JULY 29, 2022

By Onder Hassan

How To Promote A Membership Site : 9 Simple Strategies You Can Use Today

So you've been hard at work building your first course or membership site. You've spent time creating great content to include ensuring it's the best it can be.

You're eager to show it to your customers because you just know that it will change their life in a positive way.

But you're now left with a dilemma...

How do you go about getting people to pay for it?

How do you communicate the value of your membership without coming off like a sleazy salesperson?

In this article we'll give you simple strategies you can use to market your first (or next) membership site.

We’ll discuss promotions, why they matter and provide tips and tricks for ensuring you know how to promote a membership site by the end of this article.

1. Sell Your Brand And Personality

The best way to kickstart your promotion is to get your audience familiar with your brand and who you are.

The easiest way to start off is by showing examples of people actually using your product or service. 

In fact, research shows that prospects are much more likely to buy once they've seen tangible proof that your offering works.

But where do you start? 

How do you prove that your product or service really does work for your target audience?

You don't necessarily need to spend money to provide evidence. There are plenty of ways to demonstrate the value of your product without spending a dime. 

For example, you might use case studies, testimonials, or even video reviews.

Reach out to your friends and family by giving them review copies of your product in return for a testimonial.

These will help provide social proof when you later come to promote your product in your sales funnel.

Using our OptimizeBuilder and testimonial element, we've made adding testimonials and endorsements an easy process and all without the need to code complex tables.

2. Position Yourself as An Authority to your membership audience

Marketing is generally easy but isn't a smooth process.

There are many moving pieces to the puzzle that has to be in place in order for the business to work and be in a position of providing authoritative information.

There can be all kinds of factors that influence whether someone buys from you today or tomorrow, including how much they know about you, what they think of your reputation, and how confident they feel about making purchases with you.

The more credibility you have to the name of your company, the more people will want to make recurring payments for whatever you offer.

You can develop your authority with a brand identity that leads to sales, but it takes time and effort. 

Here are some helpful tips to get things rolling:

Step #1 - Be unique

Thankfully, all of us are created uniquely with different nuances in personality, character and idiosyncrasies.

Don’t be afraid to show your uniqueness to your audience. What voice do you have that you would like to share with people, that sets you apart from everyone else?

This is what will help you stand out in a crowded market and will build a following of like-minded customers who can identify and relate with your message.

Step #2 - Make your site design easy to navigate and understand

A big part of getting visitors and fans to your brand is making sure it’s easy to navigate. 

Think of your website as a virtual business card. If it doesn’t create a memorable experience for your visitors when they see you for the first time, they will be very unlikely to return.

Thankfully, your website is the only place where you have complete control over how you present yourself. 

So use whatever opportunity you have to make it as easy for your customers to navigate as possible.

Step #3 - Use clear language throughout your marketing materials

Make your messaging as simple and straightforward as possible. If you can’t describe your brand on the back of a small business card, then chances are, you have made your business more complicated than it needs to be.

What is the purpose of your business?

How is your brand going to help your customers?

Have a think about how to best answer both of these questions and take your time with it. Once you are clear on what your business is about, everything else regarding your content and promotions will be much easier to figure out.

Step #4 - Don’t forget to add social media icons to your site

Add social share icons wherever you can to encourage your readers to spread your content to their own platforms. 

This will encourage virality and slowly get the ball rolling when it comes to achieving the top-of-mind awareness that we discussed earlier.

This will of course take time, but as you become more consistent, your brand will eventually reach a tipping point where more visitors and customers will naturally come to your brand without any active promotion of your own.

3. Become A Source Of Knowledge

Knowing your material is one of the most important ways of becoming an authority as stated in the previous step, but you don't need to have a PhD in order to be valuable in your marketplace. 

You only need to know 1% more than your audience who will likely not know anything about the thing they want help with.

This can easily be shared using ebooks, videos and other downloadables that you have access to and discussed in an earlier article on the different content formats.

You've got a body of work to reference, and it's one of your authority-building essentials.

