How to Create a Membership Site
Looking to create a membership site is one of the best business decisions you can make as an online entrepreneur. With this comprehensive start-up article you will learn everything you need to know about how to create a membership website free of charge!
Quick Start Guide: (Click to Jump)
Why Create a Membership Site
Lets get started!
Creating a subscription based website is one of the most profitable and easy to start business opportunities currently available online with over 50% of subscription businesses making over 50k per year and 40% making over 100k per year!
At the same time the global online education market is growing at a rate of 9.5% per year. Around 70% of the S&P 500 companies said they either had or plan to add a subscription service element to their businesses. Simply put, recurring businesses are becoming more common due to their high earnings potential.
What to Create your Membership Website about (What Niche to Pick)
Choosing what to teach or sell as a membership site owner is a very important step when first deciding how to make a monthly subscription website.
3 Things you should consider to select your unique membership site idea
- Your current skills, area of expertise, and area of interest: Which one of these categories are you most capable of providing exceptional service for.
- What have people told you that you are good at or skilled in?
- What problem do you care most about helping people with? Financial, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, etc…
Here are the top membership website categories based on over 2000 businesses and what topic they focus on:
We actually have a much more in depth article on the Best Membership Site Ideas which you can read here.
How to Build a Membership Website
Here are the main components you will have to build when creating a membership site:
- How to make a membership website
- How to make the video training course
- How to price your membership website
- How to Structure your course
- How to start a members discussion group
How to make a membership website
When it comes to actually creating a membership site it will be very similar to creating any website except you will also have to add a membership management plugin or tool to your site as well.
- Website builder: The 3 most common website building tools are WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace. We have an article explaining membership platform sites in detail here.
- Membership Management Tool: A member management tool will connect directly into your website and will allow you to create locked pages where only logged in members can view your premium content. We have a detailed article on the top WordPress membership plugins here.
Today I will not be explaining all of the details of building a website since there are included instructions on the 3 website builders I mentioned above. (We will have more detailed training on this step coming soon!)
Now that you have picked a topic to focus and know where to build your website, the next step is building your course content material.
How do you make the Video Training Course Content?
Recording video training has become a lot simpler than it used to be. Some of the main things you will need are the following:
- Computer: You will need a computer powerful enough to handle some light video recording or editing.
- Core i5: For windows just make sure you have a core i5 processor and higher if you can. This will help speed up video rendering and make it easier to run multiple programs on your computer at once.
- Macbook: Any Macbook should work well. The Pro and higher tier models will help out with speed.
- Microphone: Nobody wants to listen to hours of training with a bad quality mic. Make sure to invest in a solid quality microphone. We recommend any of the Blue Microphones you can find on Amazon.
- Camera: If you are recording yourself on Camera performing the training or providing examples we recommend a good video recording camera. If you have a newer smartphone, the video quality on these devices is plenty to start off with. Just make sure to use the better microphone to record the sound.
- Video Editing Software: We recommend using any video editing software you are familiar with. Most of them are a lot simpler to use and you will not need any fancy editing except for cutting video snippets. Some of the best options we will list below.
- Camtasia: Simple all in one video editing which allows you to easily record videos on your webcam along with your screen.
- Price: $249 one time payment or $49.75/year. (30 Day Free Trial)
- Adobe Premier Rush: This is an easy recommendation that provides a very simple and easy to use video recorder and video editing tool.
- Price: $10/Month
How to Price your Membership Website
Pricing your membership website is important so you can maximize your income. According to an industry analysis of over 2000 subscription based businesses, the majority of subscription services price vary between $10-$50.
We have a very well detailed article on How to Price your Membership Website here.
What your goal should ultimately be is to find the magical price point where:
- Member retention is steady
- You know how many people will leave on average every month
- You know how many people will join on average every month
- The addition of new members along with retention outpaces the percentage of drop offs.
Once more, to figure out your unique price point please visit the pricing guide right above!
How to Structure your course?
When it comes to actually breaking down your content into sections it will vary depending on the niche you are focusing on. This is a good general framework you can use.
- Introduction and Getting Started with (Course Name)
- Lesson 1: First Main Lesson
- Topic 1 (Include video training in each Topic)
- Topic 2
- Topic 3
- Topic 1
- Topic 2
- Topic 3
- Topic 1
- Topic 2
- Topic 3
We recommend using powerpoint to create a presentation on your topic. Microsoft intelligent service powerpoint will also recommend a lot of cool design options you can choose from after entering an image and text on the slide. After you’ve built the powerpoint, you can record the screen with you narrating the powerpoint presentation and educating your members. Both of the video editing softwares I mentioned above allow you to screen record and narrate at the same time.
Of course every site will have its unique organization and design and you will be able to structure your Premium content in many different ways including: live webinars, weekly group chat meeting sessions, and much more.
Member Group Chat: It is important to create a community aspect to your business to help your customers and clients connect, share, and learn together. Here are the platforms we recommend:How to start a Members Discussion Group
- Slack: A very simple to use and easy to work with discussion platform that allows you to have multiple groups, pick topics, lock channels for certain members only, and much more.
- Discord: Another option very similar to Slack which allows you to create topics and discuss with your members and even speak with them live.
- Private Facebook Groups: This is another available option where once someone has subscribed to your business you can allow them to join on the facebook group. In this private Facebook group you can share and discuss with your members. The only downside to facebook is you will have to manually add and remove members once they join or leave.
How to get Members for your Business with Advertising
Here are the main methods we will cover for getting customers for your membership business site.
