Membership Site Business Model Explained

Imagine building up a business that you could easily run that would guarantee thousands of dollars in your bank account month after month like clockwork. This business wouldn’t take a lot of your time either and you could bank on the income every month.

Does it sound too good to be true? Well, there are a ton of people that are doing just that by forming membership programs and then watching a steady stream of payments role into their bank accounts.

With the membership model you are going to be finding people that want what you are offering and are willing to set up recurring payments month after month to get this information. It’s much like the insurance that you pay on a car.

You really want and need this service and are willing to pay every month, year after year to have it. You don’t think twice about making the payment – it’s just done automatically.

If you can find something that people want and need so badly that they are more than happy to pull out their wallets and set up a recurring payment, you’ll be set for a very long time. As well, if you keep your prices low, you can drive in thousands of people and keep them in your membership for a very long time.

How Membership Site Models Work

There are 2 different types of membership programs. The first type is a regular membership that charges quite a high fee for the chance to remain in an exclusive group to get higher-end products. This type of site charges members anywhere from $30 up to $200 per month or more.

With this type of model you are not appealing to the masses as much as reaching out to find individuals that are willing to pay a high amount for the goods or services they will be receiving monthly.

With a regular membership plan the products are going to have to be very targeted and the quality must remain at an all-time high throughout the length of the program. This is entirely possible to do and many of the well-known Internet marketers have been able to sustain long-term membership programs by offering this type of material.

If you’re a professional and know a field inside and out you may have something to offer to others that they are willing to pay a high price for.

This higher-end membership group does not have to be Internet marketing related at all. For example, if you’re a car mechanic and know vehicles inside and out you could set up a membership site showing others how to fix their own cars. 

In this day and age there are a lot of people that are getting their own parts and fixing their cars because they can’t afford the high price of a mechanic. For $50 a month they would actually save on car repairs by joining your group. You get the idea?

Micro Continuity Memberships

The second type of membership sites are called micro continuity memberships and these types of programs can usually be sustained for much longer than regular ones. With this model you will be selling products or services that are $5 -$15. It’s a lot easier for people to think about staying in a group when they’re only paying a price that is equivalent to a few cups of coffee.

When people see that they’re only paying a small amount every month, they’ll usually stay in for a very long time. Some people will even remain when they don’t need what you’re offering any longer just because they don’t want to go through the hassle of canceling.

At a small price point you can get more people to join and they’ll stay in your group much longer. This is the beauty of the system and it is why so many Internet marketers are building these micro memberships.

How to Make Money from a Membership Site

It all starts with an idea. How can you save people time or money? What type of quality content can you provide that people would be willing to pay for? Once you have an idea you can roll with it.

Get people to sign up for a very cheap newsletter or video presentation at $7-$10 a month and you’ll be set!

Of course – the market can not be so obscure that only 100 people in the whole world are interested in it because it just would not be worth your time.

If you can find, however, just 1000 people that sign up for your newsletter and charge them $8 per month then you’ll have yourself an extra 8k per month in the bank. It all comes down to:

  1. Getting new subscribers
  2. Sending them content several times a month

That’s it! The more people you can get to sign up and stay signed up the more money you make. It’s so simple! You show people how they can sign up for a very cheap newsletter at $7-$10 per month. The idea is that people are very unlikely to cancel the membership to your newsletter because it is so cheap.

If you were charging $50 a month they would think about it but at $8 they probably will never get around to cancelling. Some would just forget about it while others would think “Eh, I’ll cancel next month” (and never do). Others just see the value in having someone like you do a bunch of research and serve it up to them on a silver platter every month.

For $8 a month they really don’t expect much. People are busy – and if you can save them a couple hours they will be happy to pay this small amount.

1000 x $8 per month = $8000 per month of extra income!

This money comes in month on month and is a recurrent income. There isn’t a lot of work involved with this model so you can start living the Internet marketing dream that you’ve always wanted. It’s much different from any other type of marketing because you can count on this money every month.

