Monday, November 28, 2011

Developing a Membership Site (Part 1 of 5)

So you want to start a membership site.

The first thing you need to think about is your niche and your topic.

Now think about this for a moment…

Your goal is to get members to happily pay you month after month for content. Obviously, that means you need to:
  • Over-deliver with quality content. You want your members to feel like they’re getting a steal for the price. 
  • Give your members what they want. If you’re just starting your site, then look at what products job seekers are already paying for -- and think of how you can turn that into a membership site.

But here’s something else…

In order to get your members paying month after month, you need to be able to make them look forward to each upcoming lesson. And the best way to do that is by creating a membership site around a step-by-step process. That is, your lessons teach your members how to achieve a specific result. 

You see, if you just provide tips and tricks for your members, there’s no sense of continuity. Your members don’t develop as strong of a psychological commitment to staying a member, because they won’t have a need to see the course through until the end.

Now imagine having numbered steps and lessons instead. When someone is receiving lesson 10 of a step-by-step process, they’ve made an investment of time and money into learning the process – so they are less likely to “bail” before they’ve received all the steps.

Let me give you a few examples of sites that teach a specific achievement or result using a step-by-step process:
· 30-Day Plan to Get Your Dream Job
· How to get interviews for almost any job you apply for
· Creating and optimizing your LinkedIn profile
· Using social media (Twitter, Facebook) in your job search

Now let me give you an example of what a 8-week job search course might look like:

Step 1: Articulate your dream job.

Step 2: Identify likely employers.

Step 3: Begin building your network.

Step 4: Update your job search materials (resume, cover letter, networking letter, etc.)

Step 5: Make contacts/target hiring managers.

Step 6: Prepare for the interview.

Step 7: Post-interview followup methods.

Step 8: Success! Negotiate your terms, thank your network, and plan for your first 90 days in the new position.

Notice how each step builds on the previous step.

It starts with setting a job search goal… and ends with negotiating the new job offer.

In other words, if the member completes the steps as the course progresses, he or she should be able to enjoy a specific achievement or result by the end of the course.

Note: The above example is an 8-week course. Naturally, you could easily stretch this out to three months, six months, or even a year or more by creating more steps and more in-depth steps. You could go on indefinitely as long as you kept providing more advanced info as the course progressed.

One final tip…To keep your customers happy, make sure that they are progressing and enjoying results right from the beginning.

Example: If you create a yearlong course, don’t stretch out the process for a year. Instead, give the step-by-step instructions your customers need to experience some type of results immediately (within a few weeks or month after joining) and then provide more in-depth instructions as the course progresses.

In short: Satisfy your customers’ needs for instant gratification while still providing the continuity that will keep them as a member. You’ll learn more about that in Part 2 of this series. 

- And stay tuned for the launch of the Career Membership Sites Made Easy program -- a step-by-step guide to help you set up and launch your own fixed-term membership site in 48 hours or less.

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