Memberships have taken the eCommerce world by storm, boasting serious revenue-earning potential, among other unique benefits – but how exactly do you take this potential and make the most out of it?
While the answer may seem obvious, there are opportunities for maximizing your membership revenue beyond selling more memberships. From taking advantage of your existing audience and optimizing for efficiency, to expanding your reach and upselling, tackling the issue from all angles while tracking and measuring focused goals can take your membership revenue to the next level!
Think of value as your foundation
Before you can get more revenue out of your memberships, the single most important factor in everything you do as a membership site owner is the value you provide your members. Everything else can be built around, on top of, or expanded upon a solid foundation of valuable content that your members rely upon to solve their problems, or provide them with the advice, inspiration, materials, or entertainment they need to succeed in their own goals.
Things like upselling, upgrading memberships, and improving member retention are only possible with a membership site that offers regular, consistent value; make this foundation your priority and you will find it easier to scale things up!
Audit your product and your processes
Now, it’s time to get down and dirty. If you want to make more money, you need to keep your product – your membership content and website – as well as your marketing, customer service, and purchase processes in tip-top shape. Maybe there’s a bug on your website, or your emails aren’t converting sales, or you’re not replenishing your content on a regular schedule. It’s time to tighten those bolts!
Here are a few questions to think about:
- Is your site design losing you members? There may be changes you can make to improve the overall experience for your members.
- Is your purchase process simple and straightforward? A clunky or confusing purchase process can turn off potential customers.
- Are there any technical issues left unattended? Bugs, broken links, and loading issues don’t make for a very enjoyable browsing experience!
- Is your SEO on point? There might be some things to address to make sure you’re showing up properly in search results.
- Are you using social media effectively? Social media is huge in the modern world of eCommerce, and you could be losing out if you aren’t using it (or using it well).
- Have you been providing great support? When customers have so many options to choose from, great support can set you apart from the competition.
- Are you getting enough traffic? It’s hard to make money if you’re not being seen!
- Are your marketing emails converting sales? Is there something you can do differently to get more action from your communications?
- Do you have negative feedback (or any feedback) that’s not been addressed? Whether it’s responding to questions and comments to show customers that you’re listening, or mining their reviews for ideas on improving your site and content, staying engaged improves member satisfaction, brand perception, and consequently – your income.
Get new member sign-ups, but don’t neglect member retention
One of the beautiful things about memberships is that you can build increasing revenue over time – revenue that recurs each month and grows as you add more and more new members. No-brainer, huh? Well, getting those new members to sign up in the first place isn’t without its challenges!
Memberships are all about ongoing value, which means that you must communicate to people exactly how your content will improve their lives in some way. Enticing promotions and limited-time offers can certainly create a sense of urgency that inspires action, but as a membership site owner, you’re aiming for retention. Getting new members to sign up is sure to boost your revenue in the short term, but memberships require people to stick around for the long-term in order to produce reliable, recurring revenue.
Who wants to do all the work required to bring new members onboard, just to produce high levels of churn? You’d essentially just be replacing members in order to stay afloat, as opposed to building and growing!
Improve your marketing
When it comes to marketing your membership site, the methods aren’t always direct. Sure, standard elements like regular emails, sales funnels, and calls to action are a part of the plan, but with memberships, authority matters! This is why top-of-mind awareness is important.
Could you create more awareness for your brand by increasing your output? Do you publish regular content like blog posts, podcasts, social media posts, and marketing messages that showcase your expertise or industry experience? It’s not just for your own self-gratification; it’s all part of the cumulative process of establishing (and reinforcing) authority within your niche – and ultimately, bringing in more cash, too!
What else can you do to improve your marketing? How about your branding and marketing materials? Are they professional and well-designed? Is your language clean, concise, and catchy? Do you send regular emails, or run sales and ad campaigns? If so, have you researched your demographic in order to get the most out of your ads? All of these elements add up!