You aren’t starting at ground zero every month and chasing up new customers. You already have a set base of income that you can grow. For instance, if you had 500 customers last month that were paying $10 per month, you know that your income this month will be approximately $5000 again and you can grow it from there. It’s an amazing position to be in and one that can make you fantastically rich.

How Much Can I Make from Membership Sites?

This is where things get very interesting. You’ll probably find that you want to take out a pen and a notepad to start figuring out the numbers. If you set up a monthly membership site charging only $10 per month, you’d only need 100 members to make $1,000 every month. Remember this is recurring monthly income and not just a one-shot deal.

If you could add another 200 members the next month you’d be making $3,000 per month. Once you have 1,000 members your income will be $10,000 per month, and that’s just the base. You can continually grow this base amount or you can set up another micro membership site and have a couple running at the same time.

This is definitely not a limited income source by any stretch of the imagination. The sky’s the limit when it comes to how much money you can make. You’re in the driver’s seat and you have full control over your business. This model has created many millionaires with more to come. Will you be next?

Examples of Membership Sites in Action

DollarShaveClub.com

Dollarshave club membership site

Let’s take a look at the Dollar Shave Club, which started as a simple conversation in 2010 at a holiday party. It was just an idea that came up and put into action. Just a few words said, which transpired into an exploding business that skyrocketed more than anyone could have ever imagined.

This club sends out razor blades to men (and some women) every month. The price is reasonable at $3, $6 or $9 monthly. The price you pay will depend on whether you want the Humble, the 4x or the Executive type of razors. You’ll be sent a compatible handle for free at the beginning that fits the razors. Just about every man in this world is shaving once a day and needs new razor blades regularly.

Men pay for this membership because it ends up saving them a small amount of money and they don’t have to go through the hassle of buying their blades every month. They can save time and money so they are willing to pay for this convenience on a regular basis.

Last year it was estimated that more than 2 million subscribers received razors from this membership club and the estimated value of the company last year was $650 million. Recently the membership was sold to Unilever for $1 billion. Not bad for a simple yet brilliant idea that came up at a party one fateful day in 2010.

GeeksLife.com

Micro continuity membership site

GeeksLife.com is a great eaxample of a micro membership site with a unique “Pay what you want” membership plan. Here is what the site says about their membership:

This is our ONLY Membership Level. It’s called Geeks+, where you Donate What You Can! Just enter the amount you want to donate per month. ($7/month minimum). You get access to EXCLUSIVE Behind the Scenes and Members Only content, our monthly PRINTED Newsletter, plus an ongoing 10% Discount in the shop on all SWAG!

As you can see, the minimum monthly payment is $7.00 but I’m sure many people kick in a bit more than that. The content is first rate so members probably stay active for many years.

I could not find stats on the number of members Geeks Life has but based on the popularity of the blog I would estimate it is probably at least 5000 strong. Multiply 5000 x $7.00 and you get $35,000 per month! Not bad for providing content about a subject you’re already passionate about.

Copyblogger.com

Copyblogger membership site

Another membership site that’s doing very well is Copyblogger.com. This membership site started in 2006 with an idea by Brian Clark. He decided to show others how to use copywriting and SEO to get better website results.

For the first year Copyblogger didn’t charge anything for its information and then, once it became well-known, people had to start paying for the membership charge to get access to the higher end information. It will cost you $29 per month to get access to this copywriting material that cannot be found anywhere else.

As well, you’ll have to pay the membership fees upfront for a year. Many subscribers consider it a small price to pay for the valuable content being offered. If you have your pen and notepad handy, you can start crunching the numbers for the income that can be produced with a $30 per month membership fee.

Scottsbasslessons.com

Scotts Bass Lessons Membership site

This is a very cool membership site that has one one goal – to teach you to play the Bass like a badass!  I was shocked to find that this site has over 135,000 subscribers – at $14.95 a month each… Well, you do the math. This guy is killing it!

