You need a membership site of your own.
You may never have thought of having your own membership site, but it is a strong customer attractant and is in some ways easier than the typical affiliate sites.
Building the customer list is a goal of affiliate marketers. Having a membership site is a great way to get that list built up fast.
A list is basically what a membership site is made up of – people who are interested and want to come back again to see what is offered.
People can join the site for several different reasons.
They may want a newsletter you are offering, they may be happy to get several things they want all in one convenient place, or they may just love the font you use.
Whatever the reason they join, the members can be charged a small monthly fee to keep getting access to what you have to offer.
This will generally include articles, services available to them, some type of customer service for questions ad problems, and a forum to tie it all together.
Meeting your monthly income goals becomes much easier when there is a steady stream of paying members each month.
That can be in addition to your affiliate sales, or it can be used in place of them.
Some affiliate marketers find that they enjoy building their membership site more than trying to keep several different affiliate sales sites going.
A membership site is a brand, and can be marketed more easily than several smaller sites.
Some membership sites also use their own affiliate marketing programs to attract new members.
A commission or a flat fee is given to members who bring in new paying members.
That can also be accomplished by simply waiving part of the membership fee for members that recruit.
This costs the site owner nothing and brings in new members at a exponential rate.
Using a system such as this, getting large membership numbers can be done more quickly and with less expense.
Membership sites are also a safe way to protect against sales slumps. A month with low sales will be cushioned by a steady income of monthly membership fees.
And if there is a problem with your smaller sites, such as a loss of search engine rankings or a product that bites the dust, the larger site is there to step in and make up for that loss in income.
There are also free membership sites that set up the same basic format, but try to attract more members by not charging fees.
The income with those sites is in getting the largest list possible to market to in the hopes of sales.
A free membership site may not bring in the membership fees, but it will likely attract more members.
Whether you want to charge to enter your own web kingdom or not, having a membership site is a strong marketing technique that can help brand your information and your products.
How To Carve Your Niche With A Profitable Membership Site
Membership marketing is the dream of several web entrepreneurs.
Ideally, you want to do something, or find something regularly enough, that people will pay you money to tell them about it, or provide a service that they will pay money to get access to.
Membership sites, done right, can bring in multiple income streams. Doing them right means doing targeted marketing and services and content.
Targeting your market properly is a three step process.
If you already have a market in mind, great. You’re ahead of the game. Now, the next step is to see if it’s a market that will generate income.
While generating a membership web site that just has members and no income is great ego boosting, it’s not good for the wallet.
The key to identifying your niche is slicing it as fine as possible.
For example, if your passion is classic cars, and passing on information about parts and refurb shops, that’s one thing – if you make it classic Camaros, you’ll target only those people with a passion for that make and model of car, and given the volumes of information pouring in to them every day, getting information targeted to what they want is worth more money.
The basic equation of content is that paying you money saves your customer the time of trying to find the things you’re finding for them.
Brainstorming targeted niches needn’t be focused on a particular product. It also works to target a particular demographic, or a geographical area.
Talk to your family, your friends, and business associates, and see if you can find that winning combination of membership niche and focus to get a nice stable business.
If you don’t have a market in mind already, focus on what you have a passion to research and what you have a passion to do.
There are a number of ways to determine the demand of a niche. Start out old school – go the library and go to the book store.
Look for what’s on the best seller list, look for topic areas of the library getting lots of traffic and look for sections of the book store, like cooking or religion or home repair, where an adjunct web site can provide timely information
Next, do keyword research for AdWords on Google, and look for things that got “missed”.
Start from the general and work to the more specific, and again, focus on topics that you enjoy researching and have a passion about.
This can help find several nice possibilities for profitable niches. Keyword searches are great metrics for determining demand.
Determine Your Customers Demands
Research The Subject And Customer Demands. Go beyond keyword research to isolate and identify your target market. If your aim is off, your profits will be too.
Look on forums and chat rooms; they’re a fascinating cross section of your potential market.
The people who hang there are the most dedicated of your customers, and you can observe them anonymously.
Look for the things they’re searching for and provide it. If you’re feeling bold, register for the forum and talk to them. Ask questions. Look at the answers.
You don’t want to give away the store, but a little Q&A is a good thing for identifying your customer base, and locking in on their needs.