- Free Content
- SEO Blog
- Social Media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc…)
- Partnership/Guest blogging
When it comes to getting people to become customers for your subscription business, you must consider your audience. Who is your target demographic? Age, gender, location, language etc…
Once you have these figured out you must reach those people on the platforms where they spend most of their time.
One of the best ways to draw people to your website is by giving out valuable and useful information in the form of free content. Whether you reply to someone’s question in a facebook group, to posting informational images on Instagram, make sure what you share is truly valuable information that can help solve someone’s problem.
How much free content?
Many times people are afraid of giving out too much useful information because people will not sign up for their actual course or membership website. Although this is a rational fear, in our experience people will oftentimes have many more questions they need answered and now they know that you CAN help them.
Free content can come in many forms, from articles, videos, graphs, examples, and much more. I will discuss this in more detail in the next few sections.
Having a blog page on your website is one of the most important things you can do to generate an organic flow of traffic. We recommend you write free training articles that cover or outline the topics and content you cover in your advanced course. Through this people will be able to search google and naturally find your website. At the bottom of these informational blogs we recommend you include an email submit option where readers can sign up to receive more information from you. Usually creating one nice piece of free training content is a good incentive for people to enter their email.
For your articles to perform well we recommend useful Google Keyword Planner to discover keyword ideas and see how many people are searching for those words on a monthly basis
YouTube is the video version of having a blog. We recommend you take the articles you write as free content and make short YouTube videos synthesizing the general ideas you talk about. On YouTube you can be more personable and this can help you build more trust with your target audience. A lot of video training course content information can be applied here. With YouTube videos you don’t have to focus on being overly professional as most people will actually relate to a more simple video better.
Social Media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc…)
Your particular audience may spend time in one these places more than the others. Start off by making a page or account for your business across all of these platforms and see which one responds best. You should be engaging with facebook groups relating to your topic, using the correct hashtags and posting interesting and engaging content. A good rule of thumb, is to post your blog and youtube content to facebook and twitter and then create an image and caption for instagram to go along as well.
Your goal with social media is to build up a following or audience and drive them slowly to visit your website and discover your premium membership offering.
Of course there is a lot more to a social media strategy then simply what I’ve mentioned above but we will be focusing on this more in a later article release.
Partnership and guest blogging is not an advertising route many people often think about but can serve a powerful purpose in growing your membership base. There are many blog websites out there who charge a fee for you to guest post on their site, this gives you immediate access to their existing readership and can be a great kick start for new businesses. Just remember to link back to your site to a page where these new people can enter their email!
Like it or not email marketing is still one of, if not, the top methods for advertising and communicating with an audience. Everything you do online as a business owner revolves around building a list of clients and customers. More often than not, you email list will be where you keep track of your past and present clients. Across your website, YouTube, and social media, make sure to make it easy and simple for people to opt in to your email list so they can receive more information from you. The email list is where you will send marketing about your premium subscription offer and will most often be where you get the majority of paying customers.
Creating paid advertisements is one of the most powerful ways to drive traffic to your website either to capture their email or make a sale. Most of the time cold ads (people entirely unaware of your business) will not be likely to purchase a product right away. On the other hand if you can first send valuable information and collect their email, you will have a much better chance of selling your course later down the line.
Ads are something that can become expensive quite quickly especially if you don’t make enough in return to cover your expenses. Most of the time we recommend setting up all the other aspects of advertising first and focus on paid ads (facebook, google, Instagram) once your overall website and business is developed.
There is a lot more to paid Ads then I can hope to cover here in this article. In upcoming articles and in our premium Profit Per Month members group we will cover advertising your subscription business in more detail.
Another valuable method for driving traffic to your membership website is through affiliates. There are people out there who already may have an email list interested in the niche you are focusing on. In this case you can allow affiliates to sign up and market your membership offer on your behalf. They will simply make a percentage of that sale (usually 25%+) on a recurring basis. Although this may seem complex, there are many affiliate systems which make this very easy to actually implement. It is a good way to get extra exposure and paying customers without having to reach people yourself.
How to Retain your Members and Scale
The power of a subscription business as I mentioned above in the pricing section is being able to retain members for long periods of time. As soon as you can figure out how many people join and leave every month you will have a good understanding of how you can grow.
Churn Rate Definition: The average amount of months a member will stay subscribed.
Your goal should be to reduce the churn rate as much as possible which will mean a direct increase in income. With subscription memberships getting new members and retaining current members is equally important!
3 point on How to retain members:
- Member Onboarding: Walk people through the startup process. Send them an email following up after the initial sale guiding them through the first steps of what they should do. A strong week of onboarding will help cement a positive experience in the customers mind and increase retention.
- Member Engagement: Keep your members engaged, send weekly updates, summaries, greetings! Drip feed more premium or engaging content. Create weekly meeting times and put them on the calendar so people will come and interact.
- Create your ‘sticky’ point: Differentiate yourself! Whether through surprises 1 on 1 support, software solutions, or anything that makes your business unique. As your income grows, your main goal should be to scale and build a moat of security around your new income generating machine.
We have a much more detailed guide on membership retention here. It will help you understand and apply some of the most impactful practices on improving membership retention.
Launch Membership Program
That’s it you’ve made it to the end. I hope you found this article helpful and learned exactly how to start a membership website business. We have a more detailed guide on creating a membership site from scratch right below this article.
So what are you waiting for? Get started on creating your membership website today, and we’ll be here to help you along the way!