Membership sites for local businesses

Business Membership Sites: 11 Keys to Success

Starting a membership site is the perfect opportunity for business owners that want to build a base of loyal, long-term customers. In fact, for many business owners, membership websites have become their biggest catalyst for financial success.

A membership site provides your business with a powerful way to build a healthy annual income that you can count on year in and year out.

In theory and in practice, a membership site is simple: It gives customers the opportunity to become exclusive members of your business by paying a monthly or annual fee. In return, they receive certain exclusive perks for becoming a member.

In other words, becoming a paying member of your membership site will give customers “insider” status.

Starting a membership website can help breathe new life into your business by:

  • Providing you with a stable and predictable source of long-term revenue
  • Helping customers more fully identify with your business. This strengthens their advocacy for, and long-term commitment to, your brand
  • Establishing authority and credibility within your business niche

Even better, every time you earn a new member, the cost of renewing them drastically decreases.

So how exactly do you start a membership site for your business?

Let’s take a look.

Finding The Best Way To Run a Business Membership Site

There have been platforms developed to allow for the sharing of creative designs and content of users to members for several years. From its early days in 2013, Patreon has been one of the industry leaders that has appealed to small business owners because it presented a way to build a substantial revenue stream by allowing customers to become paying members.

The problem has always been that, by relying on an off-site platform for your business membership income, you needlessly put your success into the hands of a third-party entity. That means that you’re subject to all of their Terms and Conditions, even they change them in the middle of the game (and many of the Terms and Conditions stipulate that the platform can change the rules).

What’s more, it’s difficult to properly brand your business when you’re operating under a platforms umbrella to build your memberships. For the most part, all membership sites on these platforms have the same or similar looks despite the industry or focus.

Your business is unique and you want to have the options to highlight your voice, your brand, and your products in your way.

What Business Membership Sites Want

  • Predictable and sustainable revenue
  • A way to connect more deeply with the most loyal customers
  • A way to bring their brick-and-mortar businesses online in an interactive way

What Business Membership Sites Need

  • Complete freedom of how you present your business to the public
  • Full ownership of your own content
  • Every cent of your membership fees, without taking a percentage as a “convenience”
  • Complete control of the content you create and the offers you make available to members
  • Simplicity of use, while showing your professionalism and commitment to your members
  • The ability to interact with members in real time
  • A public-facing level of professionalism that Patreon can’t match

The solution is to launch your own membership site. And it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Why Owning Your Membership Site Works Better

Owning your own membership site gives you complete freedom to operate your business exactly the way you choose.

And it can be much more profitable than using a platform owned and opporated by an outside entity.

When you sign up with another site, you’re given a template of how your membership site is going to work. This includes how it looks, how much you can charge for memberships, how often membership fees are charged, and how you’ll receive them (after that platform deducts its fees).

Basically, you’re working within their chosen parameters..

Running your own membership site gives you complete freedom to build your brand from the ground up. You’ll never need to rely on a third-party platform that can change their rules or disappear at any time, for any reason.

How Do I Launch a Business Membership Website?

Today, almost 40% of the Internet is powered by the WordPress content management system (CMS).

And there are many good reasons for that.

  • WordPress is 100% free and open source
  • There are thousands of free and premium plugins and themes that can help you turn your site into almost anything you can imagine, including a business membership site
  • Anyone, even someone who lacks the most basic CSS or HTML knowledge, can easily build a WordPress website in minutes
  • WordPress website security is simple when you use a plugin such as iThemes Security Pro
  • WordPress is incredibly versatile
  • Google gives WordPress a 99% rating for SEO-friendliness

To start building your site, all you need to do is secure your own domain name, download the free WordPress open-source software, sign up to a reliable WordPress website host, and run their one-click WordPress installation.

From there, you can begin searching for a free or premium theme that fits the desired mood of your membership site. While there are thousands of themes to choose from, Kadence Theme is one of the best options out there. It gives you premium theme features in a free solution, and you’ll be effortlessly building your new site in minutes.

