Content creators and online educators pride themselves on the ownership of a membership site. And they have good reason to do so; it is not an easy mountain to climb. But once you climb it, you will be sitting atop an online community that you can use to positively impact thousands of lives. This is especially important for people in the online education space where everything stands on a line of trust between tutors and students.
Let’s now take a look at all the steps you need to take to create a membership course for your online academy/course.
Benefits of Membership Sites
Here are some of the basic benefits of a membership site –
- There will be a recurring revenue
- You can enjoy a higher CLV (Customer Lifetime Value)
- The customer acquisition costs will be lower
- You can create a community around your brand
- It will be a launchpad for another monetizable venture
Steps to create a membership site
The following are the steps you need to take to create a high-quality membership site –
Define your target market
It is critical to have a clear-cut idea about who your target audience is and what problems you will be trying to solve for them. Only then you can set about creating content around helping them solve these problems. You should do enough market research before zoning in on your target audience. The typical steps needed for actionable market research are:
- Define the problem/opportunity
- Develop a research plan
- Collect data and information
- Analyze data and report findings
- Put it into action
Validate the idea
Before you can start building upon your idea, you have to find out if it is scalable enough to reap some benefits from it. This is called idea validation and the following are the ways in which you can validate them –
- Competitor Research: It is not always a bad idea that your competitors were the first to start something off. Sometimes, it can work in your favor. You can use them as a means to validate your ideas in a real-world market.
- Create a Minimum Value Product (MVP): The risk of entering a new market with the final version of the membership site is always a gamble. Instead, build the most basic version of the site that can help you test it with your audience. This will help you make informed decisions later when building the final product.
- Ask your people: By people, we mean your audience. The best ideas are often validated when you directly talk with your target audience. If you cannot directly talk to people, go to platforms like Reddit and Quora.
Pricing the site
Pricing is always tricky, and you have to find the sweet spot where both parties are benefiting. One tried and tested pricing tactic is freemium pricing. This is a great way to get people hooked on your content. Keep the membership free of cost in the initial days. After you notice a good portion of these people coming back to your website continuously, you can start charging for your most valuable content.
Also read: How to price your online course: Key steps
Choose a platform to host the site
Once you have found your target audience and fixed your pricing model, you have to determine where your site will be hosted. Although it may seem easy to use a WordPress membership plugin, you should understand that it has limited functionality and will require advanced technical skills to truly make it work for you.
The more viable option is to host the site on a trusted membership site platform like Learnyst. This will save you a lot of effort and time as you can host and customize the site to your needs without any technical dependencies. Below are some features you should look for in such a platform:
- Can support multiple payment gateways
- Includes a membership website building tool
- Creates login after payment
- Allows unlimited members
- Content drip-feeding capabilities
- Email marketing functionalities with easy integration
- Member discussion forums
- Live webinar capabilities
Design the site
Design plays a huge role in how your audience perceives something and it’s the same for your membership site as well. Below are some things you need to consider for your website –
- Branding: What your customers experience on your website should be consistent with the experience they have with the other touchpoints of your business. Make sure your site aligns with your brand guidelines. This includes fonts, graphics, etc.
- Navigation: Make sure visitors to your website are easily able to find what they are looking for. Ensure all the pages are interlinked together perfectly.
- Main Menu: Users should be able to find the most important pages on your website directly from your main menu tab.
- Signup Page: Make it easy for people to sign up. Also, make sure every element of your sales page is primed to makes people sign up.
- Social Proof: This is a very powerful persuasion technique because people believe other people’s experiences more than what the business tells them. Use testimonials from customers and add links to your social media pages.
This is the heart of your membership site. Only create content that is relevant and helpful to your members. Also, organize them in a logical manner.
Everyone has their own unique style of teaching and it is important to create content tailored to your member’s style. Below are some of the most common teaching/learning styles.
- Kinesthetic learning – where students learn by doing physical activities.
- Visual learning – where learners are heavily dependent on visual cues like graphs, videos, etc. to learn
- Auditory learning – these learners prefer listening as their primary means to get information
The following are the types of content you can consider creating:
- PDF Files
- PPT presentations
- Video tutorials
There is no set rule about how often you should create new content for your site. Some people roll out content on a daily basis and others leave a gap of a few days in between. The goal is to provide content that is actually useful. DO NOT create content for the sake of creating content.
Building your community
Making people feel like they are part of a community is very important to keep them engaged on your website. There are a couple of things you can do to make this happen –
- Add a discussion feature that allows members to ask questions and get them clarified by others.
- Create a Facebook group where people talk exclusively about topics related to your course and website.
Also, take every single step to grow your member base and to retain the existing ones.
What is Learnyst?
If you are looking for a strategic partner to build and scale your online education business, look no further. We have helped thousands of educators to start their own online academies with ease. With our robust tools, you can easily set up your website to suit your needs, preferences, and business goals. Get in touch now!