Chris Kent talks memberships.
Well, membership websites is something that I’ve been looking at probably now for a year, 18 months.
And I think it was at the European Infusionsoft conference. We, actually spoke there in Spain last year, along with a couple of other speakers and one was a membership site expert. And that kind of pricked my ears up because I was looking for way to leverage my content. And obviously we had the book which was almost finished, we had a huge amount of content, but then how did you get that content into the hands of the consumer?
Problem with the book is people don’t want to read it. You know, you spend two and a half years writing a book. You’re really proud of it, and people don’t actually want to read it, they want to know what’s inside it, which is where the training course has come in.
And how’d you get people to commit to a training course and how do you continue to interact with them?
And there’s various pricing models that you can talk about. The single payment or is the recurring monthly payment.
And, you know, things like Netflix, you can, you can be a member of Netflix and you can benefit from the whole bunch of stuff they have to offer for as long as you pay your monthly subscription.
And I think in today’s environment, certainly for entrepreneurs, because they’ve got such a long, complicated journey to travel,if we can support them for part of that journey, we have to accept that they will not be our customers for the rest of our living lives.
You know, there’ll be our customers for a while. So once they’re in the zone where we can help them, have you make it as easy as possible for us to help them and as long as they’re getting benefit, they kind of stick with us and eventually they’ll drop off and move on to the other part, which is actually a good thing, because if we’ve done our job properly, they no longer need us.
And that’s an attitude I took when I was consulting and I went in to do a job. And when that job was done, I was no longer needed, which meant I did a good job. And it kind of didn’t resonate with many of my colleagues who thought documentation was bad for repeat business. And I thought documentation is a good thing for new opportunity. And so it’s kind of a mindset.
So a membership site is a good way of having lots of content and then drip feeding that content to your target audience over a period of time, and to make that content relevant to the stage in their customer journey, through your business and also their journey through their own business.
So for example, there is no point me talking to a startup business about automation. They don’t want Infusionsoft at that point because it would blow their mind once they’ve grown and they can’t manage their growth, and they’ve got lots of problems, Infusionsoft, or any automation system then becomes a solution to the problems they have at that time.
So a membership site really does allow you to do a couple of things.
One is to set out your stall in a number of bite sized chunks, and then to allow your customers to consume it in bite sized chunks that they can then take advantage of.
And when you have a lot of people in the same zone at the same time, you’ve got a very niche target market. So a membership website can be used if you’re using it with some kind of behavioural analytical tool like Infusionsoft, then you know what stage of the journey they’re at. And then you can recommend now you are at this stage, that’s the next stage for you? And here’s the products that we have to offer you when you want to go through that.
And by the way, it’s not going to cost you anymore because we can just upgrade your membership. Okay. It might be an extra 20 pound a month, but look, there’s thousands of pounds with the value.
And marketing and branding is all about perception. And if the perceived value is higher than the monetary exchange, they’re going to stay with you longer.
So as long as you can keep servicing their need and their next need, then you’ve got a captive audience. And as long as you service that captive audience, well, now you can extend the lifetime value of the customer. And that’s really how we are looking to use membership sites.
And our membership site we’re looking to get people in the early stage, we’ve got three segments.
(1) Those who would like to start a business.
(2) Those who have started a business and are in the early stages of up to two years of development
(3) And those who are established, who are more than two years old, and we have sub segments within those.
So if I can capture you at the early stage, in my stage one, then as you grow, I’ll have the next product to help you grow and you’ll stay with me for the longer term, which is great. That’s my ideal scenario.
And there will come a point in time when I’ve taught you everything that I want to teach you, obviously I could teach you an awful lot more, but it’s not good use of the leverage of my time. And then maybe another expert who is an expert in the next area that you want to go to is the place for you to go.
Equally if you’ve already gone part of your journey and you’re maybe an established business, while we can certainly add some value to you at that stage, but we recognise that your lifetime value to us is going to be less the value of what we have to offer is higher.
So therefore, maybe a premium membership, because we’ve got things which would directly affect your business. And you can see on your bottom line is easier to cost justify.
So different membership levels, different pricing structures and also using the membership website itself as a lead magnet, which is what we’re doing, because I believe that every entrepreneur deserves a fighting chance in marketing, which is the fighting chance I didn’t have the start of my career. I felt because I didn’t know anything about marketing.
So taking a slightly philanthropic point of view is I want to give something back. We are going to provide our entry level customers, are our basic members, with some free valuable content, which will start them on their journey.
Then hopefully they’ll go and buy the rest because they’ve experienced it.
But the other key thing with a membership site is the community. And it’s a way that you can manage all your customers. And if you go down the social aspects of the membership size, where you have your equivalence of the Facebook groups inside the membership sites, then you’ve got to control of your community.
Now the benefit there, and we’ve had an example just recently where we’ve been following somebody on Instagram, she built a whole business on Instagram had hundreds of thousands of followers, Instagram shifted down and she lost a business just like that. Took her ages to fight and get it back by which time the brand damage was done.
If you’ve got all your prospects inside your membership site, then that you are in control of the communication channels. It doesn’t mean to say that you don’t have a Facebook or Instagram group as well. You can, but it’s not the primary thing.
So what we intend to use Facebook for is for our prospects and customers to talk to our suspects. These are people who are at the very bottom of the loyalty ladder, but we want our prospects and customers inside the membership website.
There’s a huge opportunity in the membership sites space for a couple of reasons.
