October 10, 2008
I first became acquainted with the term, “fixed term membership” from Internet marketing guru Jimmy Brown, when he created his Membernaire http://onlinebizu.getresults.hop.clickbank.net program. He defines a fixed term membership site as a membership that consists of weekly content shared via autoresponder to paid members for a specified period of time. I would have formerly called this concept a fee-based ecourse, with the distinction that in the fixed term membership, the lesson is delivered in a PDF file, rather than as a part of the text of the email autoresponder.
Should you integrate a fixed term membership into your product offerings? Here are 7 reasons why this business model makes sense:
- Ease of operation. In many ways, this type of membership site is easier to operate than a traditional site because it is much less involved. To run a fixed term membership program, you simply write one article lesson every week. load this article to an autoresponder for subscribers to access, and then sell access to the series, which would last 3 – 6 – 9 or 12 months. Of course, you do have to set up a website as your selling point and create the copywriting for your sales letter, just as you would for any online business.
- Greater implementation by subscribers. The useful aspect for your subscribers is that the info that you teach is broken up into small, easily digested pieces. So, rather than overwhelming your customer with a 400-page ebook and 5 DVDs to watch, you can instead feed this info to your subscribers slowly over time, with action steps included with each lesson, and offer check-in points as needed. In this fashion, there’s a greater likelihood that they’ll actually implement the information you provide, instead of leaving the binder and DVD cases to gather dust on their bookshelves.
- Numerous upsell opportunities. During the term of the fixed membership, you can easily integrate upsells to other products and services that you offer into any lesson. So, for example, if your membership site teaches people how to start a professional organizing business, you could upsell them to individual or email coaching throughout the term if they want some additional help and hand-holding. Or, if you have a DVD program that goes into depth about marketing a professional organizing business, you could mention that in the course of the marketing material you provide in the fixed term program.
- Greater retention. Many traditional membership sites suffer large attrition because members get bored, don’t have time (or make the time) to revisit the site for updates, or have gotten all that they want from the membership and leave. However, with a fixed term membership site, you structure the membership so that if someone leaves, that person has to start from the beginning of the membership again if she returns and wants to renew 3 months later. The simple aggravation of being unable to pick up where you left off is a great motivating factor for fixed term program members to complete the full term of the membership.
- No regular updates required. With traditional membership sites, there’s always the pressure on the owner to provide more articles, more downloads, more videos, more information. However, with a fixed term membership, the only content you provide is that which is contained in your weekly lesson. You can write these all ahead of time, or stay just ahead of your members by creating one a week. Once you’ve written that content, you can sell that fixed term membership again and again.
- Few administrative hassles. Common problems for membership site owners include issues like members losing passwords or being locked out of a site. With a fixed term site, those problems are non-existent, since all information is delivered via autoresponder. And, if you make sure to mention in all of your lessons that the links to the previous lessons can be found in the current lesson, that greatly reduces the “I didn’t get the lesson” emails you might receive, as you can remind your subscribers to simply wait for the next lesson and they will catch up.
- Greater profitability than traditional info products. Which would you rather sell, a $97 ebook to a one-time buyer, or a $27/month, 12-month program that distributes the same info, with the addition of the upsell opportunities explained in #3? The pricing psychology of a fixed term membership site is also more attractive, as many of your target market may look differently at a $27/month investment than they would a $300 up-front purchase. And, your overhead is very low with this model, as a fixed term membership requires no costs for CD/DVD duplication or printing for transcripts, manuals and binders as you find when selling hard copy information products.
Assess your collection of information products and determine if any of them might be better delivered as a fixed term membership. Or, create a fixed term membership program as your first information product or as a test for a full-blown membership website. Your monetary and time investment is minimal, and the rewards could be quite profitable!
Online Business Manager and Online Business Coach Donna Gunter helps independent service professionals learn how to automate their businesses, leverage their expertise on the Internet, and get more clients online. To claim your FREE gift, TurboCharge Your Online Marketing Toolkit, visit her site at OnlineBizU.com . Ask Donna an Internet Marketing question at AskDonnaGunter.com