Ready to start or grow your membership site?
Not only does a successful membership site give you recurring revenue every month, but there are countless other membership site benefits. For example: the freedom to build a business around your passions, recognition as a thought leader in your space, and the ability to build a large and diverse community of users who care as much as you do about your topic.
But creating a membership site won’t ensure you have a flood of new members begging to join. For that you need to understand what people want, create a simple membership script, and create effective membership marketing.
Keep reading for a close look at what it takes to fill up your membership site starting today.
It’s easier than you think
For many knowledge entrepreneurs, membership sites are a challenge. They’ve built the membership area with an all-in-one platform like Kajabi, but they struggle to invite people to join.
Selling can be uncomfortable as well, especially if you’ve never done it.
If that’s how you feel, you’re probably doing it the hard way, with pushy marketing messages, benefits that your members don’t care about, and “all about me” marketing.
Here’s what you need to know: If you have information, solutions, or answers that people are looking for, you don’t have to be pushy. You can simply tell them about your membership site, and they’ll welcome the opportunity to learn more about it.
The easiest way to do that is to develop a membership site script that you can use anytime you talk about your membership. It quickly describes your membership, who you help, and how you help them.
In a minute, we’ll give you a simple template you can use to create your script. But first, let’s look at why people join and what they’re willing to pay for on a monthly basis.
What members want from your membership site
Whether you have an established membership site or are creating a new membership site, you have one goal: to create a steady stream of new members who enrich the membership community and are excited to be part of the group.
For that, you have to offer benefits that your members care about. Here are the top seven reasons people join a membership.
One of the main reasons people join membership sites is to learn something. Membership sites typically include training plus a community, where members can ask questions, get feedback, test themselves, and hang out with people who have similar interests.
To attract people who are focused on learning and mastery, start by illustrating step-by-step how your membership takes them from where they are to where they want to be. You can include testimonials from previous students, as well as outlining the sheer depth of information that they’ll have once they join.
New or better results
A powerful motivator for joining a membership site is the promise of results. This is the number-one sales approach for organizations in the fitness and health industry. But it works just as well for knowledge businesses.
Your ideal customer has an end goal in mind, something they care deeply about achieving. They're not afraid of putting in the effort to get there. They just need to be shown what to do and how to do it. That's where your membership comes in.
To get these people to join a membership, you’ll need to show them student results or a typical before-and-after story. You want to highlight the success people find after signing up and implementing your training.
Support and accountability
Support is one of the biggest membership site benefits. Whether it comes from you and your team or from fellow members (or both), support — and by extension, accountability — is an ideal way to ensure your members achieve their goals.
You need to create tangible ways of providing support. For instance, you might post daily prompts in the membership area or promise to be available at certain times. You might offer Q&A sessions or monthly training sessions. You may even offer email support.
Once you can validate that your members get real support for their pressing problems, you can promise that they’ll be “supported every step of the way.” As a member, they have a place to engage with their peers, ask questions, and get answers. This reassures them that their training and educational growth is in good hands (yours).
Keep in mind, when you promise support, you aren’t talking about the value of community or networking — though both of these are important. Instead, you’re focusing on the fact that you give your members access to you, your team, and people just like them, going through a similar experience. So they can get advice and feedback from people who have "been there, done that."
Identity and belonging
If a membership site is the vehicle that drives people towards the results they want, the community is its engine! A community really is that powerful!
Communities are often thought of as support groups, but that’s not their sole, or even their best, purpose. Many of your members value the identity they gain as members. It helps them show off their interest in and commitment to your topic. It also gives them a sense of belonging, because they know they don’t have to figure everything out alone.
When inviting people to your membership site, it’s important to communicate the full value of your community. Let prospects know they’re joining a rich community of like-minded people.
Access to an expert they respect
For many members, the education and community aspects of membership are secondary to the BIG benefit of having access to you. This is especially true If you’re the name to know in your industry and already have an established following.
Use this to your advantage when you promote your membership site. When you’re promoting your membership, let prospects know that this is a rare opportunity to get direct access to a recognized expert in the field.
Note: You may be surprised at how much people are willing to pay to brainstorm or ask questions of an expert in their field. Depending on the breadth and depth of your knowledge, you may be a terrific resource for people who crave this type of expert guidance, making this one of your strongest sales points.
