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So you’re planning to launch a membership service of some sort, and you need the power and reach of the internet. Obviously, you’ll need a website to accomplish this. Do you know how to run a successful membership website?

However, a membership website is much different than a regular website. It’s built for members and to cater to the needs of these people specifically. In addition to that, it should convince prospective members to join your service/program.

In this post, we’ll be taking a look at some tips for running a successful membership website. Membership sites can seem technically complex to most people, but the reality today is quite the opposite. Really, anyone can create a membership site using Weebly, a popular and easy to use website builder.

What’s important is how to plan and run a successful membership website, and we’ve boiled it down to a few key points for you in this post.

What Is A Membership Website?

Before delving into the strategies for running a successful membership website, let’s clarify what a membership website is. A membership website is a specialized online platform designed to cater to the needs of its registered members. Unlike regular websites, which are accessible to the public, membership sites restrict access to certain content, resources, or services to individuals who have subscribed or paid for a membership.

These websites often offer exclusive content, community forums, educational resources, or other valuable perks to their members. The goal is to create a sense of belonging and provide a unique experience for individuals who choose to become part of the community. Running a successful membership website involves not only technical considerations but also a deep understanding of member needs, engagement strategies, and ongoing evolution to stay competitive in the ever-changing online landscape. Now, let’s explore some key tips for ensuring the success of your membership website.

How To Create A Membership Website

Creating a membership website involves a strategic combination of planning, technical implementation, and ongoing engagement efforts. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you launch your own successful membership site:

1. Define Your Purpose and Target Audience:

  • Clearly outline the purpose of your membership website. Identify what exclusive content, services, or community features you will offer.
  • Define your target audience. Understanding their needs and preferences will guide the structure and content of your membership site.

2. Choose a Reliable Platform:

  • Select a suitable platform for building your membership website. Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Squarespace, or specialized platforms like MemberPress and Wild Apricot are popular choices.
  • Ensure the chosen platform supports membership functionality, payment gateways, and customizable design options.

3. Plan Your Membership Tiers:

  • Determine different membership levels or tiers based on the features and benefits you’ll offer at each level.
  • Create a pricing strategy that aligns with the value provided at each tier. Consider offering a free trial or a discounted initial membership to attract new users.

4. Set Up Payment Gateways:

  • Integrate secure and reliable payment gateways to handle member subscriptions and payments.
  • Offer various payment options, including monthly, quarterly, or yearly subscriptions, to cater to different user preferences.

5. Develop Compelling Content:

  • Create high-quality, exclusive content that adds value to your members. This could include articles, videos, webinars, or downloadable resources.
  • Regularly update and refresh your content to keep members engaged and subscribed.

6. Implement User Registration and Login:

  • Set up a user-friendly registration and login system. Collect essential information during registration while ensuring a seamless user experience.
  • Implement security measures to protect member data and ensure the privacy of your community.

7. Design an Engaging User Interface:

  • Design a visually appealing and intuitive user interface. Make navigation easy for members to find content and access features effortlessly.
  • Use branding elements that resonate with your target audience and convey the exclusive nature of the membership.

8. Enable Communication and Interaction:

  • Incorporate features for member interaction, such as forums, private messaging, or live chat.
  • Foster a sense of community by encouraging members to share experiences, ask questions, and connect with each other.

9. Promote Your Membership Website:

  • Develop a marketing strategy to promote your membership website. Utilize social media, email marketing, and other channels to reach your target audience.
  • Highlight the unique benefits of joining your membership to attract new members.

10. Monitor Analytics and Gather Feedback:

  • Implement analytics tools to track user engagement, membership growth, and popular content.
  • Regularly gather feedback from members through surveys or discussions to understand their needs and preferences.

11. Iterate and Improve:

  • Based on analytics and feedback, continuously iterate and improve your membership site. Add new features, update content, and adjust membership tiers to meet evolving member expectations.

By following these steps and staying attuned to the needs of your members, you can create a thriving and successful membership website that offers value and fosters a strong online community.

6 Tips To Help You Run A Successful Membership Website

1. Start With A MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

Don’t think that you’ll get everything right and built when you launch your membership website. The membership website design should be iterative and should be constantly improved by adding features, functionality and updating web design with feedback from customers.

Plus, spending all you have into creating complex functionality that most users won’t even need will be a waste of time and resources. Start off with a minimum viable product (MVP), something that your users can find value in but isn’t too complex to build. Web analytics insights can also help out to improve your website.

As time goes on, you can enhance features and add value to your membership program. There’s always time to improve, so focus on launching your site as economically as possible. There will be lots of improvements that lie ahead, no matter how much time you spend building the website before launch.

2. Interact With Members

Interacting with your customers will help you run a successful membership website.

