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November 4, 2009

Key Elements of Setting Up a Successful Membership Site

Before you even think of building a Membership site there is one key question you must ask yourself and that is why you want to do it.

If you are to be successful, whichever medium or delivery method you chose, there are some key considerations. They are:

  • How many people are searching for the information?
  • Are other businesses paying to advertise in the niche?
  • How much information is currently available?
  • Is it paid for or free information? – Do you have a passionate, hungry crowd, or is this niche just a fad?

Tthe key to having a successful site lies in first carfeully choosing your topic. Membership sites are mostly aimed at people who are passionate about a topic, so to help you identify whether or not you have a winning membership site idea, you need to consider these four key points before you set up your site:

  1. Don’t ‘think’ you know how popular your preferred market is, but do a daily search for at least a week in your wordtracker keyword. You are looking for a return of around 3,000 plus for a viable market.
  2. Now check with the main search engines to see whether there are any existing membership sites and then search key words and topics in your niche. You want to know what types of products are being advertised, for example eBooks, audio/video products, eZines and downloads, and what delivery method is being used.
  3. It is important that you determine the level of information that is offered and what the split is between free or paid information in your niche. Notice how much information is free because if there’s a lot then it raises the question of why people would pay to have access to the information on your site? Free content is not a reason to dismiss building your own membership site, but you must develop a unique perspective on the topic for it to have a chance of being successful.
  4. Membership sites that are successful have longevity. There is no point investing the time and money it takes to build a site if it’s based around a passing trend that won’t last. The sole exception to this is when a trend is very strong in terms of numbers and you can deliver and build a membership site fast, and be the first to do so, then it may be worth it.

Membership sites usually are about being in there for the long haul so you must have subject matter that has staying power. Potential customers should be passionate about the subject and you need enough of them wanting constant information about it. We are all different and have preferred styles of accessing information, so deliver it in a number of different mediums to cater for that.

For instance; some people learn by watching, so a DVD is a natural fit for them, but others like to read so eBooks are geared to them, and still others like to listen so your eBook would become an mp3 audio download for that section of your list.

So what are the key reasons that people will join a membership site? A membership site needs a sufficient number of paying customers to be successful and to attract and appeal to potential subscribers you must give them a compelling reason to join.

These are the five key reasons why people subscribe to membership sites.

  1. Business or career related This kind of membership site appeals to those who are looking toimprove their business or fast track their career.
  2. Investment related Finance or investments are very attractive to people and they like the idea of having the inside track on something and so are willing to pay for that ‘edge’.
  3. Hobby Related People with hobbies are enthusiastic consumers of information about their subject and a membership sites gives them access to information and a community of like minded people.
  4. Education Related Online is a brilliant way for people to have access to a learning experience that they may have missed out in their own schooling, or have no access to locally.
  5. Service Related Becoming a member delivers additional benefits, such as joining a motoring organisation like the RAC. Your subscription doesn’t just give you breakdown cover but access to member benefits like cheaper car insurance or low rates of finance. So the value of being a member of this type of site is much more than just the annual subscription.

Last word: In order to successfully appeal to potential subscribers you must be attractive on at least two of these five reasons. If you have chosen the right topic that will bring them in and keep them there, then your chances of succeeding are far higher.

If you are willing to do your homework, research your niche, and establish if there is a worthwhile market then you will find it well worth the effort.

Neil Stafford is Editor and Publisher of the Internet Marketing Review the UK’s longest running PRINTED Internet Marketing Newsletter. ‘Test drive’ the Newsletter for FREE – Visit this special web page for more information: Internet Marketing Review Newsletter