Launching a membership this year? Does it feel like every man / woman and their dog is launching one these days?
And of course there’s the lure of the elusive ‘passive income’….
TRUTH BOMB: If you’re looking for true passive income, then a membership is not gonna give you that! It’ll give you semi-passive income for sure, but the promise from the ‘6 figure coaches’ to ‘make money whilst you sleep’ is BS.
I should know. Last year, after building an engaged community, launching a local in person group – a space for ambitious women in business to meet each month, I launched my very first paid for membership club. Thrive Collective. Which now consists of a paid for membership and regular Meet Ups.
In this blog I share my top 7 learnings and tips for anyone considering a membership, planning a membership or needing to re-launch one.
You need an engaged audience. Fact. Before I launched I did all kind of research, spoke to membership owners, hung around ‘experts’. One school of thought…don’t launch until you’ve got an engaged audience and the other school…build your membership and then find an audience.
I went somewhere in the middle. An engaged Facebook Community (of only 800), a small email list, a face to face group, regular-ish face to face networking. Whilst my numbers were small, I’d built an engaged credible brand. But nothing in the thousands that ‘experts tell you need’.
TIP: Build an audience, but don’t get caught up in the vanity numbers. You’ll hear 1-2% conversion rates thrown about. I knew if my audience converted at that rate I would be in trouble. Luckily it didn’t. Because I’d focussed on quality of my audience. I’d regularly cull my Facebook group to make sure it was engaged.
What people say they’ll do, is different to what they do. It’s obvious, but when you’re in the thick of membership planning…you’ll no doubt be asking whether people would be interested in this that and the other. We’re a kind bunch aren’t we so we’ll probably say yes, we love it! Before I launched I ran various focus groups with potential members (who I thought would be ideal members) to get honest, valuable and fruitful feedback. The feedback was SO valuable. Throwing up feedback and ideas I hadn’t even considered.
Don’t launch with perfect! I know, coming from a recovering perfectionist this is insane. I was due to launch my membership in September. But after several focus groups, and a conversation with my pragmatic husband I decided to launch with the minimum content in June and let my founding members help shape the membership. I could have waited for perfect…but what if members didn’t want my perfect. A waste of time and energy!
Have a great launch plan. I absolute love how business owners are going out there and launching their memberships. I get it, it looks like easy money. They love what they do, and think everyone will want to buy. Whilst I launched earlier than expected, I still had time to put in place a launch strategy. Something that I’m enjoying passing on to my clients and helping others do the same. Make sure you have one!
You can change your mind! Over the past 8 months, I’d set out my plans. But I’ve changed my mind along the way. I’ve changed the pricing as my other businesses have evolved. I started the membership thinking I’d keep it open the whole time (I don’t. I’ll be opening and closing during 2020…it’s closed at the moment incase you’re wondering). I’d done my research on the pros and cons of both. Like anything, it’s your own business and it’s ok to make changes. And you will. I promise.
It’s bl**dy hard work! Getting it launched, keeping engagement within the membership high, dealing with cancelled subscriptions, creating ongoing content…it’s been much harder than I ever imagined.
I really hope some of these tips help. I’d love to hear – drop me a line with your feedback.
Towards the end of 2019 I helped a number of women with their membership and online course plans. It’s a great way to introduce new ways of working and revenue into a business, but I’m seeing many owners think they can turn their free Facebook group into a paid for group….your ideal clients invariably have so many options available to them that they need something more to get them to pop in their credit card details.
Oh…TIP NUMBER SEVEN. There are so many platforms to build memberships on (I’m on Memberpress) and I know it’s tempting to host everything on a Facebook group. This is a massive risk in my view. Like relying on social media for your marketing, you’re using someone elses platform. It’s a risk. Avoid it!
If you need help with your membership plans, let’s arrange a discovery call. And I’ve also got a whole module where I cover memberships, online courses and scaling your business in my brand new Master your Marketing 6 months programme that gets started in February 2020. Click here for more info.
I’m Sam Dixon, founder of Thrive With Sam Dixon, a Marketing Consultant to ambitious businesswomen who want to launch, grow and scale their business with flexible marketing support.
For a free 30 minute discovery call get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org or come join Thrive Collective, my monthly membership community. JOIN HERE.