There are many different benefits to running a paid membership site.
You get an engaged audience you can build a relationship with and sell to, establish your reputation in your niche, and create a steady revenue stream.
But once you get your site up and running, you’ll find two more bonus benefits you probably didn’t expect.
A Captive Audience
With a membership site, you now have a very tuned-in audience.
Some would argue that paying members are an even better audience than email subscribers in terms of how engaged they are. This makes them a great audience for testing new products.
When you’re developing a new product to sell on the market, you can offer it to your members first, either free or at a reduced price.
Your members, who are advocates of your brand and already know your products well, can give you great feedback.
You can use this feedback to make necessary improvements, and then release an improved product on the market.
The Best Market Research Available
The second fringe benefit of your site is that you can conduct market research. The people who have joined your site are perfect representatives of your market.
As you get to know them, you can get valuable information and feedback on this market.
Create a space for your members to communicate with one another and, whenever possible, you should communicate with them.
Listen in on their conversations on your forum and post questions or comments to get them talking. If your site has member profiles, study each new member and look for patterns.
All of these efforts can be totally transparent.
In fact, telling your members that you’d like to get their opinions for future product launches may prompt them to give you even more information than you’d get by observing their conversations.
You can also conduct formal market surveys to find out information about your audience.
These work best if you give people some small incentive, such as a freebie or discount, for taking the time to do your survey.
Building a Relationship with Your Members
The efficacy of both of the above fringe benefits depends on how strong your relationship is with your members. The keys to building good relationships are:
- Making it a personal experience. Personally welcome each new member and interact with them naturally. Get to know them on an individual level.
- Making it a customized experience. For each new member, find out exactly what they need from you and point them in that direction. Make them feel that the site exists for them.
- Offer great content. Fill your membership site with high-quality content and keep adding more. Give your members a reason to use the site well and often.
- Build a community. Build as much engagement and interactivity into your site as possible. Get people talking to each other on the forum or online community.
- Offer something they can’t get anywhere else. The more unique value you can give your site, the more responsive your members will be. Run webinars, introduce niche experts and offer free giveaways from time to time to give your members value.
If you want more ideas on creating a membership site, then head over to our course, How to Create a Membership Site, where I’ll guide you step by step through creating and running a subscription-based site for recurring income.