Membership sites have been big for a while now… and they’re becoming an ever more popular way to share knowledge and generate income from your online community. Janet Murray of Love Marketing published stats this week showing that 80% of her income now comes from her memberships… and she made £30K from memberships in January.

Impressive stuff. But while so-called ‘passive’ income streams like memberships are often seen as an easy way to financial freedom, as Murray herself often points out, they are not really ‘passive’ at all – and definitely not some kind of get-rich-quick scheme. Running a membership is a LOT of work, and to do it successfully means intensive list building, growing (and maintaining) a relationship with your audience and your members, and showing up consistently to offer something of genuine value.

Since I first dipped my toe in the water of memberships back in 2014, I’ve experienced them both as a member and as the person behind the scenes, supporting clients with promoting and delivering their courses, memberships and online training. I’ve seen it done incredibly successfully – but it takes a huge amount of determination, energy and working hours. At the start you’ll probably find that you’re doing a lot of the work yourself, though you’ll hopefully be able to hire a virtual helper to take at least some of the workload off you. And the more successful you become, the more help you’ll be able to afford (hello, virtual team!).

So if you’re at the stage where you’re thinking of setting up a membership, what are some of the things you need to consider?

Note: the external links on this page are NOT affiliate links, so I won’t be compensated if you click!

 

The size of your audience

How many people do you have on your email list? The conversion rate for online courses hovers at between 3% and 5%, so if you want 100 people to sign up, you’re going to need to be in at least 2000 people’s inboxes every week. Be prepared to spend a year building your audience through content marketing and advertising.

 

How you’ll structure and deliver your membership

There are lots of different models and combinations for offering online content: standalone courses, multi-module memberships, group coaching calls, private Facebook groups. Many coaches offer different packages or tiers, adding in one-to-one coaching at the higher levels. The first membership I ever joined included live workshops, and another I belong to includes regular in-person regional meetups.

How you choose to structure your membership really depends on two main factors: the needs of your audience, and how running a membership is going to fit into your life and routine. Are the people you want to work with available during the day, or will they want live elements delivered in the evenings or at weekends? Do you see yourself enjoying spending time popping into a Facebook group regularly throughout the day to engage with your members? How much time do you have available to create new content, and how many hours do you want to spend delivering live online coaching (either one-to-one or in groups)?

 

What support you’ll need

Did I mention that running a membership is a lot of work? Even if this is going to be your full time occupation, the chances are you will need help to deliver it all. It’s not just about content creation (and shooting and editing video, writing and editing copy and creating branded PDFs and presentations is a lot of work in itself) – you’ll also need to factor in time for uploading the content, for marketing activities (Facebook ads, webinars, blogging, podcasting), delivering the live aspects of your membership, and engaging with your members and wider audience.

At the start you may find that one VA is all you need (or all you can budget for), so look for someone who’s a good all-rounder and can manage a varied portfolio of tasks.

Once you become more established (or if you have a bigger budget), it may make sense to free up more of your time by gathering a virtual team around you. More budget not only means more help, but more specialisation – so you might be looking at hiring a content writer, a tech person, a Facebook ads expert, someone to handle the day-to-day admin – even a project manager to coordinate the whole thing, so you don’t have to spend all your time managing people.

The more help you can afford, the more you get to focus on whatever parts of your membership are the bits you love most – safe in the knowledge that someone else is handling the rest.

 

What platform/s you’ll use

Depending on how you plan to structure and deliver your membership, you might decide to use Facebook groups and video apps like Zoom and Vimeo to deliver live content. But however you go about it, you’re going to need a platform to host the membership – somewhere where your members can login and view your paid content.

There are many options for where to build this: depending on your budget, where you’re positioning yourself in the market, and how you intend to work and engage with your members.  You can choose a relatively inexpensive off-the-peg solution such as Teachable, or have a web developer create a bespoke membership site for you.

Some people will start off using something like Teachable, then transition to having something more tailor made on their own website later on, when they have more resources, have tried and tested their business model, have the support of a virtual team to manage the techie bits.

 

For more info on the pros and cons of different platforms, read this post.

Are you planning to launch a membership site in 2019/2020?

I support my clients with building, marketing and managing their memberships and online courses, helping them to:

  • Create and upload course content
  • Join the dots behind the scenes to automate processes and make things run smoothly
  • Find the right apps and tools
  • Integrate their CRM, course delivery and marketing

If you'd like to have a chat about your membership, you can get in touch to arrange a free 30 minute chat here.

I'm looking forward to finding out more about you, your business, and your goals for the coming year.

