Membership Has Its Benefits

 29th May 2008 by gihan

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.

1. Value

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.

2. Products

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.

3. Database

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 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.

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>Are You Making This Big Internet Marketing Mistake?

 13th May 2008 by gihan


Ros Lee, one of the members of the First Step Member Community, asked an insightful question about Internet marketing – especially as it applies to infopreneurs.

Broadly, her question went something like this:

When you are already an information expert specialising in a particular topic, eg reputation, networking, referrals, time management etc, how important is it to find a tighter niche (i.e. a subset of your potential market) online in which the demand for information outweighs the supply available? Don’t the same principles apply to information experts as to other types of internet marketers, that they will be most easily found online if they successfully identify a hungry crowd with a particular problem not already being solved elsewhere and position themselves as offering the solution?

This is one of my favourite topics!

Ros offered an excellent insight into the mind of an Internet marketer.

On the Internet, the best marketer wins. Not the best infopreneur; the best marketer. And most infopreneurs are poor marketers – at least, when they’re not there in person to do the marketing.

So, yes, if you’re going to do Internet marketing, follow the same principles as the successful Internet marketers. And they are exactly what Ros said: Find a crowd with a problem and money to pay for it, then position yourself as a solution provider. And yes, the smaller your niche, the better your product.

This is different from your current business.

If you’re a successful infopreneur running live programs, more often than not people buy you as much as they buy your topic. It almost doesn’t matter what your topic is; when people get to know you, they’ll trust you to present (speak / train / coach / consult / facilitate / whatever) it effectively.

This doesn’t work when you reach out to strangers on the Internet. Now you not only have to find that hungry crowd, you’re also competing with everybody else out there chasing the same crowd. You can no longer rely on the trust you’ve built with clients, because these people out there don’t have a relationship with you at all.

If you’re successful with your live programs, that does not necessarily mean you’ll be equally successful selling on-line. It might be true, but don’t assume it. Sadly, I see many people who make this assumption, and spend too much time, money, energy and effort chasing this out-of-reach dream.

So is it worth going ahead?

Yes, by all means. Just realise that it’s a whole new ball game. The marketing things that used to work as an infopreneur won’t work any more. It’s like starting an entirely new business.

This is the key difference between chasing active income and passive income; between marketing to clients and marketing to strangers; and between presenting live programs and selling on-line products.

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