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How to Start and Grow Your Membership Site

Thinking about starting a membership? In this post I’m taking you through some of the key steps you need to follow to avoid getting stuck or feeling overwhelmed.

There’s a reason why you’re hearing so much about memberships and the subscription business model. Around 2016 I was working with clients on creating courses, digitizing their offerings and creating amazing online programs… and they are thriving. But like most #soulpreneurs, our time is precious and unless you’re scaling, then so is your revenue potential. 

Enter: memberships and the subscription business model – a beautiful way to serve more people at once, multiply your income and create recurring revenue streams in your business.. All without burning you out or demanding all of your time or energy. 

Aside from creating recurring revenue, a membership site can add a tremendous amount of value to your business, enabling you to serve your customers in a refreshed, more leveraged way. 

Below I’ll share with you the key steps you need to take to create a membership offer in your business. 

Get super clear on the purpose of your membership site

The very first thing you need to know is WHY you’re creating a membership. The most successful brands are super clear on the BIGGER PURPOSE driving their business. People are more likely to jump onboard with brands that offer: 

  • The joy of connecting with a community of like-minded individuals
  • The motivation that comes from working toward a common goal 
  • A bridge to building and sharpening new skills 
  • The space to get vulnerable, support one another and navigate challenges together

What bigger mission are you driving through your business? You want to nail down the exact transformation you’ll be facilitating for your members. It’s important to be super clear on this, as everything else builds around this. I created a quick exercise to walk you through this, you can find that here

From a practical perspective, your purpose will also determine which membership model best supports the transformation you’re facilitating for your members. 

  • Are you bringing a community together around a topic or passion? 
  • Are you creating a content library? 
  • Bundling digital products? 
  • Leveling up your Group Program? 
  • … a combination of 2 or more of the above?

Figure out exactly who the membership is for

Next you want to get crystal clear on exactly who your membership is for. Not understanding your target customer or ideal client is the number 1 mistake I see in business. If you’re not making sales, it’s because your messaging is not on point, and the only way to keep your messaging on point is by knowing your target audience EXTREMELY WELL. 

You want to know literally everything about them: who they are, their daily routines, their goals and aspirations, their struggles, their biggest fears, where they’re hanging out on and offline, and so much more. 

This is a lot of work in the beginning, but it’s a crucial step and makes everything else so much easier down the line. 

Get clear on how a membership offer fits into your business model 

An amazing benefit of memberships are the recurring revenue streams they add to your business. It’s important to understand exactly how this offer will integrate into your business model, how it’s (if at all) related to your other offers. 

Remember the part above where I mentioned “design it toward your lifestyle goals”? I’m just going to reiterate that here. It can be as simple as adding the offer to your sales page and accepting payment. But if you look closely, you can really integrate this strategically in a way where it multiples your revenue, supports your other offers and multiplies your income ← this is one of my favorite parts of the process: designing a system that will completely transform HOW you do WHAT you do. 

This is where you wanna tackle pricing your membership, too. 

Knowing where to start with pricing your membership can be tricky. Spoiler alert! The number you have in your head is probably not high enough 😉 

They say that B2C memberships are typically priced between $24 – $34 per month, and B2B Memberships might go up to $45 per month. But honestly, I’ve seen it done a bit differently — especially in the niche I am typically working in. 

For example, my client is a yoga + breathwork instructor. Her membership is based around practicing together – so it includes 4x live yoga classes, 4x live breathwork and 4x meditation classes per month, and they get access to a library of the recorded classes. 

That’s a TON of value. And if you’re in the yoga scene, you know that a studio membership for 12 monthly credits is going to be priced easily above $100 per month. So, she decided to price hers at $82 per month and let me tell you: it’s full. 

So with that said, here are a few tips to help guide you in pricing your membership: 

  • Look at your target audience and figure out what they most likely be willing to pay
  • Start on the low end, because you will increase it incrementally anyway
  • Create a few different pricing options: monthly, annually and maybe either quarterly or semi-annually

Design Your Membership’s Content Plan 

 For many of my clients, this is the part that has them on the fence about creating their membership in the first place. You want to keep your member engaged each month, you also want to attract new members. 

