Launching your membership site is an exciting time for sure.
But with everything involved, it can be easy to forget important details. If you’ve decided to create a membership site, we've got 10 easy steps for your membership site launch to get you up and running with ease.
1. Find Out Your Audience's Problem
When figuring out how to launch a membership site, you need to discover the main problem you will solve.
Ensure there's a burning issue that people will pay you to solve by doing some research. If you already have customers, ask them for feedback about what they would like to see from your membership site.
You can ask questions like:
- What's the biggest challenge they face?
- Where would they like to be in a particular area of their lives in the next six to 12 months?
- What’s the major thing that's missing from different online courses they have taken, including yours perhaps?
When you get answers to these questions, you will begin see a pattern about what your customers really want from your membership site.
There’s no point in playing guessing games when it comes to your audience’s burning issues. You need to be crystal clear that this problem exists and your membership site will help to solve it.
2. Who is Your Audience?
It’s not enough to say that your membership site is for everyone.
It's counter-intuitive to think that, if your membership sites appeals to everyone, you will rake in more money. That's not the case. So, you must pick a niche to attract the right people.
Your membership site needs to be aimed at a targeted audience that knows your membership site will help them to solve a particular problem. When you pinpoint the main problem of a specific group, they will feel like you really understand what they're going through and are likely to join during your membership site launch.
3. In What Ways Can You Solve Their Problems?
Now you've nailed down your target audience and their main problem, your next job is to discover different ways to provide content to solve these issues. This means you have to zero-in on the content you will deliver.
Your research into your target audience should have produced a list of questions you can answer. Use these questions as part of your membership site launch. Let your potential members know that they will find the answers when they join your site.
You must also decide how you will be delivering content. Will you use video, audio, text (or all three)?
If you've got too much content swirling around in your mind and you aren’t sure which is the most important to your target audience, go back to them again and ask them what they would like to see (in order of priority). This will enable you to give them the most important and urgent content upfront.
4. Design Content for Your Launch
Anyone who is trying to figure out how to launch a membership site must understand that content is the heartbeat of a membership site. Think about providing the most value to your members with every piece of content you create.
Before your membership site launch, make sure you have a decent amount of content ready for your members. It’s not a good look to launch a membership site with little or no content.
Your members need to be able to look through different types of content and see that they’re getting value for money up front.
So, how often should you put out content? The answer is: enough to keep your members engaged.
You need to stagger your content to prevent members from churning. Adding too much content at one time will overwhelm them and they’re more likely to churn. But if you put out just the right amount of content, you will be able to keep your members as they will keep coming back to get new information.
5. Select a Platform for Your Membership Site
There are so many options when choosing the right technology or platform for your membership site. You can either choose a dedicated platform or a plug-in for your existing WordPress site.
You should research the pros and cons of each platform or plug-in before you make a commitment. One platform that’s popular among membership site owners is Kajabi.
You can run your whole membership site and host your online courses on the Kajabi platform. If you want everything in one place for your membership site launch, Kajabi might be the platform for you. Kajabi integrates with different tools, like Wistia (for video) and Stripe (to accept payments).
If you already have a successful WordPress site and you would like to add a membership site, Wishlist membership plug-in is one of the most popular plug-ins today. You only pay one fee and can protect your pages with different passwords and usernames.
You can also integrate the Wishlist membership site plug-in with different payment processes, so you can collect your monthly fees.
6. Market Your Membership Site
Before you launch your membership site, think about different ways to market and promote it to attract the right people.
Here are some ideas:
- Make your membership site accessible to a select number of beta members. You can choose the amount of beta members, for example, 20, 30, etc. This makes your membership site seem exclusive. It also gives you the chance to test run your site with a small group.
- Reopen your doors when you have ironed out any kinks. You can choose when you reopen your doors to more members. For instance, you can open your doors 30 or 60 days later. This should have given you time to satisfy the current members and also create a waiting list of those who want to join.
- Get testimonials. If it’s gone well with your beta members, ask them for testimonials to encourage more people to join.
