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Tips for Creating a Membership Area for Your Tribe to Exponentially Increase Passive Income

by Kev Charlie in Making Money, Marketing, Productivity

Have you ever driven past the big, fancy gates of one of those expensive country clubs? They seem to completely elevate a neighborhood and they have an air of exclusivity about them. They make you long to be a part of them, to be invited, to be included.

Membership sites are like the online version of country clubs. Businesses that have them automatically seem elevated, and people long to be a part of them.

Why is this?

First of all, the community building power of a membership website is invaluable. It makes you feel like you’re a part of something. It’s not an expensive country club; it’s better.

It’s being a part of a family of like-minded people who all have the same mission and are led by the same manifesto.

And who the heck wouldn’t want to be at the head of something as powerful as that?

teal graphic from addicted to marketing podcast blog on how to create membership website

Check out the episode below:

 

There is no one way to create and run a membership site. This type of product can be implemented in a variety of ways and solve a number of goals for your company. Let’s talk about a few of the ways you can create a membership area to generate passive income for your business.

First things first, why do you want to create a membership website?

Well, aside from what I’ve already covered about how powerful it is for community building and for feeding your movement in your business, there are several other reasons.

It’s financially smart.

Membership websites create an automatically recurring revenue for your business. If you have a monthly subscription model, it’s easy to make a pretty income from a website like this.

If you get 100 members paying $10 a month, that’s $12,000 a year that you don’t have to work very hard to receive. You’ve already created the content. Maybe you add or update things as needed, but other than that, you’re making $12,000 doing nothing.

But why stop there?

In fact, your membership site is likely worth more than just $10. And maybe you get 100 members at your first launch, but with time and consecutive launches, you get 2,000 members.

If you have 2,000 members in your $42/month membership site, you’re generated $1 million in revenue with nearly no effort on your part.

Genius, right?

It provides focused value.

Membership sites offer the opportunity to dive deeply into a topic and really get into the nitty gritty via PDFs, workbooks, video content, and more. And it’s all in one place.

You don’t have to send your audience to twelve different blog posts so that they can learn every aspect of your topic. A membership site allows you to keep it packaged in one single spot for easy access.

It strengthens your community.

Okay, yes, I covered this, but I’m revisiting it because it matters that much. In digital marketing, and in an online business, you are nothing without a community. You don’t want to sell your product or service, you want to sell your mission, your story, and your community.

Having a membership site is a great way to provide a community for your audience. People are paying for your content, but they’re also paying to be a part of something, and to have access to you and your members in a new capacity. That’s why creating a Facebook group or Slack workspace to accompany your membership site is a common bonus.

It increases customer loyalty.

If you’re providing tons of great value in your membership area, people aren’t going to end their subscription. They’re going to continue paying you every month to stay a part of your group so they can keep the level of access they have to you, your community, and your content.

Everyone in your membership area is a loyal customer because they’re continuing to renew their membership with you month after month.

So yes, there are tons of reasons to implement a members-only aspect of your business. But how do you actually go about creating a membership area?

I got you.

GIF of a guy sitting in an office at a laptop nodding at camera

What do you put in your membership website?

When you think of your membership site, you want to think of it like a country club. These are your exclusive customers. These are the ones that are paying you month after month for your content, community, and/or services.

And there are a ton of different things you can provide them with. In fact, you could provide them with literally everything you ever create and charge a premium price, or you could simply create a resource library with your content upgrades in exchange for an email.

It’s entirely up to you and your goals in your business.

Content Upgrades

This is one of the most basic types of membership sites, and you’ll see a lot of bloggers and online business owners create and promote what they call a “Resource Library.” And instead of an ebook or checklist, they use this as their initial opt-in freebie.

This can certainly be a great idea. And you can also create a free Resource Library as the most bottom tier of your membership site.

This would include things like downloadables that you include alongside your free blog content, cheat sheets, case studies, and other workbooks that you already give away in exchange for an email address.

But you’re providing easy access to every freebie you’ve ever created within this free resource library.

Courses

If you’re creating full length online courses to place in your membership site, you want to charge upwards of $25-40/month. Maybe even more, depending on what you’re teaching and who your target audience is.

In fact, once you reach the caliber and you’ve established yourself as a specialist for high-paying clients, you can even create a $200+/month membership site.

