Building a Private Membership Site — Actions Speak Louder Than Words
The topic of private membership sites is clearly a hot one amongst many of my clients. Rarely a week goes by without someone telling me that they are in the process of planning or building one.
It’s easy to see the appeal of such a service because a well-run private membership site is a beautiful thing. The one-to-many approach is attractive to consultants and trainers who have perhaps become overstretched in their business and can see no other way of generating additional income.
From many of the conversations I have, it is clear that the promise of recurring revenue is the main factor driving the aspirations to build many of these groups.
Note: The concept of “recurring revenue” is very different from the idea of “passive income.” Recurring revenue takes a lot of hard work; it is a continuous process and will stop (or decline steeply) the moment you stop putting in the effort to maintain momentum.
While we are all in business to make money, the motivation to run a private membership site should not be purely financial.
Instead, you should always set up your membership site with the aims of sharing great content, providing value and building community. Get these three things right, and the opportunities to create additional streams of income will often be generated as a happy by-product.
Revenue from private membership sites is not limited to those recurring membership fees. It may be possible to generate additional streams of revenue from any number of activities, such as events, one-to-one consultancy, eCommerce, sponsorship, etc. Again, much of this comes down to the quality of the community you build — the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
The Next Step
The good news is, it has never been easier to set up a private membership site. There are a number of out-of-box website solutions designed to make it as easy as possible to set up and manage your membership programs. For more technically skilled entrepreneurs, it’s possible to build incredibly flexible membership sites on everyday platforms like WordPress.
It’s even possible to build private membership groups by combining the power of a simple landing page, your PayPal account and a closed Facebook group.
Note: Closed Facebook groups provide the perfect opportunity to test the concept behind private membership sites. Perhaps you could set up an intensive training program over a six-week period and see if you have the marketing stamina to keep things moving.
The secret to success with a private membership site is momentum. You need to keep pushing out new content, constantly engage with your audience (ask lots of questions) and encourage group participation.
It’s also vitally important that you maintain a solid recruitment strategy for your membership program. No matter how good you believe your service is, you will always lose subscribers (particularly when they have to update credit card details).
No Pain, No Gain
Do you have the marketing stamina to build and successfully maintain a private membership site?