running a membership site

Top 8 Benefits to Running a Membership Site

There are many benefits to running a membership website, for you and for those who you serve – be it members, clients, readers, or customers. Membership sites create a pathway for engagement and connectivity. And even though the way memberships are created today may be unique, subscription-based products are not new.

Believe it or not, the subscription model has been around since the year 1638, and is attributed to King Charles I of England. But since the advent of digital content consumption, along with the modern dominance of eCommerce, the subscription model has evolved into digital online membership sites in nearly every niche you can imagine. What are the benefits of membership, and of launching a WordPress membership site?

If you landed here today, there’s a very good chance that you’ve been considering launching your own membership site. But you’re probably wondering why this business model has become so incredibly popular in 2021, and what exactly you should expect when you get yours going.

Why Should You Consider Running a Membership Website?

Of course, from the perspective of a member, it’s not difficult to see why memberships to websites that interest them offer a lot of benefits. After all, in a fast-paced world where information is flying at all of us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a lot of people now prefer to scale back their information intake into exclusive memberships in the niches they most care about.

For members, these memberships bring them a lot of immediate and continuing value. But the benefits of membership don’t end with the customer.

As a membership website owner, the benefits of membership include:

  • Dependable recurring income
  • Extremely targeted marketing within your chosen niche
  • Customer relationship building
  • Authority within your industry or niche
  • Building a community of loyal fans and customers

And that’s just the beginning.

In this guide, we’ll look at the top eight benefits of membership from the perspective of a membership website owner. You’ll also learn exactly how easy it is to launch your own membership site using WordPress and the Restrict Content Pro WordPress membership plugin.

By the end, you’ll see that owning a membership site may be one of the best business decisions you’ll ever make.

Let’s take a look.

1. Memberships Are a Great Way To Help Other People In a Mutually Beneficial Way

A man named Chris Guillebeau was once quoted as saying, “If you make your business about helping others, you’ll always have plenty of work.” And one of the top benefits of membership sites is that you’ll be helping people achieve what they thought they couldn’t do without you.

First and foremost, a membership website is all about building relationships with the people who are interested in what you have to offer. To do this, it’s vital to give your members meaningful value with a membership, which typically will include such resources as:

  • Education about a particular subject
  • Exclusive information that they can’t find anywhere else
  • Materials they can use in their day-to-day lives to help them improve in some way
  • Encouragement that drives members toward achieving their own goals
  • An accessible community of like-minded people

What better way to build a business that equally benefits you (in the form of recurring membership fees and professional satisfaction) and your members (in the form of achieving their goals or learning things they never knew)?

When you work toward building strong relationships with your site members, you automatically create a win-win situation that rewards both yourself and your members for years to come. And as you’ll learn in the world of membership sites, many of your long-term members will become so loyal that they’ll support you through thick and thin.

2. A Reliable Stream of Income Is One of the Biggest Benefits of Membership

Even if this has been said a hundred different ways from a dozen different sources, it still remains true: 

One of the biggest benefits of membership from a website owner’s perspective is the recurring revenue it generates.

And the reasons for this are pretty simple. Your site members will pay a yearly (or monthly) fee in exchange for direct access to your exclusive content. This translates to additional revenue in your pocket every time you generate more membership signups.

What’s best is that a membership site is easily scalable. In other words, the work you need to put in to generate exclusive, members-only content is the same whether you have ten paying members or 10,000.

But beyond that, the revenue you’ll earn with memberships is much more reliable and predictable than traditional online business models. With a membership business model, you don’t need to keep generating new sales from the same list of customers. Rather, a customer’s membership (and your revenue stream) will be ongoing as long as they don’t cancel.

What’s encouraging is that, on average, the first-year renewal rate for online memberships is around 70%. And if you put out exclusive members-only content that brings your members a lot of value, you can expect that renewal rate to go even higher.

As you can clearly see, the revenue you gain from an online membership business model is much more predictable than the revenue you can earn by selling individual products or one-off purchases.

3. A Membership Website Promotes Relationships, Customer Loyalty, and a Strong Community

When you build a membership website, it’s important to realize that what you’re really building is the foundation of a community.

Typically, new members will initially become paying members because they’re interested in, or committed to, the niche your website operates in. And this can be any niche, on any subject you can imagine, including education or entertainment.

Because your members are already interested in the subject matter you are focused on, they’re also likely to be interested in relevant:

  • Products
  • Resources
  • Tools

But, often more than anything, what your members are really interested in is becoming a part of an interactive and exclusive community.

A well-run membership site gives you the opportunity to build a strong online environment that fosters quality communication between yourself and your members. It also should allow your members to independently interact among themselves in forums, activity walls, or with direct member messaging.

By giving your members these types of tools, you’ll be able to get to know your members on a personal level. This will help you learn more about their own personal needs and expectations while developing strong relationships that will ultimately strengthen your long-term customer base.

4. Running a Membership Site Gives You a Pre-Qualified Audience for Marketing and Upselling

Any business marketing plan, whether brick-and-mortar or digital, involves a lot of experimentation, financial resources, time, and trial and error. Without a comprehensive marketing plan, most businesses are doomed to fail.

One of the greatest benefits of running a membership site is that, by default, it provides you with a pre-qualified audience that you can market your products and services to.

Think of it this way: Your site members are already interested enough in what you have to offer that they’ve decided to pay for a membership. If that isn’t the ultimate customer loyalty, what is?

