Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Developing a Membership Site (Part 2 of 5)

In Part 1 this blog series on developing a membership site, you’ll notice that I gave an example of an eight-week course. That was no accident.

You see, most people who think of “membership sites” think of content that’s delivered weekly or monthly… indefinitely. Members pay month after month and the owners deliver month after month.

This works fairly well for some types of sites -- and if you have hours and hours each week to devote to creating new content. But if you’re running a training site, your members are going to drift away if you just give them tips and tricks indefinitely. And they might even bail out a couple months after joining, simply because there’s no end in sight.

So here’s what you do instead…
Create a fixed-term membership site. This is a site that runs for a specific period of time, such as 30 days, eight weeks, three months, six months, 12 months… or any length of your choosing.

Tip: For best results, create a step-by-step series as described in Part 1 of this article. 

Here’s why this works…
Imagine if your site went on indefinitely. Someone might join and, after a couple months, quit. That’s pretty normal. But if the course only stretches out for six months, psychologically the customers will feel better if they just remain a member for the entire six months. They want to see it through to the end.

This is actually a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) trick. Simply put, people don’t like unfinished business. That’s why they’ll even read books they don’t like or watch boring movies – once they’ve invested some time into the activity, they want to see it through to the end.

While just creating a fixed-term site created this psychological commitment to your course, you can make the commitment even stronger by building anticipation for the upcoming lessons. That is, from the very first lesson you work on “selling” the other lessons.
  • Build anticipation for the whole course in lesson #1. Your first lesson should include an overview of all the lessons. But don’t just write it out like a table of contents. Instead, write it like bullet points to a sales letter. 
Example: “In Lesson #3, you’ll discover a simple trick that will triple your job interviews!” In other words, arouse curiosity whenever possible.
  • Build anticipation for the next lesson at the end of each lesson. At the end of each lesson you’ll want to include something like, “Stay tuned for next week’s lesson, where you’ll find out the three things you must do to prepare for your job interview!”
  • Build anticipation for future lessons and bonuses periodically. Finally, from time to time, you should remind members of upcoming lessons. For example, in lesson #5 you might remind members of a particularly valuable lesson or bonus that you’re offering in lesson #9. Again, write it like a sales letter bullet, where you arouse curiosity and put forth a benefit. 
The biggest challenge in running a membership site is retaining members.

With a typical membership site, your members may only stick around for two or three months. But you can quickly and easily ensure that more of your members stay around for six months, 12 months, or even longer by creating a fixed-term membership site!

In tomorrow's blog post, we'll talk about how to create a "set-it-and-forget-it" membership system. Develop it once and have it earn passive income for you, month after month, year after year.

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