If you’re a digital business owner, you might be wondering what you can do to expand your brand and revenue. Enter memberships.
Incorporating memberships into your existing business can transform the entire experience for you and your customers – from a more streamlined approach to things like payments and delivering content, to vertical scalability that enables you to grow your business to levels you might not have imagined. Not only that; the membership model is rapidly becoming the go-to business model in a fast-paced society that wants increasing efficiency, simplified payments, and regularly updated content.
In this post we discuss some of the ways you can beef up your business with memberships so you and your customers can reap the rewards!
Exclusivity drives the membership model
One of the primary reasons that memberships are so popular is that people have a propensity toward desiring the exclusive; the element of mystery combined with the association between exclusivity and quality is a powerful driver for membership sales. So, incorporating premium content into your digital business is a natural starting point.
Think about what you can offer your customers beyond the products that you sell – anything extra, complementary, exclusive, or special. What would help your customers make the best use of your products? What would improve their experience – their lives, their work, their learning process, their skills? Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think of all the possible avenues for expanding upon your product collection.
Build upon what you already have
Have any ideas yet? If you’re not sure, let’s look at an example. Maybe you sell packs of Adobe Lightroom presets and you’re trying to figure out what you could use to justify a membership. Well, would your customers be interested in things like exclusive Lightroom tutorials? How about extra monthly presets, reviews of their work, one-to-one tuition, or additional resources?
This is how you want to think when you’re coming up with your membership strategy; you’ve got to figure out what it is that would motivate your customers to pay an ongoing monthly (or yearly) fee. Brainstorm all of the possibilities to see how you can squeeze every last drop out of the content you already have, so that you can maximize the impact of your memberships.
Whether it’s exclusive content, or simply the very best stuff you have to offer – the top shelf product versions, the top-of-the-line products, add-ons, or services – the idea of premium content is that it is restricted to paid members. And your most loyal long-term customers (as well as customers who are firmly committed to your niche) are already pre-qualified to become members!
Here are just a few ideas for premium content:
- Full articles, publications, or downloadable PDFs
- Exclusive tutorials on your products for paid members only
- Bigger, more extensive, or more advanced versions of products
- Full-featured versions of your software or web app
- Additional formats, such as transcripts of your podcast, audio versions of your videos, etc.
Keep in mind that you can create multiple membership tiers, so if you have some truly life-changing content, you might consider reserving it for higher-paying members. For example, if you sell travel guides, you might decide to give away some articles and videos for free, while requiring a subscription for access to all of your guides on an ongoing basis, with a higher-paid option that includes things like exclusive community access, discounts with related travel companies, or custom itineraries.
One-to-one or group support
One of the more valuable member benefits you can offer is one-to-one consultancy. Most products have some degree of a learning curve, require certain skills to use, or are otherwise sought after to improve one’s experience in some way. For example, maybe you decide to give paid members exclusive group support in the form of a livestream, Q&A session, webinar, or presentation. Whatever it is, additional face time adds value to your memberships!
Building a community around your products is a tried and true way to reinforce your brand, even if you don’t have memberships – but it’s especially effective if you do! Not only does it increase engagement (which boosts member retention); it also aids your own support efforts (as members can help each other), and it provides you with feedback that you can use to improve your products, website, etc.
Consider creating things like a member forum on your site, a Facebook discussion group, or a Slack team to bring your members together. Exclusive community access alone could be enough for customers to justify paying a bit extra for a membership!
Support: it’s something you have to do anyway, so why not offer priority support as a member benefit? If you sell software, creative templates, or more complex products, this can be a great way to make up for increased support costs, and it’s something that many people are willing to pay for.
Exclusive access and member discounts
People love being the first to know about or have access to something, and that can be a highly-valued element of your membership. Consider offering your paid members early access to products, or exclusive access to content or events (online or in person). Sometimes, that extra exclusivity can really drive membership sales!
What about discounts? Everyone loves a good deal. Maybe you decide to offer paid members special coupon codes that give them exclusive savings on your products or services, or at related businesses. Or, you partner with another site, content creator, vlogger, or blogger to offer members-only access to external content that is relevant to your niche.
The membership structure
If you’re set on memberships, there are some additional considerations to make, including pricing your memberships, marketing, and creating a strategy for replenishing your content and products. You can also look to successful membership sites for guidance and inspiration; there’s no harm in taking cues from others, as long as it isn’t egregious imitation or trademark infringement!
You may decide to restructure your site completely, turning your business into a membership site exclusively. Or, you might offer memberships or subscriptions on top of selling individual products and services. It’s up to you! There are certainly plenty of benefits to running a membership site, but it’s not necessarily for everyone (although we think it’s generally a potentially lucrative option!)
The value of memberships
Ultimately, the membership model thrives on value – increasing the value of your products with additional elements, and offering ongoing value to your customers in the form of regular content. If you focus on the real-world benefits you can bring to your customers, you can truly level up your business with memberships!
Have you incorporated memberships into your own business? What experiences or insights do you have to share? We’d love to hear from you, so leave us a comment below!
To our readers: This is our last article for 2018 whilst we take a little break! Thank you for your support and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading. If there’s something specific you’d like to see us write about in 2019, please share your ideas with us in the comments, and we’ll be back in the New Year! 🙂