Creating Membership Sites
Looking how to create passive income? Your solution is Creating Membership Sites. Every website begins with a theme. A theme is a specific topic or focus that your membership website will focus on.
While you could create a membership website that carries a broader theme, they are often harder to maintain, and when it comes to creating targeted marketing campaigns, the more focused your membership site is, the easier it will be to tap into your customer base and recruit subscribers to your site.
Before you can choose a theme or topic for your membership site, you will need to conduct a bit of market research, so that you can closely evaluate the viability of creating a membership based website within specific markets that interest you.
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While membership websites can vary from small, micro markets to larger mainstream markets, you want to make sure that your topic will attract enough subscribers to make it a profitable venture, while also paying attention to the level of existing competition within your market.
You want to make sure that you can find a ‘point of entry’, so that you can generate exposure for your membership site regardless of the competition.
There are a few things to keep in mind when evaluating potential topics for your membership site, including:
1) Creating Membership Sites Within The Market?
Creating membership sites around a viable industry, and by determining whether there are successful membership sites already catering to your market, you will maximize your chances of building a membership website that will be widely accepted and of interest to the majority of your customer base.
For example, if during your research you determine that there is a very low number of membership websites that target a specific topic, it’s a good indication that the market is too small to accommodate too many membership websites.
While smaller niche markets can be profitable, in order to scale your membership website you want to focus on broader markets.
2) Do you have the ability to provide quality information and resources?
Just because you’ve confirmed that a market is a viable one doesn’t mean that you will be able to create a successful membership site for that market, unless you have the ability to create content that your subscribers will be interested in paying for.
Consider the costs of outsourcing content for different markets, as the more popular a topic is, the greater the number of freelancers to choose from.
If your topic is too focused or specific, you might find it difficult to locate qualified freelancers who have enough experience to produce quality content for your site.
Developing a membership website that offers specialized content is a great way to develop a USP (unique selling proposition) so that you can stand out in the market and attract subscribers.
3) How can you offer something new to an existing customer base? (developing your USP)
If you have established that a specific market is actively purchasing and subscribing to similar membership websites, you need to determine your unique point of entry.
How can you create a community of your own that offers something different than what other membership sites are offering? How can you offer distinct value in your own membership program?
You need to set yourself apart from other membership sites in the marketplace by first defining your USP, and then creating a membership website that clearly demonstrates how you are different, how your members benefit by being part of your community, and why they should choose you over the competition.
Your USP could be as simple as the delivery methods that you offer, or the format in which your content is made available.
For example, if you find a competing membership website offering ebook-only products to their members, consider offering both ebook and video or audio based versions of the information products that you create.
Since people prefer to learn in different ways, by offering many different formats for your training tools, you are able to cater to a wider audience while separating yourself from the competition.
4) Is your theme or topic considered “evergreen”?
Evergreen topics include subject matter that will still be in demand years from now.
These topics aren’t based on fads or temporary hot topics, but rather on stable, long-term markets that have proven to be viable over a long period of time.
Markets that are considered evergreen include weight loss, parenting, employment, finance, credit, health topics and even sports or hobbies.
It’s important that your membership site is designed around a viable topic so that you can build a long-term membership program.
After all, you want to focus on a scalable community base that can consistently grow and maximize your overall income, and if you base your membership website around a short-term topic, you will struggle to retain subscribers after the initial buzz wears off.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the overall size of your target market.
You want to make sure that your membership site will attract enough subscribers to justify the time and work involved in consistently updating the community with fresh content.
Here are a few other things to consider:
Will you be able to come up with fresh ideas for future updates to ensure that your website stays fresh?
Is your market scalable with the potential for ongoing growth? Can you offer upgrade options to further maximize your income, or are products and your overall scope extremely limited?
Is your target audience able to solve their problems quickly (making it difficult to retain subscribers), or is your potential topic able to expand so that you can cater to a large-scale, ever-growing community?
These are just a few things to keep in mind when choosing your membership theme.
Once you have a general idea as to your membership theme, take it one step further by identifying what you are personally interested in or experienced with that could add additional value to your community program.
- Are you experienced with a specific instrument?
- Are you trained in specific programs or software?
- Are you experienced with popular hobbies or sports?
- Are you knowledgeable regarding a specialized topic in a ‘desperate’ market?
The best membership sites involve frequent activity from the administrator so the more active you are within your membership community, the easier it will be to develop a relationship with your subscriber base and encourage member loyalty.
This means that you want your membership theme to be something that you are personally interested in or have experience with. You’ll also find it easier to develop content for your site if you have a genuine interest in the topic.
Also keep in mind that themed membership sites are always much easier to manage and monetize than generic communities. You want a strict focus on your membership community, so that you can expand on the topics, yet retain an overall theme.
The more focused your website is, the easier it will be to tap into your niche market and determine exactly what your target audience is interested in and provide it to them. If your membership site is too generic or broad, you will have trouble tailoring your content to what the majority of your members base is looking for.
If you struggle to pin down a topic for your membership website, consider exploring the digital marketplaces where you can quickly evaluate potential topics and see what is currently selling.
One of the greatest resources for evaluating potential membership site topics is found at http://www.ClickBank.com
While ClickBank is primarily known for digital products, they also showcase membership based websites from within dozens of categories and niche markets. You can locate membership websites by searching using the “Future $” option within the search area of their marketplace.
You want to search through existing membership sites and communities in order to determine how their membership site is structured (traditional, coaching based, email based, etc), their price structure, whether they have an affiliate program, as well as the specific content that is being offered and overall value on the site itself.
Then, ask yourself the question:
“How can you improve on their existing model?”
Can you expand on the topic’s coverage and provide additional resources, tools and information?
Write down any ideas that you come up with as you evaluate existing membership sites in your niche market, for future reference.
This will help you thoroughly analyze the existing subscription sites in your niche so that you can create an improved membership website, that offers unique value to your own members base.
Another simple strategy for reviewing potential markets and topics for your membership site is by exploring www.Amazon.com to determine the number of available products focusing on your subject matter. This is a great way to determine whether or not your market is a popular (and profitable) one.
SPYFU, available at http://www.SpyFU.com is a great niche research tool that will provide detailed statistics on keywords as well as existing Adwords advertisers.
Google Alerts is an exceptionally useful tool for locating hot topics and current trends that could serve as potential ideas for your membership site. You can access Google Alerts at http://www.Google.com/alerts
Yahoo Answers and Yahoo Buzz are also two very useful research tools that will help you come up with killer membership topics based on overall popularity.
With Yahoo Buzz, available at http://www.Buzz.Yahoo.com you are able to keep on top of current trends and hot topics.
All of this research takes a bit of time but it’s a critical step in effectively evaluating the theme and topic of your membership site so that you can build the very best membership website possible within your market.
When creating your membership website, there are many different models that you can choose from, including coaching or training, email based courses, monthly updates or you can even choose to set up a “time limited” membership site, where subscribers pay to access training materials or weekly courses for a limited time.
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