What Does It Take to Create and Manage a Membership Site?

In a recent webinar hosted by Steven Harrison of Reporter Connection and presented by Stu McLaren, the details of creating and managing a membership site were discussed. And, it isn't for the faint of heart.

With a membership site, you need to determine a 'salable' focus, similar to information products. It needs to be a topic (problem) that people need a solution to or want to learn how to do. If you have the know-how to help these people (your target market), then you're in a position to do a number of things:

1. Create information products in the form of ebooks, DIY ecourses, webinars, podcasts, videos, and so on.
2. Offer interactive e-classes. 
3. Offer one-on-one coaching.
4. Create a membership site.

Of the four options listed, creating and managing a membership site will probably be the most work.

Wondering why?

Well, with information products, you create them, then market and sell them. With interaction e-classes there is a time limit. Sometimes the class may be two weeks, six weeks, or three months. The time span is whatever you decide upon - there's a beginning and an end and a set amount of content involved.

With one-on-one coaching, you're dealing with specific individuals. This creates kind of a 'contained' atmosphere. There's no hard-pressed pressure.

So, What’s Involved in Creating and Managing a Membership Site?

Well, the answer to that all depends on the type of site you intend to create. While there are lots of different formats, here are three of the basics:

The ‘Full Service’ Membership Site

This site is the most amount of work and is an ongoing project. You’ll need to:

•    Provide a 'kick start' with a valuable core information
•    Provide  'new' and valuable information on regular basis (usually weekly)
•    Create and manage a member forum (optional, but advised)
•    Provide your input on hot topics
•    Provide webinars, videos, and/or audio to accommodate the  different preferences of the members
•    Send regular emails reminding the members to stop by and take advantage of the site
•    Have a website that can act as a membership site
•    Have a payment format in place
•    AND, you need to market the site, garner members, and keep the members on board happy and satisfied.

While this type of site is involved, it does usually offer the members more value for the cost. This is always a good thing. And, if you take care to plan it out and have lots of structure, including using templates for weekly and monthly activities, it should run smoothly and be a win-win situation for you and your members.

The Updated Information Site
This type of site is much easier than the ‘full service’ one. Information is uploaded to the site in various formats. You can use audio tutorials, video, ebooks, screen-sharing webinars, and so on. You can also offer various formats.

After the ‘core’ modules are in place, new monthly lessons, instructions, of information is uploaded.

With this type of site:

•    There isn’t a member forum to take care of
•    There isn’t an ‘open’ questions and answers, although you should respond to questions if at all possible
•    There isn’t a need for a complicated management system, a regular WordPress site should suffice
•    It can actually be done through something like Yahoo Groups
•    Member payment is usually yearly.

This is a good option if you don’t want too much work. Members are happy with the ‘core’ content and satisfied to stay because of the monthly updates.

The Simple Membership Site

The ‘simple site’ is just that, simple. It’s based on the ‘updated information’ site, mentioned above, but doesn’t offer any updated information. With this type of site, unless you have a membership forum, members will buy in for the information and leave. This is definitely geared toward a yearly membership fee.

These sites can be a great marketing tool to boost your authority status, earn some money, and build your list.

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