For some people, curiosity is a big motivator. They may be new to a topic and want to dive into the deep end to learn everything as quickly as possible. Or they’re intrigued by your offer and simply want to peek behind the curtain to see how it works.
These aren’t always your best customers, because once their curiosity is sated, they may cancel their membership. So you need to find a way to build their long-term commitment once they’ve joined.
To sell to these people, whet their appetite (and encourage them to stick around) by enticing them with things like:
- Step-by-step beginner's guides
- Basic how-to videos
- Introductions to the terminology used in your niche
With so much helpful material waiting inside, their curiosity will be sated (for the moment). They’ll be able to dig deeper into their passion, giving you an opportunity to keep them satisfied over the long haul.
An easy button
Sometimes, people join a membership site not for the training or access to the experts. They join because you’re one of the few people who has done the legwork for them.
If you have access to hard-to-find research, case studies, or statistics, that information is a selling point. If you provide member perks that aren’t available anywhere else, members will flock to you to access those perks.
For these people, put together reports, complete with graphics, charts, and explanations of what it all means. Let prospects know how rare this information is.
How to attract more users to your membership website
Now that we know the key motivators for joining a membership site, the next question becomes, "How do I get more people to join my membership?"
Here are a few of the best membership marketing strategies for filling up your membership site.
Host a live webinar
A live webinar can help you attract your best prospects and give them a taste of what they’ll get in your membership.
Webinars are digital events that offer free training and the opportunity to learn more about your course or special offer. The very act of hosting a webinar positions you as an expert in your niche. But you can get equal credibility by appearing as a guest on someone else’s webinar.
Generally, after teaching the audience something they want to know, you introduce your membership site and review the benefits of joining.
Using Events, a building block in Kajabi, you can host webinars from within your Kajabi website. You can even host a virtual summit and have guest speakers.
To set up an Event, select “Events” in the Marketing Suite in your Kajabi admin area. Give your Event a name. Select the date and time of the event. Then generate excitement by sending out emails at predefined times to help drum up interest in what you have to share.
With Kajabi Funnels, much of the work of creating a marketing campaign for your webinar is already done for you. If you choose this pre-defined pipeline, Kajabi automatically creates all of the pages associated with hosting a webinar, including the registration page, thank-you page, and the webinar page where your live event will take place.
Alternatively, you can create your own Automation. Just choose from a list of marketing tasks (like sending them an email) that you want to trigger when someone registers for your webinar.
Offer fantastic value on your blog
Another excellent strategy for getting people to join your membership site is to offer tremendous value on your blog. This establishes you as a thought leader in your niche, boosting your authority and credibility as a teacher.
Kajabi makes it easy to publish a blog on your website. Simply write your first article. Kajabi will then walk you through the process of turning it into a full-fledged blog with posts appearing in reverse chronological order.
As with other Kajabi features, the blog is included free as part of the website builder suite. You can also sprinkle call-to-action buttons throughout your blog, introducing readers to your membership site. If they enjoy the quality of your blog and the value that you share for free, it's natural that they'll be interested in getting the added value of your paid membership.
Provide a payment plan option
One of the biggest objections to joining a membership — even when they’re fully persuaded by a flawless pitch — is the pricing. The solution for many experts is to lower their price, but that’s not always the best way to handle pricing objections.
You should never discount yourself or the knowledge you share by slashing prices. Not only can you end up with a membership site that’s no longer profitable, you inadvertently communicate that you don’t believe in the value of your offer.
The last thing you want is to compete with other membership sites in a race-to-the-bottom, with price as the deciding factor.
Instead, consider offering your members a payment plan. How much could they save if they purchase annually or semi-annually? You have the flexibility to do this and much more with Kajabi's flexible payment options.
Offer a free trial
A free trial is one of the best ways to give your prospects a taste of your member benefits without having to commit up-front. Kajabi lets you offer a trial period of anywhere from one to 60 days from within the membership site management system.
And you can set it up in minutes. In Products > Offers, create a new offer, and restrict access to the number of days in your trial.
Create a simple membership script
You need to have an elevator pitch that explains your membership site and its value in a few short sentences. Here’s a simple membership script that you can use as a template:
[My membership] is a [quick description] membership group for [description of your ideal member]. Our mission is to [big bold promise]. We do that through [your method].
Once you share this simple membership script, you need to be quiet. Let them talk. Let them ask questions.
Your job at this point is to listen. If the prospect raises objections, address them. But don’t push.
