. This is where your affiliate marketing and sales strategy come into place. Like the example earlier on, your methods could consist of a free opt-in page, an ebook when they signup, or even a webinar. Basically something in exchange for their details or well enough to keep them hooked.
2. The Nurture Stage
In the nurture stage, attention is shifted from just getting leads to converting these interested leads into actual members. You do this by using their contact information or emails to keep them interested enough to sign up. Let’s say the only way to talk to them is through emails. A good way to do this is by showing off the benefits of subscribing.
An example we highlighted also is through offering free trials. When your leads have an actual taste of your content, they are likely to carry on with the program by subscribing. The key is segmenting based on their preference. This way, the messages are more tailored and personalized. It’ll help the open rates and reduce the number of leads who will eventually leave the funnel.
3. The Conversion/Retention Stage
Now, your members are in the funnel. They are paying and business is booming. You want to have them entertained enough to keep coming back. The only way to effectively grow your membership site is by sealing the end of the funnel. This way you keep adding the new while retaining the older members.
From personalization to loyalty reward programs, there are a ton of strategies you can implement in this stage. The key is in making them feel valued and appreciated. It also means a great deal of consumer focus. So take time to understand your members and study them. With this, you’ll know why they are a member and what you can do to keep them so.
Tools You’d Need When Creating Your Membership Funnel
Now that you have a working knowledge of what your membership funnel should look like, you’d need certain tools to bring it to life. These tools help you create each strategy and element of your funnel. And most of them require zero knowledge of code
1. An Email Marketing Service
You can ask for email addresses from your leads but where do you store them? How do you manage the contacts? Automation is a very essential part of your email service because you can’t wait till the end of the day to create a generic email for every lead.
An email marketing service not only helps you store and manage these contacts but eases the automation and makes it personalized. There are a number of email marketing services that can help you build a strong promotional email strategy. Checkout Sendmunk for this purpose.
2. Page Builder
Although some content management systems allow you to create a sales page with them, it’s always advisable to create one using a page builder. This is because it can be a little confusing when you’re creating a landing page or a sales page for the first time. You’d need to place each element like the navigation, footer, CTA and others just right.
A number of page builders like Funneljoy, lets you build your sales pages and landing pages with zero code needed. Plus, there’s a lot of templates to choose from. You won’t be restricted to choosing the same type for every promotion. Another perk of using page builders is that you can test two variations of your landing page and sales page. It’ll be easier to decipher which one drives more conversions.
3. A Live Chat
When visitors are on your membership site for the first time, they might have some questions to ask you. Having a really fancy membership funnel is great but without room for contact, it might be an epic fail. Membership sites require follow-ups and a lot of persuasion. So you’d need tools like livechat inc, to help you communicate with your visitors and answer their questions if they have any. Chances that you’ll drive more conversions when you do this are really high.
4. Upsell Membership Plugins
A membership funnel is to help your leads transition smoothly into members. If you’ll be giving out a free trial, you have to create an upsell that’ll help your visitors easily become members. There are a lot of plugins that help with this function. Funneljoy has a one-click upsell feature that helps you achieve this easily. Now your leads don’t have to scout for what the next line of action is.
5. Opt-in Forms
Although a landing page and a sales page are the main ways to get a contact address, opt-in forms are really handy too. If you have certain free posts, you can simply use these forms at intervals to ask for a call to action. Not only are they effective, but they are also fun to create. This is because you can make more than two and place them strategically at all corners of your webpage.
Email marketing services, like Sendmunk, and content management systems usually have one opt-in form that can be injected if you’d like. However, if you need something personalized that’ll give you absolute control, you should opt for an opt-in form builder. Also, they don’t need code injections as they have templates to choose from. Some I’ve personally worked with are Bloom and Funnel Joy.
6. An All-round Builder
I know how this list must seem like its dragging. And you’re probably wondering how you’ll manage so many tools at the same time. Well, there are tools that have all these features in one. Creating your membership funnel won’t be time-consuming and you’d be certain of getting everything right. These all round tools take care of the building and construction for you. Plus they are really easy to set up.
If you have a lot to deal with at the moment and you’re looking for something that’ll create a membership funnel without much hassle, consider using Funneljoy Builder. They have great templates, opt-in forms, landing pages, sales pages, marketing services that come together to build you funnel how you’d imagine it to be. And of course, it requires no code knowledge.
That’s pretty much it. Initially, building a membership funnel might seem a little tasking and overwhelming. But once you think of it as creating a relationship with a friend, it’s an easy ride from there. I hope this guide has been helpful. I can’t wait to see you create your very own funnel for your membership site.