Membership Sites Archive

Access to your Brainy Brain – Membership Sites

Posted April 17, 2016 By Callie

If you’ve ever had trouble figuring out what to include in your membership site, you may have overlooked the obvious: access to your brain.
Learning a skill online means that people will generally move through a sequence of events such as this:
1. Look for free information
2. Start paying for information
3. Become dissatisfied paying for information and realize that they need a mentor
4. Choose a group to learn from
5. Choose an individual mentor for greater results
This isn’t true of everyone. Many people will fail or succeed before #5 – but for those who don’t – and realize that their chances of success are much higher with a mentor, they will pay for what they need to get where they want to be.

Some people are even smart enough to realize that they have no clue where they want to be in the first place. They just think, I want to earn lots of money, or some other random thought that has no specific goal or plan to reach it.
Just by helping your members clarify their goals in as specific detail as possible, you will be a step ahead of every other leader they have found online. But by following up with specific and actionable steps to help them achieve those goals, you will achieve hero status in their eyes.

Brainstorming with your site members will endear them to you forever because we all doubt ourselves. We all need to run ideas by someone else. If you, as an expert (or who can provide access to experts) are willing to allocate time to helping your members, they will remember you with fondness every time it’s time to pay their membership fees.
What if you can’t help, or feel unsure?

Create a support or motivation group of carefully selected members who you can count on to help and encourage others. You may need to offer some incentive to this “elite” team, such as free membership, or at least a discount on their membership, but with you as the site owner and team leader, it won’t matter if you defer questions to the team rather than answering them yourself, the perception will be that you are providing the answers.
Many people allow the idea of personal support put them off adding a personal service like this to their sites because they suffer from the Curse of Knowledge. They forget what it’s like to be starting out in the game and just how much they’ve grown since then.

And finally, if you don’t know – that’s okay. Just admit it and offer to research the answer for your members. People will trust you a lot more if you are honest and admire you for taking the time to research answers for them – answers which can then be used to create content and add to the site so that other members can be kept happy when it solves their problems.

If you’re monetizing your website by selling a membership, then the main objective of the free content you create is now going to be to convert your visitors into paying subscribers.

This can be a highly lucrative business model and a great way to gain passive, recurring income.

At the same time though, convincing people to pay for your content can be difficult. As a rule, most content we discover online is free and as such a lot of us aren’t used to paying for it. If you want to make more money from your site, you’re going to need to think about how you’re going to cross that barrier and get people to put down money for content. Here are a few tips…

Make it Sound Exciting

People love to be part of a movement and part of a community. This is how you need to make it sound to be a member of your site – explain to people that they’ll be part of something exciting and be sure to refer to your members as ‘VIPs’ or ‘exclusive members’.

Offer Levels of Membership

If you want to charge a lot for membership, this can be a difficult challenge to overcome. One useful strategy then is to offer different levels of membership. Perhaps you charge $5 a month for access to certain pages, but $20 for full, unrestricted access.

Free Trial

The best way to get someone to buy a puppy is to let them take it home for a week. You can do something similar with your membership – let your users try it for free so that they see the full benefits and become big fans of what you do. Only ask for payment once your visitors have seen that it’s worthwhile!

Having a large number of online visitors on your membership website needs to be complemented with a substantial number of satisfied and loyal users.

Without the support of a group of loyal members, your membership site will not be able to generate a steady flow of income and the overall performance will lag.

Given below are some key strategies that will help you retain the members of your website.

Regularly create original and interesting content
There is nothing more important than creating original content for your users so that they are able to frequently draw some value from your site. Depending upon the nature of your website, your content should be informative or entertaining for your target audience. It will help show your dedication towards maintaining the website. Ensure that your website adds fresh content on a frequent basis and that you can easily update it in case you want to make any changes later on.

Engage with your members
The content of your website is simply a passive method of communicating with your members. The users of a website are more likely to continue using a website if they are able to interact with you or with other users pertaining the topics seen on certain pages. Make it easy for your members to reach you and other users over social media and keep interacting with them to show the human side of your website. Engaging with your members on social media also has the benefit of drawing in people who are in the same social circles towards your website.

Establish a system for customer support
If someone has paid to register to your website, ensure that you have a comprehensive system that deals with any problems they may face. Create a “frequently asked questions” and a “troubleshooting” page to give your visitors solutions to common problems.

If your website includes downloads, passwords, access to mobile devices etc., make sure you guide the visitor through the entire process and include links to any third-party software that needs to be used. Also, make yourself or a technical expert available to help people who are having genuine technical problems with your website.

Making your website more intuitive and interactive will make it easy to navigate for first-time visitors and loyal members alike. With some effort and dedication, you will be able to retain a large number of loyal members and push your website towards online success.

A successful membership website will be able to not only draw many first-time visitors, but also convert a significant number into members.