Authority doesn't happen overnight, but it does grow over time. And what better way to build up your reputation than to make yourself known for your subject matter expertise? 

Here are some tips on how to do just that...

Step #1 - Create content that people want to read or watch

A lot of people think that creating content is easy. But it takes hard work and dedication to really become an authority in your field.

If you're looking to start off small, try starting a blog. Blogging is free, it gets traffic quickly, and it's a great way to start building your personal brand.

Step #2 - Be helpful

People trust others who help them. So if someone asks a question about a topic you know well, don't hesitate to offer advice. 

This isn't always possible, of course, but if you see a post asking a question you could answer, jump in and provide insight. 

People appreciate being able to find solutions to problems without having to go digging around themselves.

Step #3 - Share quality information

Above all, the information you share with your readers has to be the best it can be. This will build trust and authority and increase the likelihood of turning them into customers and repeat buyers.

You do not want to post or share mediocre content because this is perhaps your first and only opportunity to show your potential customers what you have to offer.

If you can provide a small glimpse or taster of what you can deliver to them, they will be much more willing to buy from you when it eventually comes to selling them your products and services.

4. Use Social Media To Spread Your Message

Social media has fast become the most used medium for finding and sharing information as well as taking part in communities of other likeminded people.

There have been many predictions in the past regarding social media being a fad and slowly dying out. Yet it has grown from strength to strength and is slowly evolving and becoming a key part of modern culture.

Social media, especially now, is absolutely vital to building credibility and establishing yourself as an expert in your field. 

social media

One of the most important things you can do to build an online presence is to make sure people know about it.

This includes making sure your name appears everywhere possible. 

In fact, having a strong social media presence is one of the best ways to market yourself professionally. 

Here’s how to go about doing just that:

Step #1 - Join relevant groups on social media platforms to build an online community

Where are your customers spending most of their time? 

If you’ve done your research, then you will have found the most common places your market is going to communicate with others.

It’s crucial that you create a social presence on those platforms so that you have the highest chance of exposure and getting yourself known in the marketplace.

Step #2 - Find out what questions people ask there

Spend some time reading through posts and threads to get a feel for the most common questions your potential customers want answers to.

This will really help you gain a deeper insight into the type of things you can write for your own content and provide solutions when it comes to creating your products and services. 

Step #3 - Answer those questions

Use these platforms to share your most valuable content with the community. The more helpful you are at providing value, the more your reputation will increase, which will really help you when it comes to building authority and gaining fans.

Step #4 - Direct traffic to your site and/or blog

It will be very tempting to pimp your products and services to a new audience, which is a common mistake many people make it comes to the community.

This will likely get you banned from the platform and get seen as a spammer.

The key thing to remember is that you must aim to give first in value. A bit like a value bank account. 

The more of it you put in, the more you can take out when it comes to promoting your business.

When you’re ready, provide a nice link back to your business, which will give you a nice flow of traffic that you built over time by being helpful to the community.

Step #5 - Follow up with those who engage with you

Once you’ve built a nice flow of traffic to your website, use this to deliver even more value by giving away free reports or ebooks in return for an email address. 

This will provide you with a valuable opportunity to have more intimate and direct communication with your audience, allowing you to build the relationship further and eventually sell them your subscriptions and other products and services.

5. Create Search Engine Optimized Content to Get Organic Traffic

When considering how to promote a membership site - getting organic (free) traffic is the holy grail.  This gives you a potentially untapped stream of new visitors and potential members fo your membership.

The goal of search engine optimization (SEO) is to make sure that when someone types in a phrase or keyword, your website gets listed on the first page of the search results.

This will help improve the visibility of your brand, increase traffic and make more sales.

One of the keys to ensuring success with SEO is to build quality links to your website (external linking) and ensure content within your site is linked together properly (internal linking).

Internal linking refers to the links you build within your website. This can be as simple as linking to other relevant pages on your website that encourages readers to keep reading.

External linking refers to the links you place on other sites. This can be in the form of writing guest posts on other blogs and networking with other industry figures.

