If you don’t have a ready audience to market your membership website to, then you’ll need to hone your marketing skills. Membership marketing isn’t that much different from marketing any other business model. The key is consistency and perserverence. Fortunately, there are many ways both online and offline to drive traffic to your website.
We’ve gathered ten options to recommend. Usually when you get started, there will be plenty of hits and misses in your membership marketing strategy until you find what works best for you. So don’t get discouraged but see every attempt as a learning experience.
1. Build your email list
Building an email list should be your number one priority when it comes to membership site marketing. By capturing the contact information of the organic traffic that comes to your site, you have the potential to convert visitors to paying customers.
To collect the emails of visitors, create a lead magnet. A lead magnet is any incentive offered in exchange for a visitor’s email. Lead magnets can be anything from a newsletter to an ebook to a checklist or free trial.
Keep in touch with your mailing list on a regular basis – once a month at the minimum – and make sure you’re sending them valuable information as well as promoting your wares.
2. Start a blog
Blogging is a brilliant way to show off your expertise, and prove that your membership site is a valuable asset. The idea here is to give people a reason to revisit your site on a regular basis, convert them into email subscribers (see above), while showcasing your knowledge and expertise. The way you do this doesn’t really matter – be creative and pick a format that you’re most comfortable with.
Blog posts can range from a short 500-word think piece, to a 5000-word in-depth guide. If you don’t like writing you could do an audio blog, a video blog, or even an image-based blog. You could blog something small every day, or do a lengthy piece every two weeks. It’s completely up to you – don’t get bogged down by thinking your blog needs to be like everybody else’s, be creative and let your personality shine.
3. Release teaser content
Releasing teaser content on your blog, email newsletter and/or social media is a brilliant way of giving people a taste of what they can expect from your paid offerings. Think of this like a movie trailer – you want to give people an idea of whether or not your content is right for them. Make a showreel of your latest members-only videos, or release a couple of written lessons on your blog and show people where they can sign up to get more.
4. Post on social media
Social media is a fantastic tool if used correctly, but unfortunately most businesses still get stuck here. The key with social media is the word ‘social’. Don’t try and use social media in the same way you would advertising – it’s not all sell, sell, sell on social. It’s more about crafting an experience with your content.
You want to use social media to show ‘behind the scenes’ of your business, the works in progress, the personalities and people involved, and you want to create a buzzing community around your business and build awareness of your brand.
You do this by actually having conversations with your followers – engaging with them and building relationships with them – rather than just telling them to buy your stuff all the time. Social media is a wonderful place to share blog posts and teaser content, but that should only be around 20% of your content. The bulk of it should be community-focused and conversational.
5. Engage in public relations
PR feels very old-fashioned in this hi-tech internet space, but it is still very relevant. In the days before the internet, PR was primarily focused on getting your business featured in print publications like newspapers and magazines, as well as TV and radio coverage.
Whilst that still applies, PR has evolved to include things like getting featured on high-profile blogs, podcasts, and online magazine sites. In a nutshell, you identify the places you would like your business to be featured, write a press release or pitch, and send it off. You can get help with this sort of thing from places like Upwork and Fiverr.
6. Try public speaking
Public speaking is a fantastic way to share your knowledge and expertise with people and widen your reach. There are numerous different ways you can do this, for example: speaking at charity events, joining your local Toastmasters group, speaking at industry events, speaking via video at online summits, applying to do a TEDx talk for your local chapter.
A Google search for ‘speaking opportunities in my area’ can throw up lots more ideas as well. Make your talk fun, engaging, informative, and relevant to your business, with some fantastic visual aids to accompany it – we recommend hiring a designer for this if you’re not design-oriented yourself. Practicing in front of a mirror and with a small group of friends will boost your confidence and iron out all the kinks before you ‘go live’.
7. Attend networking events
Never underestimate the power of networking! A business is only as strong as the strength of its relationships, and you have to actively seek out and nurture your connections. You never know where a meeting may lead. There are two ways to do this: the first is to join up with traditional networking style groups in your area. These are organized events where you introduce yourself and hand out business cards and meet as many people as possible. The downside of these events is that you never know who will be attending, and it could be that the group is just the wrong sort of people for your business.
The second way, which I prefer, is a much more personal approach. You look for people and special interest groups who you feel would be a good fit for your business and you approach them directly. For example, a fitness coach could join up with a hiking group, and could even speak to the organizer about giving a short talk or demonstration (see public speaking, above).
8. Collaborate with others
Getting backlinks to your website can drive traffic to your website while improving your domain authority and SEO. Backlinks are an important SEO ranking factor because Google and other search engines view backlinks
A backlink is when another website links to yours. Of course, you only want backlinks from a relevant site that has good domain authority.
One of the best ways to get a backlink is to collaborate with another website. You can do this by providing a guest post or some other content containing a link back to your site. Reach out to other sites that have a complementary target market as you but are not in direct competition. For example, if your membership is about fitness, you could reach out to a fitness equipment blog or online store.
9. Advertise your membership
There is a wealth of online advertising opportunities. But before you start to spend the cash, do some customer research.
First, create you customer persona so that you understand who exactly is the audience for your website. Now, how does your service meet their needs? What are their needs? Keyword research is going to be very important here. If someone is searching for a particular topic that you have bid on in an ad campaign, chances are your link will be clicked. But if the prospect finds that your landing page doesn’t match the search, they will be gone in a hurry. What’s worse is, you’ve just paid for a fruitless click.
Second, advertise on the platform where your audience is found. This could be Pinterest, Instagram, Google search, Facebook, TikTok ect.
10. Approach an influencer
Influencers are on every media platfrom and have already amassed huge followings. Working with an influencer with a following in your target market could be a spring board to increase the awareness of your website. Of course, you will have to work out a compensation arrangement. This could be a commission on any member sign ups driven by the connection.
Don’t have a membership website yet? No problem. Open a free SubHub trial today.
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