“A membership site is a private, gated part of your online business, a password-protected website that offers exclusive content and training. The members pay you either a one-time or a recurring monthly fee for access to the site. With a free membership site, you grant access to prime content, assets, or products in exchange for a member’s personal information and demographics for marketing purposes. You can offer a combination of free and paid levels within the same site, allowing your customers to upgrade their memberships according to their needs.” – Wikipedia
The membership concept in goods and services is not new. Consumers flock to subscribe. Whether it is a skin care product you have delivered every month to your door or a credit score report sent monthly to your email, we often do not think twice about signing up. This concept is now trending for eLearning and virtual classroom learning.
Membership sites allow you to reach a larger global audience and increase revenue. You increase your revenue by using the reliable income flow to add value, build brand loyalty, and overall awareness.
* Literally every piece of content becomes revenue generating.
* Record live classroom training events and post on the membership site
* When students complete assignments or have group discussions, take that content and let it generate revenue
* Create quizzes and surveys – you can tell how much your members know about a topic and with surveys, you can poll members and post the results
* Videos, podcasts, eLearning, PDFs, and other media sources become valuable because it is not used only once
* Empower members to consume knowledge whenever they want
* Members value their subscription and look forward to new courses and information
Consumers perceive value in membership subscriptions. They want to get more than one product or service for their monthly fee. They feel it is a good deal and perhaps it is. When it comes to education courses, more is better.
In 2019, Forbes Magazine said the average consumer spends $237.33 per month on subscriptions! Forbes went on to say that the longer a customer uses your membership site, the stronger the relationship becomes and the more valuable your customers become – you have an engaged audience.
You do not have to be a large business or university to receive help from a membership site. Even on a smaller scale, the sites add value to your students. For example, you may host a workshop or seminar. You find that the learners want more on the subject but the added content is outside the scope of that particular class. Simply generate more content. Before you know it, you have ample content to offer a subscription-based membership site your students will pay extra to get.
Through memberships, you can offer a high yield course as a live workshop or virtual classroom event (later offered as recording), self-paced courses, or drip training. Members feel part of an inner circle or a mastermind group. Members feel more confident about publicly expressing their views on discussion groups, etc. because they feel the group has a common thread thus adding ‘perceived value.’
Create a community space
Do not think of a membership site as simply a place to house content. Be creative in your approach. Produce a well-thought-out plan for execution. For example:
* Offer an affiliate program – you pay a commission to those who resell access to your site
* Offer ‘x’ amount of coaching calls per month
* Provide a community forum or discussion group (social learning)
* Give the community a voice within the group – allow them to voice their opinions for change
* Archive all your content – older content suddenly has a new life and generates income once again
* Offer coupons and promotions to increase value and sales – everyone loves coupons
* Interview subject matter experts where members can view content not offered anywhere else
* Supply member rewards
* Use drip content to provide students with small bits of learning material at a time – micro learning – which is known to be more successful in learner retention
The Instancy Learning Platform includes a module for membership sites inside its eCommerce offerings. The eCommerce features include:
* An integrated and robust eCommerce system
* Multiple ways to market and monetize content – through affiliates or through Instancy’s Marketplace
* Tools to make internet marketing easy – promotions, coupons, search engine optimization, email campaigns, and content marketing
* Create a branded learning public or private website
* Catalog management to create a web portal of products or services
* Easy integration with payment processing systems such as PayPal or Stripe or Authorize.net
* Membership management to completely run your membership site
* Tangible Goods Catalog Management – sell items such as T-shirts, books, and CDs