Mark of Approval Web & Marketing

The Key to Creating Engaging Membership Sites

So you’ve decided to jump on the membership site bandwagon?

That’s great!

But running a membership site is no small feat. Assuming you have members who will join; engaging them is another big step.

And yes keeping members engaged is important if you don’t want them to leave you!

We’re going to look at ways of keeping members engaged.

Now when I say this, I mean legitimate ways.

I recall only 15years ago when I joined my first membership site. Rather than reward us for staying, they threatened us for leaving.

I could never return!

Don’t. Do. This!

So with that said, and with me off my soap box, let’s dive into some actionable ways you can keep members excited.

Give Members Access To You

This seems obvious, but I have seen many membership sites neglect this simple step.

Yes, there’s a lot to be said for user generated content but when the “hero” doesn’t show up to his party, it can get real disappointing.

I joined a membership years ago once at $97 a month that had no active members and the group leader was a no show.

I was so frustrated! Not only was it a desert of a website; there was simply no way of contacting anybody.

Not even a contact us button.

Nowadays I’m wiser, but my point is, don’t make members jump through hoops to contact you.

And be present in the community.

Which brings up the next point…

Foster an Online Community

Everybody loves to be part of something bigger than themselves.

This is where an online community comes into play.

In my own membership, the WP Study Group, I have a small yet powerful community.

It brings me joy to see that my members have friended one another on FB and answer each other’s questions.

I simply wouldn’t be where I was today without the community and support of my very own members.

One of my biggest tips for fostering a powerful online community is to encourage members to answer other member’s questions.

Do this before you jump in and it gives them a chance at building relationships and feeling part of something bigger.

Offer a Loyalty Program

I’ll be the first to admit that not everything I do is included in my membership site.

For example, I have some higher ticket courses that I simply couldn’t add to the members area for the amount I charge my members.

But one perk of being a member is that they get a discount on such “backend” products and services.

Another angle I have is that they accumulate “loyalty points” every time they make a payment.

Let me give an example:

Joe Blogs might pay $37 a month for his membership site. Every month he is charged, he gets 25 credit points towards his account.

Mary Jane might pay $370 a year to be part of my group. But every year she pays her invoice, she gets 250 credit points.

So you might be asking what do Joe and Mary do with these credit points?

Actually, they get to redeem them for goods, services and even personalised coaching calls with me ?

One great system for creating a loyalty program is through using a combination of Restrict Content Pro and Easy Digital Downloads.

They both integrate with one another – both by the same author – and allow you to create these loyalty purchase options.

Facilitate Monthly Group Coaching

I’m a big believer in being present in your membership group.

Many other owners out there feel the same way and this is why they often have monthly coaching calls.

Marketers like James Schramko of SuperFastBusiness and Chris Ducker of YouPreneur both follow this model.

And so do I.

I prefer to use Zoom and have our coaching calls interactive.

Because my motto is that the  WP Study Group is a safe place to learn and interact, nobody will appear on camera by default.

And yet, the group loves turning on their webcam and joining in on the conversation.

Another marketer and friend of mine who does this is Angela Wills, of the Laptop Lifestyle Business Club.

Run Challenges from the Archives

One of the biggest frustrations for owners of large membership sites is the amount of content that gets archived.

I mean, we pour out our heart and soul into creating content and it gets forgotten or lost in the sea of “paperwork”.

One way to revive and rescue such content is to run a challenge or execution cycle.

Digital Marketer does this extremely well for their Elite Group. However, they also create additional content around older concepts in the form of workshops.

VA Networking also has recently rolled out tracks where they put new content mixed with older archives inside the track.

Sidenote: I was fortunate enough to contribute to the WordPress Training track for VA Networking and that will be published soon at the time of writing.

I plan to also start doing this with my archived content. Simply because members like working together to achieve a common goal!

Here’s how to get started with this…

  1. Choose an appropriate subtopic
  2. Round up content you have access to in your archives
  3. Include links to the archived content
  4. Creating some additional training revolving around this content
  5. Make some step sheets and planners for this training with links referencing the archived training pieces
  6. Follow up with the group as they execute the plans together

Of course, this can be in the form of a challenge, a contest, or a simple execution cycle.

Showcase Members

We spoke about challenges very briefly.

We also talked about execution cycles.

Now have you considered showcasing and rewarding members for their actions and successes?

I know what you are saying. How can I do that when only other members will see?

Simple. Showcase them in a blog post.

This way it gets their name out to the ungated community and also encourages new members.

Just be sure to ask for permission.

One similar approach I took to this was to record myself creating a website for a client.

This was a done with you approach.

With her permission, I used this as a case study.

And I was able to use this as a lead magnet quite successfully too.

There’s no reason you can’t do the same for your members who go through your challenges or execution cycles.

And that’s a wrap

So there we have it. So many different ways you can engage your members.

We all know how important an excited crowd is.

They become loyal fans and are less likely to leave.

I encourage you to grab my checklist and see what other ingredients go into creating a successful membership site.

And if you have any comments or input about creating an engaged community, feel free to post below!

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