You might also think about how you frame your marketing messages. Do you simply list your membership features, or do you make an emotional connection with the customer? Marketing the benefits of your membership site focuses the message on how your content produces relatable real-world results in the lives of your members. Now, what’s more compelling than that?
Sometimes, maximizing your revenue can mean reducing your costs. Maybe you’re overpaying on storage, hosting, or your email marketing platform. Check your subscriptions and services to be sure that the plans you’re paying for actually match your needs!
In addition to reducing costs, streamlining your efforts can free up some money, too. Are there any redundancies or inefficiencies in your product creation process or site management methods? How about communications and support? Improving your productivity and efficiency can save you money and headaches, which can be just as good as getting more sales! 🙂
Check your prices
After your membership site has been up and running for a while, you might end up deciding that it’s time to change your prices. Perhaps you want to account for increases in costs that go along with scaling up your member base, or your product is becoming more refined and an increase is simply justified. Whatever the reason, this is an important part of your business to periodically assess.
Are you charging enough? If you’re not sure, check out our article on membership pricing for some insights.
Incorporate affiliate marketing
It’s one of the most time-tested and effective ways to increase your reach and get more members – yet it seems to fly under the radar for many businesses. Affiliate marketing can create significant revenue streams for you and your affiliates, and that kind of win-win situation can be especially motivating for everyone involved.
Want to get your marketing messages and content in front of more eyes? Consider launching your own affiliate program!
Repurpose your content
Ok, so you want to make more money? Well, how can you make the most of what you already have? Think about repurposing your content in order to give more value to your current and prospective members, while saving yourself some time and energy as well.
Is there any content that you can split into multiple parts? Or smaller sections that you can combine in creative ways? Can you turn your blog posts into podcasts or videos? Can you create written transcripts of audio or video content? What about combining posts on similar topics into comprehensive guides?
Think about all of the ways you can mix, match, and transform your content to make it as available to different portions of your audience, as well as people with different lifestyles and preferences.
Expand your memberships
If you don’t have several membership tiers, you might be leaving money on the table! Think about it: Are you missing out on certain segments of your target audience because of price? Perhaps you might want to start offering a more affordable tier (with more limited access).
On the flip side, do you have some “top-shelf” content that you want to charge more for? Premium content can be a game-changer. Leverage it to your advantage; many people who are fans of your content will be happy to pay for things like exclusive access, specialized content, and secret insider tips and advice!
Upsell related products and services
Membership sites are fertile ground for creating entire ecosystems around one core set of content, which means that there are various opportunities for upselling. Add-ons, extras, and related products and services that complement your content can be especially appealing to your members – and bring in a lot of extra revenue.
Consider things like custom services, one-to-one coaching, trainings and online events, downloadables, or even merchandise. Do you run a membership site that provides graphic assets? You could upsell custom design. Do you create video tutorials? Offer individual consultation!
Take inventory of every resource you have available to you, including all of your own skills (or the skills of your partners or team members), and you could find money-making avenues that were seemingly hiding in plain sight!
What is that? If you’re not familiar, gamification takes common elements of games (such as competition and tracking points) and integrates them into your site. Incorporating things like a points and rewards system, achievement badges, leaderboards, and the like can have a big impact on member engagement, injecting a bit of fun and competition into the user experience and boosting member retention.
Keep bringing it back to value
It’s not so simple to realize the full potential of your membership site, and it may take time, but persistence and consistent effort will pay off! Ongoing value is always the top goal with membership sites, but there are a lot of strategies to work with – from creating revenue streams, reducing costs, maximizing efficiency, polishing your brand, increasing engagement, leveraging exclusivity, repurposing your content, and adjusting your pricing and marketing methods.
Build everything around your central foundation – your membership content – and keep growing. It’s a multifaceted business model, and that’s good news for creative people!
What strategies have you used to boost your own membership revenue? We’d love to hear what you have to say. Drop us a comment below and let us know!