Finding your ideal member helps you focus your content. You probably already figured out it’s tough to target your membership site to everyone on the internet.
But what if you knew exactly who would sign up for your site and how to reach them?
It may be helpful to think of your ideal member as a target market: those most likely to engage with your content. With a clearly defined target market, it becomes easier to determine where and how to market your membership offerings for the most return.
You may be wondering what exactly a target market is and how to determine the perfect target market to turn into paid members of your site. What do you need to know first?
Below we outline a few tips to know about target markets to help you convert these prospects into paid members.
How do you define an ideal member?
A target market is the segment of the population that is the most likely to want or need your services – and each segment is made up of your ideal members. It’s a subset of your total market, so it’s not just everyone who belongs to your site. It’s just those folks most likely to use your site, whether they’re current members or not.
A target market will share characteristics that you’ve determined, like age group, career, location, interests, etc. Each of these characteristics can fragment your audience into a niche group until you’ve arrived at a range of folks who you think are likely to purchase a membership.
What is an ideal member?
Take Alla’s Yummy Food, for example. Alla’s membership site hides 600+ videos and recipes for her members. She specializes in Latvian, Russian, and Eastern European cuisine, so her target market would include those interested especially in those types of food or those who may have grown up in those cultures.
She even mentions her target market right on her site: “Do you miss your childhood dishes? Have you visited Russia, or any Baltic countries and loved the food, but forgot what it was called?” With that tagline, she is directly calling out to those who feel a pull to this culture, and those who answer “yes” to her hypothetical question are the most likely to sign up for a membership.
Or take this example, shared by Indeed:
“Maggie’s Memories is a beachfront shop in a popular coastal town. Because this business is next to a shop that caters to teenagers and people who enjoy beach sports, Maggie’s Memories chose a different target market. Their customers are retirees, with a moderate to high income who are looking for a relaxing getaway. The customers in this target market are interested in buying unique gifts to commemorate their trip. To appeal to their target market, Maggie’s Memories sells home décor items, jewelry, and small accessories with a peaceful seaside aesthetic.”
In this example, Maggie’s Memories realized that since competition in their field was high, they targeted a specific group and catered their content to them to capture their business. Consider a strategy like this to advertise your site to new members who may already belong to a competitor’s site – what makes your site different?
Why is finding ideal members so important?
Targeting allows you to focus your message on a specific group that is most likely to want a membership over other markets. The more you hone your content to your ideal member, the stronger your base will grow.
Identifying your target market does not mean that you are excluding people who do not fit your criteria. You probably see people from all walks of life signing up for a membership at some point on your site.
We are not ignoring your total market, but rather focusing efforts on converting a subset most likely to join. That way, you can spend less time marketing and more time creating!
Target markets also help you gain a better understanding of your current and potential consumer base. We also can’t stress how important it is to cultivate a relationship with your members. By doing the research of finding your target market, you’ll get to know those who use your site even deeper. The deeper you understand them, the easier it is to communicate with them and understand their needs.
When you see someone who thinks and acts like a current member but isn’t one yet, you’ll know to grab them up right away!
How do you segment your target market?
So, ready to start finding that niche group of folks who may want a membership, but not sure where to start? Here are a few tips to help find your own unique target market for your membership site:
1. Review your current member list.
Take a long, hard look at the people who already subscribe. Chances are, there’s a similarity or two among them. You probably already see a common trait, but look deeper, get more niche. Think of their common demographics (age, gender, employment status, education level, family structure, and income), geographics (where they live), and psychographics (personality qualities). Once you begin to identify commonalities between your members, you can use this information to refine your existing customer base into a market to target.
2. Check out your competition.
It’s simple but effective. You probably know who else is offering membership sites within your community. Peek at their messaging, website, call to action, and so on. Who do they appear to be targeting? Who subscribes to their site, and why do they choose theirs over yours? These questions can seem scary to face at first, but should ultimately motivate you and in the long run, save you time.
3. Do your research.
Try searching online for research others have done on your target market. Read articles and blogs that talk about your target market and their interests, habits, and hobbies. Search for blogs and forums where people in your target market communicate. Consider conducting a survey, or ask your current customers for feedback. Finding the channels in which they communicate is the best way to get on your target market’s radar.
Remember, you can have more than one target market! You’ll likely see some overlap in between your markets, but it’s helpful to keep messaging separate for each, so the ask seems authentic and organic each time.
How do I turn my target market into members?
Sure, you’ve written down all of the metrics for your target markets, you know where they hang out online, but how do you convert them to members? In addition to adding in some language to your website, here are a few other ways to find that ideal member:
4. Mailing lists.
Collect leads by offering free, valuable content in exchange for contact information. If you build a list of interested people who sign up for updates for free, you can provide them with regular check-ins and describe features of a membership that will appeal to them. Provide non-members with enticing reasons to join: that could be discounts, a huge content library, videos, add-free content, etc. Use email to inform both members and non-members about upgrades to your site, new content, and other relevant information. This constant communication will keep you on their radar!
Read more about creating strong email content with the Drip Content Ultimate Guide.
5. Social media.
One of the most cost-effective marketing strategies is maintaining a social media presence. Though it’s always free to post, it’s often very affordable to boost posts, create ads, and pay for sponsored posts about your membership site. Some social sites may be more effective for your target market than others, so figure out where people in your target market hang out. If they spend most of their time on Twitter, you don’t want to waste time on Instagram. Follow influential people in your field, share valuable content, and show members you care about them by interacting via social media.
6. Content marketing.
When you write free blog posts or updates on social media, mention your membership site and post a link to the signup page. Try not to sound like a sales pitch, though. Add a subtle call-to-action through valuable content that gives your audience a hint of what they can expect if they join. You can use guest posting to gain more visibility (think of your competitors as friends, not enemies!). Influencers can also spread the word: do you have a high-profile member who swears by your site? See if they will provide a quote you can pull! Comment on other user’s sites and posts and show that you are a valued member of this community.
Why should I use a membership model for my target market?
A membership site is a great way to make money for your content as an alternative to advertising, People pay for content because they respect your knowledge and want to learn from you. It can establish your authority, build loyalty among your fans, and help you stay connected with the people who want to hear from you the most.
By offering a membership to a target market, you are offering them the content they are likely to already seek out on their own. Now, they will have a dedicated source and knowledge base, not to mention a community and expert to turn to when needed.
Additionally, you can use your membership site as an offshoot for other digital products, such as webinars, e-books, conferences, and more. Again, your target market consists of the ones most likely to continue consuming your product, and once they’re in as members, it’s an easier ask on additional products.
As long as you don’t let down your members, they’ll continue paying to access your content.
Restrict Content Pro, our WordPress membership plugin, can help you easily make a membership and subscription website. Our plugin is available in free and pro versions for WordPress site owners looking for a fast and easy way to restrict certain areas of their site.
The key features in the free version of Restrict Content include restricting site access to specific sections or entire pages, offering private and public content to help keep sensitive content safe, collecting user email addresses, and allowing your site users to self-register and login from your site’s frontend.
If all you’re looking for is the most straightforward way to restrict the content on your website, the free version of Restrict Content should be all you’ll need to use. But if you need more, you can upgrade to Restrict Content Pro.
Restrict Content Pro makes it simple for you to create your membership or subscription site. Give it a try today to create a winning membership site!