I recommend grouping your content into two categories: your core content and the supporting content. Your content plan will encompass things like: 

  • Content modalities or the types of content will you be creating? Videos, PDF’s or worksheets, podcasts or audio files, Live Sessions, content or product bundles, etc
  • Content Frequency or how often you will be releasing new content for your members? Will you have ‘monthly themes’? 
  • Existing Content – are you repackaging any of your existing content, such as courses or workshops, digital downloads, etc. 

I get it – this can be daunting. A good place to start is by asking yourself a few key questions: 

  • What content would best support the transformation you’re facilitating for your members? 
  • How often do they need to hear from me? 
  • How many hours per week can I carve out to focus on my membership?

Start there and the rest will come into place much easier. 

You also want to PLAN your content and I highly recommend batch creating it. Otherwise you get stuck spending 100% of your time trying to keep up with content creation and this will become exhausting. 

At Lightspace I show you exactly how to create a content plan that works for YOU. That’s the beauty of membership sites afterall: if you have a strategy in place, it gives you more time and freedom, rather than more stress. 

How to Start and Grow Your Membership Site

Find a membership platform that best suits the needs above 

Ah, technology. Don’t we love it. Maybe you’ve already heard of MightyNetworksPodiaWishlist Memberor Kajabi. I know it’s tempting to “get started” but without understanding your technology requirements first, you will end up having to switch tools later down the road, which is a huge pain in the ass. 

The best platform for a community-based membership is going to be much different than the best platform for a content library. You might even need more than one tool to bring your membership to life. 

In addition to the points above, here are a few technology-related things to consider: 

  • Is your membership centered around bringing a community together, or is it based more around content delivery? 
  • Will you need a community space, will you use a Facebook group?
  • How will you be communicating with your members? Do you need a platform with email capabilities? 
  • What other tools are you already using to run your business? How should the platform integrate seamlessly with those? 
  • Do you already use a payment processor? Do you need one built in? 

This is actually one of my favorite aspects of helping you build your membership platform. I’m a technology nerd at heart. 

Fill your membership! 

Here we go! You’ve designed a value packed, transformative membership. Now time to fill it. 

Marketing your membership is our superpower here at Lightspace, and from what I’ve seen, there are three things you need to have dialed in: 

Build your own audience 

The bigger your audience, the bigger your membership base will be. Growing your audience instagram, pinterest, tiktok, facebook and other social media platforms is the best place to start, but you want to make sure you’re building YOUR OWN list. So, you want to dedicate just as much energy to List Building as you do to Audience Building. 

It’s a numbers game after all, especially if you’re mainly focusing on online marketing to fill your membership. The rule of thumb is that 2-3% of your audience will convert into paying customers. So keep that in mind, and work backwards, as you set your membership goals. 

Have a Launch Strategy

Having a launch strategy is crucial. Imagine having a list of your exact action-steps over a 45 to 60-day period, with everything dialed in, from your social media strategy to build your audience; lead generation strategy to build your list; a messaging strategy to ensure you’re communicating the value and transformation of your membership; knowing when to launch ads or a webinar… and everything is cohesive! 

Having a set structure allows you to launch with ease, measure your success and improve every single time you promote your membership to your audience. 

This is something I support my clients with: a customized launch strategy over 45-60 days, with your exact action-steps. It makes a huge difference! 

Keep your members happy

There’s a lot of focus and content out there about filling your membership, your marketing plan, social media strategy and so on. When you’ve successfully filled your membership, this is where it gets real: keeping your members happy. Here’s my number one tip for keeping your membership growing sustainably over time. 

Focus 50/50 on Growth and Retention

One mistake I see is when clients focus all of their energy on filling their membership and not enough energy keeping members. This goes hand-in-hand and requires a balanced approach. I recommend treating both growth and retention as equally important.

Ready to start your membership?

Let’s chat over a virtual coffee! I’d love to offer you a free 30 minute consultation where we’ll discuss how a membership could look in your business and 3 concrete steps you can take to get started. Book a time on my calendar here.

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