Myth #1: Membership Sites are ONLY For Selling Recurring Subscriptions

This is my pet peeve about membership sites. Membership sites are multi-dimensional.  A recurring membership is just one of the many applications of a membership site.

You don't have to sell a subscription program from your membership site. A membership site will allow you to package, sell and deliver different types of content  - downloadable files, wordpress pages, posts, videos, audio files, online courses etc.  

You can create a membership site that serves just as a lead magnet. And later on, you can scale it and add paid products to the mix. I've built most of my membership sites this way. Instead of waiting until all of my membership content is ready, I launch it with my free offer. This allows me to start building a targeted list of prospects for my paid products.  It allows my members to get familiar with the whole membership site experience.

When your paid products are launch ready, you  can add them to your membership site in no time. Of course it all needs to be planned out and it cannot be haphazard. You could use your membership site to sell just one-off products and give your members lifetime or fixed term access to the content. You can also use a recurring model where your members are billed every week, every month or every year based on your settings. You can have the billing stop after a fixed number of payments or have it continue as long as they are a member. 

I'll talk about the different membership site models in detail, later on in this course, but the point is, your membership site can be the backbone of your entire business, even if you do not sell recurring products.

If you want to run a profitable membership site, the kind that brings in dependable and consistent revenue month after month, then of course you need to add a recurring component to your membership site (fixed-term or ongoing), but you don't have to wait until you're ready to add a recurring membership component to launch a membership site.

A recurring membership program requires a lot of planning and takes time to build. You need to be able to create and deliver content on an ongoing basis and provide more value than what you charge, otherwise you'll have high churn rate. And even if you don't plan on offering a recurring membership from your membership site, it's totally fine, because remember recurring membership is just one application of a membership site. 


Myth #2: A Membership site must have a LOT of content

Just because you have 500 videos in your membership site, it does not mean that your membership site is automatically more valuable than say your competitor's site with just 50 videos.

Thing about this for a second... 

Have you ever purchased a course because on the sales page it says they have 100 videos on a topic of your interest?  Does that influence your decision to buy? 

Or is your purchase decision based on what is actually included in the course - the modules, lessons, topics, what each module or lesson will cover and if it will help you achieve the specific results that you are after ?

Quantity really does not matter. I've seen people spend months on building out their content library because they believe that without a ton of content, they won't be able to convince people to buy their product. And if that's where you're stuck, you've a much bigger problem on your hands because you're focusing on the wrong strategy to sell.

On your sales page,  you need to show your target audience exactly what specific problem your product or service will help them solve, the specific result they can achieve by implementing what they learn from your training and how accomplishing those results will benefit them.

People won't signup just because there are hundreds of posts or videos in your membership site. No one buys a membership product thinking, "I hope it has a lot of modules and videos".  

People don't buy products.  They buy a solution to their problem.

Your target audience is on your sales page looking for a solution to the problem they have and as long as your sales copy offers a solution to that problem, your message will resonate with your audience and there's a high chance that they will buy from you.

If you spend months on just content creation, you'll lose focus, momentum and energy to continue on as there's no user engagement and no matter how much content you create, you'll feel like it's not enough.

It's all about setting clear expectations and actually delivering on the promise that you made on your sales page. If you can deliver a solution to the problems that your audience has, with just 10 videos and 10 articles, then that's all you need. You can always build your content library over time based on audience feedback. 

In fact with too much content, you'll overwhelm your students, they'll struggle to keep up with your training and that will eventually result in churn.

Instead of highlighting how much content is available in your membership site, highlight how your content will actually help your members reach their end goal. Focus on the benefits and the outcome, not on the features.

If each component of your membership site moves your members closer to their end goal, they will not hesitate to pay.