Video Training

There are a few different ways you can do this.

1. You can create a members only Facebook Group and go live within your group for video training. This can be valuable because members can log in and communicate with you in real time with any questions they have while watching your video.
2. You can create a video library portion of your membership site with prerecorded members only video training content.
3. You can share links to unlisted YouTube videos within a Facebook group, Slack workspace, email, or membership website.

Social Groups

This is the community aspect of your membership group. The most common ways to provide this community is through Facebook groups or Slack workspaces. You have to decide which is best for you and your business, but we’ll go over some pros and cons.

Facebook Groups

Well, first of all, I have an entire blog post dedicated to creating and growing Facebook groups to get you started there.

Facebook’s big advantage is that it has live streaming capabilities. So if you want to do live video training within your group, you certainly want to opt for creating a members only Facebook group.

Members are able to create their own discussion posts within your group to ask their own questions, as well as comment on other member posts. Members do have to have a Facebook profile in order to be a part of your group, but most people do these days, anyway.

Slack Workspaces

Slack is a great tool for communication, and is what I use for my own remote team. And it has its own pros and cons, just like Facebook.

The biggest con is that members would have to create a new account and potentially download a new app. Slack does have a browser version, but many people tend to prefer the mobile and computer app instead.

The biggest pro, however, is that you can break discussion up into channels so that not every post is in the same place. It’s a great way to keep the conversation organized around specific topics.

Discounts/Perks

If your membership site isn’t your core product, and you still want to nurture those customers towards your higher dollar products or services, offer exclusive discounts and perks that only your members have access to.

This is another great way to increase customer loyalty and morale within your community. They’re going to love being a part of your membership area if they know they’re being rewarded for it.

Templates

Depending on what you teach, offering templates can be another way to provide value to your members. Here are a couple examples of this:

– If you’re a WordPress designer, offer customizable themes.
– If you’re a graphic designer, offer Photoshop or Illustrator mockups or templates for designs.
– If you’re a nutritionist, offer fully fleshed out meal plans.

And so on and so forth. Get creative with your niche and what you can provide for your members.

Mentoring

This is a great way to skyrocket your membership exclusivity and its price point. If you create a one-on-one mentoring membership program, you’re able to charge a lot more. This is where you get to the $200+/month price point.

This is also a great way to increase the exclusivity because you only have so many hours in a day to work with your mentees, so you’ll want to put a cap on the amount of people in this membership area or tier. Having a limit and the ability to open and close enrollment or applications is a great way to increase desire in your customers to be a part of it.

How do you build a membership site?

You can create a membership site with either Squarespace or WordPress, but I highly recommend going the WordPress route. It helps with SEO and has so many more capabilities than Squarespace.

You can create a separate WordPress website, create a subdomain for your current website, or create a password-protected page on your website that houses your membership content.

Then you’ll need to shop around for a membership plugin to lock paid content. Here are a few of my recommendations:

MemberPress

MemberPress is a great plugin for locking up content behind a paywall. You’re able to integrate this plugin with your existing website so that you don’t have to create an additional site (unless you want to, of course). It has quite a few integrations available for eCommerce, email marketing, and pay portals.

It starts at $129/year, but is one of the more reputable plugins for membership sites.

Paid Memberships Pro

This plugin allows you to create different paid levels of your membership content so that you can have a free resource library, a low-level tier, and a high-level tier. This plugin also offers a ton of integrations and has a free version.

S2Member

S2Member also has a free version with over 1 million downloads. This plugin can be used for a basic membership site to protect pages and posts that need to be paid for to have access. One great pro with this plugin is that they’re integrated with Amazon’s hosting, so you can use their file buckets to store your files.

LearnDash

The basic plan for this plugin begins at $159/year, but it offers more than just a paywall. You can use this plugin to help you build out pieces of your membership content, like courses, quizzes, forums, and certificates.

After you determine which plugin you want to use, it’s time to start uploading your content!

You’ll be able to upload content the same way you create regular posts and pages on your website. Determine if you want the content to live on your site, or if you want to link to PDFs that you or your graphic designer create.

Next step is to create your community (either Facebook or Slack) for your members to interact, then start promoting your membership area and offering value.

What ways do you think you could use a membership area in your business? Let me know in the comments!

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