From the countless number of business opportunities available to you on the Internet, membership sites can be one of the most rewarding and profitable business models out there. Apart from the obvious benefit of a reasonably stable income, membership sites can serve as a tremendous launch pad for your future products and services.
Once you’ve successfully built a membership site and managed to build a solid membership base, you will need to focus on the task of not only continuing to grow your business, but more importantly, maintaining the level you have already reached.
Below I’ve listed some of the common challenges and concerns which many membership owners will face when running their membership site and I’ve provided some brief tips on how to address these concerns.
1) According to statistics, an average member cancels after 3 months
As we’ve already mentioned, maintaining your current membership base is a common challenge which membership site owners will face.
Various research statistics show that members will usually cancel their subscription after a few months. This usually happens for various reasons but the most common is that those who choose to leave are doing so primarily because they believe they are not receiving anything of value anymore.
Quality membership sites have the least attrition rates because they are constantly offering new, fresh and quality products and services to their members. Therefore, your main aim as the site owner is to keep your members happy by over-delivering and providing value with your products and services.
For example if you own an Internet marketing membership site which has a new video or course each month which helps people make money for their own businesses, the chances are that your members will be only too happy to continue to be your client.
2) You will need to continually create and offer quality products and services to retain your members
This point follows on from the one above in that you have to continuously create reasons for why your members should continue to keep their subscriptions active with you.
If the content is not fresh and does not provide value and usefulness for your customers, it would not be financially viable for them to stay.
Sometimes owners of membership sites can get overwhelmed by the thought of continuously being able to create quality yet useful content. However, if it’s one thing the Internet has revolutionized, it is the easy access to skilled labor for a reasonable price. What I’m referring to is using freelancers to do some of the leg-work for your business.
Finding a freelancer is the easy bit, but finding a quality freelancer who fits your business ethic and is reliable and provides you with value for money is a bit more challenging. But they are out there and it is up to you to perform your due diligence and try a few people out from the myriad of freelancer sites on the web.
Once you’ve found a freelancer you are happy with, try to work out a permanent or semi-permanent arrangement with them so that you have a regular source of quality material which you can continuously provide to your members.
3) Conversion rates of membership sites can be lower than other online businesses
Due to the regular payment cycles inherent in membership sites, this cost aspect can sometimes be perceived negatively by potential clients. That is, some people are hesitant to commit long term to something they are not sure will provide them with what they are looking for.
To overcome these barriers, you can do a few things. For example, you can offer a free trial period so your clients can get a taste of your products and then automatically start billing them after the trial is over. This way you leave the onus on your customer to either continue paying or choosing to opt out.
Another effective strategy is to offer mini subscription products which have a short time span of a few months or weeks. This psychologically has a different and sometimes more positive effect on the buyer because they have the promise of a finish date.
Once the mini subscription is over, you can offer them an “upgrade” or “graduate” program which will also be another mini subscription product. You can repeat this indefinitely and in doing so you are creating the effect that your members are progressing up the food chain with every subscription program.
An important thing to keep in mind is that you should always give your customers the option of cancelling should they wish to do so.
4) You frequently have to deal with scammers, product theft and members abusing their terms and conditions
The internet provides everyone with amazing opportunities to succeed but unfortunately it also offers an avenue for the less than ethical-minded.
There will be instances where you may get members who use fake credit card credentials to steal your material and offer it somewhere else on the web. Or you may get others who buy one membership account and then share it amongst a group of people.
There are a few things you can do to minimize this kind of behaviour and there’s software products out there which can track ip addresses and prevent more than one user from being logged into the system at the same time.
You can also “blacklist” and ban members on various criteria such as IP address.
Unfortunately these types of things are something which you will have to accept as being part of the whole internet environment, and whilst taking the necessary precautions to minimize the effects on your business your main focus should be on the maintenance and expansion of your business and being able to provide value and quality to your members.