A membership site is a business model that provides a product, software, or service where the member/customer pays a fixed sum on a regular basis. Typically, the site is educational in nature and it provides the owner a recurring monthly income.
A products-based membership site charges a recurring fee and provides the member with products without further charge. An example would be a PLR membership site that charges a monthly fee for access to resell rights products.
Hosting fees, autoresponder fees, software services, etc., services most marketers pay for, are all different types of recurring income for the owner of those services.
And don’t forget your Internet Service Provider; you pay a monthly fee to access the Internet through the company. If you don’t have access to the Internet, you don’t have an online business.
In the world of online business owners, these services all have value.
It doesn’t matter if customers pay monthly, quarterly or yearly. As long as there is a recurring charge to the buyer, it is recurring income to the seller. And whether you call it a membership site or a subscription-based service, it’s still the same principle. However, the membership business model focuses on the long-term relationship.
Benefits of Membership Sites
Ideally, all serious online marketers should strive to have at least one source of recurring income; a membership site. As previously stated, they achieve this by selling products or a service for which they charge a monthly fee.
The membership period can be as long as you want it to be. It could be an ongoing monthly membership/subscription or it could be a fixed-term membership; three months, six months, a year.
The beauty of a membership site is that you only need to create the material or product once and add it to the inventory. If you’re providing a service, you need to make sure the service is always available.
You don’t create products for new customers, per se. Your new members “purchase” the products you’ve already created. To put it another way, you’re selling access to your existing products, over and over again. This is passive, recurring income at its finest.
The biggest challenge is to have a plan; have products or a service to deliver and set it up properly. With everything in place from the beginning you can keep the membership going for as long as you want.
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of having a membership site and how it can transform your life.
Having a recurring income stream will give you peace of mind because you’ll have income stability. Selling products online can be unpredictable because of fluctuations in demand due to seasons or trends. For example, a site focused on selling toys for Christmas may see earnings dwindle from January to September.
A membership site will help buffer you from economic downturns. It will offer a financial cushion if facing unpredictable events that prevent you from working daily and building your business.
Let’s assume you have a paleo diet membership site that charges $27 a month to provide tasty paleo recipes to your members. If you have 100 members, you’ll earn $2,700 a month, every month.
Even if 10 percent of your members do not renew, you’ll have 90 members left and still earn $2,430. This income will help to cover your business costs and keep you afloat.
Of course, your monthly income is based on the number of subscribed members. More members equal more money. However, they aren’t going to stick around if you rest on your laurels and do nothing to keep them interested.
It’s sad to say but marketers have been conditioned to accept the fact that most members will cancel their membership after a few months. And, of course, that’s true to a large extent.
But the really smart marketer, the one who plans for the long-term, will take measures to keep their membership engaged so they won’t want to leave. Membership retention is ultimately the key, the pathway, if you will, to the coveted “Laptop Lifestyle” you hear about all over the Internet and want to achieve for yourself and your family.
More Money with Less Effort
Once you’ve set up a recurring income/subscription-based business, the hard work is over and all you need to do is keep it going, which you should be able to accomplish if you employ a combination of automation and outsourcing.
Now your job is to focus all your efforts into driving traffic to your membership site in order to obtain new members and take steps necessary to retain existing members. This can be achieved by providing stellar service to the membership.
An example is your auto responder service, as previously mentioned. When you sign up with your auto responder of choice, once you become a customer, you’ll keep paying every month for the service. The program runs independently and the owner just needs to ensure that it functions smoothly.
That’s basically all there is to it. The owner charges around $20 and more per customer every single month while company ads and affiliates continue to promote the service.
With tens of thousands of customers, most of the big auto responder services are raking in huge monthly profits.
When you think about it, this is actually easier than constantly creating and launching new info products or finding new products to promote as an affiliate.
Convenience of Fixed-Term Membership Sites
There’s something to be said for the fixed-term recurring income models. They are easier to maintain and require less work after the initial set up. So what am I talking about?
I’m talking about a membership site that has a start date and an end date. For example, you offer a 52 week training course for $27/month. People like to know there’s an end in sight so they’ll be receptive to the monthly payment.
What’s even better is if you offer a one-time payment for the entire 52 week course. If the one-time payment is a bit pricey, then offer a payment plan.
Trust me on this, people interested in your training would be more willing to pay the one-time fee with “lifetime” access to the material. That’s far more appealing than an ongoing payment month after month for eternity.
Strong Customer Relationship
Building a relationship with your membership is just as vital as building a relationship with your email list of subscribers. With recurring income models, your members are paying you every month and they expect more from you because of that fact.
As long as your membership site provides value to its members, you’ll be more relevant. People wouldn’t be paying you month after month otherwise.
If you’re providing a service, you need to make sure that service is up and running 24/7. If you’re providing a certain amount of product such as PLR, then you need to make sure you provide the product your membership expects to receive. Additionally, if you’re providing training, then you need to make sure you provide quality material that is relevant and delivered on time.
Membership sites are easily scalable; you just keep growing your membership. This is usually more difficult with other income models.
If you’re running an ecommerce store, for example, the only way to scale up is to keep sourcing and adding new products to your store in addition to finding new customers. This is not only time-consuming but it’s also more expensive since you’ll be testing out products to see which sell and which don’t.
You should also consider it’ll be easier to sell additional products and services to your existing members. Studies show that it’s easier to sell products to “warm” customers. This is a massive advantage.
With a recurring income model/membership site, you’ll always be able to reach your current members to offer new products and services and they’ll be much more likely to buy what you have to offer.
You can focus entirely on your customers and do your best to keep them happy. Your focus is on customer acquisition and customer satisfaction instead of a myriad of other things that take up your time and energy.
Grow your membership; grow your business.
You Need to Plan Your Membership Site
But before you go off thinking you can slap together a membership site and you’ll be a millionaire 2 months after launching your site… don’t. It takes planning and hard work up front to set up a membership site that will afford you the lifestyle you want. You’re in this for the long haul so you must plan accordingly.
You need to make decisions on the type(s) of content you will provide to your members. You already know that people will join your membership if they believe you can help them solve a problem related to your niche. So you need to plan your content accordingly.
You also need to consider how you will deliver that content.
And you need to determine what type of membership site you want to build; a recurring membership, a lifetime membership, a fixed-term membership, a pay-as-you-go membership.
All these things need to be determined in the planning stages.
Membership Sites Are Easy to Set Up and Your Content is Secure
A membership site/platform is easier to set up than you might think. There are many excellent software tools like Membersonic, Wishlist Member and Amember to help you set up a recurring income membership site, and more are coming into the marketplace with lots of features to help you grow.
The software will secure your content and prevent non-members from accessing it by using a customer portal. The software will also automatically process monthly payments and email your customers when new content is available for members to access or download.
As long as you know what you need, do your research to find what is best for you.
By now you should see just how profitable recurring income models are and why you should definitely consider one if you want to boost your online income. They will take some time and effort to plan and you’ll need to get the hang of setting it up and automating the product delivery.
However, once the heavy lifting is done, all you need to do is drive traffic and watch your membership and profits grow. This is one of the most lucrative income models on the planet. Don’t leave money on the table by not having a membership site.
Start with one and build more over time. After all, since you have recurring bills you might as well have recurring income and build your wealth.
And finally, always keep your members in mind. If you don’t follow through with what you’ve told your subscribers/members to expect, they’ll move on. And that will impact your bottom line.
If you want to learn more about starting a membership site, this article is a good place to start.
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