Creating recurring income with a membership
Do you remember the days of Members Only clubs, when only a select few were permitted access to what was on the other side? How archaic that model seems today! Nowadays, memberships dominate the online world and we’re all the richer for it…
The term membership is really broad – it technically describes any site where you have to log in. So, social media platforms like Facebook and Tinder are membership sites, they may be sites where you sign up to access free online materials, or sites where you want to tap into expert knowledge or feel the support of other like-minded people.
The thing they all have in common is that content and community are at the heart of what they do.
Mike Morrison, one half of the Membership Guys, a website dedicated to helping clients set up successful memberships online, is not surprisingly, a huge fan of the membership model.
“The main appeal is the recurring nature of the money you make,” he says. “You are not having to chase sales and your revenue accumulates over time.”
Mike has achieved such good results from memberships, that membership is now the sole focus of his latest business. Here’s what he says about the benefits of the membership model:
Every member you bring in means your base line of revenue is going up and up. So, even if you have a bad month, your base line will still be a lot higher than chasing one-off sales.
Reliability and predictability:
These are benefits you just don’t get with other business models. You know how many members you have each month so, unless anything changes, you know how much money you have coming in each month.
not having to constantly chase the next sale is incredibly freeing. It means you don’t have to trade time for money. This freedom in lifestyle reduces stress and gives you more choice and control.
You’re the expert:
Memberships offer a good living for anyone with knowledge. Members are looking to learn from you, to change themselves or reach a goal. There are so many ways you can impart your knowledge to your membership, such as e-learning courses, free downloads and live Q&A sessions.
Some people only use 5-10% of their expertise in their jobs, but you have the chance with a membership to fully flex your muscles to be able to help people. You can decide what and how much of your expertise to share with your members.
When thinking about starting an online membership for your business, Mike advises taking the time to really understand what people want and how you can help them.
“We often assume we know what our audience wants and needs,” he says. “Validation is part of the process that so many people skip, but it’s really vital.”
Starting a membership doesn’t have to be as daunting as you think. There are a few key areas that Mike suggests you address on your way to creating your online membership:
Find your audience:
Ideally you want between 300-500 people on an email list already, but you can start a membership without this – it will just take longer to get up and running.
Build your list:
Spend 3-6 months making list-building your focal point. Look at lead generation and content marketing – start a Facebook group and talk to people. If you interact with your email list you may discover that a membership isn’t what will help people – be honest with that knowledge.
Make it valid:
Don’t rush in – is there actually an audience for this? Do they have the problems you assume they have? Is a membership the right way to address these problems? Are you the right person to do this? Ask yourself these questions before deciding whether to go ahead with creating your membership.
The beauty of memberships is that you can add to the content all the time – it is a continuous evolution and refinement. That means you don’t need a lot of content all at once – you can add to it over time. All new content adds value – you are building an incredible resource one step at a time.
There is a saying, ‘People come for the content, stay for the community’, and this is so true of memberships.
The content is what gets people through the door but the real value is from the community element – the support members can offer each other, the connections they make, the interaction with you.
Online memberships, just like in real life, are about feeling part of a community. Whether your goal is to learn something new, to expand your knowledge, to meet people who share your interests or to find community support, there’s a whole world of like-minded people out there to connect with. When online memberships have so much to offer, there’s never been a better time to start one…
To find out more about starting your online membership, take a look at the free content and resources at Themembershipguys.com
For help building your membership, join the Membership Academy at membershipacademy.com
If you would like to learn more about creating recurring income from a membership listen to the full Podcast go to: Episode 66