Myth #2: A Membership site must have a LOT of content

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Basic Membership Site Concepts that you need to understand before starting a Membership Site

  • A membership site will allow you to create one or more content packages (often referred to as Product or Membership Level).
  • Each content package can have one or more pieces of content.
  • You can use a variety of content types (video, audio, pages, posts, downloadable files etc) to deliver your message.
  • Same content can belong to multiple packages (for e.g. - free, silver, gold and platinum levels can all have the same baseline content, but the higher level packages can have additional content and benefits).
  • Content in each package can only be accessed by members that have access to that package.
  • You can make your content packages available for free (lead magnet), or you can set up one or more payment options (one-time, payment plan, fixed-term or ongoing recurring etc) to sell each package.
  • If you decide to go with a recurring payment model, you can offer both monthly and annual payment options to your customers and let them pick the one that works best for them.  You can give access to ALL of your content - current and upcoming, for an ongoing recurring fee.
  • You can set up a content release schedule. You can make all the content available upfront or release it per a set schedule (drip). You can decide the release schedule based on the type of content, amount of time it takes to consume it (complexity level) and your audience preference. It also depends on your niche/industry.
  • The delivery method can be different for each package - instant, dripped or self-paced. 

Later in this course, I'll take you behind-the-scenes of my membership site and show you how to set up products, membership levels, payment models etc so all these concepts will become even more clear to you.

The Biggest Myths Busted!

 


1

Membership Sites are ONLY for selling Recurring Subscription Products

Membership sites are often misunderstood as something you need only if you want to sell an ongoing, recurring membership.

This is my pet peeve about membership sites. There is this misconception about membership sites that it's something you need only if you want to sell recurring memberships. Yes, it's understandable that people get confused because of the term "membership", but there's no excuse for the so called membership site experts to also talk about membership sites as if they are one dimensional and can only serve one purpose.

A membership site will allow you to deliver different types of content (downloadable files, wordpress pages, posts, videos, audio files, online courses etc), and it'll allow you to package and sell your content in a variety of ways.

A recurring membership is just one of the many possible membership site models.

You can create a membership site that serves just as a lead magnet. And later on, you can scale it and add paid products, build sales funnel etc. I've built most of my membership sites this way. Instead of waiting until all of my membership content is ready, I launch it with my free offer. This allows me to start building a targeted list of prospects for my paid products.  When my paid products are launch ready, I add them into the mix.

Of course it all needs to be planned out and it cannot be haphazard. You could use your membership site to sell one-time products and give your members lifetime or fixed term access. You can also use 'fixed-term' recurring model (payment plan) where your members pay every recurring cycle (weekly, monthly etc) but the payments don't continue forever. The payments are for a fixed-term. In fact, this is a very popular membership model because people like the fact that the payment commitment is for a known duration and there is end in sight.  And it's great for you as well because you don't have to endlessly deliver new content.

I'll talk about the different membership site models, in detail, later on in this course, but the point is, your membership site can be the backbone of your entire business, even if you do not sell recurring products.

If you want to run a profitable membership site, the kind that brings in dependable and consistent revenue month after month, then of course you need to add a recurring component to your membership site (fixed-term or ongoing), but you don't have to wait until you're ready to add a recurring membership component to your membership site.

A recurring membership program will take time to build. You need to be able to provide ongoing value. And you need to provide more value than what you charge. So launch your membership site using content packages that are ready, while you continue build out your content library for a recurring membership program.

2

A Membership site must have a LOT of content

Just because you have 500 videos in your membership site, it does not mean that your membership site is automatically more valuable than say your competitor's site, who might have just 50 videos.

Quantity does not matter. People won't signup just because there are hundreds of posts or videos in your membership site. No one buys a membership product thinking, "I hope it has a lot of modules and videos". They buy it thinking "I hope this will provide me with everything that I need to solve my specific problem and help me reach my end goal faster".  It's all about setting clear expectations and actually delivering on your promises that you made on your sales page. And if you can deliver a solution to the problems that your audience has, with just 10 videos and 10 articles, you have a winner in your hands!

What matters is how your product can make their journey easier, help them get to their desired destination more quickly and with less road bumps. People love a step-by-step approach, where things are clearly outlined for them, where they don't feel overwhelmed with too much content coming at them at once.

Help your members when they are stranded, celebrate their little wins, check to make sure they are on track, and stay connected with them throughout their journey.

Instead of highlighting how much content is available in your membership site, highlight how your content will actually help your members reach their end goal. Focus on the benefits and the outcome, not on the features.

If each component of your membership site moves your members closer to their end goal, they will not hesitate to pay.

3

A Membership Site should only be launched if ALL the components are launch ready

You can launch your membership site with just a lead magnet. There is no need for you to wait around until all of your content is ready. Remember, membership site is not just about recurring subscription payments.  Membership sites are highly scalable. You can add different components as you go.

