How to market your membership site

You’ve already got a functioning membership site and you’re excited to get things moving – now what?

Marketing memberships is a bit different from marketing individual products, particularly when it comes to the purchase decision. When customers decide to sign up for your membership site, they’re agreeing to an ongoing series of transactions (not just one!) and their expectations differ accordingly. Communicating the value of your membership site is essential, but which methods should you use to accomplish this goal?

In this post we’ve distilled some ideas for marketing your membership site to help you build the momentum you need to keep the sales flowing!

First, a word about top-of-mind awareness

If you’re not familiar with the term, it refers to the brand, product, website, or company that immediately comes to the consumer’s mind when thinking about a certain keyword, category, concept, industry, or area of expertise. It’s the goal of most business owners to create this association for their customers, and it’s no different with memberships! Above all, a consistent online presence is the foundation of modern marketing – and there are various elements that go into keeping your membership site at the forefront of your target customer’s awareness.

Consistent content (and marketing activity) is the obvious one; if you want to raise awareness and get your brand in front of people, you have to have regular output. This can include blog posts, videos, updates, and news, as well as marketing messages, social media posts, engagement efforts, and promotions. Basically, you want to be active on a regular basis to keep yourself in the loop – and constantly on the radar of your potential customers!

You might consider coming up with a content and social media strategy that incorporates things like:

  • Advice and information that is useful or interesting to your target demographic
  • Behind-the-scenes footage of day-to-day operations or special events
  • Live Q&A sessions
  • Videos where you speak directly to your audience about your company mission, goals, activities, products, and promotions
  • Blog posts, social media posts, or videos showcasing your customers and how they have benefited from your membership site

Remember that as long as you want to make more sales, your work is never done! Investing in pushing out consistent content and marketing messages helps your brand stay afloat in the sea of options that are available to consumers. You want to bring attention to your membership site, and when newcomers show up, you want to be sure that they understand what you’re all about and what you have to offer.

Marketing your value

Why should potential customers invest in a long-term financial commitment to your site when they could find blog posts, YouTube videos, tutorials, or other individual products to serve their interests? The answer is that there must be some kind of ongoing value. What’s your unique selling point or competitive edge? What are the benefits that customers experience by subscribing? Focusing on the real-world results that come from using your site can go a long way when it comes to encouraging sales conversions.

Authority matters

Marketing isn’t always a linear process; there can be all kinds of moving parts that come together to create customer confidence – and everything you can do to establish your authority within your market, industry, or niche makes a difference! The more credibility you have to your name, the more people will be willing to make recurring payments for the value you provide. Developing your authority with a brand image that leads to sales takes time and effort, but these are some helpful tips that can help you get things rolling:

Be the expert

Whether it’s writing blog posts, podcasting, publishing an eBook or downloadable guide, or making topical videos, getting your knowledge and expertise out there and into the world gives you a body of work to refer to – and it’s one of the authority-building basics.

Make yourself known

Getting involved in communities and discussions within your industry quite simply puts more eyes (and ears) on you. Contribute to discussions by offering your advice and input in forums, Facebook groups, and LinkedIn groups – all places where professionals and niche community members gather. Twitter can be a great place to join conversations, especially if you want to start being seen by (and interacting with) bigger names. Overall, giving others useful information, or directing them toward content and resources that are helpful to them is especially effective!

Polish up your image

If you haven’t already, consider investing in things like professional headshots, or even a professionally-produced video introducing yourself. Anything you can do to create a sense of quality and professionalism can only add to your perceived authority.

Get on your social media game

Whether you like it or not, social media is a must when it comes to modern digital business. The more you participate and hone your social media skills, the more engaging you become, and the more you solidify your image as an industry figure. These platforms are great places to build authority because of the easily shareable nature of social media posts, and there are plenty of useful tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to help you automate a lot of it. Just like with discussion groups and forums, people are always on the lookout for content that is relevant and relatable to them, so consider creating shareable “daily tips”, how-tos, or quotes from your own material; anything that can be easily consumed and shared!

Promotional methods

So, now that we’ve looked at the bigger picture of online presence and authority, what are some of the more specific methods you can use to market your membership site?

Direct promotion

From promotional offers and sharing new content, updates, and product releases, directly communicating your membership site’s purpose, value, and benefits to your audience is an essential part of most marketing strategies. Just remember that, in combination with the other less-obvious strategies, it doesn’t necessarily have to be at the forefront of your marketing efforts all of the time.

Cross-promotion

If you want to get savvy and potentially save advertising costs, you can partner with non-competitive businesses and industry authorities to jointly promote your site alongside their products or content. Notable figures within your niche, as well as related product and service providers are particularly complementary to membership sites when it comes to cross-promotion – especially if there is audience overlap, or (at the minimum) a good degree of relevance to both audiences.

Affiliate marketing

A long-standing marketing strategy that has grown into its very own industry, affiliate marketing is like cross-promotion in that it’s a method that relies and thrives on partnership. The difference is mainly structural; affiliates sign up to promote your membership site in exchange for commissions on sales made using corresponding trackable affiliate links.

Online events

Virtual events are particularly engaging, and they give you the opportunity to let potential customers experience a taste of what your content is like – and show them why they should sign up to your site! Whether you do a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube livestream, Q&A session, informational webinar, or free introductory online event, this is a great way to make a personal connection with your audience and bring in more sales. Doing regular online events is also a good way to build an online presence, so it can be doubly effective!

Front-end offers

Creating enough customer confidence to get people to commit to recurring payments can be more difficult than selling an individual product, even if the price is right! Front-end offers – or offers that give customers immediate access to a specific product or type of content – can help to alleviate skepticism by providing an instant reward with the purchase of a membership.

Upselling

If you already sell individual products on your site, you can use the purchase process to upsell memberships to your customers; you might decide to offer a membership at a reduced price during the checkout process (with the purchase of one of your products), or give your customers a special offer in their purchase confirmation email. Upselling is an effective strategy, as customers have already shown that they are willing to pay for your content.

Don’t forget the magic of social proof

With all of the effort you put into marketing your products, it’s easy to overlook one of the most significant factors that can impact customer confidence: social proof. Community approval is a powerful influence when it comes to purchase decisions, influencing people to the extent that it can actually make or break a sale. It provides proof of the quality and legitimacy of your product (in this case your membership site), as well as the value and benefits that come along with it.

Social proof includes ratings, reviews, and testimonials, but it can also mean things like social media presence and consistency across platforms (which is a modern measure of legitimacy), and examples of real-world results. Consider highlighting customer success stories in your blog posts or newsletters, and share mentions, praise, or positive feedback on social media via posts, retweets, stories, etc.

A little bit of everything

Marketing your membership site is not a one-size-fits-all process, and it involves a variety of different channels and methods to create a comprehensive effect that will drive traffic and sales from all kinds of angles. Focusing on expanding your online presence, building your industry authority, and fine-tuning your promotional methods to suit your audience, content, and brand can all contribute to your membership marketing success.

Do you have some wisdom to contribute to the conversation? What are the marketing methods you’ve had the best results with when it comes to getting more membership sales? Leave us a comment below!