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10 steps to creating a successful membership website

Jag Chohan
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Whether you've just started your online business or are looking to take things to another level, a membership website could very well be the answer to bringing in more leads and making them turn into customers.

By offering information, resources and various other materials that can help your prospects reach their goals; a membership site is an invaluable tool for getting results.

Other than being easy to build and maintain, one of the biggest advantages of using a membership site platform to grow your business is how it shifts focus from (one-time) products sales to (long-term) relationships.

A membership site works as follows: You invite people to join by providing them with access to valuable content via email or on your blog along with a few extra goodies webinars, downloadable eBooks, access to private Facebook group and many others).

This then leads to an opt-in period during which they can choose whether or not they are going to join. If they do decide to join (which usually happens if you've done your homework right), the visitors become members and get access to your membership site.

Once started, the relationship continues on a monthly basis as long as both parties stay interested in continuing it. And because it's based on recurring payments rather than one-time purchases of products, this type of model usually tends lead a much more predictable result.

So let's see how we can build our own!

1. Find Something To Sell

This might sound obvious but it is an important part of starting your membership site. You need to offer something that will be interesting and valuable enough for people to become a member.

So what kind of things can you offer as a membership site owner? Some ideas include:

  • Ebooks/audiobooks documenting your expertise, with the possibility of being promoted on other sites and in various publications
  • Special reports or templates to help them solve their biggest challenges
  • Membership in online communities where they feel accepted and appreciated by other members who share similar goals (and so would find it easier to get more engaged
  • Exclusive live events such as webinars, conferences or masterminds

2. Your Membership Site's Content

The type of content you offer is entirely up to your imagination. The only real rule to follow is that it should be useful and valuable enough for the members to consider buying it. Find a good balance between monetised content (such as eBooks) and free resources such as webinars or articles, so you don't seem like an "all about money" kind of person, which may leave a bad impression on them in the long run.

3. Keep a Updated Blog

Every good membership site has a blog page where members can get all the updates about the site's latest content releases and/or other news they might be interested in. Include some exciting headlines featured on large images plus links to past newsletters so people can easily catch up with what's going on.

4. Build Your Own Email List

Although you might be tempted to buy a list from somewhere, it is always better to build one of your own so that when the moment comes to launch your membership site, you'll already have a nice and engaged audience ready for you. The easiest way to begin building an email list is by promoting your posts on Facebook and Twitter as well as using a form or widget in your blog's sidebar. You can also offer exclusive content (such as eBooks or downloadable audio recordings) as an incentive for people who sign up for your newsletter through these methods.

5. Write More Blog Posts

Your blog will later serve as a support system during the launch of your membership site, so make sure to add some blog posts before you actually launch it. You'll be using them in the future as free content for people who joined in order to help them get more value out of their membership and build up that feeling of appreciation towards you.

6. Create a Membership Site Platform Or Buy An Existing One

There are many online tools which allow you to easily create and manage your own membership websites, but in case this is something new for you or if you feel overwhelmed by the amount of options available at the moment (there are over 50 different companies with similar offer on the market), purchasing an existing platform will probably work better. As a matter of fact I've had three clients already purchase off-the-shelf membership sites from companies like Teachable and Kajabi , both of which are fairly simple to use. You can always switch over to using a custom platform once you feel more confident about the whole thing.

7. Create a Login Registration Form

If you want people to be able to access their members area, it's best to let them sign up with an email address instead of creating another username and password (which they're likely already registered for). Include some instructions explaining what kind of content will be available on the members area as well as how often new content would be released so that they don't have any surprises waiting for them when they finally get in there.

8. Get Hosting For Your Blog & Website

This would be an additional expense to your membership site, but in the long run it will save you a lot of trouble and headaches. Getting hosting for both your blog and new website is pretty easy: simply go to dedicated hosting providers like Hostgator or Bluehost .

9. Launch & Promote Your New Membership Site

The very first thing I usually do when launching a new membership website is add some fresh content (just in case members need more time to read through everything). I also get my mailing list subscribers excited about the launch by sending out an email newsletter with all important details they might need before applying. Lastly I promote my membership website on social media platforms using Facebook ads to make sure that as many people as possible find out about the site.

10. Send Conversion Traffic From PPC Advertisements

If you're a bit short on budget to hire someone to write some content for your membership website, you can always run some Facebook or Google AdWords ads to bring in fresh traffic. Just make sure that the landing page provided by your third party paid ads services (such as Google Adwords or Facebook Ads ) includes a call-to-action which leads the visitor directly from there to the registration form of the members registration area of your site.

Nothing is more rewarding than knowing that if I teach something useful and provide people with information they want, then down the road, they will be willing and happy to pay me money for it without my needing to convince them why they should do it.

I'll be following up this post shortly with another one and a video to help you guys understand everything I was talking about in more detail.

Also, if you want your own membership site and don't know where to start, feel free to get in touch with me here or on my blog (in the comments section), so we can have a chat about what kind of support I could provide for you during the creation of your own membership website.

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