HOW TO USE YOUR DIGITAL IDENTITY PLATFORM AS A MONEY MAKING MEMBERSHIP SITE Part 1.
Free to paid memberships
Example: You offer potential members access to some of your training techniques for free, and all of the training exercises with a paid membership. Website visitors have a choice as to which membership they take, but you get the most information with the paid membership. If they want to sample your material to see if it is really for them, they can join by simply clicking the Login / Join buttons that is automatically included with every Platform or create a custom form to be filled out to get site access.
The new member gets an introductory email with their login credentials, describing what they will see and the best way to utilize the material. If they are free members, they get periodic emails explaining the value of the material only available to paid members and providing them an easy path to upgrade. For the paid members they get periodic emails that help them better utilize the material.
Free to paid memberships can be a very good marketing tactic because it gives the more skeptical prospects a chance to see that the material is really for them. And with multiple user groups included (standard platform feature), it is easy to implement.
Distribute out material over time
Another popular way to use a membership site is to have a scheduled release of material starting with the purchase of membership.
In this scenario a member gets access to new material you create at set intervals. Again, this is easily implemented in your TBHWebTech Platform with the proper definition of the user groups. The key here is to automate the release of material. The most common way to do this is with an email campaign (campaign mailer also included platform feature) when the member should have scheduled access to the next section of resources.
Some variations on the “Distribute out material over time” membership is:
- Get the tips once a week for 10 weeks for free or get them all now for a fee.
- Rather than just a time-based release, add a quiz element to the release.
- You can make it a combination (they get the new material each week or right away if they complete the quiz) or you can release the next content only based on successful completion of the quiz.
Many intricate levels of membership
This is for you if you offer a lot of training, that may necessitate many levels of membership. We have a client who offers 8-10 trainings on different (but related) topics or paths, and for each he offers three levels of membership (bronze, silver, & gold). These are all set up in a mix and match way. You can be gold in program A, silver in program B, not in program C, and bronze in program D, for example. And at any time, you can move up to a higher level in each program.
This makes for a website stuffed with content that you only want the members with the proper credentials to see. As with the other two examples setting up the proper user group hierarchy is essential to making sure that a member only has access to what they are entitled and that they are getting all the material that they are entitled to.
Have at least one membership level with payment plans
This is more of a marketing strategy than a way to set up a membership site, but it is a good one. In this example, all members have access to the same material, it is just how they pay for it.
You offer, for example, both a monthly and a yearly membership plan. As we said in the free to paid example, people who are not sure that what you offer is for them, can dip their toe in and sign up for the monthly plan, but as soon as they are sure that you have what they have been looking for, it is more cost effective for them to sign up for the year. The most often used pricing scheme is to multiply the monthly fee by ten ($50/month or $500/year), so that the members essentially get 2 months free when they sign up for the year. It is up to you, but in my mind, you want to encourage people to move to the yearly program. That way you get money up front and you know that you have that member for a full year rather than possibly only for a few months. And there are less collection hassles.
One key is to have an automated way of closing access to the paid side of the site if they either stop paying or cancel their membership, and of course automating it is even better.
STEP ONE - Disseminate information
Give them what they want! The core purpose of your membership site is to give (or sell) valuable information, services, or products to your membership. Make it the go-to place to get everything regarding the topic of your site by creating a central repository of the information and resources you offer.
Even if you email or snail mail some of the same information, let the recipients know it is all available on the site, but only if they are a member. You won’t be sending ALL the information or resources by email or postal mail, after all.
You can even make the archived information searchable as an added bonus. For example: I am a member of an organization that mails out a substantial physical newsletter every month and I keep each issue. However, they also maintain a members-only part of their site where they have archived and cross-referenced every issue of the newsletter. I often input searches of the archives and read newsletters published before I was a member. But if should I quit, I only have the physical newsletters I saved so there is clear incentive for me to continue as a member.
Ok, now you have the basic idea… what else can you do?
STEP TWO - Release the information out over time
In my last article, I talked about giving your members compelling reasons to stay close to you, or ‘building a fence’ around your followers. Here’s an easy technique to get that started. Present an offer to “Sign up for 10 tips in 10 weeks.” Using the platform’s smart publish up/down capabilities, you can let the membership site unlock an additional webpage automatically each week for the 10 weeks.
Here is a twist on making this offer pay, that was implemented and used quite effectively. Your TBHWebTech platform would offer the ’10 tips in 10 weeks’ for free, but if you want all the tips right now, you must pay. This is an excellent income generator that does not leave anyone out but feeds on excitement.
If the information is perceived as valuable and you’ve written your marketing copy correctly, you will always get a certain percentage who will pay in that scenario.
STEP THREE -
Inside Tips, Training, Courses and Learning Systems
Membership sites lend themselves very well to presenting learning material. For example, you can use the “dole out information over time” method to teach a multimedia course. To foster engagement and motivation, you can require your students to take and pass a quiz before the next module is revealed.
A smart thing to do is to map the quiz answers back to parts of the course so that you can send the students directly back to the part of the module that they didn’t fully grasp.
While your membership system may be able to do all, you want on its own, you can boost your capability for engagement by integrating a Learning Management System (LMS) into your site. Let the experts at TBHWebTech help you implement an LMS system for you like Moodle (additional optional cost).
STEP FOUR - Multiple levels at different fees for different access
Whether the different levels are stand-alone or hierarchical, having multiple levels helps your members find the right level for them at the right price point. One common scenario is multi-tiered hierarchical membership such as Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels, each at different price points. You then can upsell your best members to a higher level where they get additional benefits well worth the extra cost.
With your Platform’s different built-in user groups, it is exceedingly easy to let Silver see all the Bronze information, Gold see all the Silver & Bronze information, and Platinum members see it all. We frequently do this in the membership sites we create for our clients.
STEP FIVE - Free or Paid…or Both?
The answer depends on the purpose of your membership site and how it fits into the larger scheme of your products and your marketing. Don’t think that this question only applies to businesses trying to grow; even small hobby-related websites can have an inexpensive paid component to cover costs and deliver information that would be too expensive to give away.
For example, there was a quilting membership site that had a wonderful free membership, but some things they supplied to members actually cost them money, so they also had a low-cost paid level that allowed them to give amazing value for a very reasonable rate. It was a win-win solution.
Ready to do it?
You will see there are endless combinations of ways to design your membership site. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. But the reality is your TBHWebTech Platform is membership ready for any idea you want. Start selling your memberships! We use your Logos, articles, pictures and videos to get your site custom built. Additional features included with your TBHWebTech Platform are Login / Sign-up, membership functions, email campaigns, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn apps integration, shopping cart, 10 product pages, unlimited picture and video galleries, unlimited articles, invoicing, free Domain, SSL certificate, GDPR compliance, weekly backups, maintenance and updates and more comes with the package.
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