Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Developing a Membership Site (Part 3 of 5)

This is the third in a five-part series on starting a membership site for your careers industry business. Read part 1 of the series here, and part 2 here.

Quick, what is it about a running a membership site that makes you NOT want to run one? If you’re like most resume writers, the idea of having to come up with new content -- week after week, with no end in sight -- is a major downside.

The majority of resume writers live on billable hours. You get paid for the resumes you write. If you're not writing, you're not earning. I talk to a lot of resume writers who want the dream: Passive income and recurring revenue. A membership site fulfills both goals.

And yet if you run certain types of membership sites, it can feel like a job. You can’t see yourself running off to play on some exotic beach when you need to develop and upload new content at least once a week or more.

One possible solution is to outsource this task. That is, you hire someone else to upload the content every week when you’re not available. But outsourcing comes with its own problems -– namely, you need to 100% trust your service provider to upload the content on time.

So if you haven’t yet developed a relationship with a freelancer (or virtual assistant), you probably won’t feel comfortable leaving your business (and your customers’ satisfaction) in a stranger’s hands.

Now before you toss aside the idea of ever having a vacation while running a membership site, let me give you two game-changing words: Autoresponder delivery. 

You see, with a traditional membership site, all members get the exact same content. So the person who just joined today is going to get the same content this month as the person who’s been a member for a year. Next month, everyone gets the same content again. (This is how my membership site works -- but your membership site doesn't have to be like this.)

Obviously, this doesn’t make sense if you’re running a training site. That is, you want everyone to start with lesson #1 and get the lessons in order. So the person who joins today gets lesson #1. Meanwhile, the longtime member may be getting lesson #50.

The solution? A true “set-it-and-forget-it” model, which you can achieve by delivering all the content using an autoresponder.

Here’s how it works…

  1. You create content for your entire course. So if you have a yearlong course with weekly lessons, you’d create 52 lessons. If you have a three-month course with weekly lessons, you’d create 12 lessons. 
  2. Next, you need to get an autoresponder through a service like or Simply load up your messages into your autoresponder. Set the first lesson to go out immediately after the customer joins the course. Set each subsequent message to go out on a weekly basis. 
  3. Now you create your sales letter and insert your order button (from a payment processor that accepts recurring billing, such as PayPal).
  4. Drive traffic to your site. Here you can use all the usual methods of driving traffic, such as affiliate and joint venture partners, content marketing, pay-per-click marketing, social media marketing, and similar.
  5. Play golf (or whatever). Now the members roll in and your autoresponder takes care of the rest, leaving you free to do what you want! 
Just imagine: You could set up multiple autoresponder-based, fixed-term membership sites. Just set one up, drive traffic to it, and move on to setting up the next one. Rinse and repeat and you'll have both passive income and recurring revenue.

In tomorrow's blog post: Once you've got people subscribed to your fixed-term membership site, don't stop there! You can sell them other membership sites (a graduate-level course, perhaps!), special reports, and training programs. Your membership site can also bring you new resume customers!

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