Whether you’re an online entrepreneur or digital marketing agency, odds are you’ve toyed with a few membership site ideas over the years. After all, they are one of the most effective ways to build a loyal and highly engaged customer base.
In this post, we’ll discuss a few membership site ideas and how you can bring them to life on the web in a simple, efficient and effective way.
HOW TO CREATE A MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE
A membership website is a site that offers any kind of gated content that requires visitors to login before accessing it and is ideal for creating a reliable recurring revenue stream and highly engaged user base.
All kinds of businesses and organizations use membership sites. Here are a few ideas of how to use membership websites:
- Generate leads
- Boost revenue by offering premium content to customers
- Build customer loyalty
- Offer a private space for members to engage with each other and the business/organization
In fact, an impressive 76% of businesses claim that a subscription-based model helps create customer retention and long-term relationships with customers.
Any good membership site idea generally leverages one of the following types of common gated content:
- Educational courses
- Special video or audio files
Looking at all the use cases of membership sites and the content that can be gated may make it feel a little overwhelming to create one, but the truth is it’s very easy if you use the right tools. More on that in a moment…
Need a website builder that makes it easy to build membership websites for your customers? Start a free trial of nerDigital today!
PLANNING OUT A MEMBERSHIP MODEL
Once you’ve settled on a membership site idea and the type of content you want to gate, it’s time to figure out your membership model.
All membership websites are created to service a community of some kind (e.g. customers, students, industry professionals, sky-diving enthusiasts, etc.); however, how the specific types of memberships that are offered can vary from business to business and organization to organization.
A membership model is essentially a business plan for how you maintain and grow your membership base. Here are a few worth considering:
The all-access model — members are given access to a fixed library of content that they can access for as long as their membership is live
The ongoing updates model — members can sign up for access to special content or products as they are published/released
The community model — members get special access to a forum where they can interact with each other and the business/organization
The hybrid — Any mixing and matching of the above approaches to create a membership model
BRINGING YOUR MEMBERSHIP SITE IDEA TO LIFE
After you have your membership model and content plan squared away, it’s time to build your actual membership website.
Thankfully, there are a number of tools out there that can help you create a membership site quickly from scratch or add member-only pages to an existing website.
If you’re looking to create a fantastic membership site without breaking the bank, you may want to consider using a website builder or CMS that is designed to build all kinds of websites, like WordPress or nerDigital, and then add a membership solution to the completed website.
A few membership solutions that can be added to pre-existing websites easily include:
Regardless of which membership solution you work with, there are a number of consistent items to setup:
- Install the membership extension, widget, service, or plugin on your website
- Create plans for various levels of membership access (for example “basic,” “pro,” and “platinum,” each of which gives access to more content or services)
- Select which pages of your website will be for “members only”
- Create your content that is for members only and put it on your site
At nerDigital, we have worked with a number of membership solutions, and there is detailed information on how to set up those solutions on our nerDigital website.
PROMOTING A MEMBERSHIP WEBSITE & GROWING YOUR MEMBERSHIP
Membership websites aren’t magical baseball diamonds; just because you build it doesn’t mean members will come.
To build a large, engaged membership base, you’ll want to invest in both outbound and inbound marketing efforts. This can take the form of Google and Facebook ads, content marketing, SEO efforts, email campaigns and more.
However, maybe the most important thing to remember is to always be offering something new to your existing membership. This has a 2-fold effect:
- Members will stay more engaged and are likely to remain long-term sources of revenue
- Happy members will attract more happy members — word of mouth is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing around
Any membership website idea worth its salt will do something of substance for the party that builds it: generate leads, boost revenue by offering premium content, etc. We hope the above tips and guidance provide a good jumping off point that helps you plan out future membership website projects.