When it comes to creating a membership website, people often mistakenly believe the mantra, ‘build it and they will come’. If only, it were that easy!
Gaining an audience of paying members requires more than just the simple faith your website will be found in a Google search.
You actually need to execute a consistent and ongoing marketing campaign to find your audience and then address their needs so they see the value in subscribing to your website.
This is achieved by employing a combination of marketing strategies and no one can tell you how to accomplish this better than those actually doing it!
We asked some of our most successful clients to share their proven marketing knowledge, insights and tactics for how to gain traction, drive traffic and sign up members.
1. How to stand out in a saturated market
Getting found on the internet can seem an impossible task which is why finding your niche market is so important.
Jake, a certified strength and conditioning coach, determined that in order to succeed in the saturated fitness market, he needed to focus on a niche. Instead of a generalist, he needed to become a specialist.
He started by developing a ‘customer profile’ of the person he wanted to reach. The first niche he focused on was getting unmotivated people off the couch to fitness. He then spent time developing and posting content, specific to this audience’s needs, on his YouTube channel – which is a major pipeline that drives traffic to his website.
Jake advises beginners to save their money on marketing until they find out what their niche is.
He admits, “I tried paid advertising in the beginning and it was a total failure because I was all over the place. It wasn’t until I created a speciality in my market did I start to see the results. People pay more money for a specialist than a general practitioner.”
2. Develop a ‘customer persona’ of the person you want to reach
Knowing the customer persona of your target audience enables you to identify and create effective marketing strategies to reach and engage them.
Megan, whose website provides lesson helps in gospel learning, spent time to identify the three customer personas that they sell to.
She says, “It’s been helpful to narrow our marketing by understanding our customers’ pain points and answering those points for them.
“Having clear goals and a marketing plan is essential. When you just throw things out there and hope they stick, most of the time, they won’t! Selling to ‘our person’ and understanding who she is, is a game changer.”
Gregg and Deborah’s website provides musical activities and inspiration for the classroom.
Gregg says, “When we first started, I went to a music teacher’s conference just to get a sense of what our average customer was like. So, when I think of marketing, I think of the woman who sat next to me at the conference…who did, indeed, become a subscriber!
3. How to drive traffic to your website
All our clients use social media platforms to promote and drive traffic to their membership websites. The platform they chose varies according to where their audience naturally hangs out.
Stephen has been teaching worship guitar lessons online for over ten years.
He advises, “Trying to keep up with several social media channels is really difficult. I’ve found that the better path for me was to pick one platform where my audience lives and create consistent content.
“Also, I’ve found that you should align your content with what you already enjoy doing. If you like making videos, then YouTube. If you like long-form writing, then a blog. It’s difficult to maintain something that you don’t really enjoy in the first place.”
4. Consistency & commitment are the key ingredients to succeed on social media
All our clients devote time to social media promotion.
Jo, a yoga instructor, says social media is where she develops the ‘know, like and trust factor.’
Stephen has plenty of good advice for beginners.
He says, “If you’re just starting out on YouTube, try to be as consistent as possible. If you’re so bold, commit to one video every day (or every week) for one year.
“Use keywords in your titles that match what people are searching for. Remember, YouTube is a search engine. Also, keeping a little bit of curiosity in your titles will help engagement.
“Don’t get lost in being overly produced, super creative, or salesy. Just simply provide engaging content that someone wants to watch, and let your audience grow.
“Respond to feedback and learn to serve your audience with the content they want. Let your channel evolve naturally, and stay consistent for one year. You will either have a substantial audience, or you will know that it’s time to pivot to a different area.”
5. Start investing in a long-term SEO vision
Drive organic search traffic to your membership website by creating relevant content that’s free.
When Covid hit and Jo’s in-person yoga studio closed, she pivoted to providing her yoga sessions remotely through her membership website.
While many clients initially migrated from her studio, the new members she gained online found her through good old-fashioned SEO.
Jo says she focuses on creating good content that engages people.
She advises, “Think about the questions that your ideal client has and then answer them in blog posts and videos. You can cross post them across platforms too.”
She says, “If you can narrow down what you do and be clear around who you help, it makes things so much easier.
“That may seem simple but it’s amazing how often you just assume everyone knows what you offer when they don’t.
“I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen memberships where their messaging is really fluffy and I don’t have a clue what they do. Things like ’empowering women to be their best selves’, that’s great but what does it mean?
“If you can be super clear about what you offer then not only will people be able to understand what you offer but also Google likes it too.”
6. How effective is paid advertising to promote your website?
Advertising success comes back to presenting a clear understanding of your offer and identifying and addressing the needs of your audience.
Cheri, a chair yoga instructor, tried a number of different paid campaigns. She found they helped slightly but were nothing to write home about.
At one point, she had even hired three different people to help with marketing – one for Google ads, a person for Facebook ads and another to grow her email list.
However, Cheri’s biggest leap and most success came from posting on TikTok @chairyoga.
She realised that, “No one can sell your product like you can because your passion is why you started.”
Cheri does a TikTok LIVE at least 3-4 times a week. She finds that Sunday mornings are the best. She recently started doing LIVEs with Instagram as well.
Cheri enthuses, “It’s the best marketing!! And the best results I have ever received. It has beat Google ads and Facebook ads. I spend at least an hour, sometimes two hours on my LIVE. It cost me nothing – just my time!”
Cheri is convinced, you will always be the best marketer for your product, I have a passion for it and I believe it comes across when I do a LIVE!!
Now get started on your own marketing strategy for your membership website. Begin by investing some time in developing and understanding your customer persona. Be prepared to have set backs until you find your groove. Maintain consistent efforts on social media. But above all, remember that you will always be the best spokesperson and marketer for your site.