Today we are going to talk about the membership sites. Normally, I go through and I plan out what we’re going to be doing on Saturday, and I didn’t this weekend. Instead, I just tried to find some inspiration in what popped into my head.
Basically what happened was, I was walking out of my office and I saw this book, Membership Economy. I read it three or four years ago, back when I first started building Scriptly. Fantastic book. I realized how often I talk about the membership sites with clients.
It’s all the time because membership sites give you such great income, number one. They provide so much value to your users. There are lots of ways. It’s like a Swiss army knife of offers, because not only can it be a front end offer, although we try not to let it be a front end offer too much, especially right now in COVID, because at the end of the day, recurring charges aren’t necessarily something the public loves.
However, they are fantastic from an upsell standpoint. They also fantastic from a selling and annual license sense standpoint. We’re going to get into that in a minute. Bill says that he’s building one right now. What’s up, Bill? How are you doing?
That’s the topic of today’s presentation. Or this week. We’re going to be going through and talking about how to put together membership offers, how to put together a membership structure in a membership site, in your business, how to supplement your offers with one, talking about the software, the tools, the content, how to charge money for it, all of that other stuff.
For those of you who are new to GSDdaily, my name is Jason Drohn. I help people build better businesses. To do that we set up, through doneforyou.com, we set up offers, we build sales funnels, we automate marketing and sending traffic and all that other stuff. But these sessions are where I share what I know and share the stuff I’ve learned and share what I’ve taught and what I’m talking about with clients on a very macro level, in the hopes that it’s the stuff that you can implement in your business. It’s the stuff that you can do on a local or national level to grow without needing a storefront, without needing live events, that stuff. At the end of the day, that’s really what it’s about. It’s about building digital businesses.
1. Generates Income
Let me pull up some notes that I have today. I also don’t normally have notes, but today I do. Let’s see. The first thing, membership sites. The biggest thing about membership sites is they give you recurring income. Everybody pays membership to one degree or another. You have a membership for Netflix, you have a membership for HBO, you have a membership for the Disney channel, you have a membership for the New York Times. Or subscriptions., It’s all interchangeable membership, subscription. Some of it you pay monthly for, some of it you paid weekly for, but if you get to even a more macro level, you’re looking at your electric bill as a subscription. Your Verizon phone bill is a subscription. Everywhere you look, there are subscriptions. It only makes sense that you use subscriptions in your business. Or you try to.
Amazon Prime, one of the best subscription programs of all time. Implemented forever ago. You started as 79 bucks or whatever, I think it’s 149 now, and they just continue adding benefits and benefits into it. But it’s filled with perks and it gives you access to all kinds of special things. At the end of the day, it’s a revenue-generating machine for Amazon.
2. Easy to Launch
The other thing about memberships is they’re pretty easy to launch. Now, you don’t need… Way, way back in the day, had to be 2008, 2009, maybe a little after that. No, maybe just before that. 2006, 2007, I don’t remember, but it was a long time ago. There was Brian Clark, who started Copyblogger, created a course called Teaching Sales, it was teachingsales.com.
Well, I thought it was expensive at the time. It was $197 a month or something, and it was an entire course on how to build a membership site. They put together this massive movement of people building membership sites, way, way, way back in the day. Back then, WordPress was version 1.4, 1.5, or something, and it was just a shit show how complicated it was to put these membership sites together.
Software to Launch Membership Site
WordPress, I forget the exact hierarchy, I think it was WordPress and then you had to tie in aMember, which was the membership functionality, which was old fucking antiquated software. It was terrible. Still is terrible, but it’s still around. You had to hobble… No. Moodle. That was it. It was Moodle. Moodle was an open-source learning management platform, LMS, learning management software, which also might still be around. I don’t know.
But basically, you install Moodle and that’s what colleges were using for their online programs back in 2008 because it was free and open source. It was set up like what Teachable is now. But Moodle, you can download it, you can install it on a server, you had to figure out how to use it because it was open source so the documentation fucking sucked.
Then you layered aMember on top of that, which controlled the subscriptions. But then you had to tie in an authorized.net merchant account, which was hard as shit to get. So it was complexity after complexity after complexity, but there were a lot of people who made a shitload of money doing membership sites from that Teaching Sales course. Brian Clark put together just an amazing course on doing all that.
It was eye-opening, how much money you can make from membership sites. Because he had 2000 people in this course and paid him, ultimately I think it was 2000 bucks or something, 2,500 bucks, for the course. Way back then, as a newbie internet marketer, I’m like, holy shit, this opportunity is huge.