7. Plan Your Onboarding Process
After your membership site launch, the first impressions will go a long way in determining whether your members will stay or churn.
When your member logs into your membership site, they should be clear about:
- What needs to be done.
- Where they need to go.
- What information and content is available.
If any part of your membership site makes them feel confused, they will wonder whether it's worth sticking around.
Before your membership site launch, plan all the actions you want your members to take from the first time they log in. The person who logs in to your membership site shouldn’t be asking, “What do I do next?”
Design a roadmap to show your members how they will progress towards their goals. You could give them a list of options in the membership site to make their own roadmap.
The main thing is that you encourage members to take action, so they get used to navigating around your membership site. Give them an idea of the most important aspects of your membership site, so they become familiar with all the features and content.
For example, if you have bi-weekly Q&A sessions with experts, ensure that your members know about this, so they can submit their questions in advance by a specific deadline.
8. Continue to Test
You should test everything before your membership site launch.
Test things like:
- The performance of the site, for example, and its loading time.
- Whether any pages lead to errors.
- How easy or difficult it is to navigate around your membership site.
Use different devices like your smart phone and tablet to find out how everything displays. Also, test the flow of your membership site. Click on different links to see whether they flow in a logical order. You should also test your payment gateway to ensure that everything is in order.
As well as testing yourself, ask a few friends or family members who aren't familiar with your membership site to give it a run-through.
9. Create a Landing Page and a Waiting List
Lead generation is crucial to launching your membership site. The last thing you want is to launch a membership site and all you hear are crickets.
Your landing page should offer a lead magnet to get people to join the waiting list of your membership site. If you get your landing page right, your waiting list will be full of the right audience that need the answer to their problem.
Keep the people on your waiting list engaged, so they continue to show interest in your membership site. Provide regular updates and sneak peeks about what they can expect when they join your membership site. You should build excitement and anticipation so those on your waiting list continue to look forward to joining your membership site.
Communication with your waiting list should be a two-way process. Encourage people on your waiting to ask questions. Get as much feedback as possible, so you can gather more information for content for your membership site.
10. Decide How You Will Launch
Two ways that are becoming popular for membership site launches is Facebook Live and live webinars.
If you choose to use a live webinar or Facebook Live, this should be no more than an hour where you give lots of value and provide key information that your audience can use to solve their problems.
The majority of the webinar or Facebook Live should be about providing your audience with useful information.
Use the last 10 to 15 minutes to introduce your membership site and provide a one-off low membership fee if webinar attendees sign up during the webinar or a during the launch period.
For example, you can provide special discounts on your launch day — 50% off for the next two months. Make it clear to those listening to your webinar or Facebook Live that they will have to pay the regular rate after the launch period.
Your offer should be discounted enough to encourage people to join and it should also have a sense of urgency, so they join right away.
The Moment of Truth: The Launch
After you’ve completed these steps, it’s now time for the moment of truth to make your membership site live.
When you launch your membership site, ensure that you’ve scheduled emails to make the announcement. Everyone on your waiting list as well as your other customers should know that you are now live.
At this time, the effort you've put into your content creation and onboarding process will help you to keep the members that have joined.
Customer Retention Solution: How to Keep Your Membership Site Members
Phew! You’ve gone through the hard work and preparation for your membership site launch.
Unfortunately, membership sites are plagued by an issue that most recurring payment businesses suffer from — the dreaded customer churn.
Although customer churn can be seen as an inevitable part of owning a membership site, this isn’t necessarily the case when you partner up with a customer retention company that focuses full-time on getting failed payments back on track and retaining your customers.
At Gravy, we’re failed payment recovery experts. Our payment retention specialists use empathy, prepared scripts as well as the latest technology to ensure that your members' payments are up to date. Our aim is to recover failed payments while protecting your brand, bringing back your customers and members for the long term.
Schedule a call with us to see how we can help you maximize your membership site members and grow revenue through customer retention and payment recovery.