Over the past several months I’ve been working with clients to create membership sites or portals and many times they wonder if they are ready for a membership site or not.
While I LOVE the production process that comes with helping them get their information, intelligence, and experiences out to the world, I tend to caution clients not to jump on the bandwagon of feeling they need to create a membership site. (Despite what everyone else seems to be doing, or because some guru said they needed one.) While there are definitely times when a membership site is extremely useful and there are also times when it’s not necessary, nor relevant, to their business.
So… when IS the best time to consider creating a membership site for your business? And if you find that it’s time, what type of membership sites should you create?
I’ve noticed that most businesses fall under pretty distinct categories and that can help dictate what type of membership site they need to create and can help determine if they are ready for a membership site.
Here are three signs you might be ready for a membership site or client portal:
Scenario One: You Have Existing Products, Services, and Content
In this scenario, you’re someone who has A LOT of content on your website. We’re talking pages, upon pages, upon pages. From blog posts and videos to worksheets and quizzes and even existing course content, there’s no shortage of already created content available to you.
You think you could repurpose this content and use it to help teach people in a more effective way if you could simply get it all organized. By having it all housed on a membership site and adding a bit more strategy you’d have the opportunity to share the content and generate revenue from it in the process.This could be a perfect time to create a membership site!
For example, let’s say in the past you have done a blog series on How to Train Your Dog to Not Pee in the House. This four-part series consisted of multiple articles starting with a mindset blog to get someone prepared for training their dog. Followed by another blog about how to slowly get your dog to listen to you and help him recognize when he had to go pee and then one on the training process and all of the details and another what to do when things go sideways.
The entire blog series was great content, and it seemed to resonate with your readers, but you’re wondering how do you deliver it to your audience in an organized way.
It would be easy to turn this into a mini-lesson on How to Train Your Dog to Not Pee in the House. Chances are if someone has a dog peeing in their house they’re willing to pay money to figure out how to make them stop taking care of business inside. Maybe the content needs to be flushed out a little more with a video. A simple printable checklist could be provided to help with gentle reminders on how to consistently keep the training in tow once the dog has learned how not to pee in the house.
This is a great example of a mini-lesson or even a mini-course that could be easily flushed out and created inside a membership portal for a dog trainer, just by using content you already have.
I happen to have a client that is a dog trainer – Paws and Possibilities. A few years ago we created a membership academy for her online training course. It made sense for her to have a membership site because she had an actual course she wanted to share with people, no matter where they lived, on how to train their dogs to have good manners
Once that was completed we realized there were other opportunities where she could add important resources for her existing clients into what I call a client portal. We didn’t realize it at the time that her client portal could extend beyond just that one online course and it could have different areas depending on the different ways her clients were working with her.
We expanded this idea even further and added additional resources and products that she sometimes suggested to people when training (like different types of collars, food recommendations, crates, etc.). All of these resources were housed in her client portal and she could direct people to them rather than having to share the same information over and over again.
All of this lead us to do a redesign of her membership site to not only include the course but also include the client portal area where people who started working with her could easily get more resources. Members could also access her calendar, schedule their classes, and find all the information they needed in a single place.
So, scenario number one is perfect if you already have a course that you want to share but don’t already have something in place, along with other resources and content that need to be organized in a centralized location. Your membership site would enhance the experience for your current customers and the ability to access everything in one location.Your membership site would enhance the experience for your current customers. Click To Tweet
Scenario Two: You Want to Streamline Resources
Maybe you’re a coach or a consultant, or a developer, and you’re working with clients through a consistent process, each and every time. But, you find that your clients need access to different things and resources at different stages during your process which means you’re sending the same emails and recording the same videos over and over again.
When I’m onboarding clients it can be repetitive when o teaching them new tools or share the strategy behind why we are doing what we are doing. I’ve flushed out the process, but how lovely would it be to get it even more streamlined and have all of the information and how-to videos in one place where they could self-serve?
Take for example Maxine Drake and her esthetician business academy. Maxine had a program where she made a membership portal area so people who are part of her training program could access their master class recordings, schedule, and all of the other resources she was giving them. During her first year of running her program, she recognized that there was an opportunity for her students to access a lot more information from her through a resource library.
She realized that she had other mini-courses, lessons, and trainings that she could extract out of her content and provide this under a training section inside of her academy. She then divided down her content even more by allowing them to categorize access through resources like a digital library, checklist workbooks and more. Depending on the level they purchased clients would have access to the Academy and all the information inside.
This process made it easier for her students to find all of the resources they needed to complete her training. A client portal or membership site isn’t always about making your life easier, or selling products, but also about providing a better experience for your clients.It isn’t always about making your life easier, but about providing a better experience for your clients. Click To Tweet
Scenario Three: You Want to Improve Client Processes and Experience
Wanting to create a better experience for your customers or clients is a goal of most business owners.
Many times people focus on creating a membership site for their courses and think if they don’t have a course they simply don’t need a membership site. Most businesses – online and offline – can benefit from using a membership site to help to create a professional, streamlined experience for their clients.
For example, let’s say you’re a designer and you’re getting ready to create or re-design a website. There’s always prep work that needs to happen leading up to the project and sometimes this prep work falls on your lap, other times it falls in the client’s lap, or it could be a combination of both.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a streamlined process that is mapped out with written or has video instructions that present it in a way that your client is able to digest? This would allow them to see both the big picture of the production work that’s about to happen and the strategy behind it. It would allow them to be able to tackle their homework and get the prep work done without a lot of hand-holding from you. Think about how much easier that would be!
Even with a great project management system, this process can get very repetitive. You have to tackle it over and over via email, repeating yourself, and doing the same screencast over and over again. Imagine if you could just record it once and then put it in your client portal or members area for every client to access.
Aoife, with AMA Results, did something similar with her client portal. She recognized that while going through the onboarding process with her coaching clients, there were a lot of things that she was having to complete over and over again. Things like providing links to her scheduling tools, having her clients access specific strategies and completing certain pieces of homework were actions that were taken on every project. It seemed like a never-ending cycle.
Instead of having to search through all of her emails to ensure that her new clients were receiving the information they needed to be able to prep effectively for her coaching calls, she decided to create a client portal and provide access for her clients. This way they could find and complete all of that prep work automatically.
This gave her the ability to not only simplify and streamline her process, but it also gave her more time to prepare for the actual calls and give her absolute best to each client. It gave her clients more time to effectively get the work done and they could see the strategy they needed to have in place leading to the call. Ultimately, it allowed for Aoife and her client to be better prepared for the calls, made the calls more productive, and provided for better overall results in her coaching.
Everyone feels more confident in the process when they know what’s expected, what needs to be completed, and there are clear and concise instructions provided. Clients are happier and so are you, which is a real win-win situation!Everyone feels more confident in the process when they know what’s expected. Click To Tweet
So which scenario resonates with you? Do you have a course or program that you’re developing or are you just filled with content and resources that you’re itching to give to your audience in a new way or are you a service provider looking to streamline the process? Share your thoughts in the comments area below or feel free to schedule a meet ‘n greet call to discuss options for you to develop your own process! 🙂