Subscription models have been around for a long time, but modern digital content consumption (along with the increasing dominance of eCommerce) has created a unique demand for consistently fresh content – and a membership site is the perfect solution!
If you’re considering starting a membership site, you might be wondering why they’ve become so popular, and what’s in it for you. It’s easy to see how so many people in a busy society would prefer memberships simply for the convenience alone – not to mention the ongoing value. But, the benefits don’t just stop at the customer; from recurring income and targeted marketing, to the strengthening of your relationships, community, and industry authority, membership sites provide significant benefits that can revolutionize your business, your lifestyle, and your value as a business owner.
1. Memberships usually help people in some way
Memberships are all about relationships – and giving meaningful value to members, which usually includes providing them with education, information, resources, assets, and/or the encouragement that can assist them in reaching their own goals. When you build solid relationships with your members, you create a rewarding long-term win-win situation that benefits your customers with continuous value, and benefits you with a loyal following of people who are willing to support you no matter what!
“If you make your business about helping others, you’ll always have plenty of work.” Chris Guillebeau
2. You get more reliable income
It’s probably been said a thousand times, and it’s true: running a membership site allows you to generate recurring revenue. Members pay a monthly (or yearly) fee in exchange for access to your content, which also means you can constantly build upon your revenue every time you get more signups. But, it’s not just that; membership revenue can also be more predictable and reliable than some other business models. This is because memberships are ongoing unless cancelled, and consequently, your revenue from memberships doesn’t tend to fluctuate as much as revenue from one-off purchases.
3. Memberships foster relationships, community, and customer loyalty
By creating a membership site, you are essentially creating a community. Your members usually sign up in the first place because they are committed to your market niche – whether it’s for entertainment or educational purposes – and they are likely to be interested in relevant products, tools, resources, and interaction. Membership sites give you the opportunity to create an environment that fosters communication between the members themselves, and it allows you to observe and get to know your members, communicate with them directly, learn about their needs and desires, and develop relationships that can ultimately strengthen your loyal customer base.
4. You have a pre-qualified audience for…
With any digital business there can be a lot of experimentation, trial, error, time, and resources that go into refining your marketing, but the good news is that a membership site can provide you with a pre-qualified audience. Members are already interested enough in the types of content you’re providing to pay for their memberships, and they are the perfect candidates for targeted marketing, retargeting, and segmented marketing.
When it comes to marketing new products and related services, your members are likely to have higher rates of interest, engagement, and conversion, not to mention that they can give you all kinds of useful information that helps you decide on what kinds of new content to produce and products to make! The insights that you gain from member engagement is golden, because remember: members already want to be there in the first place.
Memberships are particularly good for upselling, from things like 1-to-1 coaching, consulting, and webinars, to supplementary downloadables, similar products, and related services. An audience that’s paying to consume your content is significantly different from an audience eating up your free stuff; they often have a higher level of commitment and passion driving them to make the financial investment in your site, and are the people who will respond the most to upselling.
5. Growth can be exponential
One of the best parts about memberships is the capability for exponential growth – or, vertical scalability (growing your site from existing content and infrastructure). There are no limits to the number of new members you can acquire, making running a membership site one of the more lucrative options in eCommerce. While other digital business models may require increases in overhead costs, inventory, and staff to accommodate rapid growth, one of the primary benefits of memberships is they are easily scaled with little change to the core operations. Generally speaking, even in comparison to low-overhead digital product sites, membership sites can still be simpler to grow and maintain.
6. Member demands keep you on your toes
Membership sites require that you continually update and produce fresh content in order to keep your members around, holding you accountable to your audience and pushing you to grow and reach outside of your comfort zone as a content creator. How is this a benefit, and not just a nuisance? Well, if you want to grow your site, your brand, your industry authority, and your revenue, it’s crucial that you update and replenish what you have to offer. It’s easy to get complacent and coast along once you have a nice monthly income coming in, so it’s good practice to provide extra inspiration and motivation. The bottom line is that running a membership site and growth simply go hand-in-hand!
7. Your content establishes your industry authority
When you run a membership site, you essentially announce to the world that you’re a specialist within your niche. After all, why should your members pay you if you don’t have some kind of authority on your given topic(s)? This doesn’t necessarily mean that you must have traditional credentials, degrees, or any “official” form of approval; rather, you simply must be producing volumes of valuable content, be it products, articles, videos, guides, or other resources. Because running a membership site is based on this body of work, it establishes your expertise and your industry authority, which only grows stronger over time as you add more and more to your site.
8. Your value constantly increases
As you grow your member base and body of work, your site becomes more and more valuable, with a continually increasing amount of premium content to offer prospective members. You might even see your efforts snowball until you end up with a well-oiled machine of a site that feeds back into itself! As you add more content, your site and community grows, more people sign up, increasing your revenue and freeing up your time to create even more content, which attracts additional signups, and so on. While digital businesses often run on one-off sales of products and services (with the value being intermittent and specific), memberships have cumulative value that keeps increasing over time.
The membership model is popular for a reason!
It’s not just a great business model that has high earning potential; it’s a model that can give you a lot more freedom – including the freedom to grow your business without many limitations, and the freedom to be flexible, creative, and even location independent. Compound benefits like the value you provide, the vertical scalability of your site, the reliable income, the marketing intel, and your growing industry authority all combine and play off of eachother, amplifying your overall brand presence and giving you an engaging and rewarding way to make a living.
What are some of the things you’ve found to be the most beneficial from running a membership site? Leave us a comment below to join the conversation!