As long as whatever you launch is complete in itself, and fits well with your overall plan and ultimate goal for your membership program, that's all that is needed to get it off the ground.

4

No end in sight - a membership site needs to constantly churn out new content

A membership site is multi-dimensional. If your product does not naturally lend itself to an ongoing recurring model, then just don't use that model. Don't try to forcefully fit your content into an ongoing recurring model. Even if your product is a natural fit for an ongoing recurring model, unless you can continually publish fresh content to keep your members engaged and moving forward in the right direction, it's not the right model for you!

Does it mean it's the end of your passive income dreams?

No!

There are several membership site models. Figure out the one that works best for you based on your niche, type of content, time (on an average) it'll take for you to produce each new piece of content, amount of content that you need to produce to deliver the promised transformation to your members, market research, survey results and how long of a commitment are you willing to make to continually produce new content etc.

If you don't want to commit to producing and delivering new content consistently, a fixed-term recurring model might be a more viable option for you. In this model, you can charge on a recurring basis, but the payments stop after a finite-number of payments. This type of model is best suited for online courses/training.

There's a lot of upside to this model. Your members will have a sense of accomplishment after they complete each module. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel. With each completed lesson, they'll feel closer to their goal. There's also a high chance that they'll actually complete the course instead of feeling like they are on an endless journey.

Psychologically people tend to feel more comfortable paying for something with a definite end date. It also means that you can prepare the content for your membership ahead of time, drip feed the content and don't have to worry about constantly having to publish new content. You'll still get paid every recurring cycle. Yes, the payments will stop after a certain time but you don't have to stop with just one course or training. In this model, you'll have much less work load. You can use that time to create more advanced courses.

Membership sites are very scalable. If you have multiple courses or training packages, and you believe that time is right for an ongoing recurring membership, you can easily incorporate that into your membership site.

5

Membership sites are easy. Set it up once and start earning passive income.

Membership sites are definitely not as passive as they are touted to be. Those that start a membership site because they believe it's going to be easy money, often learn the hard fact (that they completely underestimated the amount of work they need to put it to make it profitable), very quickly.

When it comes to membership sites, there is no free lunch. An ongoing recurring membership model, the holy grail of passive income, is not for people looking to get rich quick.

No matter how much you automate everything, there will still be things that you need to deal with regularly. It could be related to your webhosting, plugins, theme, security, setup etc. 

In addition, you'll have to keep your members engaged, continually provide more value than what you charge, communicate often, check to make sure your members are actually consuming your content and making progress, provide support, provide networking opportunities and encouragement via your private forum (or Facebook group), moderate your forum or facebook group, and actually show up every day to answer any questions they may have.

If you want to create a long term profitable membership site, you'll have to put in the work. The good news is, it gets a lot easier with time. Once you figure out the areas that take up most of your time, you can try to automate or hire someone to do it for you.

There is no "get rich quick" magic potion offered by membership sites.  You'll have to work hard for it to grow. Patience is key when you run a membership site. It takes a lot of time to build and grow a membership site to a point where it's profitable. It won't happen overnight.

6

When the doors to my membership program open, hundreds of people will line up to become members

Who doesn't want a 6 or 7-figure launch? Wouldn't it be sweet to open the doors of a membership site to a throng of waiting fans?

If you have thousands of people in your email list, and they have purchased products from you before, you can build pre-launch buzz around your membership product, and then do a grand launch where people can lock in their recurring membership for life at a launch special price.

However, just because big launches work for big name marketers with big lists, it does not mean that the strategies that they use for their launch, will also work for you or apply to your business.

Most recurring membership programs start slow. Don't pin all your hopes on a huge launch because people are not going to easily part with their hard earned cash on a program requiring ongoing commitment. And even if they did, you'll have to deal with high churn rates. The industry average retention period for a membership site is 3 months. It takes time to grow and evolve recurring membership products. Be prepared to take a long term approach with your membership site.

In fact it's better to go slow because it'll give you a chance to spend more time with your members, address issues, use member feedback to update your program, test out your retention rates, figure out what needs to be done to reduce churn etc. When your customer acquisition rate becomes higher than the churn rate, your membership site will start to grow.

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