If you’re running a one-man show, it’s much easier to interact with the members as they’ll know you personally. Most of the time, even sites like these become home to just content and resources that members can avail, but with no interaction with site owners.

For a truly engaging member experience, according to GetVoIP, consider having interactive sessions with members on a somewhat regular basis to keep them invested in your website.

Some Ways Of Engagement:

  • Create a private member-only Discord chat.
  • Live seminars where members can ask questions.
  • Create a private Facebook group to interact with members.
  • An email where members can reach out to you.

You don’t have to spend hours every day interacting with members. Set aside half an hour daily to interact with your members. This shows that you care about your members.

Having a weekly email newsletter sent out is also a great strategy to keep members interested. If you notice your Discord, seminar or Facebook group are quiet, ask questions and start conversations to get the ball rolling.

3. Evolve Your Website According To Member Needs

Your members aren’t going to be content with the features they get when they first join the website. Chances are, your website offers what they’re looking for at the moment they join the website.

Afterward, however, they’ll discover competitor sites that offer the same things as you do, but with some additional features and perks. You need to be aware of this and keep adding features, functionality, content or whatever else to make sure your members find new value in being members of your site.

Keep an eye on member engagement through. If you see it falling below routine levels, reach out to members and ask for what improvements they’d like to see going forward.

Don’t be afraid of asking members what they want. Delivering new value can be challenging, but it’s not impossible especially if it allows you to retain existing members.

Use your forums, Discord chat or private Facebook group to survey members on what they’d like to see from your website.

4. Offer Free Trial To New Members

Let’s face it, most of us are hesitant to buy things without trying them first. To make it easier for new members to test whatever your offering is, offer them a free trial.

Offering a trial allows you to dodge a lot of questions a user might have of your product, so your customer support team doesn’t have to deal with non-members so much.

If a free trial is too costly for you to offer, choose to offer a cut-price one-month membership to new members.

You can also offer a cut-price paid trial to users who you know are already interested. These could be from paid ad campaigns. For cold traffic, however, you should offer free trials.

5. Avoid Shoe-Horning All Members Under One Membership

Avoid put all customer's in the same membership level

Your membership should be divided into several levels or tiers. The most basic membership should have access to the basic features only, while more expensive plans can have advanced features included in them.

And there’s no harm in doing this either. Some users simply aren’t looking for advanced functionality. By segmenting your paid plans, you’re giving flexibility to users on choosing what they pay for.

This makes it easier for users on a budget to choose your membership.

6. Upsell

You may want to consider upselling to increase the average revenue generated per member. This could be in the form of add-ons or offering discounted yearly packages.

You can also upsell your ‘basic’ membership level users to upgrade to the premium membership level, with an incentive or two thrown in. This will increase the revenue you generate per member.

Monitor the users who are the most engaged with your website and services, and start upselling to them first. They’re the ones who are already familiar with the limitations of their plan and might be in the process of upgrading anyway.

Key Takeaways: Running a Successful Membership Website

1. Purposeful Planning:

  • Clearly define the purpose of your membership site and identify your target audience’s needs. Tailor your content and features to provide unique value.

2. Platform Selection:

  • Choose a reliable platform that supports membership functionality, secure payment gateways, and customizable design. Popular choices include WordPress, Squarespace, and specialized platforms like MemberPress.

3. Tiered Membership Structure:

  • Create distinct membership tiers with varying benefits. Develop a pricing strategy that reflects the value offered at each level, and consider offering free trials or discounted memberships for new users.

4. Compelling Content Creation:

  • Regularly produce high-quality, exclusive content that aligns with your members’ interests. Keep your offerings fresh and engaging to encourage continued subscriptions.

5. User-Friendly Interface:

  • Design an intuitive and visually appealing user interface that facilitates easy navigation. Ensure a seamless registration and login process, prioritizing member privacy and data security.

6. Community Building:

  • Foster a sense of community by incorporating interactive features such as forums, private messaging, or live chat. Encourage member interaction to create a vibrant and engaged community.

7. Effective Promotion:

  • Develop a robust marketing strategy to promote your membership site. Leverage social media, email marketing, and other channels to showcase the unique benefits of joining your community.

8. Analytic Insights and Feedback:

  • Implement analytics tools to track user engagement, membership growth, and popular content. Regularly gather feedback from members to understand their preferences and continuously improve your offerings.

9. Adaptability and Evolution:

  • Stay adaptable to changing member needs and evolving industry trends. Iterate and improve your site by adding features, updating content, and adjusting membership tiers to maintain relevance.

Launching and managing a membership website is an ongoing process that requires dedication and responsiveness to your community’s evolving expectations. By focusing on user experience, valuable content, and community engagement, you can create a thriving online space that not only attracts new members but retains them for the long term.

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