Visitors are ready to sign-up to a membership site when they find that they gain a lot of value from it. Unfortunately, simply providing a lot of content to your paid users may not be enough to make visitors consider registering for your service. The tips given below will help you improve the conversion rates to your membership site.

Increase the amount of free content
Most people may believe that having most (or all) of a website’s content restricted will result in the highest conversion rates. But in reality, it becomes difficult to market your website if people are not even able to get a feel of what they can gain from signing up. Instead, you should provide a lot of the content for free, but keep significantly important content protected. This way you can ensure that the people who pay for your service know what to expect. Your free content will give the visitor an idea of how good the paid content is, and will effectively work as a marketing campaign.

Engage with present members
Engage with your current members through multiple platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn. Your interaction with members beyond business will help build loyalty amongst them. People who find enough value in a website will be more willing to associate themselves with it. Once an association becomes visible to the social circle of your members, it may be able to draw in more visitors from their network.

Keep it simple
The most important step in improving conversion rates is keeping your website simple for your target audience. The visitors should be able to navigate through the site and find exactly what they want with the least effort. Make it easy for them to buy things, sign up for services, log in to their accounts and find help when they need it. The simplicity does not only keep your existing members happy, but draws in more members as the site is intuitive to use.

Keep in mind, there is no single strategy or trick that will boost conversion rates for membership websites. It is more of a combination of strategies that go well with your business model that shows long-term results in improving conversion rates. As you keep adapting to the needs of your target audience, you will be able to gradually improve the number of members in your website and draw a stable income.

Membership websites bank on the amount of online traffic they are able to generate and maintain. Keeping customers and clients happy through active engagement is one of most popular pieces of advice given to marketing and public relations officials in recent times. Keeping member’s actively engages is seen to improve response and retention of a brand.

For membership sites, user engagement is one of the best ways to ensure survival online.

Building online relationships

The visitors on your website will find more value if you are ready to engage with them actively, making it easier for them to decide to continue their association with you.

Engagement includes every single way your customer or client is linked towards the services or products you offer through your website. That includes emails, voicemails, customer complaints, service inquiries, forum contributions, comments and any other method you may use to communicate with a visitor, apart from the content on your website. All these efforts are directed towards building a relationship with a visitor and offering something that augments the value of your website.

Giving an interactive platform for your users

In addition to allowing your users to directly interact with you, you need to find a way to help them interact amongst themselves. Forums and comment sections can ensure that more experienced users can guide new visitors through the services or products you offer on your website. These platforms need to be categorized in an intuitive manner to allow visitors to find what they need.

Using social media

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram make excellent channels for interaction between you and the visitors of your website. Such platforms also give you the opportunity to hold contests, quizzes and other interactive activities outside your business. You can even use the help of satisfied visitors to spread the word about your website and significantly contribute to the increase in online visibility.

Keeping up the effort

Customers and visitors need to be able to connect with your website regardless of whether they are members or regular users.

Once you keep up your efforts of engaging with your visitors, you will be communicating the principles and values upon which your website was built. The visitors that are able to identify with the same values will remain loyal to your website for a much longer time even without active social media engagement. And with time, these people will draw in other like-minded individuals and gradually increase the online traffic to your website.

A membership website is only successful when it has a substantial number of dedicated users. Although it does take some time and effort to achieve a loyal online audience, there are plenty of websites out there that fail due to some very basic mistakes. With these simple tips given below, you can make sure that your website enjoys enough of user sign ups to become successful.

A clear call to action
A membership site that does not have a clear call to action suffers dramatically, even if the content is excellent. Most of the visitors of a site will need to see an obvious call to action so that they can consider a membership. If the call to action merges with the background or is similar to the other buttons on the page, it does not serve much purpose.

Easy registration process
Once a visitor decides to register on your website and clicks the button just to find a large and complicated sign-up form, chances are that they will decide it is not worth the trouble. Even if you need all the information you ask on the sign-up form, break the process down into easy bits, with each page having just two or three related details.

Your visitors will be trusting you with their personal information so you will need to let them know that the website will keep it safe or not misuse it. Contact information such as email and phone numbers must not be shared or sold to other companies while paid memberships will need to be followed with some form of satisfaction guarantee.

Offer incentives
To make your online visitors feel like they are getting better value by registering with your website, offer them some incentives on sign-up. It need not be anything very dramatic, even a simple mention on a social networking site may help. However, for expensive offers, you will need to offer better incentives.

Use pop-ups
Instead of making the interested online audience visit a separate page for signing up to your website, use a pop-up with only a couple of fields to show how easy the process is. Adding a modal window is a very effective way of allowing first-time visitors to consider registering without distracting them with any other content in the homepage.

All these tips will be helpful only if you have content that is interesting, informative or entertaining to your target audience. Make sure that you have good content so that your visitors have a good reason to register for your website, and your site will eventually enjoy online success.