If the past 18 months has taught us anything, it’s that we need to find new ways to diversify our businesses and safeguard our incomes.
This is why launching membership sites has become such a popular way for social media managers to help more clients and enjoy a regular monthly income.
Our own membership The Inner Hub – which was launched at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020 – was created to support social media managers to grow their businesses. We now have more than 500 members.
Over the past year we’ve learned a lot about running a thriving membership and today we’re going to share it with you.
Why have a membership site?
Launching a membership is a fantastic way to offer your services to more clients and guarantee a recurring revenue stream.
If you’ve already reached capacity in terms of how many clients you can take on, or want to help businesses who can’t currently afford your 1:1 services, then a membership is perfect.
Memberships give you business stability and personal freedom. But don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re an easy way to make cash. They’re not.
Memberships take time and dedication and you have to be passionate about the topic because you’re going to be creating a lot of content about it for years to come.
The pros and cons of launching a membership
Let’s start with the benefits of running a membership site.
Number one, regular money.
The beauty of a membership is that people are paying you every single month so you’re not constantly starting from zero. That’s a great feeling.
You can also forget about depending on a handful of clients whose situation could change at any time.
Theoretically, there’s no limit to how many people can join your membership so the sky’s the limit when it comes to potential earnings.
But running a membership isn’t for everyone. Let’s look at some of the downsides.
Membership sites take time, energy and financial investment.
And you have to show up every single month no matter what else is happening in your life.
You can’t decide to take a break if life gets busy or your motivation dips. When people are paying you, you have to deliver.
Another thing to consider is that, although it’s possible to launch a membership on your own, you’ll need to invest in a team if you’re going to scale.
It can be hard to let go and trust others to do the job as well as you. But, as an absolute minimum we’d recommend finding a really great VA who can help you with the admin tasks.
Finally, you need to think about the selling aspect of running a membership.
Even if you have a low price-point, people can be hesitant about signing up to something on a monthly basis.
Finding and retaining members can be draining.
|✅ Guaranteed monthly income
|❌ There’s no switch off
|✅ Help more clients
|❌ You’ll need to hire help to scale
|✅ No earning cap
|❌ Constantly selling
Evergreen or closed door?
One of the biggest decisions you need to make is whether to launch an evergreen or closed door membership model.
A closed membership is when you only accept new members for a limited time period a few times a year.
The upside of a closed model is that you’re not constantly in sales mode and can concentrate on nurturing your members.
Members are more likely to stick around because they know if they leave – then want to return – they’ll have to wait and might not get back in for the same price.
The downside is that if people miss the open period they may get frustrated and go elsewhere.
Evergreen memberships are open all year round – think Netflix or Hello Fresh. People can join and leave at any time which means your membership can be continually growing.
An evergreen model does mean you’re constantly in sales mode. And, when there’s no urgency to join, it can be harder to convince people to sign up.
When to launch your membership site?
There’s no perfect time to launch a membership and, despite what you may think, you don’t even need to have any content ready before you do!
You can start with a handful of founding members who pay a lower monthly fee and can help you shape your content and spread the word.
Of course one thing that you will need is an audience to sell too. It doesn’t have to be huge – a mailing list of a few hundred people is a great place to start.
Selling purely through social media is harder because you’ll be battling with the algorithms, but your social channels will be important for marketing your offering.
What to include in your membership
We host regular live masterclasses and coaching calls in the Inner Hub and have a range of downloadable templates and resources.
We’ve set up an accountability partner programme and have a number of telegram channels ranging from job leads to breaking industry news.
Our members also get exclusive tech perks and discounts and a free listing on our Meet The Social Pro Directory.
Best of all we have a private Facebook group where our members support and cheerlead each other around the clock.
Could you incorporate any of these ideas into your membership?
Let’s get techy
The first thing you’ll need to get in place is a payment system. There are lots of platforms to choose from but we use Thrivecart and love it.
Unlike most payment systems, which take a percentage of your income, Thrivecart has an initial one-off fee so it quickly pays for itself.
You’ll also need a sales page. This is where members will learn about your membership and sign up to join.
Our sales pages are built in WordPress and linked to Thrivecart but you can build them directly in Thrivecart.
Finally you’ll need a site to host your membership. We recommend doing your homework and making sure you get it right from the start.
Kajabi is a popular membership platform but we prefer Searchie. Find out why we love it so much in our blog 5 Reasons to choose Searchie over Kajabi.
While it’s scary forking out for a pricey platform you need to weigh up the costs against the time and stress of creating a bespoke service on your own site.
Deciding to launch a membership is a big decision. That’s why, when we launched The Inner Hub we joined Stu McLaren’s training programme.
Although we had a clear idea of how we wanted our membership to look, Stu’s course was invaluable. To find out more, read our full review of The Membership Experience and get a VIP fast pass to his awesome training here.
What next? Join the Inner Hub
Want to be part of the most supportive membership group for social media managers? Join the Inner Hub.
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