But then you get knee-deep into all of the tech setup stuff and it was just spending weeks trying to figure out how Moodle works, and then create the content for it, and then all that other stuff.
Now, we use a couple of pieces of software, like Kajabi was a monthly fee, and it gives you access to everything you need to set up public site, pages, homepage, all that other stuff, all the course pages, it has video hosting. It has all the stuff in there for 100 bucks a month, 150 bucks a month, whatever plan you’re on. It’s just incredible how cheap it is to set up a subscription site now.
Teachable is the same way. Teachable is another amazing platform that wasn’t around 10 years ago. Before, you had to be a tech genius to set up a membership site. Not so much anymore. We’re going to talk about WishList Member this week. We’re going to talk about LearnDash. Both WordPress plugin software that you can add to WordPress. To go through and install this membership functionality easily, quickly. It ties in your payment platforms, ties in your email newsletter, protects the pages that you don’t want any Joe Schmo to just go read. We’re going to talk about all that stuff.
3. Membership Site is Modular
The other nice thing about memberships is they’re modular. In working with a lot of clients, not all the content has to be done at the very, very beginning. What I tell folks is, you only need to be as far out as your customers are. You launch, you just have to have month one done, and then your prospects, they’re going to go into month two, and then month three and month four. You just have to be in front of them. That’s all. You just have to be in front of them. As long as you’re in front of them, then you can take the class, you can take the material wherever you want to go, wherever they want to go, but you just have to be in front of them.
If you launch your course and you sell 100 of them this month, then before they get to that 30-day mark where month two should show, you can put whatever content you want in there. You have a 30 day lead time on all of it, which is nice. Six hours’ worth of video and you don’t have to create this big ass five. You just need a good plan, a good mind map, or a good outline, of the stuff you want to create, and then you’re just going to create month one, month two, month three, month four, and it becomes painless. You just need to stay in front of your members.
There are going to be some members who want access to it all. They’re going to say, “Well, I bought a year. I should have access to it all so I can zip through it.” You can just, well, hold on, just tell them, it’s not what we do. We don’t want to overload you with content. The reason we put together this membership site in month one, month two, month three, the reason we put it together like this is so you retain it. So you understand it. You can implement it in your life and your business. Also, you don’t have to zoom through all of this. You paid for a year and will have access for a year. We’re going to go through this one chunk at a time. At the end of the day, that’s really what it’s all about.
You can go to niche-based. My note is you can go niche based or you can go abroad. That’s true. You can have a broad membership that focuses on lots of different things. Or you can go niche-based.
What you’re going to find is that the more niche you are, the more expensive you can make it. The more money you’re going to be able to get every single month or every month. If you pinpoint one thing that you solve, that you help people solve, then you’re going to be able to charge 97 a month, 197, a month, 397 a month because they know exactly what they’re going to get out.
Now think on the other side of that coin, think of a very broad topic, like business development. How about health and fitness? Beachbody has their membership and is super cheap. It has 20 or 30 individual courses which are all super tight and super niche-based. The broad Beachbody membership, the umbrella, is very cheap because they want you to be a long-term user and that’s why they have so much very niche stuff on the inside. But if you were to pull one of those very niche products out and put it off into its ecosystem, then chances are you’d probably get a lot more money out of that individual, like $97 a month, but it would be for a shorter period. Maybe it would be for three months or more, as opposed to a Beachbody customer who is going to be paying for years and years and years.
There are just different makeups when it comes to niche versus broad versus price. Let’s say you were putting together a membership site on copywriting, let’s say. Let’s say you’re putting together a membership site on copywriting. The copywriting core, the copywriting membership, maybe the first month is email, or the first month is maybe copying foundation, foundational copywriting.
Then month two is going to be sales copy. And month three is going to be an email copy. And month four is going to be a content marketing copy. It’s a very, very, very, very tight skillset. You’re going to be learning about copy in these different areas. All of that is going to be able to transition into your job, or your work, so you can charge clients more. So you can be more valuable to your employees or whatever. That is $197 a month. You can be a member for as long as you want, but you know that, if you are interested in the content marketing section, you’re going to have to still be there in four months. That’s how the membership sites are put together.
You can go very niche or very broad. Also, you can charge a little bit of money or a lot of money and can be very specialized or not very specialized. It is your choice. You just know that your target market, your avatar, is going to change based on whether it’s specialized or whether it’s broad, whether it’s cheap, whether it’s expensive.
