The online business realm has spawned a lot of opportunities for people who wish to create an income source which was otherwise hard to achieve or simply unavailable before the explosion of the Internet.
With the advent of the web and the technologies which have come with it, membership sites are one of the most effective ways to build a business on the internet.
Membership sites (when they are done well) are a solid way to create and maintain a regular income stream.
This is because the concept of such sites require people to subscribe to your content/service/product etc for recurring periods. As the owner of a membership site you also have the opportunity to foster a productive relationship with your members and build on that to offer more products or services and hence expand on your business.
So apart from membership sites being advantageous for the owner of the site, they are also beneficial for the clients too. Online membership sites have quickly become an alternative and quite often much cheaper way for people to get their educational, motivational and entertainment content.
There are now a myriad of quality online membership sites which offer a range of material that provide quality educational or entertainment services or products.
For instance a growing number of people are now largely turning to the internet for the purposes of self education and attainment of new skills. The global economy has seen a massive shift in the paradigm of what it means to have a job and gone are the days of working for the same company till retirement.
The average person today needs to re-skill more often or at least keep pace with the ever changing job market because of things like outsourcing to cheaper labor, and a lot of the time it is not financially viable for people to spend thousands of dollars on technical courses in order to gain new skills.
Therefore people are now turning to the internet to gain skills which they will need for their ever changing professional future, and membership sites are one of the relatively cheaper avenues people are using to acquire these skills.
For example a site like lynda.com is a classic membership site which offers people a reasonably cheap but high quality source of educational material and tutorials which would otherwise cost far more if someone had enrolled in conventional educational institutions.
Likewise, membership sites are also ideal for the hobby and entertainment niches in the online world. Many people pursue hobbies outside of their fast-paced work environment, and hence they are willing to pay for something which they feel will enrich their lives.
Membership sites which cater for hobbies often do quite well as an online business because they usually appeal to peoples’ passions and most marketers are aware of the value of such a target market because people don’t usually purchase on rational grounds but instead they buy based on emotional factors.
For example if you are a master poker player you could quite easily set up a membership site which offers pay-per-view content to your members where they can learn various techniques and strategies about playing poker.
The beauty of this business model is that your customer base is not limited to your local area and the scalability is enormous.
Are Membership Sites Capable of Generating Passive Income Too?
The nature of online membership sites means that they are also a great candidate for generating passive income. Passive income generation has almost become the holy grail of the internet realm and people are very attracted to the possibility of earning money automatically for very little ongoing work.
Depending on how you design your membership site you can definitely achieve some form of passive income from it. The key with all good businesses – especially those that generate passive income, is in the quality of their products or services.
Offering a quality product or service to your members usually involves quite a lot of initial groundwork, but this almost always pays very good dividends in the long run and can pave the way for how well your membership site generates passive income for you.
For example if you are teaching people public speaking skills via a series of video tutorials which are streamed from your membership site, the initial work involved in producing the videos and other material will obviously take some time. But the long term value of offering a quality and in-demand service is priceless for your business.
One of the best ways to increase the passive income of your sites is to try and leave most of your promotions to others via affiliate sales. This aspect of marketing your site via your own affiliates is a classic passive income model. But as mentioned previously, the initial promotion and work to get your site ranking well with some quality targeted traffic will usually involve some effort and work on your part.
In most cases “passive income” is actually a misnomer as far as internet businesses go because you will invariably need to keep your content/product/software fresh due to the rapidly changing nature of information, technology and trends.
So as a membership site owner who wishes to maintain the popularity and success of your site, you would be best served to occasionally be tweaking your content and services and creating new products for your members so that you are a step ahead of your competitors.