You should also dig in to relevant web sites. Look at what sites are serving the niche you’re targeting and ask yourself what you can do better.
Look at the products they’re offering, look at the advertisers on their sites as well; visit the sponsored sites and learn, learn, learn.
Back up your online research with another library visit. Read the specialist magazines devoted to your topic.
Look at what products are being advertised, look at their editorial guidelines and look at their article submissions.
Remember that magazine advertising costs anywhere from $800 per page to $5,000 per page – any company advertising here is probably worth approaching about advertising or affiliate marketing from your web site.
Research Other Sites
Research other informational sites – start with article directories, like ezinearticles.com Dig deep into them, and see what demand there is for the information.
Look at the sites of the people posting articles and take notes about what they’re doing right that you can copy, and what you can do better to get an edge.
Up next, we’ll cover why a membership is essential for attracting new visitors daily.
Attracting New Visitors Daily With A Membership Site
Every day, the Internet reaches a mind-boggling number of people, putting amazing amounts of information at their fingertips.
Lately, however, it seems that Web surfers have begun to change the way they find that information.
Although the Internet was originally conceived as a medium by which information could be freely exchanged, membership websites – sites that charge membership fees for access to informative content – are becoming increasingly more popular.
“The Internet is no longer free,” observed Michael Rasmussen, author of the e-book ‘How to Start Your Own Highly Profitable Internet Membership Web Site.’ “People are eagerly seeking information, and they will gladly pay for what they perceive as more valuable, reliable content.”
Membership websites include news sites and expert information sites, such as CNN.com and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ.com).
Although an extensive Internet search can often turn up the same information contained on these sites, many Web surfers simply don’t have the time.
They prefer to pay a membership fee and get the desired information easily and immediately – rather than taking the time to find the information themselves.
“This is the future of the Internet,” Rasmussen said of paid membership websites. “People today want quality information.
If you can offer them reliable, accurate information on topics that they’re interested in, they are more than willing to pay.”
Most entrepreneurs and small business owners, over a period of ten to twenty years of operating their businesses develop a terrific sense of what is required to succeed in that business.
Some of these entrepreneurs and business owners then go on to leverage that knowledge by establishing themselves as consultants to young companies seeking to make a mark in that industry.
Other entrepreneurs may start running paid seminars, paid coaching classes, or produce audio cassettes and DVDs for training – all in order to leverage their existing knowledge for the benefit of those just starting out, while adding to their own income stream.
An emerging opportunity for such individuals is the rise in membership sites, especially in areas around operating a successful business.
Examples of such sites are restaurantowner.com, acupruneur.com dealing with restaurant owners and acupuncture practitioners respectively.
Such sites offer:
- A Downloadable library of immediately useful templates such as training manuals, contract templates, service agreement forms, employment forms
- Several articles addressing the chief concerns of anyone just entering into this business, or someone struggling to find the answers to ongoing problems
- A discussion forum to exchange questions and ideas, and to especially get feedback from the expert
There are several advantages of a membership site format:
- A recurring revenue stream – say if the charge is $10/month, with only 500 members, the site will pull in $5000/month in revenue on an ongoing basis. You could charge an upfront registration fees if you like ($99 joining fees) which discourages those who will simply download all content and leave. Additionally, this joining fee encourages existing members to continue renewing (to avoid a joining fee if they wish to leave and rejoin later).
- Operational costs are low – maintain a website, a merchant account, and some ongoing marketing expense, which can be kept below $1000/month Once the site is established, tone down the marketing significantly. The basic overhead then is not more than $100/month.
- Feedback from the discussion forums is invaluable for knowing the hot-button issues of the day, which will help in development of backend products for further sales. For example, if members are hungry for expert opinion in certain legal areas, or accounting areas – the site owner can now arrange for a paid seminar on that topic, or develop a DVD product explaining those areas and make them available for sale. The membership list will convert at a high rate for such products, since they already love the site and trust the site owner to provide quality
And finally, the timing is right.
More and more Internet users are willing to pay for quality information on the web, especially information that helps them either make more money, helps them use an existing product better or helps them receive more training.
Do not ignore this opportunity to take your business to the next level, a residual income based level – a chance to secure an awesome “salary” based income stream.