Do You Have What It Takes To Create A Membership Site?

by Guest Expert

In preparation for a webinar I'm doing this week about planning a membership site, I asked my networks on Facebook and Google+ the question: "If you're thinking about building a membership site, what's your biggest question about it?"

Shelley Dunstone was one of the people who answered, with this question:

"My Q would be how do you know if you're ready to have one? What is required to make a membership site viable?"

This is an excellent - and very insightful - question, because I see so many people start their membership site without a solid foundation. They don't realise how much hard work it takes to get, serve and keep subscribers; so their membership site flounders, and sometimes even fails.

There are three key requirements for a successful membership site: Value, Resources and Network.


1. Value

Do you have proven valuable expertise that people are willing to pay for?

If you've already got an established information business - in speaking, training, coaching, consulting and the like - the answer is probably "Yes". You'll be delivering similar value to your members, so it's important to know others already consider it valuable enough to pay for.

If you don't already have an established business like this, you're taking more of a risk. That's not to say it won't work, only that you have to be more careful and diligent.


2. Resources (or Products)

Do you already have a suite of high-value products you sell (or bundle in with your services)?

If so, you can start offering these to your members as well - either free of charge, or at a lower rate than the retail price.

You'll be regularly adding products and other resources to your membership site, so be sure you know what people value.


3. Network

Do you have a strong business network who might be interested in your membership site?

Of course, this includes clients and prospects who might join the site. Your current clients will be the easiest people to convince to become subscribers. Next might be those on your e-mail newsletter list and other on-line networks. Later, you can consider joint ventures with other businesses to promote your membership site to their databases as well. But start with your own first.

But those are not the only people you need in your network. Also consider these three other groups:

1. People you can collaborate with to provide value for your members - for example, guest presenters for your webinars and teleseminars, authors you can swap books with, and colleagues you can interview for audio and video products.

2. People you can affiliate with to promote your membership site - for example, colleagues who are willing to promote you on Twitter and Facebook, joint venture partners with big lists, and the like.

3. People you can delegate work to - for example, a virtual assistant to answer member queries or outsourced staff to create new resources.

The better your network, the easier it is to continue offering high-value material to your members.


Did you answer "Yes" to all three questions?

If so, then you might be ready for a membership site. But if not, work diligently to build up these three things, so that you have them in place when you're ready to launch.


Gihan Perera

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