While not all membership sites require users to pay for access, having a paid membership site is a great source of recurring revenue. if you are going to charge for access, you must avoid these critical mistakes.
8 - No automation
If you are planning on more than a few members, you absolutely must automate the processing and renewal of memberships, and member access to the site. Without automation, you will spend too much time managing the process — time you could be using to create killer content!
There are excellent eCommerce solutions in the JED. These will get you membership fees and recurring subscription fees, but what about access to the site? We set up our Infusionsoft to collect the membership dues, and also to inform the site if payment fails so site access is restricted until the dues are paid. We use our JoomFuse (with JF Portal) product for that communication.
You will need to find a solution where the eCommerce software can communicate with your membership software. If you do not, you will either be giving away access or wasting time turning members’ access on and off.
KEY: Automation is imperative for a smooth running process and a smooth flow of revenue.
9 - Not tracking ROI (Return on Investment)
So you have this great site with great content, and members are paying to consume it….but have you taken the time to see if you are actually profitable? Do you have a valid projection when you will be?
You likely have some of these expenses: hosting fees, web development costs, subscriptions to services or extensions, FaceBook and/or Google AdWords expenses, content providers, and maybe more.
There are many ways to calculate ROI. Start by seeing if you are in the black month-to-month. You are? Great. Now take all your one-time expenses, and then calculate how long it will take before those are all paid off. At that point, you truly have a positive ROI — congratulations!
KEY: Unless this is hobby or you don’t mind having a net loss, you need to be sure that you are or will make money.
10 - Asking for the sale too soon or too hard
So you meet the girl (or guy) of your dreams in a bar and right there, you ask her to marry you. What do you think her/his reaction will be? Don’t be surprised if you feel a stinging pain in your face!
People buy from those they know, like and trust. Just like going from meeting this girl to actually marrying her, you have to establish a relationship with your prospects before they will trust you enough to give you some of their hard-earned money.
Take your time, show your value to them, show them that you provide continuous value and are not a flash in the pan. Then don’t try to sell them your $10,000 coaching program first. Let them ‘date’ you a bit first.
KEY: You MUST establish a relationship with your prospects and members before you try to sell or upgrade them.
11 - Not enough value
Regardless of the cost, there must be enough perceived value. You are not going to get people to give you $10,000 per year for coaching by giving one group conference call per month. Nor are you going to get members to keep paying you $5.00 per month when minuscule new content is added once or twice a year.
Members have to feel their money is well spent. Don’t underestimate your worth either. One of my clients provides a valuable service for her audience, but charges very little and could charge significantly more.
KEY: Your membership price doesn’t matter — there should be significant perceived value there for the members or their tenure with you will be short.
And for next month?
We finished with the 11 critical mistakes to avoid in a membership site. Was it helpful?
Next month we will discuss how to use your membership site to establish yourself as an expert, or authority, in your field.