Membership sites are touted as one of the easiest and fastest ways to develop a recurring income stream. But I would be lying if I said there wasn't a pretty steep learning curve to get up and running. Fortunately, it’s nothing you can't tackle with a little foresight and the right software.
In theory, you really can set up a membership site to earn money from your expertise by tomorrow. It's easy enough to build it, but that's when the challenges start. So let’s talk about some of the most common pitfalls of membership sites you’ll want to look out for if you're considering this model for your online cannabis business.
The standard attrition rate for membership sites is three months. That means that most of your members are going to drop out within three months of joining. Knowing this in advance can help you design some safeguards. For example, you can start creating buzz for your next addition to the site happening soon to keep people involved.
Once you start to gain traction though there are some amazing services like Gravy.Com that can help you lower this churn rate. Their almost like a separate department whose sole purpose is to help you retain your membership clients. If you’re interested in learning more about Gravy you can find my affiliate link in the show notes. Even if you don’t meet their requirements (I think you need to be making over $100K a year first) I absolutely love the work that they do so be sure to keep them on your radar.
When you first start a membership site, it seems simple enough to create content for whatever period you’ve promised. However, after a year or two, it will start to get tricky. If you find that most people drop out after three months, one way to overcome this issue is to provide only a year’s worth of new content on a drip basis, and then make them permanent members after a year.
Obviously, our goal is to improve your retention rate. But you also need to be realistic about the average length of your client relationship. The last thing you want is to find is that, three years down the line, that you're struggling to keep up with content for the handful of clients who stick it out with you. Especially when 80% of your clients move on at the year one or two mark.
But there are some creative workarounds to this if you want to go above and beyond for your members.
For example, my membership Elevated Entrepreneur is a one-year membership with a new strategy session every month for twelve months. This first year walks my members through everything they need to think about and do to start a cannabis information business. But after that year is over the monthly content ends and they become premium members. Instead of new content every month they get early access to all of my new workshops, webinars, and products for free or at a deep discount.
This is great for both of us because their problem is solved within that first year so there is a clear goal and finish line. And when they do cross that finish line, they are still treated like royalty.
But I don't need to create content just for content's sake. I can space it out and give each new product the attention it deserves instead of rushing it out the door to meet a deadline.
Just getting people to sign up for memberships is difficult because most people don’t like the idea of making a long-term monthly commitment. Especially if it has a higher price tag. People tend to talk themselves out of anything over $15 a month. But, if you’re doing it right, your content should be worth way more than that. So offering free trials, or one-time payment options, and incentivizing people with extra value really helps to get new people to sign up. For example, I offer a monthly membership which is $75 a month for 12 months. But they have the option to pay in full and get instant access to all of the content as a self-paced program. Many people prefer this option because it seems like less of a long-term commitment. Even though they are the same price. You’ll definitely want to take this into consideration as your creating your product.
The other issue with membership sites that no one ever talks about is that sometimes you’ll end up with members who aren’t honest. They're out here stealing your products. And they will turn around and sell them for themselves.
Or worse, you’ll get one of those chronically dissatisfied people who are just impossible to please no matter what you offer. And these people will inevitably cause issues in your group chat or message boards. It’s just par for the course. There is really no way around it. If you own an online membership this will happen to you at some point. That’s why it’s critical to have good community managers in place can prevent some of these issues. And someone other than yourself because you will undoubtedly take it personally. This leads me to my last point...
While running a membership site might seem like it’s not that much work, you will be dealing with technical issues, people issues, and production issues on a regular basis. To ensure everything works together, you need to find good help such as community managers (some people love volunteering for this), a place to buy amazing PLR, so you never run out of content, amazing editors and content writers to help you tweak and edit things, and someone to deal with the technical issues that are guaranteed to crop up. So as you’re planning things out and setting your goals and benchmarks, you’ll definitely want to budget for that.
With all of that being said though, don’t allow any of these problems to stop you from setting up a membership site. I wouldn’t own one if I didn’t believe they were a great way to serve a lot of people quickly while earning a steady flow of income. They are outstanding business models that have enormous profit potential. Just go in being aware that much of human nature is set; your job is to practice overcoming their objections and to move our clients forward to reach the goals they've set out for themselves.
That’s all for today but I do hope you found some inspiration. What do you think? Are you thinking about starting a membership site? How are you going to safeguard against some of these concerns? I want to hear all about it so be sure to join the conversation over in the Facebook group. You can find the link for that along with loads of other great resources in my show notes.
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