If they’re a good fit, they'll ask you how they can join. And if the timing isn’t right, they’ll likely come back to you when they’re ready to buy.
The rules for creating your membership site script:
- Keep it simple.
- Focus on the problem you solve.
- Learn it by rote, so you can deliver it smoothly and easily.
You can also include this at the end of any marketing videos you produce. YouTubers or podcasters often will have a quick pitch at the end of their videos or podcast episodes to prompt people to join. You may also want to add a modified version and a link in your video or episode description.
Membership marketing that actually works
Now that you understand why people are motivated to join a membership site and have some strategies for asking people to join, the last step is to launch your membership marketing campaign.
Let’s look at five ways to promote your membership. Choose one, or mix and match them to suit your needs and those of your members.
1. Offer a free trial as a downsell
If people decline to join your membership site, even with the option of a payment plan, consider offering a free trial as a downsell. People often resist joining a gated community, fearing they won’t find enough value in it.
A free trial lets them see what's inside and can get them hooked on the benefits of full membership.
2. Create a waiting list
A waiting list promotes an idea of scarcity and FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out: No one wants to be left behind or out of the loop. It’s also a smart way to introduce yourself and showcase your expertise, positioning you as a credible authority in your niche.
If you have an established membership site, a waiting list not only sends the message that your membership is in high demand, it reassures prospects that they won't miss out when you open the doors to new members again.
If you’re creating a new membership, a waiting list can help you build a list of prospects before you launch. To do this, build your website, and post a “coming soon” message on the home page. Then ask people to sign up to be notified when you’re ready to accept members.
Note: It’s a good idea to offer low-cost or no-cost courses or guides to anyone who joins the waiting list. This gives them a taste of the training you offer. So when the doors finally open, they'll be excited to join.
3. Open the doors to the public, but only seasonally
Membership sites in every niche use this marketing strategy to skyrocket their growth. The idea is to restrict membership to buyers of your courses. Everyone else must wait for your annual or semiannual membership drive to gain access.
This same method is commonly used in the retail world. VIP shoppers get a first look at soon-to-be released products or have special shopping hours, while the rest of the public has to wait until the doors open. Take this tried and true method of promotion and apply it to your membership site.
A seasonal launch helps drum up excitement (particularly if you have a mailing list of interested prospects that have signed up for a freebie but have never bought a course).
To put this strategy to work, let people know that you’re offering a limited-time opportunity to join. Promote the idea that they’ll become a community "insider" and someone who gets access to things that ordinary, non-members don't.
4. Create splinter courses
Whether you've already created a membership site or you're still in the planning stages, splinter courses can be a great way to entice people to take the next step to join.
A splinter course lets you "splinter off" some of your training from your membership site and offer it as a one-off course purchase. Similarly, you may create a lite version for non-members, with a pro version available if they join your membership.
Much like a free trial, a splinter course gives people an idea of what they can expect from your membership, without committing to a monthly fee. They can essentially try before they buy and see if they want to take the next step.
5. Upsell a private invitation
Just as you can downsell a free trial to your membership site, you can also upsell a private invitation to anyone who has taken one of your courses in the past. An email with a gentle reminder that they’re missing out on the added value of membership may be enough to get them to take action.
This type of campaign tells your students that you care about their success and want to help them continue to grow. It also keeps you top-of-mind with your prospects.
It works well with an established membership. A percentage of students may have declined your membership offer in the past, but they’re ready to join now. They only need you to send a private invitation (and perhaps a discount on their first month of membership).
But this strategy works equally well for a new membership site. The idea is to invite your followers and/or previous students to become founding members of your membership site.
Your next steps: creating and growing a membership site
A membership site is one of the best methods to stabilize your revenue as a knowledge entrepreneur. You can still create and launch courses, but a successful membership site removes the pressure of having to launch every few months.
The key is to create a simple membership script and some membership marketing campaigns that you can turn on and off at will.
Whether you want to create live events like virtual summits and webinars, or build advanced automations that bring you new members on autopilot, the tools you need to run a successful membership site are integrated into your Kajabi membership.
Learn more and try Kajabi for 14 days absolutely free to see how you can create a membership site that is built to perform and thrive!
Join us for live Q&A webinars every day, Monday through Friday. Register today to learn everything you need to know to succeed as a knowledge entrepreneur, including selling products, Kajabi themes, pipelines, webinars, and the Kajabi Partner Program.