In the early months of 2015, I changed my primary online business model completely. It wasn’t pretty… but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Every one-off product I had was pulled from the shelves. EBooks. Video courses. Even 1-to-1 consulting calls.
All of those materials have been moved to a single recurring membership. There is no way to get them except start that membership.
At first this was tough. While I already had a recurring membership component, it only accounted for about one-third of my income.
And while I was able to get many customers to sign up for the new membership with a now significantly greater value – it still did not match my income.
It’s hard. I’d love to go open up a big product launch and bring in a big income burst real fast. But I have to stay the course.
I see big things coming in this membership model. And while I could sell a membership and individual products, I would never reach the levels I’m trying to attain.
If you’re considering using a membership model in your online business (and you should be), here are 7 reasons to go forward with it…
- Knowing Money Is Coming: A recurring membership model means money’s coming in every month. And I know roughly how much.
Yes, there’s churn. People come and go. But as long as the membership total is growing (or at least numbers are stagnant), I know what’s going to be coming in this month.
In a traditional online business, there are lots of high’s and low’s. Product launches are a huge rush.
I’ve had some big launches. They’re awesome. But have a launch fall flat on it’s face when you were depending on that income… ouch.
- Relax. Get Off The Product Creation Wheel. I don’t want to ride the hamster wheel anymore.
Create the product. Launch the product (the product launch itself is like creating a product, too). Big money.
Then what? You’ve got to get right back to creating a new product.
My membership site is forum based. My members ask questions, and I answer them. They answer them too.
Sometimes I answer questions by creating a video. Since I’m not thinking of what to say – and since my members know me, no one is expecting high production value.
I flip on my camera, jump on the white board, and give information that comes from my brain. Minimal research. Cut the video, some brief editing, upload to Vimeo and post the embed code.
Most days involve less than an hour of membership maintenance. Answer some questions and I’m done.
No More Seasonal High’s And Lows. Since my primary business is coaching American Football, I have seasonal issues.
We don’t make many new sales during the season. There’s a boom from December to February. Then another one in July.
But this year? My revenue was consistent. In fact, this is where the membership model paid off.
While my income in July was significantly down because there was no big product launch… my income in September and October was actually UP.
- Focus On Marketing Your Membership. The first 100 or so subscribers were easy to get. I already have an established audience.
But after that, you’re looking for new members. And since you’re off the product creation hamster wheel… you can spend your time doing that.
Most of my work is focused on marketing now. While my work days are shorter, I’m able to reach a much larger audience now.
- Membership Communities Build Relationships. Because we’re in a forum, I talk to my customers. A lot.
They see me. They see videos. They listen to my podcast. They feel like they know me. I know a lot of them, too.
That’s awesome no matter how you look at it. But the more awesome part is, they don’t want to let me down.
A customer can buy an eBook, download it, and then disappear. Never seen again. But our members? They have a relationship with me.
They want the company to succeed. They want me to be successful.
My churn rate has been pretty low most of the year. It’s only right now – at the end of the football season – that I’ve had an increase in cancellations.
But almost every person sends an explanation. A lot of them are leaving coaching after this season. Some are tightening their budget.
But it means enough to them, to tell me why. The tone is usually almost apologetic. That’s a great feeling.
Memberships Continue To Increase In Value. Every month that goes by, a subscription to my website increases in value to my customers.
I don’t drip content. Once you’re in, you have access to everything.
The amount of content is increasing continually, though. Every new video. A new webinar (I post the recordings for members). Anything I do goes into that private membership.
There’s more there for new customers to look at. I can hit more of their pain points. And my long time members know that if they decided to leave, they miss out next month.
- There’s Only 1 Product. I sell a membership in my online business. Nothing else.
I do a few promotions here and there. But it’s all headed toward the membership.
My Virtual Assistants don’t have to worry about learning new products. I don’t have to create them (I mentioned that, right?).
It’s so simple. 1 product. Two pricing plans – monthly and annual. Done deal.
My business had been established for 6 years when I made the full switch. We had tons of individual products.
I’ve added most of those products into the membership. There’s still a few to be moved over.
I still use all my old sales pages, vides, campaigns, ads… they just lead to one thing. Buy a membership.
If you’re not using a membership model for your online business, I strongly encourage you to consider making the change!
Have questions about using the Membership Model for your business? Post them in the comments!