When people enter search queries into the search bar, the search engine looks at the keywords associated with those searches.

search engine optimization

If there are multiple pages that match these keywords, the search engine ranks each one based on how closely related it is to the keyword.

A high PageRank score indicates that your site is well-known among the rest of the Internet.

A low PageRank score indicates that no one else knows much about your site. To boost your PageRank, you must add great content to your site.

This will of course take time to do, but as you begin building your site with great content, and begin getting high-quality links back to your site, your pagerank score will slowly increase; allowing you to rank for more competitive keywords without any active link-building of your own.

Be sure to check out our guide for a more detailed overview of how to effectively SEO your website.

6. Run Paid Ads To Your Target Membership Demographics

Once you've mastered the basics, it's time to venture out into the world of paid advertising. 

If you want a fast way to begin getting traffic to your offers and testing to see what's working, paid ads are the most effective ways to start.

Facebook ads have become the most popular advertising platform in recent years due to their ability to provide advertisers with the ability to target their exact customers.

Over the years, however, Facebook ad prices have risen, which has made it more difficult to make a profit. 

However, other ad platforms are emerging that have a cheaper ad spend, which is worth looking into and learning how to use as a business owner looking to promote your brand.

A few tips to consider when going into an ad platform:

Tip #1 - Mix broad and specific targeting

In the beginning, you will not know which audience will be the most engaged and are likely to click your links.

Casting a wide net will allow you to quickly test different audiences, which you can eventually laser target as you begin to gather the data on what’s working and what isn’t.

Tip #2 - Start with a small budget

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need an enormous budget to run ads.

We recommend a small budget of $2-5 per day per ad campaign, which is enough to test the waters on what works.

Eventually, you will be able to scale the winning ads by increasing the budget and starting fresh new ads that are targeting more audiences.

Tip #3 - Test different offers, creative and ad copy

To ensure you get the best conversions and click-through rates, test multiple offers and ad variations until you find a combination that works.

This will allow you to find the best variations, which you can rotate and run on autopilot.

Tip #4 - Give your campaigns time to run

The biggest mistake beginner advertisers make is cutting off their ad campaigns early. 

Most ad platforms need time for their algorithms to see which audiences are engaging so they can serve you more qualified visitors.

We suggest a 2-day window for a campaign before determining the best course of action.

Tip #5 - Segment your most engaged traffic

Use your most qualified traffic as a way to attract more lookalike audiences. 

Some ad platforms will allow the ability to upload these leads to their platform so they can provide you with more lookalike audiences who best fit that demographic.

7. Create An Affiliate Program

Affiliate programs are a powerful tool that can help you monetize your online presence.

By offering incentives to your members, you can encourage them to recommend your site to others. 

In return, you'll earn money whenever someone buys something through one of your members' links.

Creating an affiliate program requires some upfront work, but it's well worth the effort because it allows you to build relationships with your customers.

Plus, once you've set up your affiliate program, you can easily add more features like tracking commissions, customizing landing pages, and generating reports.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Tip #1: Offer 100% commissions

The more incentives you give to your affiliates, the more they will work hard to promote your offer. 

It is important however that you have something else to sell on the back-end to help you get a return of your own. This could be a private coaching session or a more expensive high-ticket offer.

Tip #2 - Use dedicated plugins or software

Running affiliate processes can be difficult if you attempt to do it manually. We generally recommend using a dedicated plugin or third-party software that handles this for you.

We recommend WPAffiliate or FirstPromoter, which is what we use here are OptimizePress, which has proven to be an indispensable part of our promotion strategy.

8. Promote To Your Existing Email List

Your email list is the single most valuable asset you can own in your business. It is the backbone of every online website, and email marketing strategy and is how most businesses make their money.

Unlike any other social media platform or blog, sending a single email to your list of subscribers can often result in a 20% open rate on average with a 5-10% click-through rate.

A figure that is generally unheard of when posting on social media. Furthermore, you have complete control over your email lists and can use it to build a strong relationship with your subscribers.

When it comes to eventually promote your offers, your email list will be primed and nurtured to want to open and click through to your offer and will be more likely to buy.