Memberships as business continuity
First is we are in a very fluid marketplace. Now marketers are in huge demand, short supply turnover of staff for any business is going to be a challenge. And I’ve certainly been in jobs where I’ve been told no, so and so’s just left. Can you take over? Well can I talk to so and so? No, because they’ve just left, so succession planning.
If you’ve got that person’s knowledge that tacit knowledge trapped inside a memberships website through, for example, a set of procedures or documentation and even tutorial videos or some courses or something which are internal and very specific to your business, you then become less dependent on the person who’s leaving – who’s got 1,001 things to do before they leave, training the new recruit who is only got until Friday to catch up, and then they never hit the ground running and your business suffers because you don’t have the succession there.
If you can trap that tacit knowledge, put it inside a membership website and then add to it as time goes on and make it part of people’s job to put their knowledge onto the membership website.
And it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, like writing a hundred page documents or anything. It can be a short video. I mean, basically everything we do for external marketing, we can do for internal marketing and trap knowledge. (We talked about education as part of the marketing process earlier), you can do that and trap it within the membership websites.
So if you’ve got maybe a relatively complicated system and looking at my past Oracle ERP system was pretty complicated and we had write the manuals for, for that, when we went to client sites, it would have been wonderful if we could have had videos and just done demonstrations as it’s so common now with the likes of Camtasia and recording screenshots and stuff, store that inside a membership website, and it’s only accessible to the members of your company.
So it’s a way of managing the whole of your customer, your internal framework of knowledge. So that’s an area that I would encourage every company to look at is certainly something that we’ll be looking at moving forward, because you know, we, aren’t going to remain in the micro-business space.
And we’re going to have to work with contractors and that’s going to be, that is part of our business model. We need our contractors to get up to speed. Well, I don’t want to take three days of my time to train them, to do some work for me is not a good use, but I’m only gonna be telling them all the same thing that I’m telling everybody else, so that knowledge will be in the internal membership website.
That’s one really good use for membership sites as I see it.
So if you’re in the membership building website space, you know, there’s huge opportunity there.
Memberships for community building
The other is as a tool for your own business to get your prospects in early and build a community, we are kind of conditioned in the marketing world to think, Oh, we need to have massive SEO, massive traffic, et cetera, to get millions of customers and maybe a small percentage of those buyers.
Well, I would challenge that model and say, what, if you focus more time on a smaller number of customers and got a higher conversion rate. And then for those, for those customers to then talk about your business and get new customers through, through word of mouth channels.
So a membership website is a good way of building that community of customers, community of prospects and customers, because we’re not just in the business talking to the consumer era, we’re also in the social selling era, social selling era where customers talk to each other and one of the biggest source of buyer information now is what other people think of you, which is where social media reviews and reviews sites and what every comes in.
So a membership site can be used to build and manage that community of prospects and customers as well.
A membership site is the technology that allows you to deliver your content on a drip feed and managed basis and build community around it. If you see it in those terms is just a platform. It’s the content that matters to your target audience.
Just as I can put a course away marketing or defining your target audience or copywriting on my website, you could put a course, if you’re into a horse healing or dog training, you can do exactly the same thing with your content because the content will still be video, text or audio based, which you store as files within your membership website, the same concepts applies, it’s a generic model.
So whatever industry you’re in, you can use a membership site to scale up your business because most of our businesses are in some way, shape or form sharing knowledge and delivering that knowledge as part of all of an experience.
Now, as a training company, we’ve got the Academy focused membership website, which is where we deliver most of our content. Some of that content will be done in a face to face environment, but if you want access to all the resources that back up the face to face experience, you must be a member of the membership website. So that’s the way that you can use it, regardless of the industry that you’re in.
You can still use the same model. I would say that if you don’t have a technical background, then this is one area where you need to get a specialist help. It’s a very different skill set to build a membership website than it is just to do kind of a basic brochure website, there’s a hell of a lot more to it, technically involved.
Because you have to handle membership levels payments, what if their credit card doesn’t renew, what if it bounces, do you stop their subscription? How would you manage all that?
So if you don’t have the technical skills to do it, then I strongly recommend you find an expert to build a platform for you or go with some kind of software as a service platform. And then you focus on the content because ultimately it’s your content that you will be selling and you need to market that.
And marketing is a huge skill, as we know, it covers lots of aspects. So that’s where I would encourage people to spend their time. But if you are technically capable, then there are several options out there. You need to finish, obviously changing all the time.
Recommendations from Chris
Two that I’ve looked at in quite some detail are; Access Ali and Memberium. And I’ve chosen to go with Memberium because of the Infusionsoft integration and from what I’ve seen and comments on various groups, I’ve noticed that Memberium users are singing its praises.
And I think it’s justified, I’ve played with the technology behind it. I’m just continually amazed at what I see there, what I can do with it. It just opens up new possibilities.
So I would say Memberium for me has been by far the best choice for my membership website, because it allows me to do so much more than just deliver content, the link with Infusionsoft and the link with LearnDash, which is the learning management system that links to Infusionsoft.
Those are both WordPress related plugin, so Memberium and LearnDash are WordPress plugins. Link that with Infusionsoft and when somebody watches a video, you tag them, they’ve watched video two, and then that goes into your Infusionsoft.
You know, the customer, you can track their behaviour if they don’t do anything for a while, you can send them a reminder.
If they do a lot of things quickly, you can reward them and maybe give them a free bonus and encourage them, which is part of the well factor of lifecycle marketing. There’s so much more that you can do with them.
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