As a business owner, you know the importance of keeping your customers happy and engaged. One way to do this is by creating a membership program that provides exclusive benefits and perks. By doing so, you’ll not only keep your customers coming back, but you’ll also create loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing for your business.
By giving your members access to exclusive deals, events, and content, you’ll keep them coming back for more. Building a membership program may seem like a daunting task, but we’re here to help. In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips on how to create a successful membership program that will benefit both you and your clients.
Know Your Niche
Here at SubHub, we like to say that having a membership program lets you “profit from your passion.” We’ve been saying it since we started in 2005, and it’s just as true now as it ever was.
It stands to reason, then, that your first step in building a membership program is to identify that passion of yours – in other words, your niche.
Niche and passion are very closely related, but not identical. A niche consists of 3 elements: 1) Your passion or the topic you love and are knowledgeable about; 2) Specifics about your audience, and 3) Specifics about your audience’s needs and wants.
For example, if your passion is software, your audience might be developers, and your audience’s needs might include software development tools. Of course, you are going to go into much more detail about those potential clients as you develop your membership program, but in a nutshell, that describes your niche.
Research Your Market
You probably want to jump into designing your website now…but your next step in building your membership program is to do some self-examination. Are you confident that your product or service offering will benefit your audience members?
If you’re not sure, don’t worry. There is a solution. Ask them! If you are running a Facebook group or page, even if with only a few followers in tow, now is the time to get some real-time information. Polls and surveys are easy to set up on any social media platform, so take advantage and ask your audience or a potential audience what they need. If you don’t have enough followers on your social media accounts, join some other similar groups and pay attention to what is being said. This is the best intel you can get – right from the source.
Craft Your Value Proposition
Now that you know what your audience needs and how you can help, you can craft a value proposition for your membership program. A value proposition simply states what you do for who, and how. For example, SubHub’s value proposition goes something like this: Our membership website platform helps entrepreneurs and organizations who want to profit from their passion by providing them with an easy-to-use, all-in-one solution with 5-star support at a reasonable price.
Keep your value proposition top of mind as you build your membership business and grow. It might change as you add products and services or branch out to different audiences, but the formula will be the same. Always remember who you are serving and what need you are solving, and you will have an excellent chance of attracting and retaining members regularly.
Deliver Value to Your Audience
The next step on your journey to building a membership program is to determine how you are going to deliver your product or services to your audience. Identify what it is that your customers value most and make sure that your membership program offers them plenty of benefits in this area. Secondly, make the sign-up process as straightforward as possible so that people don’t get discouraged along the way. Lastly, market your membership program effectively so that people know about it and are motivated to join.
Let’s look at each of these steps in detail.
1) Gearing your offerings to your audience.
Use the language your audience uses to describe how you can solve their problem. Having done a bit of demographics research, you will already have a good idea of the best way to offer these benefits. For example, a grand opening sale might get you off to a good start if you think your audience is very cost-conscious. However, if you are marketing to a group that values coaching and interaction more than pennies, your grand opening might include a free 60-minute consultation instead.
2) Set your subscription pricing.
Always a touchy subject, pricing, and packaging of services can be a minefield if you don’t make a choice and stick to it. Decide how you’re going to package and price your services and don’t waver or make exceptions if you can avoid them. If there is a cut-off date for sign-ups, stick to it as that is only fair to the people who signed up early. If you just want to charge at an hourly rate per week or month, that’s okay too.
There are many different ways to set up your pricing model. Examples are a monthly or annual fee for access to content; a one-time fee for a course or non-recurring subscription; tiered membership levels allowing different access at different price points. A membership tier example might be a set-up with 3 membership levels – bronze, silver, and gold. At the bronze level, members get access to a forum and blog posts. At the silver level, members receive bronze benefits plus access to group coaching sessions. At the gold level, additional benefits and bonuses are added such as invitations to live events and one-on-one calls.
3) Provide obvious contact information. Make sure your potential clients know who you are and how to get in touch with you. This is something that is sometimes overlooked when building a membership program. The benefits you offer your clients are extremely important, but it’s also important that they feel confident that you are a legitimate organization with integrity. You can do this by simply introducing yourself in a video or on social media, talking about your passion and how you came to help people, and by showing a company address on your website and in newsletters. Making a contact page easy to find lets customers know they can get hold of you in case of questions or concerns.
1) Decide on your tech. Find the software program that best suits your business, your abilities, and your schedule. You have many choices when it comes to building your membership website, from a custom development by a developer to WordPress to a SaaS (software as a service) platform. At SubHub we recommend using an all-in-one platform simply because it’s so…simple! You don’t have to be tech-savvy to set up your membership program website on most SaaS platforms. SubHub’s interface is easy to use but at the same time offers sophisticated functionality and design options. Above all, make sure the platform you choose offers customer support. A 5-star dedicated support team can be the difference between a smooth experience and a bundle of frustrations.
2) Organize your content. Make it easy for members to find their content once they have signed up for your program. Ensuring the correct emails, reminders, and login credentials are communicated to each member is a crucial step in onboarding your client. You want that process to be as easy as possible so your member doesn’t get discouraged. The best way to do that is to be available. Even better, offer a Zoom call with a screen share or a personalized video to help out anyone who gets stuck.
3) Focus on your client’s needs. Make it easy to cancel or get refunds. That doesn’t sound like fun! But in reality, you will always get some churn in your membership. People will come and go and your priority is to not make it difficult for them. If you are using the SubHub platform, your members have access to their account information, and if you wish to allow it, they can cancel their subscriptions. This shows your clients that you value their decisions and will abide by them. Your next priority, if this happens, is to not take it personally. If you have a member who wants to leave, wish them well and focus on those who are still with you.
PROMOTE YOUR MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE
1) Social media marketing
has proven that it is possible to create a passionate audience. This may be a great way to connect with your audience.
2) Paid online advertising
You always have this option but tread carefully if you don’t have expert help. You’ll only pay for clicks but if those clicks don’t convert, you may be spending more than it’s worth, especially if your niche is one in which keywords have a high value.
3) Webinars and videos
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to connect with your audience and give them a taste of what you have to offer, free videos and webinars are excellent choices. Everyone loves free, and with video, you have the opportunity to show people who you are, and to talk to them directly, either on a call or in a chat area on your webinar page. A YouTube channel can house your free promotional videos, and there are plenty of popular webinar software options to choose from, including Zoom.
4) Include free content
Adding a blog to your website not only helps your potential members get a feel for your offerings but is an excellent SEO (search engine optimization) tactic.
5) Consider Joint ventures
Pairing up with complementary service benefits both parties, especially if you both have an email list for cross-promotion of your memberships.
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