Many email marketers use automated email sequences having tested and found the best email variations to send to their list. 

This is why email is the most powerful asset to build in your business. It provides complete control and eventually allows you to fully automate and build a truly hands-free business that makes you predictable sales and monthly income day-in-day-out.

We recommend the following email strategies to help ensure that you have the highest chance of making sales with your email list:

Tip #1 - Email your list daily

Interacting with your list daily will ensure that your email list remains engaged, which helps with relationship building. 

Most email marketers make the mistake that this has to include free content with each email.

But it can be as simple as sharing a relevant story, useful anecdotes or thought-provoking insights that help your subscribers see a window through your day-to-day life, which allows them to form a bond with you.

Tip #2 - Segment your list

It’s important that you organise your list into different interests as this will allow you to better communicate with them and provide them with useful content that’s most in line with what they want the most help with.

Tip #3 - Always be promoting

Not all promotions need to be about hard-selling. Use your emails to softly plug your offers at the end of each email.

Your subscribers will naturally begin to click through and eventually buy from you as their bond with you strengthens.

9. Host a free virtual event

Hosting a virtual event that’s free to join can be one of the best ways to get your name out into the world. 

Not only does it give you a chance to showcase yourself and your expertise, but it can help build awareness around your brand and what you do.

You don’t even have to worry about paying for marketing materials because you’re giving away everything for free.

The virtual event could be a very simple thing - a presentation about something pertaining directly to your community with a couple of special guests.

virtual event

Or it could be a full-on networking mixer where potential members see all the different kinds of opportunities available to them if they join the membership site.

Either way, it gives people a taste of what you offer without having to commit to anything.

When you’re a newcomer in the membership industry, getting your name out there can go a really long way. 

People want to know that you exist and that you’re a legitimate organization.

They want to meet someone behind the scenes, not just a talking point.

So make sure that you put some effort into making sure that everyone knows that you exist.

A great tool to get started is Zoom, which has grown in popularity in the last few years due to recent events that changed the way we work.

Customers are now flocking to virtual events due to the convenience and ease of accessibility. 

You simply click a link and you’re taken directly to the live stream that is scheduled by the person hosting the event.

now it's time to start promoting

Following these 9 processes, you’ll be well on your way to successfully promoting your membership site and being seen as an expert in your marketplace.

If you've read our Ultimate Guide To Subscriptions post, you’ll have learned why subscriptions are one of the most powerful ways to build a sustainable membership business.

It makes sales predictable and opens up opportunities and resources to put into building your brand.

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop your comments below.

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Today is the perfect time to secure your version of the OptimizePress Suite and get full access to all of these amazing tools:

Drag and drop lightening fast website builder
Done for you marketing funnels to convert more leads and sales
Sell products and collect payment with checkouts
Create courses using pre-created templates and visual course building
Build membership sites and protect content
Split test your pages and funnels to increase conversions
Monitor your leads and sales with full stats dashboards
And much, much more.

    2 replies to "How To Promote A Membership Site : 9 Simple Strategies You Can Use Today"

    • Shanthi

      Namaste!
      My coach uses OP suite for blogs and sales pages but uses Teachable for membership sites. He was asking us to use Teachable too. I asked him to go through OptimizeMentor. He told me that it sounds interesting, but since it is on WordPress there are chances of it breaking down. He said that Teachable was more stable.

      Can you please explain why he said so? What are your thoughts?

      • James Dyson

        Namaste!

        WordPress is extremely stable as long as you are using a good hosting/server company. The issue with WordPress is that people often install many plugins they don’t need which can lead to site bloat. This is why we created the OptimizePress Suite – it gives you all the tools you need in one suite without needing to search out for plugins that work well together. Yes you can still add additional functionality but we recommend doing this sparingly.

        We have run membership sites with 100,000+ members (including our OptimizePress customer hub) on WordPress without any issues. Of course you’re still free to host your membership site elsewhere if you wish (You can pass through members to external systems through our rules engine and webhooks) but in most cases there’s no need for an external subscription to something like teachable which is probably an additional monthly cost you don’t need.

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