Monday, August 4, 2014

Why Create a Membership Program in Your Resume Business?

A membership site — or a membership program — is an extremely valuable tool for resume writers and career coaches. It is a great way to create customer loyalty and establish a reliable revenue stream that will help your business grow. 

But the value of a membership program is often times misunderstood. The true value of membership program is not the additional sales. It's not even the cash (although that's nice!). The true value of membership programs is all about the customer. The value of the program is all about gaining new clients and hanging on to the ones you already have. 

A successful membership program requires an investment from you. An investment of your time, your money and of your expertise.

Here are some guidelines to follow for a successful membership program:

  • Membership programs are the art of acquisition and retention.
  • Membership programs can and will increase your revenue stream.
  • Membership programs inherently builds loyalty through mutually beneficial customer relationships.
  • Keep your prices reasonable and allow room to upsell. (I recommend Kelly McCausey's "Little Monthly Payments" program — but, as Kelly says, you won't get rich on a LMP, so it's important to use your membership strategically.)
  • Apply the multi-level membership model to your program to entice more customers to become members.
  • Nothing adds value like offering value. 
  • Visibility is key.

You will also need to keep in mind some common business practices to ensure your success:

  • Communication. Communication is absolutely critical to the success of your membership program. You must communicate with your members to let them know you are committed. You also want to serve as a constant reminder that your business is of value to them. They have to be made to feel as though they need you, because ultimately, you need them.
  • Innovation. Whether its possible or not, you must always be certain to stay abreast of new and exciting products and offerings in the careers industry. Keep informed about what is going on in the world of job search and help your members take advantage of these new trends.
  • Dedication. No matter what element of your business, be it your resume writing services, career coaching, your list or your membership site, the level of your success will be directly related to the level of your dedication. The more dedicated you are to your business and your clients, the more success you will see. 

These themes are not "new" but remain absolutely critical to the success of any resume writing business. Why? Because without communication, your clients wouldn't know who you are or what you have to offer. Without innovation, your resume writing business can never move forward. And without dedication, you will not succeed.

All of the important principles you have applied to make your business successful still apply. Your membership site and program should simply serve as an extension of your efforts.

However, what happens when their membership expires? How do you keep your clients coming back for more? The key to customer renewal is value!

You must entice with value, deliver value, and entice with value again.

For example, when initially trying to entice a client to become a member, you may offer a free special report or benefit as a perk to signing up for your program. People love free stuff! Don't you?

Once you have made this promise, you then must deliver on it. In other words, make sure you provide them with that product as soon as possible so they know you can be trusted. And reinforce your value by enticing members with value again. One of the ideas I've had for a membership site is to make resume updates profitable by tying them to a membership program. For example, if an existing client becomes a member of my membership site at $10/month, after one year, they receive a resume update certificate. Getting them to update their resume every year is a good idea anyway, and this way, you're receiving ongoing revenue from the client in the meantime too … while also staying in touch with them regularly so you can market affiliate products and services to them too!

Incentives are absolutely critical to gaining clients and renewing memberships. The incentives you offer should add a high perceived value to your clients without costing you much if any resources at all. You may want to offer a set discount for membership renewal, exclusive free bonus materials for returning members only, or both! Just be careful not to give away everything for free. You must be strategic when offering incentives.

There are many reasons membership programs are valuable. But clients are at the heart and soul of what makes this so true. Without members, there is no revenue stream. And without a revenue stream, your membership site has no value. Therfore, the true value of membership marketing is the customer.

If you apply these basic marketing principles to all that you do, coupled with the knowledge of how to provide value to the job seekers you serve, and a well-devised membership campaign, and you will achieve success.

Now, get out there and make it happen!

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