Benefits of Using WordPress For Your Business Membership Site

WordPress is your best option for building a membership website because:

It’s Easy To Learn and Use

Even if you get stuck, there are countless subjects covered in the WordPress Help Forums that will answer your simplest or toughest questions with ease.

One Easy-to-Use Plugin Transforms Your Site Into a Professional Business Membership Site

This is where the WordPress membership site magic happens. 

No, you don’t need to code all of the operational details needed to turn a standard WordPress site into a membership site. After your WordPress site is up and running, all you need to do is download and install the Restrict Content Pro plugin so you can begin running a membership site for your business.

Immediately, you’ll have a full-featured, powerful membership site that’s ready for you to customize in any way you see fit. What’s best, it will integrate seamlessly with almost any WordPress theme.

Restrict Content Pro will allow you to:

  • Lock away all of your exclusive content, while giving access only to your paid members
  • Offer discount codes based on a percentage or flat rate discount
  • Automate email communication with members
  • Create as many subscription packages as you’d like
  • Easily manage all of your paid memberships
  • Create reports that help you grow your membership numbers

With this plugin, your WordPress site immediately becomes a membership site. And, potentially, your main source of revenue.

You Brand Yourself With Your Own Domain

Would you rather send interested members to or when you promote your paid membership website?

Which one do you think better establishes your business credibility and authority?

The answer is simple: Your own domain name. Plus, when you build on your domain you can develop a content strategy that is specific to you, your voice, your brand, and your products.

3 Reasons Businesses Should Sell Memberships

Now, let’s take a look at the key reasons you should start selling memberships for your business.

1. Memberships Provide Stable and Reliable Income

Doing business is often unpredictable. So is revenue. This makes planning for the future a sometimes-dangerous proposition.

With a strong membership program, however, a business can more easily plan for expenses and future growth with their recurring membership revenue stream. Barring an unforeseen disaster, you can expect that most recurring members will continue to renew. In fact, the retention rate is around 70%.

Recurring membership fees add up to greater overall revenue and a much higher lifetime value for each customer.

2. Membership Sites are a Great Way To Build a Community

For business owners, recurring revenue isn’t the only advantage to running a membership model.

As Roberta Matuson, a Forbes contributor, says, “The Membership Economy is also about community.”

The relationship between you and your members will be much closer than it is with other customers. When you communicate well, provide insider status, and genuinely show your appreciation for your members, they’ll become much more devoted to your brand.

3. Your Members Get Immediate Value

Immediately after a member signs up with your program, your relationship begins. You can begin the relationship with a prompt, heartfelt, and (whenever possible) personal thank you.

This will mean a lot to your new members.

Make sure that you provide a ton of great content (articles, videos, blog posts, etc.) and member perks behind your membership site’s paywall (exclusive to paying members only). When you do, all of your new members can start digging into their memberships right after they sign up.

Remember, memberships work best if you deliver real and tangible value.

11 Keys to Success for Business Membership Sites

Keep these principles at the forefront of your mind as you begin to grow your paid membership numbers using WordPress and the Restrict Content Pro plugin:

  • Clearly define your membership program.
  • Make it quick and easy to sign up.
  • Announce and market your membership program.
  • Mindfully create up to three membership levels, each with increasing benefits.
  • Paid members are always looking for new content. Make sure you let them know when they can expect it (i.e. daily at 8am, every tuesday at 5pm, every first of the month at midnight).
  • Routinely interact directly with your members. It means more to them than you may realize
  • Invite members to exclusive Q&As and other events where you’ll be live and present.
  • On your membership site, provide paid members with a way for them to interact with each other and have conversations.
  • Don’t charge too much or too little for a membership. Research other membership sites to find the sweet spot.
  • Utilize email drip campaigns to keep in close touch with your members.
  • Be in it for the long haul.

Start Your Own Business Membership Site Today

For most business owners, profit isn’t the only goal of running a business. There’s also the importance of being a part of a community. And a membership website will do both: Generate handsome profits for your business while building an online community within your local community, all within one platform.

Starting a membership site is one of the best ways to help your business reach new levels of success. Get started today with the Restrict Content Pro plugin for WordPress.

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