Membership sites have been big for a while now… and they’re becoming an ever more popular way to share knowledge and generate income from your online community. Janet Murray of Love Marketing published stats this week showing that 80% of her income now comes from her memberships… and she made £30K from memberships in January.

Impressive stuff. But while so-called ‘passive’ income streams like memberships are often seen as an easy way to financial freedom, as Murray herself often points out, they are not really ‘passive’ at all – and definitely not some kind of get-rich-quick scheme. Running a membership is a LOT of work, and to do it successfully means intensive list building, growing (and maintaining) a relationship with your audience and your members, and showing up consistently to offer something of genuine value.

Since I first dipped my toe in the water of memberships back in 2014, I’ve experienced them both as a member and as the person behind the scenes, supporting clients with promoting and delivering their courses, memberships and online training. I’ve seen it done incredibly successfully – but it takes a huge amount of determination, energy and working hours. At the start you’ll probably find that you’re doing a lot of the work yourself, though you’ll hopefully be able to hire a virtual helper to take at least some of the workload off you. And the more successful you become, the more help you’ll be able to afford (hello, virtual team!).

So if you’re at the stage where you’re thinking of setting up a membership, what are some of the things you need to consider?

Note: the external links on this page are NOT affiliate links, so I won’t be compensated if you click!

The size of your audience

How many people do you have on your email list? The conversion rate for online courses hovers at between 3% and 5%, so if you want 100 people to sign up, you’re going to need to be in at least 2000 people’s inboxes every week. Be prepared to spend a year building your audience through content marketing and advertising.

 

How you’ll structure and deliver your membership

There are lots of different models and combinations for offering online content: standalone courses, multi-module memberships, group coaching calls, private Facebook groups. Many coaches offer different packages or tiers, adding in one-to-one coaching at the higher levels. The first membership I ever joined included live workshops, and another I belong to includes regular in-person regional meetups.

How you choose to structure your membership really depends on two main factors: the needs of your audience, and how running a membership is going to fit into your life and routine. Are the people you want to work with available during the day, or will they want live elements delivered in the evenings or at weekends? Do you see yourself enjoying spending time popping into a Facebook group regularly throughout the day to engage with your members? How much time do you have available to create new content, and how many hours do you want to spend delivering live online coaching (either one-to-one or in groups)?

 

What support you’ll need

Did I mention that running a membership is a lot of work? Even if this is going to be your full time occupation, the chances are you will need help to deliver it all. It’s not just about content creation (and shooting and editing video, writing and editing copy and creating branded PDFs and presentations is a lot of work in itself) – you’ll also need to factor in time for uploading the content, for marketing activities (Facebook ads, webinars, blogging, podcasting), delivering the live aspects of your membership, and engaging with your members and wider audience.

At the start you may find that one VA is all you need (or all you can budget for), so look for someone who’s a good all-rounder and can manage a varied portfolio of tasks.

Once you become more established (or if you have a bigger budget), it may make sense to free up more of your time by gathering a virtual team around you. More budget not only means more help, but more specialisation – so you might be looking at hiring a content writer, a tech person, a Facebook ads expert, someone to handle the day-to-day admin – even a project manager to coordinate the whole thing, so you don’t have to spend all your time managing people.

The more help you can afford, the more you get to focus on whatever parts of your membership are the bits you love most – safe in the knowledge that someone else is handling the rest.

 

What platform/s you’ll use

Depending on how you plan to structure and deliver your membership, you might decide to use Facebook groups and video apps like Zoom and Vimeo to deliver live content. But however you go about it, you’re going to need a platform to host the membership – somewhere where your members can login and view your paid content.

There are many options for where to build this: depending on your budget, where you’re positioning yourself in the market, and how you intend to work and engage with your members.  You can choose a relatively inexpensive off-the-peg solution such as Teachable, or have a web developer create a bespoke membership site for you.

Some people will start off using something like Teachable, then transition to having something more tailor made on their own website later on, when they have more resources, have tried and tested their business model, have the support of a virtual team to manage the techie bits.

 

For more info on the pros and cons of different platforms, read this post.

Are you planning to launch a membership site in 2019/2020?

 I support my clients with building, marketing and managing their memberships and online courses, helping them to:

  • Create and upload course content
  • Join the dots behind the scenes to automate processes and make things run smoothly
  • Find the right apps and tools
  • Integrate their CRM, course delivery and marketing

If you'd like to have a chat about your membership, you can get in touch to arrange a free 30 minute chat here.

I'm looking forward to finding out more about you, your business, and your goals for the coming year.