5. Natural Upsells
It’s just questions to ask yourself to set it up. The other… As I hit my mic. One of the best things about membership sites is they’re natural upsells. There an upsell of themselves. If you were ever struggling with your offer… Let’s say you have a book. It’s a digital download. It’s $27. You’re like, well, I would love to have an upsell so I can make more money. With the membership, you get two offers. The first offer is monthly. It’s going to be 37 a month if that’s your pricing. Well, the second offer is the annual subscription, which is usually 300 a year.
Generally, how we work is, you get two months or three months for free if you sign up for an annual. That’s generally my advice to my clients. If you’re charging 37 a month, then 37 a month, 12 times 37, it’s $444. If somebody stays a full year, you’re going to be making $444. Not many people do. Every membership has a churn. That churn is usually three to four months. Sometimes it’s longer. Your cheaper memberships, 10 and cheaper, they’ll stay for years. That’s one of the reasons why Netflix’s introductory memberships, probably, I don’t think they’re above 10. I think they’re like nine bucks or eight bucks. If you’re in India, they’re like five or something.
People stay for years if your around 10 and below. If you’re 10 to 20, they might stay for years, but they have to get a lot of value out of it. If you’re above 20, then your churn is going to be three months, four months, five months, six months, somewhere in there. You’re $37 a month membership times 12, is $444. What we usually tell people is to give them two months, three months, four months for free if they sign up for annual.
Chances are, let’s say you give them three months for free, so you get paid for nine months, but your churn is six months. You just made three extra months’ worth of money and they got more value and they can rebill at the end of the year for the next year. Not only do you get the monthly offer, but you also get the yearly upsell, or the yearly offer. When you put both pricing options side-by-side, you have your monthly and then you have your yearly on a sales page, about 60% of people are going to take the yearly because they don’t want to see that charge every single month on their credit card.
I don’t know about you, but I’m that way. If I see something hit a credit card every month, I’m like, man, maybe I should probably cut it. I should probably cut it. Do I use it? Whereas if I buy the annual subscription and it’s a great deal, then I use it and I don’t even think twice about it. I don’t question it at all. Then I get tons of value out of it, and then the next year comes and I’m like, cool, I got a ton of value last year, I’m going to get a ton of value this year. That ends up being how it is.
Why you should have a membership in your offer mixes?
All right now, wow, we’ve already been going at this thing for quite a while. Types of subscriptions. We’re going to dig into each of these more in-depth this week, this is more just the setup, why you should have a membership in your offer mixes.
We have a newsletter based. You can think of Agora Publishing. They have $97, $197, weekly newsletters that they send out to investment professionals, investors. Real estate has the same subscriptions. There are newsletter subscriptions and they go out. That’s it. There’s no login. There’s no membership portal. You just consume the newsletters, the emails, that you receive, which are fantastic. Fulfillment and set up is a breeze because you just have to know how to send an email.
However, your target audience needs to be inclined to read. Which is a perfectly valid thing to think about now. How many of us want to read? I know I do. I love reading. Do your customers love reading? If they do love reading, do you love to write writing? Because you got to write the newsletter to then send them.
Newsletters might work. Newsletters work in a lot of industries. They might not necessarily work in yours. Just something to think about. Community-based subscriptions is another one. You can think of this as myopic, as like a Facebook community. There are lots of upsells to offers where it’s $97 a month, you get access to the Facebook group.
People get crazy value out of those Facebook groups. There might be challenges, upsold in those challenges, and just comradery and going back and forth, that’s being able to ask questions. But then you can take it from your Facebook group up to elite level mastermind, where people charge $25,000 to get access to 120 of the saddest ass CEOs on the planet, or $50,000, or $75,000. In every market, there are these 50, 75, $100,000 masterminds, where you pay that and your value far exceeds that because of the connections you make. It’s not the one deal that you make, it’s the relationship that you make. It’s the thing you learned, which then tweaks your thinking enough that you make a change in your business and then you go generate another half a million dollars in sales, or whatever.
It isn’t like that one to one value exchange. It’s one too many not even direct and usually indirect. But my point is, the subscription model can be used for cheap to the very high ticket. It just depends on where you want to go.
2. Video Content
Video content is par. When it comes to membership sites, video content, and logins, having a membership login and video, is going to be what you got to have anymore. If you’re putting together a copywriting membership, let’s say, then you’re going to want video instruction of things you need to do. Or maybe not. Maybe that’s a really bad example of a copy.
But let’s say lose 20 pounds. You’re putting together a membership site on how to lose… No. How about this, run your first marathon. You’re putting together a video course on, or a video membership on, running your first marathon, and the goal is within the first three months, or within the next three months, you’re going to be able to run a marathon. That might be fucking impossible. I don’t know.
