I am a HUGE fan of the membership site. And, this goes way beyond recurring monthly billing (as that is only one application of a membership site). For many reasons, if you want to turn your blog into a business, I believe turning it into a membership site is the way to go.
Hello there! This is yet another new episode of Coffee Break Blogging, where today we are going to talk about 6 Reasons why you should probably think about turning your blog into a Membership Site.
I’ve said this many times…
A blog is NOT a business. It is merely a marketing platform for a business
and the actual business almost always takes place somewhere else.
But, there is just one exception… The membership site.
I am a HUGE fan of the membership site. And, this goes way beyond recurring monthly billing (as that is only one application of a membership site). For many reasons, if you want to turn your blog into a business, I believe turning it into a membership site is the way to go. So in this episode, I share 6 specific reasons why I believe you should consider turning your blog into a membership site. If you intend to sell information-based products at all, especially on your blog, then this episode is made for you.
Now, I want to say right off the bat, that when you hear the word “Membership Site” and if you only associate that word with monthly recurring billing, I want you to realize that what we are going to be talking about today is bigger than that. Because what I am really talking about is turning your blog into a business platform. And the membership site is essentially just the platform of the business. It really will be the business itself and all of your products, not just recurring, can take place this way. So it is a different way of thinking about it. Certainly, the monthly recurring revenue is sexy; it is something that we all like and certainly I am a huge fan of, and it has its place in the funnel that we are looking to build behind our blogs. But realize that when I say that we should turn our blog into a membership site, we are talking about something bigger than just recurring monthly type of programs.
So with that being said, I want to jump right in to why you should probably look into turning your blog into a membership site, and this of course is for people who are looking to actually make money doing this; to actually create an information centric business online via your blog.
6 Reasons Why You Should Create A Membership Site
1. eBooks are old school.
Now, I want to say this specifically to those of you who think that when you have the idea of creating an information or a training product, your first instinct is to create a paid eBook. I want you to throw it out the window. Don’t make it. And here is the thing; and this might be my personal opinion but I think you are probably going to agree… eBooks are a really poor training medium, and for a few different reasons… One of them is that it is really difficult to reference things or find things. I mean, it is basically this big PDF or maybe it is sitting on a Kindle or something. It is really hard, oftentimes, to reference anything because it is not like you can flip through the pages or easily go back to the index like you can on a printed book. It is a much more difficult experience to find what you are looking for. There can be search functions but again, that is just going to be keyword based, very simplistic search. It is not like anything like you are going to get on Google or something like that.
Another thing with eBooks is that there is literally no two-way interaction with the student. It is basically just a one-way thing. They download it and there it is; it is done, that’s it. Most likely, they are not really going to even read it because they just find it to be overwhelming or annoying to them. There is not multiple medium so therefore it does not cater to different learning styles. Some people are a lot more visual with how they learn. Some people are a lot more hands-on with how they learn. It is a lot more difficult to accommodate different types of people if you are just using the written word in an eBook. And even if you got photos in it, it does not really usually fit the bill. Most people; with photos, they end up going and getting boring stock photography anyway and sticking in on that eBook and they try to make it look pretty. It is not really an educational tool. It is more like they are trying to make it look pretty.
And then, generally speaking, the concept to the eBook has just been cheapened, majorly. Many people give free eBooks away. Not only that, Amazon is now the leader in the eBook space and it is primarily on the Kindle. And so for that reason, offering eBooks as your information product is very often going to get overlooked. It is just going to get overlooked and it is not even a very good customer experience. So we want to look at alternatives and of course, I am saying that membership sites as a platform is the way to go; and I hope that will become even clearer as we continue talking here.
2. It really makes it easy for your repeat customers.
Now here is how it does this: When all of your products are inside of the membership site, what is going to happen is that your site is going to have a member account for each one of your customers. And so, when a person buys the first product from you, they are going to of course get that member account (username and password). Now anytime they buy anything else from your business it is the same account that is going to be used. Now that just makes it much easier. They have already got a log in to the account, now they just have something else open up to them when they log in. So from the perspective of just making things simple and easy for our repeat customers, the membership site makes this really nice; it really does.
The other thing is that if you got the right kind of membership site platform, you can even have one-click up-sells and one-click buys inside the membership site. So, for example you are logged in at the site and you are doing one product that you might have bought, and maybe over on the sidebar there is an option to buy an auxiliary product that you might be also interested in but you didn’t buy it the first time, and you can literally provide an opportunity right there for them to buy another product in your product line. And this can all be done because they are in an environment that you have built and have control specifically for your business; and that is your membership site. So that is a real big one. Just really makes it where you are going to earn a lot more revenue.
3. It actually does turn your blog into the business platform.
Now that is not something that most people can say. I mean, I have been very vocal in the past about the fact that a blog is not a business, it is simply not. Anybody who is trying to monetize their blog in the traditional fashion like banner ads and all that crap, they just are wrong in the fact that the blog is actually what is making the money. It is not. The money is going to be made by delivery of something valuable to a client.
Now in the case of banner ads; as much as you focus on your reader… Let us just get right down the price tags… Your client is your advertiser. That is your client. You need to cater to the advertiser otherwise you are not going to make good money with banner ads. Now, if you don’t like that, then you are in the wrong business because that is your real customer. And for all practical purposes; what a blog is, is just a place where there is a bunch of content. And there might have calls to actions on there, but that is it. The real business takes place elsewhere, typically.