Getting Started With Membership Sites

The only thing that you’re going to need at the very beginning is an autoresponder. GetResponse and Aweber are 2 of the most respected autoresponders out there (I refer GetResponse) and they both offer a free trial offer for the first month. You can sign up for free to get your membership site rolling.

You’ll also need to make sure that you have a PayPal account operating so that you can start receiving all your payments right away. Then it’s just a matter of getting the word out about your membership through marketing and advertising means.

If you have some funds available now it’s also a good idea to set up a landing page so that you can show people exactly what you have to offer and have them sign up for your membership on your site. This will involve getting a domain and hosting.

The autoresponder can be built right into your page and you’ll just have to add some content showing why people should sign up. If you don’t know how to put a landing page together you can simply hire someone from Fiverr to do it for you.

Your presentation at the beginning doesn’t have to be perfect. You can fine-tune your membership site later on once the funds become available. If you over think the process and try to make it perfect at the beginning you’ll never succeed. Getting started is the main goal and then things can be tweaked and fine-tuned as you proceed.

If you have an idea it would be a good idea to get started right now. A lot of people have ideas but fail because they never implement them into action. Only the go-getters in this life will make it because they are willing to take a chance and move forward.

If you have what it takes to reach a brand-new income level you won’t let this opportunity pass you by. Every day that you waste means less money going into your pocket. At the end of the day you are responsible for the money you bring in and this membership model gives you the opportunity to skyrocket your earnings now and in the future.

Best Membership Site Training Courses

The Passive Print System

The Passive Print System is a 94 page E-Book that teaches you how to create and sell memberships to ‘news letters’ at a low monthly fee. If you want to build a full blown, high end membership site then this is not the course for you. Passive Print is exclusively for people who want to build Micro Membership Sites.

The Passive Print System focuses on building leads, pushing them through a sales funnel, and eventually selling them a monthly newsletter membership. The training is very well written and covers everything from creating your newsletter to getting traffic to getting subscribers. Its really not just training its a complete ‘business plan’.

I bought this system about a year ago, and I must confess, I have not started my micro-membership site yet (I just have too many other projects lined up right now) – but I do believe that this is a GREAT business model for a newbie. The concept is pretty simple and there are not too many moving parts. The system focuses on delivering membership content in the form of a email newsletter, so there is no complicated membership site software to buy and learn.

Anyone who is willing to follow the system can get started quickly without a huge cash investment.  There is a very low barrier to entry.  And best of all the Passive Print System sells for only $27.00 and has a 30 day money back guarantee.

Pros/Cons of the Membership Site Business Model

Membership Site Pros

  • Recurrent income – Get paid time and time again for a relatively small amount of work.
  • Easy to join – It’s easy for people to join a membership club when you have it set up properly. Just a few clicks of the button and they are in!
  • Easy decision – When you run a micro continuity site and aren’t charging a lot for your products or services, it’s an easy decision for people to make. They don’t have to run to their significant other and ask for permission to join. They just do it. It’s an impulse buying decision and this works in your favor.
  • Can build on this business model – You’re not limited only to the amount of money you could make monthly by offering your services or products. You can also make some affiliate sales by suggesting products that people would need in your specific niche.
  • Unlimited income potential – As previously stated, there are no limits to the amount of money you can make. It all starts with an idea and then that idea is put into action.
  • Reliable income – Things can happen in life that simply aren’t planned for. If an emergency comes up you will be able to rely on this income to get you by. Since you won’t have to put a lot of time and energy into producing the products you’ll be sending out every month, you’re covering your bases for any potential life emergencies.
  • Easy to set up – It won’t take a lot of money or effort to set up one of these membership programs either. The cost amount is extremely low in comparison to the potential income that you can start generating right off the bat.

Membership Site Cons

  • Attrition rate – This is the amount of people that decide to unsubscribe from your membership. With a regular membership model you’ll experience a much higher rate of attrition and some of these higher-end membership programs don’t stay in business for very long.
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