Membership Geeks

Busting the 8 Most Common Myths about Membership Sites

Busting Membership Myths

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Every topic and every industry has its fair share of bad advice, outdated information and dubious “best practices”. There's certainly a lot of that out there when it comes to the subject of membership sites.

As with most subjects, it can be a bit of a minefield trying to manoeuvre around the misinformation. So, to help you out, we've broken down 8 of the most common ‘myths' about membership sites.

Everyone should run a membership site

There are plenty of internet marketers who will tell you that you NEED to be running a membership site. That everyone can and should do it.

Truth is, it's not for everyone.

Dealing with customer service issues, producing a regular stream of content, continuously having to come up with fresh ways of keeping the masses engaged and paying for your site – there can be a definite “grind” that won't be how many people want to spend their time.

Additionally you actually need to have something to teach, or a result that you can help people to achieve.

The pressure is on for you to deliver.

For some, it's a bit of a shock to the system, particularly if switching from a predominantly one on one, service based business.

If you build it, they will come

We all want to think that our membership site is the one thing the world is waiting for, and that it's arrival will be met with rapturous applause and ravenous swarms of customers just begging you to let them join up.

Reality is, nobody will notice.

Nobody will care.

Unless you give them a reason to.

Simply building your membership site isn't enough, the work doesn't end when your site launches – that's when the real work begins.

Membership sites are easy money

Passive income…

That holy grail of business.

Sure, membership sites can be a fantastic business to run as your recurring income builds month on month; however that doesn't mean it's easy, or that it's a “hit and run” cash-grab opportunity.

Unlike other forms of information products where the customer journey concludes with a purchase; with membership sites that's when your customer journey starts, and your responsibility is to continuously deliver a product that they'll pay for on an ongoing basis.

In fact 68% of membership owners spend 20-35 hours per week running their business.

So if you're looking to get rich quick with minimal effort then you probably want to pursue another option.

They're difficult to set up

We're not going to pretend that setting up your membership site is a walk in the park. However, it can be a lot easier than most people think.

Especially if your requirements are pretty straightforward.

While more comprehensive plugins like s2Member and Digital Access Pass are more suited to techie-types, if you just need a single membership level, basic projection and no over-complicated bells and whistles then even the biggest Luddites should be able to get things started with more user-friendly plugins such as:

If your needs are a bit more complicated, then a number of plugins that are a little less user-friendly do tend to have documentation available too so you don't need to rule those out.

THIS is the best membership plugin

Speaking of membership plugins it's time for one of our biggest pet peeves…

The idea that there is a “best” all-round membership plugin.

We see this come up regularly in Facebook groups and other communities. People ask for plugin recommendations and get flooded with responses from people adamantly declaring their particular favorite as the absolute best plugin on the market.

Often the requirements of the user are not discussed or questioned before giving the recommendation.

And usually they come from people with no real technical knowledge and extremely limited experience of building membership websites.

Or worse, people who are purely shilling their affiliate link, or the plugin that their buddy built.

There are a great deal of different membership plugins, each with totally different features that will be suitable for different people.

There's no one-size fits all solution.

The only way to determine what plugin is best for you is to figure out what features you need and then research the possible options.

By the way, if you haven't already seen it, we've got a pretty kick-ass plugin comparison chart available for exactly this purpose.

You need to have all of your content ready

The tendency when planning and creating your membership site is to want to create all of the content you'll be offering to your members in advance.

If your site is mainly based around one or more “epic” courses, then it would stand to reason that you'd write, record and produce these courses before you even think about opening your doors.

However it's entirely feasible to launch a membership site with absolutely no content whatsoever. And yes indeed, many people do just that.

If your membership offers live training, ongoing coaching or is primarily community based, then your product isn't pre-created, static content – it's content that is produced in real-time; so until you have members onboard you're not actually creating any content at all.

Your epic courses can use the same approach too.

Rather than recording hours of lessons, you could deliver the course in real-time to your first wave of members via live streaming. When it's done, edit those sessions into your static content for future members; so again you're not producing content until after you've picked up members and started making money.

You have to launch big

It's easy to get lost in dreams of of a 6-figure launch for your membership site – that perfect scenario where we open the doors to our humble little project only to find it's an instant sensation that has people falling over themselves to hand you bundles of cash.

If you read any article about product launches, or indeed most marketing blogs, it's easy to see where this fantasy comes from.

In reality, a membership site launch is often very different to a regular information product launch. It's not “one and done”. You're always in launch mode, you're always trying to attract members, constantly improving and building on your offer.

Sure, it's nice to have a huge raft of new members on the first day, but it's not essential. It can be just as effective a strategy to take a slow-burn, longer term approach with your membership site. This helps to establish and maintain the right sort of community dynamic, and also better handle the burden of customer support. There's no need to pack in as many members as you can on day 1.

Focus your attention on bringing in new members

Far too often people spend so much time worrying about getting people in the door, that they ignore what happens once they're in the building.

Much of the advice out there focuses on customer acquisition – generating traffic and leads, converting those to sales – however what comes next is even more important.

It typically costs around 4-6 times more to win a new customer than to retain an existing one. You need to make sure that your acquisition strategy is complimented by effective onboarding and retention strategies too.

This is something even more prevalent to membership sites. You have to be doing enough to make people stick around and keep paying. Selling a product that is all flash and no substance simply won't work long term.

Have you fallen foul of any of these membership site myths? What bad advice did you encounter when creating your site? As always we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below…

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