Now in the case of a membership site, if your blog is the membership site then what happens is you basically have turned your blog into a store. The blog in that case, is the storefront. They are there consuming free stuff that you give away but at the same time they have got opportunities to buy things and it is all right there on the site; it literally turns the blog into a business. People could be logged in to their member accounts and be reading free content. And they have got up-sell capabilities into whatever you have got set up in your membership site. So it is a really, really great way to build the business off the blog.
4. You can provide premium content via the blog itself.
Now think about that… You are already writing for the blog, right? You can have a blog post that is out there in the public and then let us say that you have got an upgrade opportunity right inside that blog post… A lot of people think of “content upgrade”; that is kind of a new buzz word going around, but people think of it in terms of list building. The idea of how this is something that they can opt-in to that is specific to that blog post; and it is an extremely effective content strategy.
But another way that you could go is to have things inside of your blog posts that are only available to members. And so what happens is because the blog is the business platform here, you have the free blog content that is very valuable, whatever, but then if you have a PDF download or a checklist or a tutorial that goes along with it that shows people how to apply that blog post in a more succinct way, it could be for members only. And so, people are logged in to their member accounts, they are like, “Oh, bam! Download!” If they are not a member, then what they are going to see is a notice of some kind that you can figure that says, “Hey, you need to be a member in order to grab this!”
So, essentially what that is, is that it could literally turn every piece of content that you create into a marketing opportunity for your membership site. For one of your front-end products, it does not really matter what level of product it is because it can all be done via the membership site. We are literally talking about every product that you create, as long as it is not a service of some kind, could be delivered via this membership site.
I should have probably mentioned this in the beginning, but realize that all a membership site is, is accessed controlled content. That is all it is. It does not mean that they are going to be getting billed monthly or yearly or anything. It could be a one-time thing that they bought for just a few bucks and you could still deliver it via that membership site. But you could deliver many of these things in there and have a lot of opportunities there. And then of course, you have a global membership if they want to have access to everything; it is kind of how my business works.
5. It provides a lot of product flexibility.
It really does. You got a lot of opportunities at your disposal once you got them inside of a robust membership site. Like I said, you can have multiple products, all at varying price points. You can have, say, one product that has different prices to it. You could have a one-time buy; you can offer a payment plan. So let us say you are offering a course, it is a little bit more expensive; maybe a few hundred bucks and some people might not want to do the upfront… Well, you can offer payment plan that can all be done inside the same membership site.
You could have a model like what I do with the Blog Marketing Academy where I have got a few of my Action Plans that are actually sold independently as front-end products but all of them come into the global umbrella of the Blog Monetization Lab. So that is the global membership that people can have where they get access to all the Action Plans. Whereas, I do have some people who own just one or two, but they are not Lab Members.
I hope you get the idea here… It is basically up to your imagination how you want to structure this thing. There is a lot of product flexibility there. And of course, if you want to grow your business and increase the lifetime value of your customers, that is what you need.
6. YOU, as the content creator can concentrate on what you do best, which is content creation.
Here’s the thing… You are probably; at this point are used to creating content in WordPress, on your blog. That is what you do. Now, why does creating paid content have to feel that much different? Why is it that many bloggers out there have an easier time creating regular blog posts but then when it comes to the idea of creating an information product they seize up in paralysis on what to do? Realize that it does not have to be that much different. You can create your paid content and your free content all in the same platform, and in which case, right now we are talking about a WordPress powered membership site. It is all in one site, at this point.
So, you go in to the same system, you write your free blog content and then if you have a content upgrade that will be for members only while you create that, you also put that in the membership site. It’s all there. Your members and your non-members are all in the same system and then you just build it to where they mold together, you know… You got your people who are not members who are going to get constant invitations to become a member. Lots of capability here, and this really here, is the main way that you literally do turn the blog itself; not just a marketing platform for a business, but actually into the business. The marketing is taking place right there on that site and the delivery is taking place right there on that site, too. And that is really the main medium; the membership site – that can actually be done, to actually have that blog be the business itself.
Otherwise, you are typically using the blog strictly as a marketing platform but then you are taking that person elsewhere to deliver to them. It could be a separate website, it could be offline; if you are running a service of some kind, but that is typically what is happening. I could probably come up with more reasons. I am a huge fan of the membership site. This is the model that I teach my students to go down to. And again, it does not have to be a recurring billing. I am a big fan of that and I definitely think you should have that as part of your business but if you do not want to go to recurring right away, you just want to have a few little small front-end type of products, that is fine. You can still do this via a membership site platform and not only that; there are a lot of benefits to doing that.
Now if you want to see what MY membership site looks like, I would invite you to pop-on over and check it out because that is exactly the model that I have. And not only that, I want to let you know that very, very shortly, it is probably not going to be out there by the time this episode is released; but shortly, I will have a brand new Action Plan inside the Library for Lab Members only, and it is going to walk you through, step-by-step on actually setting up your membership site platform. Because it is an important one, it is very core to how I teach my Lab students to progress. So therefore, I need to come up with an Action Plan that walks you through the technicals, how to accept credit cards in your blog; which we are going to talk about here in the podcast… But I am going to walk you through it step-by-step inside the Lab, which the podcast is not always conducive to that.
Thank you so much for listening and I will see you in a few days with the next episode of Coffee Break Blogging. 😉
Click Here To Subscribe To The Podcast: