What You Need to Know Before Launching a Membership Site

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In June 2018, I first launched Her Way Society, a monthly membership to help women launch their business and make their ultimate leap (aka ditch their 9-5)! People like YOU!

After running it for a year I decided to press pause. If you want to learn more and and hear why I pressed pause, you can tune into this episode here.

Throughout the 12 months of running Her Way Society, I learned a ton about what goes into a membership, how to set it up, email sequence, what to think about when launching one and so much more.

First, what is a membership?

  • In additional to sharing content, products and services, you can make your information private or “gated” to members only.

  • Some memberships include additional comments like webinars, private Facebook Groups, Slack channels or offline events.

  • You can also leverage a free membership to help grow your email list but for this podcast I’ll be diving into paid memberships. 

What are the Benefits to Memberships?

  • It offers up predictable, recurring revenue to business owners

  • Build a long-term relationships with your audience by publishing content or dripping content more frequently

  • To the creator and business owner, memberships typically don’e require a long-form content as courses do so there is less of a barrier to get one up and running. 


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    What are the different types of membership models?

    • Content updates - members pay for access to content that you publish on an ongoing basis - daily, weekly or monthly tips

    •  Content Library - providing access to existing collection of content (like courses)

    • Group coaching - Instead of doing one-on-ones you can leverage a membership  to scale

    • Path to Result - members join based on the promise of accomplishing an outcome at the end of a pre-determined period. 

    What to think about when you start one:

    • Know your #1 goal for your membership

    • Monthly vs Annual pricing:

      • Monthly billing offers a lower member commitment and is easier to sell than annual billing, which requires a higher financial commitment (unless you discount steeply). 

      • Annual billing guarantees that you won’t have monthly members leaving each month, while monthly billing gives your members the option to cancel frequently. 

      • Cashflow for monthly - consistently and spread out. Annual, up front injection of cash. 

    • Custom vs pre-determined dashboard (Podia)

      • Custom:

        • content management systems

        • content projection plugins

        • web hosting platforms

        • sales page generators

        • email management tools

        • widgets

        • billing software

      • Podia:

        • Create and publish membership content

        • Keep in touch with your members with bulk emails and comments

        • offer pricing tiers and monthly/annual billing options

        • bundle products

        • connect third-party community tool like a Slake Channel or Facebook groups

        • Schedule live events like webinars and group coaching sessions. 

    Your membership checklist:

    Really understand what model or type of membership you want to offer and why someone would sign up for it 

    • Consider where the membership model fits into your business

    • Is it the first thing people would purchase? 

    • Decide your pricing structure - know that you can always move up in pricing easier than to move down in pricing

    • Create a clear marketing plan - will you have it open at certain times of the year, will it be evergreen. We only opened ours twice since we launched. 

    • Simplify the content updates every month. Instead of doing them live, I would have pre-recorded and batched all of them with experts ahead of time vs live. 

    • Avoid custom dashboard. Before the second time of relaunching, I migrated away from Podia and invested in a custom dashboard. I wish I would never have done that. It was all ego driven from a branding standpoint and thinking that pretty branding would sell the membership. Branding doesn’t sell your product. Selling of the product, sells the program. I also tested out a platform called Muut because some folks didn’t have Facebook in the beginning and I wanted to accommodate them. Challenge Mutt and then Slack, same thing, then Facebook group. 

    If you want to hear more about why I chose to pause Her Way Society, you can tune into the podcast episode here.

    Amanda Boleyn