This means that your paying members are the best possible candidates for:

  • Targeted marketing
  • Segmented marketing
  • Retargeting

When it comes time to start marketing your new products or membership-related custom services, your site members will have much higher levels of interest, engagement, and conversion than your average site visitor.

But beyond that, when you pay attention to your members’ wants and needs, you’ll gather all kinds of useful information that will help you decide what types of new content to create or products you should be selling to them. In fact, the marketing insights you’ll gain from member engagement is most valuable because it’s coming from the people who already want what you have to offer.

And they’ve already proven that they’re willing to pay you for it.

Memberships are even more valuable when it comes to upselling. The best way to upsell your members into additional offerings is by offering things such as:

  • One-on-one coaching or mentoring
  • Exclusive webinars
  • Consulting
  • Supplementary downloadable products for continued education
  • Similar products and related services

Remember that the audience that’s already paying to consume your exclusive content (via a membership) is much different than the audience that’s only consuming the content you publish for free. Members have a much higher level of commitment and passion to your brand than non-members. They have already invested financially in your site, and are the customers who will respond most favorably to upselling.

5. Membership Sites Offer Exponential Growth Potential

If you’re like most business owners, you want to run a business that allows for exponential growth without needing to add much in the way of overhead.

One of the biggest perks about owning a membership site is the capability for this type of exponential growth and vertical scalability. You really can grow your site to unimaginable proportions using your existing infrastructure and content.

In fact, there really aren’t any limits to the number of members you can acquire. This makes membership site ownership one of the most lucrative business models available in eCommerce.

Other digital business models often require that you invest a lot of additional time and resources when your business begins to grow. For example, you’ll probably need to:

  • Increase your overhead costs
  • Purchase additional inventory
  • Staff your business to help accommodate rapid or unexpected growth

But one of the main benefits of membership site ownership is that it is very easily scaled without needing to change much in your core operations. Generally, even if you’re comparing membership websites with sites that only sell low-overheard digital products, a membership site is much less resource-intensive to grow and maintain.

6. A Membership Site Will Refine Your Content

Owning a membership site means that you’ll need to continually produce fresh content that your members can consume. It also means keeping up-to-date with your niche and providing members timely and exclusive updates that will keep them coming back for more.

In a very powerful way, your members automatically hold you accountable for the content you produce. After all, your long-term revenue relies on producing quality content that brings in new members and keeps the current ones renewing year after year.

Having an active paying audience will push you toward growth and reaching outside of your comfort zone as a content creator. And while this may sound like a bit of a nuisance to some, the truth is actually quite the opposite: It’s one of the greatest benefits of membership site ownership.

If your hope is to grow your website, brand, industry authority, and (of course!) your revenue, you’ll need to consistently update and replenish what you have to offer. While it may be easier to become complacent and begin to coast after you’ve built a decent base of paying members, it isn’t a recipe for long-term success.

Rather, take the inspiration and motivation you get from your members to further refine your content and the way you do business. Remember that running a membership website and your own personal growth tend to go hand-in-hand.

7. The Content You Publish Establishes Industry Authority

If you don’t have a lot of personal confidence in the niche your membership site is going to cover, make sure you first realize this: When you launch a membership site, you’re essentially announcing to the world that you’re a knowledgeable specialist within your chosen niche.

And you’ll want to conduct yourself accordingly.

Think about it: Why would a site visitor become a paying member of your site if they didn’t already believe that you have some kind of authority on the topics you choose to discuss?

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have a pile of tangible credentials, traditional degrees, or an official “form of approval” to discuss the topics that you specialize in. Rather, being an industry authority really means that you’re producing volumes of content that members find valuable, including:

  • Articles
  • How-to videos
  • Exclusive podcasts
  • Guides
  • Industry-specific resources

The impression your membership site puts out to the world will be based on your entire body of work. This will automatically establish your industry authority and expertise, which will continue to grow stronger over time as you publish more content to your site.

8. Your Value Continues To Increase Over Time

As your membership base grows and your body of work evolves, your site becomes more valuable to people and to your industry as a whole. And the more content you continue to produce, the more valuable a membership is to people who haven’t yet joined your site.

If you play your cards the right way, you may even experience a snowball effect that leads to a well-oiled machine that feeds back into itself. It would look like this:

  1. You produce recurring in-demand content at regular intervals.
  2. Your site and community grow with each new piece of quality content you produce.
  3. More new members sign up because they see how active your community is.
  4. Your revenue increases, allowing you to devote even more time to creating the content people are looking for.
  5. Even more new members find you and sign up because they want to be a part of what you’re doing.
  6. And the machine churns on.

While the majority of digital business models operate on one-time product or service sales (with the value being specific and intermittent), membership sites have cumulative value that continues to increase as time marches on.

There’s No Better Time To Start a WordPress Membership Website

A membership site isn’t just a powerful business model with unlimited earning potential. It’s also an opportunity that can give your life a lot more freedom. And who doesn’t want that?

By running a WordPress membership site, you’ll be able to:

  • Grow your own business without any limitations
  • Have the freedom to express your creativity
  • Choose how you operate your business without answering to anyone but your members
  • Live anywhere that you choose

Compound benefits, such as the value you provide, the vertical scalability of your site, the reliable income, the marketing intel, and your growing industry authority will all combine and play off of each other for your good. They amplify your overall brand presence and give you an engaging and rewarding way to make a lucrative living.

To start your WordPress membership site, download and install the Restrict Content Pro WordPress membership plugin. It’s easy to use, highly intuitive, and will give you the freedom to build a professional, fully-functioning membership site that can help send your business to the stratosphere.

Welcome to the world of membership website ownership.

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