Near the end of each year, membership website owners reflect back upon what’s been done for the past 12 months and prepare for what’s to come in the upcoming year. However, that’s not the case with new membership site owners.
For people who’re new to the membership site world, it can be a challenge to tell what will happen in the following year. While you can’t predict what the future holds for your business, you sure can prepare the best for it.
In this post, we’ll go over some of the most common things you quickly learn in your first year as a membership site owner.
#1. The sooner you start, the better
Most online website owners are already sailing the membership ship. In other words, there are already a lot of business owners successfully running their membership websites. This is why it’s important for you to start as soon as possible to get ahead of the curve and have a chance at competing with other membership sites in your industry.
If you’ve already created the content to launch your membership website, delaying it any more is not a great idea. This is because your content can lose its ‘value’ which ultimately leads to a loss in sales. Other membership sites in your industry might offer content on the topic first and catch all the prospective users in their net before you even get a chance.
In addition to this, it’s also important to stay updated with the changing demands and trends of users in your industry. You don’t want to create content well ahead of time only to find out your audience is not interested in the topic anymore.
For instance, if you create content based on a specific holiday i.e “Home Decor Ideas for Halloween”, publishing it on New Year’s Eve isn’t a good idea. Your audience will not be interested to see content for an event from the past and will instead resort to other membership websites that offer fresh content.
#2. Using competitors to your advantage
It’s a general concept to always do something different and unique from what others are doing around you. This is a great way to make your content unique and helps your brand stand out from the competition. However, sometimes, it can be beneficial to take a closer look and take inspiration from your competitor’s site.
By using competitors to your advantage, you can get new ideas about improving your membership site and content. You can see what kind of content sells the most and what red flags you should avoid for your own membership website.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to completely copy somebody’s ideas but it’s still possible to shape your own unique ideas using pieces of successful ones. This way, you can get an idea of the most popular topics in your industry and produce content around them for your audience.
#3. Building customer relationships goes a long way
While creating fresh, premium content is a big part of membership sites, engaging and connecting with your audience is also crucial for the success of your membership program.
A membership site is essentially a strong community of like-minded individuals that are interested in learning new topics and discussing them with their peers. The stronger you make this bond, the harder it is to break. It’s one of the easiest ways to get people to stick with your membership program in the long run.
Building quality customer relationships with your audience help you get to know them better and understand their pain points. You need to ask your audience what they think about your content, your business, and you (the membership site owner).
This sort of feedback can help you improve your content and offer an enhanced user experience. You’ll learn what you’re doing right and identify areas where there’s room for improvement. As a result, it can help you gain new members and generate more revenue for your business in the long term.
#4. Not everyone is going to like your content
It’s a fact that you cannot please everyone who visits your membership site, there will always be some ‘haters’ in the mix.
But this doesn’t mean you change the course of your smooth sailing ship to cater to them. Instead, you need to keep pleasing the people who are loyal to your brand and focus on improving those relationships rather than improving the ones that are already lost.
It’s also worth mentioning that there’s no reason for you to doubt the quality of your content and your membership site when listening to the feedback from your ‘haters’.
For instance, if 80 out of 85 people are happy with your content and your membership site, you should focus on the ‘happy’ people more. However, it is important to listen to negative feedback and criticism. If it is valid, you should consider taking action immediately to improve your membership offering.
#5. An effective onboarding process is important
Having an easy and effective onboarding process for your membership site is important for gaining new registrations. Think about it this way: if it’s easy to first get started with your membership site and content, the chances of more people joining are higher. It also makes it easier for you to manage new registrations and helps improve customer retention for your business. This is because a good first experience can result in happier, more satisfied, and loyal customers of your brand.
Improving or enhancing the onboarding process for your membership site helps boost engagement with your content. With more people easily being able to register for your membership program, you will have more eyes on the premium content you publish for your audience.
Additionally, it’s a great way to increase customer loyalty and retention for your business. It also frees up more time and saves resources as you have to deal with fewer customer support issues if everyone finds it easy to register on your membership website.
While there is no guarantee that everything will go smoothly for all members that join your membership site, you must still be prepared to offer top-notch, quick customer service to help solve members’ queries and address their concerns.
Offering great customer service can be a challenge as good management is required on your part. For instance, the moment a customer sends in a query, you want to process and solve it in a timely manner. Ideally, you want to respond to each ticket within 24 hours.
A great way to handle this is by hiring an expert who has excellent communication skills to take care of it. In addition to this, you can also use chatbots, automated messages or emails, and discount coupons to enhance the customer service for your membership site. And, when your membership site starts to gain traction, consider hiring a team to offer top-notch customer service.
#7. Everyone doesn’t have the same budget
It’s important for new membership site owners to consider that not everyone has the same working budget in mind when they’re looking to consume your content or join your membership program.
This is why best practices suggest that you should offer multiple pricing levels for your membership program. This helps cater to all types of customers, even the ones who are interested in your content but cannot pay the full price. People who are interested can register for the entry-level plan and upgrade whenever they’re ready.
Additionally, you need to think about catering to people who might not even be willing to pay a single penny but are still interested in your content. You can offer them ‘freemium’ content to encourage them to purchase your membership product at a later date.
Here are some ideas:
- Offer a few introductory lessons from your downloadable online course for free.
- Let users download an e-book or guide.
- Publish blog posts that broadly cover the topics in your membership program.
For new membership site owners, it can become difficult to identify the right steps to take in order to make their membership program successful. Along with creating fresh, premium content consistently, membership site owners need to focus on improving customer relationships to improve brand loyalty and customer retention, especially if the majority of users are new registrants.
In addition to this, new membership site owners should also focus on their content and the users that are satisfied with it without worrying about the few ‘haters’ in the mix.
Making your onboarding process simpler and intuitive is also a great way to enhance the customer experience on your membership site. Similarly, having quality and professional customer service is the key to gaining users’ trust in your brand and encourages new registrations on your membership site.
Check out our article on Successful Membership Site Examples to Learn & Borrow From for more inspiration and ideas.
Do you know of any other things you quickly learn in the first year as a membership site owner? Let us know in the comments box below.