10 Ways to Multiply Your Income With Membership Marketing
Have you ever come across the expression "captive audience"? A captive audience is a person or group of persons who, willingly or not, is / are exposed to some form of marketing message (for example an advertising message or any other form of promotion), because of their particular situation. Take for instance, the audience in a cinema hall, conference hall, or TV show. Or take people in a departure lounge in airports and sports stadia. They are there for some other reasons, but they are likely to be there for a certain time and could be exposed to a promotional message during that time. Marketing to such captive audiences is likely to be effective because there is a high probability of the marketing message being read, heard, or seen. They are also much more likely to buy, if the product or service being marketed can satisfy their immediate needs. The opportunities of Membership Marketing for a business can be likened to the opportunities found in marketing to a captive audience.
In a membership program, you can sell to members over and over again, as long as what you offer them is relevant to that need which made them to sign up in the first place. This is called Membership Marketing. It is all about marketing to people who have agreed by subscribing (as free or paid members) to have access to certain services or products and all accompanying offers which a program provides. Offline and online, this aspect of marketing is one of the largest income generators, with potentials for multiple streams of revenue. It is behind the successes recorded by such businesses as Costco (Business & Consumer Supplies Superstore), Hertz (Car Rental) and YouTube (online social networking site sold to Google by the owners, for $ 1.65 billion after only two years).
How can you generate multiple streams of income from Membership Marketing?
1. Find out what you are passionate about
If you already have some passion for a particular aspect of life in which people are interested, you already have a niche on which you can build your membership marketing business. Research that niche and its sub-niches, to see if the potentials for income are huge. The tighter the niche, the more potential there is to make money. If for instance you already have a passion for counseling and advising people, you could look at creating a membership program in Counseling or Advisory services for any of the following sub-niches: singles looking for marriage relationships, newly-divorced couples or aborted spouses. Visit online forums, social networks and article directories such as ezinearticles.com to see what people are discussing about that niche.
2. Research Your Competitors
While conducting research for your niche and sub-niches, you are likely to come across other businesses already established in that niche. At times, the number of businesses already established in that niche may be so huge, as to make you decide against starting your own membership program. Not to worry. A lot of times, it also means there is a huge demand out there for products and services in that niche. All you need to do is find out what such competitors offer their members and how they do it and then try to outperform them.
3. Decide between Free or Paid Membership
When considering membership subscription, decide wherever you want people to join your membership program, first as free, non-paying members and later upgrade to become paid members. Usually, free members like to enjoy greater benefits which are accessible only to paid members; hence many of them want to upgrade their membership status, later. Again, you may decide that they should pay a token sign-up fee upfront and pay again to upgrade their membership because, often, people think they derive more value when they pay for something. However, ensure that the benefits of membership are worth the fees. You may have any combination of Free, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond and Platinum classes of membership.
4. Create a Membership Site to generate multiple streams of income
Develop a website for your membership program, for members to learn and interact and for you to generate other streams of income apart from subscriptions. Advertisements placed on your website by Google AdSense are another way to make extra income from your membership program. To earn substantial income from AdSense on your website, you will need a large volume of members. This could have made possible, if your program is free-to-join. When selecting AdSense adverts to be placed on your website, choose default, so that only adverts which are relevant to your members' interests will be placed on your website by Google. Commissions earned from Affiliate Marketing are another stream of income. Select products which are relevant to your niche, while making sure that they are complementary, rather than competitive to what you offer. Publish personal reviews of the products or interviews with the owners of the products on your membership site and encourage members to buy. You may also develop your own products and sell to members. These can include downloadable ebooks and software, audio and video files, workshops and tutorials which can be promoted on your website.
5. Promote Your Membership Program & Website
In order to continue get people to sign up, you have to promote your membership program and website. Also, when you get your membership site notified out there, businesses which have complementary offers will often come to you. On the Internet, you can offer free information products such as ebooks which are rich with hyperlinks to the sign-up page of your membership site. Article Marketing is another way to promote your membership site. Write articles (or get them written for you) on topics relevant to your niche and get them published in offline publications and online article directories, not forgetting to include at the end, hyperlinks to your membership site. Other ways to promote your membership program include free trial membership, speaking at seminars / workshops, contributing to relevant blogs, forums and social media websites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.), where you can place a hyperlink to your membership site, as part of your signature or closing credits.
6. Keep Members Engaged
Members are not only interested in what you have to offer for sale. They also want to interact with you and other members. It is therefore a good thing to have a forum on your website, where members can share ideas and experiences and ask questions from other members and get them answered. Your website can also include a blog where articles can be posted for others to read. Also, constantly interact with members through e-mails (when they buy a product, when you have added something new to the website, etc) or periodic newsletters with resources to help them. You can also have a customer support live chat on your site, for members to have their questions answered in real time.
7. Develop Co-Marketing Opportunities
Do not forget that as your membership grows, so does your database (or mailing list). This database in itself is another stream of income for your business. Look for other businesses which sell to people who have the same interests as your members. Discuss with them and see if your membership program and their business could work together. You can introduce their products to your members through free trials and collect commission on each sign-up for their products; work out special discounts for your members, etc. It is however important that you let your members know upfront as they are signing up for your program, that third party offers from other businesses can be made to them.
8. Get the Right Tools
Running a membership program or website efficiently, requires a number of tools. These may include a Good PC (must have a lot of memory and storage capacity), fast internet connection (such as broadband) and a web host with reliable servers which can support a lot of hits (ie visits to your membership website), Audio -visible apparatuses such as hands-free headphone and microphone to record your audio tutorials, videos or teleseminars, autoresponders, newsletter software, accounting software, affiliate management software, audio and video recording software, web design software, subscription management software, billing & shopping cart software for payments made on your website, forum and blog software, article submission software, etc. You may decide to outsource some of the tasks done by these software, but if you go to MembershipMillionaire , you will be advised on which all-in-one software can execute most, if not all of these tasks and where to get it. Again, you can also sign up for their free eCourse, to teach you more about Membership Marketing.
9. Determine Your Exit Strategy
I once read a book by Michael Gerber, Why Small Businesses Fail and What to Do About It , where he says people should run their business as if they wanted to sell it. Sure, if you have driven a car for some time and now want to sell it, chances are you will take care of the dents on it and do a few other things to make it look attractive. You need to run your membership program and website in a way as to make its value worth more than what you have spent on it (remember how much the owners of YouTube sold it to Google?). Suppose you want to retire from the day-to-day running of this membership business and take some long vacation, or look for some other exciting business into which you can put money and efforts? You may sell off your membership site or have an arrangement with the new owners, where you still have a percentage of the profits. Your exit strategy is how you want to quit the business when the time comes. A careful planning of your exit strategy will ensure you make some whipping income even when you no longer run the show.
10. Think Big
Always have this at the back of your mind. Instead of selling that single information product, and smiling away with a few hundred of dollars, you can make millions in extra income if you build a membership program and website around the niche which the information product is about. Look for other products, services and resources complete to your information product, put them together, build a membership program and website and you could be on your way to making millions from Membership Marketing.