Month one, food, stretching, jogging, the whole thing, and then it’s all going to be video instruction. It might be some PDFs, might be some checklists, all that stuff. Them month two it’s the specific exercise, specific things you’re doing to run that marathon. And then month three is, okay, it’s time to run the marathon. It’s all video training content. There might be some supporting PDFs. There might be maybe some audio things that you can listen to when you’re running, like some motivational music or whatever. I don’t know. Fuck. I don’t know.
But you’re moving through this process, month one, month two, month three, and then afterward, maybe there’s a maintenance track where you ran your marathon and now it’s getting ready for the next one. Or now you move into a community of marathon runners. That you get a bulletin board of the next marathons in your area. I don’t know. I don’t know what it looks like, but that’s the fun part of creating memberships because there isn’t necessarily a set track. You can always mix and match the content, add new stuff in and replace videos. If a video is a five-minute chunk, you can replace videos and just drop new shit in that is awesome.
But the video is probably… It’s also the fastest medium to make shit. You can get on a video and just talk, leave some notes, just talk to a video, create some content, the content goes in the membership sites, and you’re off and running. Pun intended. Based on my last membership.
3. Written Content
Written content is very similar to the newsletter content. People can log in, check out your written content, check out your long blog posts. If the instruction is a weekly 2000 word blog post that is going to teach you how to do something, then they can log in and read. But you might only be able to charge $27 a month for that, as opposed to a video-based membership, where it’s going to be a blog post and a video, then you might be able to charge 67 a month for that.
Bill said, “I’m stuck on video content later as I build, how to make them specific to my instruction, copy, outsource, get spending.” Yes, so Bill, we’re going to do some, one of the days of this week. I don’t know which day, we’re going to be doing a video. I had a great video. We will get to that, and then maybe we can ask some questions there.
4. Software and Tools
Another membership. Software and tools. Another type of memberships. SaaS-based software is also fantastic from a membership site standpoint because you pay per access, so it might be 37 a month or 47 or 97, or I don’t know, 997 a month. You charge based on, or people pay you for access to that software. It’s not necessarily even like the transformative effect of the software, they pay you for the access. Your sales guy, or your sales copy, or whatever, is going to sell what they’re going to be able to do with that software. But by and large, they may pay to be able to log in.
The thing about software is, it gets on the front side. It’s not something that you can just put together the first month and then wing it, you have to put together an MVP product. Sometimes that’ll cost you $7,000 by paying a developer and sometimes it’ll cost you $350,000. It just depends on how big of a bite out of something your software’s going to be able to do. Sometimes, if it’s super, super minimum viable product, or super prototype, you’re going to be able to start getting people in pretty early. Whereas if it’s something more complex, you’re going to have a lot more development costs, but then once you’re able to launch, you can charge more money for it. Very catch 22. But software is something that membership sites cover.
Now pricing. We’re going to talk about pricing. I think we’re probably just going to cover this a later. Pricing 37 a month, 67 a month, 97 a month, all good pricing tiers. We’ll have a discussion on pricing and charging money and how to work them into your upsell funnels and stuff. For some of the group coaching options, we do 197 a month or 397 a month. We call it assistant coaching. But it’s coursework plus group coaching, or coursework plus community. Ends up giving you a little bit more room to charge more so that you can just get more value. But you give value in putting people in a group as opposed to giving value directly one-on-one and then we’ve got some software and stuff, which we already talked about.
That was my primer this week. Membership sites. Bill, we will work on the video this week. Let’s say we’re going to… Tomorrow, I think we’re going to cover brainstorming. Wednesday, we’re going to cover the video. Wednesday at 10:00 AM, I think we’re going to cover the video. Thursday, we should talk about software to protect it all. And then Friday, we’re going to do a recap. I think that’s what we’re going to end up doing. That’ll work.
Tomorrow, we’re going to brainstorm. We’re going to talk about video content itself, software and we’re going to recap. Maybe during the recap, we’ll talk about traffic and stuff. Cool.
For Questions and Guide
All right, guys, thank you so much for joining me today. This week, looking forward to seeing you all here. Come with your questions. If you’re thinking about putting together one of these membership sites and you need a little bit of help go to doneforyou.com/start and we will get you all fixed up. Just fill out the little form and then jump on a call. Or there’s a little chat box in the lower right-hand corner of Done For You, so just go ahead and ask the question and we’ll go from there.