The purpose of membership websites are many and varied. Whilst the majority tend to be related to Internet marketing, membership websites are starting to diversify. In recent times I’ve seen sites that are related to cooking, self improvement and other topics that are of interest to a broader audience. It’s only common sense that this new trend to choose non-internet niches will continue. Why compete in a fairly saturated market like Internet marketing when the membership world is literally your oyster?
More and more people are discovering that setting up and running a membership site isn’t the gargantuan task they may have thought it would be. Granted, it does take some work, research and study, but there are very few businesses that don’t require at least some effort on your part.
Let’s look at some things that are required to run a successful membership site.
1. Passion and Dedication – It’s always easier to provide information, services and products to others if you have a keen interest in the product you are selling. If your only motivation for wanting to run a membership site is because you see others making money with them, then don’t waste your time. Unless you are willing to put the time in to maintain and develop your site you will end up with a poor reputation and a lot of disgruntled members.
2. A Good Domain – If you’ve ever looked around at other membership sites you’ll see that they nearly always have a relevant domain name. This is important as it is part of your branding. There are plenty of good examples of well thought out, branded membership sites. Names like Mr. Overdeliver and SureFireWealth are good names that enhance the overall concept of the membership site and are easy to remember.
3. Starting Content- You usually can’t start a membership site if you don’t have any content. This could be information, scripts, e-books and/or your own products. When most people join a membership site they expect to see something that they can use straight away. If you have a large amount of content you don’t necessarily have to offer it all up straight away. Keep in mind that your members will expect regular updates, so it’s best to try to always overdeliver. You can’t do that if you’ve given everything out on day 1.
4. A Good Script – This is a topic in itself, but basically you need to work out your membership fees and structure first. You also need to be sure of how you are going to present your products and which payment methods and processors you will use. Once you know the answer to these questions you can look for a script that has the appropriate membership structures, can deliver your products in a way that suits your site and supports your payment processor(s).
5. Commitment – This is one of the most essential ‘ingredients’. Whilst membership sites will, for the most part, run on autopilot, you still need to maintain and update them regularly. Provide a helpdesk and a forum where members can get in touch with you and interact with each other. Some of the best membership sites are thriving communities because they provide these features to their members.
So there you have it in a nutshell. You’ll notice that I didn’t mention anything technical. That’s because with the range of membership scripts and information that is available the technical aspects and requirements have become quite a minor issue.
Yes, you really can run a membership site but to be successful it will take some time, dedication and work. The rewards for a well run membership site can be quite extraordinary though.