Membership sites are one of the most important things you can do for the growth and the success of your business. Whether you're building something that's a monthly membership, or something that is a one time payment with monthly access, providing valuable content and community engagement is key. Keith Griffis of ifsimply.com stopped by to help us understand how you can use membership sites for your business, along with some great tips of how to make raving customers out of the ones you create.
Keith started out in engineering, but didn't love it. He got into marketing, and was doing a lot of marketing consulting for brands. As he was helping people put together their offerings, he was getting frustrated with constantly having to build everything from scratch. Everyone had different websites, and they all wanted membership sites built for them. He was spending too much time on the technical side, when in fact, it's the content that will really be what makes or breaks your site. So they built ifsimply.com as a way to make things easier for business owners who wanted to make their own membership sites.
How can a membership site benefit your business? If you're building a platform, whether it be a blog, podcast, or email list. You get to a point where you need to monetize it so it becomes sustainable. You also want to be able to connect the dots for people. Not only do want to be able to provide them with more information, but you also want to be able to connect them to a community of like-minded people. A membership is a way that you can achieve both of those goals.
You can either create this one of two ways. You can have a rolling membership, where they have exclusive content delivered to them each month, or you can offer a one time membership which is much like an online course. Not only will they have access to this content, but they will also have access to an exclusive community who are sharing the same goals as them. It's a great thing for your business because you can be the one who feeds the group new ideas and new information. You can then sit back and watch your community interact instead of you having to be the one to constantly push out the message.
Do you recommend keeping the community of people within your website or somewhere else like Facebook? On their site, they have it all in one place, and there's a reason behind it. On Facebook pages, it can work great, however, there can be a lot of maintenance to it. Facebook can be a great way for you to show some social proof, and it is a place where people do spend a lot of their time.
What are some tips you can give us to help us create a great membership site? Keith recommends focusing on the transformation. Don't make your membership topic too broad. You want to be able to provide consistent value, but you want to make sure you're not paralyzing yourself by not having enough focus. For example, if you're going to teach fitness, you want to be able to narrow that down a very specific type of business. You then want to give a time frame to obtain the result, like over the next 30 days you're going to get result 1, 2, and 3. Then we'll continue to give you value by...fill in your value. The mistake people make is making it too broad.
How specific do you get? It really depends on your goals. The term membership site can be two different types, either a monthly fee or a course. If you're offering just a course, you want to be very specific. In the case where you're doing a monthly service, you want to be a bit more vague so you can give yourself some wiggle room. It's really about how you stack the value. Start with a specific time frame, and then add more value.
What's another tip? Use video courses. Short concise videos are one the most valuable pieces of information that people can get. Keith recommends short, actionable, and about 10 minutes, and not too long-winded, so people can really grab value from them. You want to make sure people can get through your content. Many times they buy a membership site, but they don't see the value because they can't get through all of the content. You even add value by including something like a simple PDF that includes some questions that they have to answer.
The other tip is to make sure your content is actionable. People tend to put content out there in the form of videos, but the content doesn't actually tell people specifically what they're going to do. A lot of the time is spent describing an experience that doesn't really apply to what the person paid for. The other thing they don't do, which they should is that is giving someone some sort of work book, so if they want to fast track, they have the ability to do that without having to watch every single video. Think of ways you can provide your customers with the biggest amount of value in the shortest amount of time.
So what's one more tip? Keith suggests really making sure that people are also finding the value in your community, almost more than your content. So really make sure you're putting the effort up front to engage that community. Have them introduce themselves to the group, so they can feel like they're actually part of it instead of having them just jump in on their own.
More About Keith: Keith Griffis is a Digital Product Expert & Co-founder of IfSimply.com an easy to use platform to create your own membership site or course in 5 minutes or less. He has taught online marketing at MIT in Cambridge, runs a 1300 person marketing meetup, and has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs package their knowledge into digital products. Get a free resource guide at www.MyProductGift.com
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