Content Marketers: Can Your Info Product Make It As A Membership Site?
What’s better than selling high quality info products?
You have the benefit of helping people enrich their lives, an insanely high profit margin, and relatively low creation costs.
Although, the thought of turning your product into a membership course has probably crossed your mind. With a paid community, you would enjoy recurring revenue, a higher lifetime value of customers, and better customer loyalty.
That’s OK, but here’s what you shouldn’t miss…
Let’s assume you currently have content: a blog, course, eBook, or video channel. You’re interested in turning that content into a revenue stream that requires people to pay a recurring fee to both consume content and join a community.
If that’s you, feel free to stick around, read up, and hopefully catch some insights. We are going to go over 4 indicators that your product may be telling you it’s ready to become a successful membership site.
Ready to see if your product can go “recurring”?
Let’s do it.
Indicator #1: It Solves A Continuous Problem
If your product isn’t deep enough to build a community on, it’s probably better to keep it in its current form.
There are problems that can be fully solved with a few videos or pages of content. On the other hand, some products can be initially solved with a product and then expanded in to a full blown membership site.
Here are a couple of examples.
Example #1 — Diet meal plan
You sell a diet meal plan that has helped you and your students lose XX% body fat in XX weeks. While the diet is ridiculously powerful and works on 100% of people who give it an honest shot, you’ve only got a grocery list and meal plan.
This product is perfect for a digital product, set of cooking videos, or whatever else you want to deliver in a one-time purchase. However, in its current form, it probably doesn’t have enough substance to justify a paid community.
Example #2 — Cook book
You have a meal plan blog that sells a cook book (including shopping lists). It’s specifically for gluten free cooking for a small family. You come up with new ideas for material all the time and wonder if you should write a second (and eventually third) cookbook. You’ve even tossed around the idea of getting people to pay for monthly recipes and grocery lists.
The solution you offer may be worth a recurring fee, especially if you deliver a “done for you” grocery list and meal plan to help families with this specific need. You can add videos, downloads, forums, and other forms of content to keep people coming back month after month.
Out of the Box Thought: Just because you have a product that may not be suited for a membership site, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a community. Start a Facebook group or forum. This will bring encouragement to your customers, increase the success rate, and give you an excellent source of testimonials.
Indicator #2: Your Audience Needs More Attention
Products are kind of a pass/fail for buyers. Either you use it or you don’t. It either produces the desired result or it doesn’t.
Besides the possible reassurance of a money-back guarantee, they’re on their own.
If people love your product, but are constantly emailing you for pointers specifically about implementing a process in your content, you may be on to something. Sometimes an eBook or course can’t explain everything. In fact, it may take interaction and motivation to get people from where they are to their goals.
Are You Selling Fish Or Teaching People How To Fish?
You’ve heard the old adage.
People go to the grocery store to buy products, but they go to school to learn skills. If your product is trying to teach a skill, your inbox may be inundated with questions about your niche.
Because people learn more from teachers, conversations and experiences than they do from reading content. Not that a course can’t cover everything you need to succeed, but some prefer a little nudge and the help of others who have been there before.
If your customers seem to need a little hand holding, you can either get upset or you can email your list to see if they’re interested in a membership.
Out of the Box Thought: Do you have a ton of products for sale and constantly offer new ones? Why not have a membership site that gives access to all of your products (present and future)?
Indicator #3: You Have a Ton of (Related) Content Ideas
Is the pad of paper by your bed full of midnight scribbles? Is your iPhone full of voice recordings that are teeming with ideas to help your subscribers?
Typically, there are two big fears associated with membership sites. First, you’re worried whether people stick around. And second, you’re worried about having enough content. Not surprisingly, these fears are undeniably tied to the success or failure of your site.
Don’t disqualify yourself if your ideas are less than plentiful. You can always leverage content ideas from other places.
Key Stat: The average membership site customer churns after 3 months.
Maintaining a pipeline of content in a variety of forms may reduce your churn rate–if you do it right (more on that in indicator #4). Having tons of content ideas that people want to pay for, along with the time and resources to develop them, is a great indicator that your niche is ready for a membership program.
Make sure you’re not just offering blog posts, though. Those should almost always be free.
We’re talking about continuous tips, tricks and high value trainings that are worth a premium monthly fee. Things like:
- Webinars with Industry Leading Guests
- New Video Trainings
- Exclusive Podcasts
- Coaching Calls/Mentoring Programs
- Regularly Updated Material
- Special Forums/Groups
Out of the Box Thought: Time the release of your new content carefully. Try to do heavy promotion two to three times a year, where you release new and updated content to keep current members happy.
Indicator #4: You Have an Active Audience (and you’re good to them)
This one indicator could be the most important. An active audience usually means you have several key systems in place.
Namely, you need a platform (e.g. blog or newsletter), an email list, and a reputation.
All of these add up to a group of people who will consider your premium offers, but only if you treat them with respect.
So, has it been months since you sent out an email with purely valuable content? Has your email drip sequence gotten so salesy it should be wearing a short sleeve button up?
If this is you, then your list is probably made up of people who just wanted your lead magnet and were too lazy to unsubscribe.
Here’s why it matters:
The relationship you have with your current audience is a preview of the relationship you’ll have with paying members. If it’s good, great! If it needs work, you’ll need to build a better reputation before asking for a monthly fee.
We’ll assume you have a solid audience, so you can begin planning and mapping out your offer. To start, simply send out a series of “feeler” emails, and be entirely candid about your plans to open a membership program.
You’ll be surprised by the volume of ideas and support that come back. This feedback will help you come up with content ideas, and give you a group of people willing to go through a Beta test run.
Again, your relationship with your audience may be the most important factor on this list.
Out of the Box Thought: Email marketing (if used correctly) can deliver a constant supply of new members and is the most reliable marketing channel to communicate with current subscribers.
What’s Your Product Telling You?
So, is your product ready to go “recurring”?
By now, you should have thought about your product in detail. Hopefully, you have developed your thoughts a little further. If you decide to keep researching membership sites, keep these key points in mind during your reading.
Key Takeaway: All of the above indicators boil down to two factors: your content and your audience. If your audience is in need of fresh content and you are able to develop that material, then a membership site is a valid option. If not, your product is probably better suited to a one-time fee.
Key Warning: Just because your product can be a membership site, doesn’t mean it will be a guaranteed success. A lot of work goes into this business model and it should NOT be taken lightly.
Question: What’s your #1 question about starting a membership site in your niche?
Originally published at blog.getdrip.com.