Are you thinking about launching a membership site?
Creating and launching a new membership site can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a plan in mind. You need to consider (and be aware) of the basic dos and don’ts of creating and launching your membership site. This way, you can be well prepared and ensure a successful launch for your brand’s membership site.
In this article, we’ll go through the essential pre-launch checklist for membership sites that can help you create a more successful and professional membership site.
#1. Brainstorm membership topic ideas
Before you start doing anything else, it’s important to choose a membership topic idea that’s suited to your target audience. This is because you want to validate your membership topic ideas before you start investing in one. As a result, it will help you better identify the market or audience for your membership topic. You can then make the crucial decision of investing in and committing to a specific membership topic that has a lot of demand and is worth your effort.
There are many ways you can validate your membership topic ideas. For starters, you can set up a trial of your membership program to test out the waters. You can create a “mini” version of your membership content to see whether you receive any registrations or if users express interest in the topic.
You can also create a pre-launch list and let users register for your membership program at a discount. This way, you can create hype around your membership topic to see how many users are actually willing to join.
Another great way to validate your membership topic ideas is by letting your audience decide for you. For this you can host live Q&A sessions to ask users questions related to your membership topic. Similarly, you can also offer free snippets of your membership content to your community members to see how they respond.
Additionally, you can also discuss various membership topic ideas with your team members. Even if you are passionate about a specific topic, it doesn’t always mean it’s what most users or your target audience want to see. Going through membership topic ideas with your team members can make it easier for you to understand and analyze how certain ideas are useful to other people.
#2. Decide on a membership tool or platform
Once you have the right membership topic idea in mind, you’re ready to start creating your membership site. For this, you will need to decide whether you want to use a membership plugin with WordPress or a dedicated membership platform.
If you create a membership site with WordPress, you’ll have more control over the functionality of your membership site. This is because you can use WordPress plugins to add more membership features to your site such as email automation, creating custom-looking online communities, designing your membership pages however you want to, and so on.
However, the downside of using WordPress is that it requires you to manage all aspects of your membership site yourself. This means you have to configure all plugin settings, set up theme options, and design the membership pages yourself. You can always hire a WordPress developer to do the work for you or opt for a done-for-you service.
Using a dedicated membership platform or LMS can be the “easier” option but can also be a bit more pricey as compared to using WordPress. The upside is that you don’t have to worry about creating your membership site. All you need to do is add high-quality content and start selling the membership program to your audience.
Depending on your level of tech-savviness and budget, both options can work equally well. If you’re not looking to spend a lot of money and have some technical know-how, you can go for WordPress. However, if you’re not worried about the price, going with a done-for-you service or a dedicated platform can be the better option and ensures you create a professional full-fledged membership site without you having to touch a single line of code.
#3. Start building your membership site
If you’ve decided to use WordPress to create your membership site, you will need to do a lot of work before you can start selling high-quality membership content. First, you need to set up your theme settings and all the design elements of your membership site. Then you need to make sure all the important functionality is available for creating an online community, a dedicated members-only area, and giving account access. For this, you can use WordPress membership plugins like LifterLMS and LearnDash that come pre-built with all the essential features you need.
You will also need to set up payment gateways on your membership site so members can pay you using popular payment methods such as PayPal or Stripe. You also want to ensure that you properly configure your membership plugin’s settings according to your brand’s requirements. Consider setting up multiple membership tiers like “Gold”, “Silver”, and “Bronze”.
You also need to publish enough content on your WordPress site to attract your target audience. This way, search engines can recognize your membership content and help position your membership pages better in users’ SERPs.
While it takes a lot of work to set up a membership site in WordPress, if you’re using a dedicated membership platform like Kajabi or Thinkific, you can skip most of these steps. This is because the platform will automatically set up most parts of your membership site. This way, you can focus on producing high-quality content.
#4. Create high-quality membership content
Now that you have a functional membership website, it’s time to start creating high-quality membership content that will encourage site visitors to sign up for a membership plan.
It’s important to remember not to commit too much when creating membership content in the beginning. Instead, you can create small pieces of your membership content just to see how well it resonates with your target audience and then scale up as you go.
You need to analyze your members’ feedback to improve the quality of your membership content. This way, you can better understand your audience’s pain points and offer a solution that’s designed for them.
Once you have the right ideas in mind, you can fully commit to the content creation process and ramp up production. This is essential for your membership site to grow and helps build brand authority.
