I’ve recently done a lot of consulting to help clients create membership sites. That’s not surprising – it’s been one of the biggest trends on the Internet in the past three years. And it’s even more powerful now with the popularity of social networking sites like Facebook.
American Express made famous the slogan, “Membership has its privileges”, and then went on to describe what you’d get if you had an Amex card.
But of course American Express membership also has benefits for American Express – including:
- A recurring source of income
- A loyal community of members
- The opportunity to partner with other organisations
Could a membership site work for you
Hmmm … maybe.
Before you launch your membership site, consider these three factors.
Do you have proven valuable expertise that people are willing to pay for?
If you’ve already got an established information business – in speaking, training, coaching, consulting and the like – the answer is probably “Yes”. You’ll be delivering similar value to your members, so it’s important to know others already consider it valuable enough to pay for.
Do you have a suite of high-value products you already bundle in with your services?
You’ll be regularly adding products and other resources to your membership site, so be sure you know what people value.
Do you have a database of clients and prospects who might be interested in joining your membership site?
This will probably be your e-mail newsletter list at first. Later, you can consider joint ventures with other businesses to promote your membership site to their databases as well. But start with your own first.
Did you answer “Yes” to all three questions?
If so, then you might be ready for a membership site. Before you jump in, though, start by joining one – so you get some experience of how it works. This is a good idea anyway, even if you didn’t answer Yes to all the questions.
As an example, if you could do with improving your sales skills (and who couldn’t? ), join David Penglase’s SalesCoachCentral.com. That’s an example of an extremely high-value membership site. You might choose to start on a smaller scale, but it will give you something to aim for.