Sunday, March 16, 2014

Online Membership Sites - Different Types You Can Create and the Benefits

By Karen Cioffi

In my March 2nd post, it discussed reasons you might want to join a membership site as a learning tool. This post delves into the different types of membership sites.

If you’re an expert, with lots of information and experience others can learn from . . . and want to learn about, a membership site is an online marketing tool you might be interested in.

A membership site is a site in which members pay for the benefit of learning from the owner of the site (the expert). The site owner on the other hand provides ongoing and valuable information based on his expertise.

This is usually a win-win situation. The members have ‘open’ access to the expert and his knowledge, and the expert has an in- place and often ready-to-act audience.

Membership sites come in a variety of sizes, formats, and prices. Pricing is usually based on the reputation of the expert and the problem being addressed.

Some experts offer the, what I call, ‘full service’ membership – its information packed and interactive.

The Full Service Membership Site

The full service site will take ongoing work and time. And, there is the other aspect of members who may want you to go above and beyond . . . of members who think you're their private coach.

While this type of membership site may seem like a bleak proposition, if it's well planned and well structured, and you have limits set in place, the venture can be a successful one.

The NO Interaction Membership Sites

There are also membership sites that have no interaction. The site has a number of tutorials or lessons that members simply have access to. As the site owner, you occasionally provide new content, maybe once a month. The members are usually kept happy through the new content and that’s about it.

The Bare-Bottom (Simple) Membership Sites

While this isn’t a proper name for it, this type of site offers a set number of tutorials or lessons. It’s kind of like an ecourse, but through a site where members can come back to read the material. The site doesn’t however provide any new content. Sites like this warrant a yearly membership fee.

Why a yearly membership fee?

If you have all your content on a membership site for members to partake of, what's to stop a new member from paying for one month (if it's a monthly fee site), downloading all the content, and leaving?

Unfortunately, if you're contemplating creating a membership site, you need to think of these things.

Benefits of Membership Sites

As with your mailing list, the focus of marketing is to make connections and bring visibility to your products and services. Membership sites are a vehicle to do just this.

The site creates an ongoing 'almost' one-on-one' atmosphere, which creates a closer and stronger member/expert relationship. It’s this ongoing contact and close relationship that affords you the opportunity to sell other products or services, while earning an income from the site.

Your members have already taken the plunge with their first YES to the offer of becoming a member. The first YES is usually the most difficult to get. This therefore, puts them in a 'more' YES mindset.

Keep in mind that there are many variations of membership sites and finding the format that works best for you will be a key element to its success.


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