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You may have noticed a trend toward creating monthly subscriptions in just about every industry you can think of—books, video games, movies, television, music, apps, services, food, clothing—you name it, there’s probably some sort of subscription option associated to it. You can even get razor blade deliveries with an automated, monthly subscription option!
Think about all the different companies that have started monthly recurring membership programs and it’ll quickly become apparent just how profitable they must be, right?
Amazon has its Amazon Prime program, its Kindle Unlimited program, and its Amazon Fresh program. You have streaming content providers like Netflix and Hulu.
There’s music like Pandora, and Spotify, and Apple Music, and Google Music. You have video games that charge monthly fees—everything from MMORPGs like World of Warcraft to tiny little music apps that charge a few bucks a month to access karaoke songs, songs you can play on a virtual piano, etc.
There are also unlimited magazine and book apps where you can pay a monthly fee to gain access to new book releases, and digital magazines.
Then there is the whole monthly “crate” or subscription box model that has taken the Internet by storm. This is where customers receive themed membership boxes every month around things like fitness, beauty, parenting and tech, all charging a monthly subscription fee.
There’s one main reason so many major companies are moving toward monthly subscription offers—they are incredibly profitable!
But an online membership website is one of the most profitable type of membership programs of all, because you have no inventory or shipping to deal with!
In this guide, we’re going to talk about how you can start your own membership site in just about any niche or genre you can think of, how to find members and successfully launch your membership program even if you haven’t done it before.
So, let’s get started!
Why You Need a Membership Site
The biggest reason companies are moving to monthly subscriptions is to provide a steady flow of income that does not require additional advertising expenditure to maintain.
Yes, your membership site income may fluctuate from time to time. There will be months where you experience a higher number of cancellations due to several different reasons such as: an economic downturn, or an update you made that didn’t strike a chord with members.
But you will have months where you generate a stream of new members as well, which will immediately increase your overall monthly income. So, no worries, it’ll all balance out if you are actively engaging members and always looking for ways to reach new subscribers and tap into your market.
Ultimately, membership sites are a pretty stable source of income, but there are other advantages, as well.
If you’ve ever sold physical products, then you understand how expensive it can be to get started. Acquiring physical products is prohibitively expensive in the beginning, and if it doesn’t sell, you’re stuck with all that inventory.
With membership sites, it’s possible to create all of the content entirely yourself. Or you can outsource it to qualified freelancers at affordable rates and free up your time.
Or, depending on your niche, you can even buy premade content from places like www.SureFireWealth.com that you can use to power up your membership program. Just be sure to check out the licenses that come with the private label content to ensure that it’s allowed to be used in membership sites.
Membership sites can also be a great way to stay in touch with your customer base, as well as to build authority in your market. You can also have a forum or private Facebook group for members only and build your own social network that encourages members to share content and resources.
Best of all, these people are paying customers, so you can sell additional products to them both inside the members’ area and through email campaigns! It’s a great way to introduce people to other products, or network with others by joining their affiliate programs and maximize your income easily.
Once they join as a member and see the quality you deliver, they will trust you enough to buy higher ticket products later.
Before we get into the actual development of a site, let’s talk about some of the most basic aspects of membership sites, just in case you’re not entirely familiar with how they work.
A membership site is typically based in a popular and evergreen niche, such as internet marketing, weight loss, crafts, self improvement or fitness. Each month, new content is added, which customers can access as long as they continue to pay their membership fees.
There are several ways to deliver content to members:
You can give immediate access to this month’s content only.
You can give immediate access to this month’s content, and drip feed bonus content each month over time, rewarding those who remain a member of your site.
You can give access to content starting with the first month and going forward, which is appropriate for sites that are educational in nature and require sequential content.
You can give immediate access to all content at once, plus any additional content as it is added.
There’s no right or wrong way to deliver content. How you choose to deliver your content will be based on your particular needs.
Generally speaking, if your site is educational, it will probably need to drip feed starting from the first month. Otherwise, you can give access to all content at once, or, to keep members longer, you can only give access to a certain amount of content each month. This is called “drip feeding”.
Some membership site owners choose to not give members access to past months’ content. This is done to keep people from waiting a few months and joining to get several months’ worth of content for the price of just one month, and makes it fairer for current members who may have paid for several months.
This is mostly done when the content is limited in some way, such as PLR membership sites. The content would be devalued if too many people got access to everything for the price of just one month.
It’s important to keep your membership updated every month to keep members paying. Most people are too busy to worry about canceling a membership if it’s not too expensive, but you don’t want to give them a reason to make the decision to cancel.
You might also choose to update slowly throughout the month to make sure people who sign up for a trial membership (if you offer one) don’t get a full month of updates during the trial and then cancel.
Setting Up a Membership Site
Setting up a membership site is a lot easier than you probably think. You just need to build a website, create a method for users to join and pay their monthly fee, and provide a way for members to download their content.
Think you need programming knowledge, or you need to be a spectacular designer? Nope. All you need is a basic sales letter convincing them to join, a page for users to download the content, and a simple script to handle usernames and passwords and protect content.
There’s a plethora of scripts out there to help you run your membership site, but one that operates on WordPress is probably the easiest to use.
There are many different plugins available for WordPress that will help you set up a membership site in no time. If you don’t know HTML and CSS and such, WordPress is the best option for creating your site.
At one point, most of the membership plugins for WordPress were prohibitively expensive, which prevented a lot of people from setting up a membership site, even if they wanted to.
But these days, there are many different options to choose from in prices to fit every budget and with options to fit pretty much anything you need to do.
One of the easiest ways to create a membership site is with Product Dyno, available at http://www.ProductDyno.com
With Product Dyno, not only are you able to quickly set up protected download pages for individual products or collections, but you can easily build a recurring membership website without having to host any off your own content. It’s also one of the more affordable options, and completely newbie-friendly in the event you haven’t created a subscription site before.
Product Dyno is constantly evolving to include new features, but as of the time of this writing they’ve already loaded the product with tons of in-demand options, as well as a variety of payment integration options.
They also ensure that your products are securely protected so that only authorized, paying customers can access them.
Having a membership site is pretty much useless if you don’t have a way to protect your content from unauthorized access, right? After all, why would people pay for a membership when they can just type in a backdoor URL and access it all for free? You could lose a lot of money by not protecting your content.
Thankfully, most membership software has built-in protection for the members’ area, and Product Dyno is one of those options.
ProductDyno will also allow you to protect a single product or multiple products with one interface. If you sign up for the unlimited plan, you can set up as many different membership sites as you’d like!
The system is very secure and won’t let thieves or digital pirates steal your products. You can even revoke a buyer’s access with the click of a button if they ask for a refund, initial a chargeback, or break the terms of their usage license.
Plus, you can use the same system to protect any other products you sell, not just membership sites. So, if you create a single product, you can use ProductDyno to protect the download for that, too.