To sum it up, while creating more content isn’t necessarily the way to grow, you want to focus on creating the content your audience likes and is interested in. This is the best way to take your membership business to the next level.
#5. Set up the right marketing campaigns
Now that you have most aspects of your membership site figured out, you can start thinking about creating marketing campaigns for your membership content. For this, you will need a solid and effective marketing campaign to ensure most of your target audience gets to see your high-quality content.
There are many different types of marketing campaigns you can set up for your business. A popular option for most businesses is to set up social media marketing and influencer marketing campaigns. If your brand already has a social media following, it can be easier to attract more people to your new membership site.
You can also set up email marketing campaigns to grow your email list. This way, whenever you post new content on your membership site, you can send a notification to everyone in your membership email list. In addition to this, you can also create and set up paid ads to get your brand’s message out to more people.
#6. Ensure an engaging experience for your members
While gaining new members is one the most crucial factors for the success of your membership site, making sure you retain current members is also very important.
You can keep registered members engaged with your brand in the long term in a couple of ways including creating an online community where they can interact with you and other members, hosting challenges and competitions to create hype around your membership site, and hosting giveaways and live events to offer an easy way for all types of users to engage with your brand.
#7. Run and manage your membership site
Now that you have a full-fledged membership, you need to make sure your site stays in top-notch shape. You don’t want to launch your membership site with a blast only to offer a poor user experience after a few months. This can cause you to lose members for good.
Ideally, you want to run website performance checks regularly. You can use a plugin or service to do this for your site and ensure that there are no security threats that will break down your membership site. You also want to keep a check on your online community forums and remove any spam comments to keep the user experience as authentic as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a membership site?
A: A membership site is a website that requires visitors to sign up to become members to access its content. Generally, membership sites offer exclusive content and benefits to their members for a fee.
Q: Why is it essential to have a launching checklist for a membership site?
A: Having a launching checklist is essential to ensure that the site launch goes smoothly and all necessary tasks are completed. It will help you avoid missing any crucial steps and ensure that your site is fully functional for your potential members.
Q: What are the key elements that should be included in a membership site launch checklist?
A: The key elements that should be included in a membership site launch checklist are integration, validating member access, confirmation email, mobile device optimization, SEO optimization, and a free trial option.
Q: What is integration in a membership site launch checklist?
A: Integration is the process of connecting your membership site with different tools or services, such as payment gateways, email marketing services, and analytics platforms. This smoothens the operation of your membership program site.
Q: Should I optimize my membership site for search engines?
A: Yes, it’s essential to optimize your membership program website for search engines to ensure it ranks well and that people can find what they’re looking for. This will help potential members discover your site and understand how your membership program can help them.
Q: What should I include in my site’s confirmation email?
A: You should include the member’s username, password, and URL to access the membership site in the confirmation email. This confirmation email will help members start their membership journey smoothly and provide them an easy way to access the membership site.
Q: Is it important to optimize my membership site for mobile devices?
A: Yes, it’s essential to optimize the membership website for mobile devices, as a large percentage of potential members use mobile devices, and if your site does not work correctly on mobile devices, it can lead to a loss of membership.
Q: Should I offer a free trial for my membership program?
A: Yes, you should offer a free trial for your membership program, as it provides potential members with an opportunity to experience the benefits of membership without committing to the full payment. This practice can encourage the potential members to join your membership program.
Q: How can I stay front-and-center during a membership launch?
A: You can stay front-and-center during a membership launch by using different marketing tactics, such as social media marketing, email marketing and paid ads. These tactics will keep your membership launch in the minds of potential members and create a buzz about your successful membership site.
Q: Can a plugin help me in launching my membership platform?
A: Yes, the membership puzzle project plugin can help you in launching your membership platform with ease and efficiency. It is a powerful WordPress plugin that provides all the necessary tools required for launching and growing your membership program.
Now that you’re equipped with an essential pre-launch checklist, creating a membership site for your brand can be easier, even if this is your first time doing so.
Brands need to consider membership topic ideas, choose a solid membership platform, create high-quality content, and set up the right marketing campaigns for creating a successful, profitable membership site. It’s also important to work on member engagement to ensure growth in the long run and keep loyal members glued to your brand forever.
Do you have any questions about the pre-launch checklist for membership sites? Let us know in the comments box below.