The membership model might seem like a fun, exciting, and cool way to grow a business, but when you really dig in, you might be surprised to find that it’s so much more than that.
A membership gives us a path for scaling ethically. We can serve clients where they are right now.
Here’s why a membership could be the natural next step for your business – and how you can scale deeply, ethically, and successfully.
Are Buyers Tired of Mass Marketers?
We’re in an interesting time in business. People are speaking out more than ever about what services they offer, what value they bring to their clients, and how much money they earn. While this can be helpful because it shows others what’s possible, it also inevitably leads people to wonder how they can do it themselves.
How far are they willing to go to earn the ever illusive passive revenue?
But it’s not that simple. It’s also important to consider the ethics of running an online business. In order to show up authentically and deliver a product that people connect with, we must also sell in a way that aligns with our values … or we risk not having the conviction to sell at all.
Membership Model – An Ethical Way to Scale
This is where memberships come in. They give us a chance to offer more learning and growth to our clients. They allow us to truly impact our clients, as memberships aren’t confined to the pace of a course.
Instead, members can grow at their own pace, with your long-term support, in a space that fits your zone of genius. Memberships show us a way to earn more within an offering we can be proud of.
What’s so great about the membership model?
Memberships give us a chance to break out of our comfort zones, whether that’s consulting, one-on-one coaching, or even group programs. That’s just the tip of the iceberg – the membership model offers a slew of benefits both for both business owners and their clients.
Here are some of the benefits a coach, consultant or service provider gains from adding this to their business:
1. Members work at their own pace
If you’ve ever run a course, you know how stressful it might feel to your clients. They’re forced to keep up with the course, which could impact their experience and overall results. In a membership, everything is fluid. Your clients can utilize the tools you provide at their own pace, allowing them to have a more positive experience and get better results.
2. Commit us to ideal clients
By offering a membership, you get to spend more meaningful and intentional time with your clients. This shows that you have a long-term commitment to providing ongoing support. It provides a sense of safety and security for the client – they know you’ll be there to make sure they get what they need. Plus, it allows you to ensure they get the results that they want, which means you’re delivering a quality product.
3. Get a front-row seat to the challenges of your super fans
A membership can also be a humbling experience for you as the creator. You get a front-row seat to your best clients – the ones who make long-term purchases. You see what problems they encounter, what matters to them, what solutions they crave, where are they getting stuck, and how they’re speaking about your service. You might be surprised to see how they articulate it compared to how you do.
Their feedback could help you see any cracks in your offering that need filling. This is actually something we spend so much time in search of – we spend time on social media or in private groups seeking out feedback. Sometimes we even pay for it. But a membership gives you insight into what your target market thinks and needs, allowing you to improve your offering.
4. Leverage your time
One-on-one coaching is time-consuming. A one-to-many membership allows you to show up on a group call or in a community, doing the work of coaching multiple people at once. You can also upload materials onto a platform where people can consume them and get value from them whenever they need – meanwhile, you had to do the work only once.
5. Drive consistent revenue
Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of the membership model is the monthly recurring revenue. As business owners, we’re always in search of that consistency.
Memberships can create a system in which you have income every single month. Sure, you may start out small. However, over time you can dial your membership in, put systems in place, set the right price point, and create a sustainable and growing business.
6. Get into sales mode
Many people struggle with selling their services. Owning a membership allows you to stay in the sales mindset and sets the intention of sales. You’re constantly surrounded by people who are getting value from what you offer, building up your confidence, and giving you qualitative and quantitative data that you can use to sell in other areas of your business.
7. Informs the design of your business
A memberships model can also fill in the gaps of your business. For example, do you need a lower ticket item to take a customer from the introductory phase to your high-ticket one-on-one offering? Or, perhaps after your high-ticket consultations, your clients tend to get stuck without your support. In that case, a membership would allow you to offer some support during implementation, keeping clients from stalling.|
8. Makes a bigger impact
A membership can also be about building something bigger than yourself. Whatever you’re passionate about or believe in, your membership will likely draw in like-minded people. Memberships have this lasting, ongoing nature in which you can create a larger audience that you grow with, in more ways than one.
It’s also a long-term commitment – not as simple as your initial, exciting thought.
But aren’t the most rewarding business moves usually the ones that require commitment?
How to set up a membership model right now
Perhaps the best part of memberships is that you can start sooner than you think. You don’t need a huge following or fancy launch to make a significant impact on your clients. It can be as simple as:
- Send emails announcing the membership to your marketing list.
- Start with a small group of people – even just five people will do.
- Set up a simple model, including a welcome email, tools in a Google folder, and a Google calendar with planned high-level trainings throughout the year.
- Set up a community on a third-party site, like Mighty Networks, Zenler or Memberpress.
The two things that will help make this decision and get you closer to launching is:
- Knowing where the program sits within your business model
- Your unique positioning so you can confidently attract the right people
Three types of memberships models
There are three types that will help you create the most profitable membership with the least amount of effort.
Once you figure out where your membership lives in your entire business model, all the other decisions on how to price it, what to include and who to invite will be much easier to make.
The Warm-up model is the most common membership model we see. These membership tend to be lower priced and become the audiences to which coaches or consultants sell higher ticket programs.
They serve as a port of entry to the business and give members a taste of what it’s like to learn from you.
The Flagship becomes the cornerstone of a businesses’ revenue and replaces other programs & offers.
Businesses with core membership offers that get known often have a big mission and provide unique value in the world. These models have the most potential to become a movement and have a broad-reaching impact.
Flagship memberships need to be priced for sustainability & profit as they pack in a lot of value and can become a sole source of support for members working towards that common outcome. This is the model for the Profitable Membership Club.
Follow-up memberships are the easiest to launch because they centre around inviting recent clients to join. These programs provide access to ongoing mentorship and check-ins while they continue to work towards their goals.
They are an efficient and enjoyable way to provide accountability for clients who need to stay focused on their transformation. It provides them with a tether to their mentor without requiring expensive one-on-one support or a high-ticket program making it an easy choice for them to join.
When you know EXACTLY who your membership serves, we can then develop the perfect launch event with content that people are desperate to learn and use – amazing messaging and sales pages that convert. We’ll grow faster with only ONE ideal member profile … at first.
With expert positioning our confidence soars.
And confidence sells!!!
Take my client Angie for instance …
When Angie first started her membership, she was so excited that she finally found the model that could serve her clients in a way that totally lit her up.
She knew she could absolutely get them to successfully pitch podcasts (the focus of her business).
When she launched it to her best clients, many of them became founding members. They were thrilled for the guidance on how to continue podcast pitching as a visibility strategy without needing an agency for it.
And as her people stayed and engaged … she knew it was her thing.
It was time to really grow it! But that’s when things started to get confusing …
… because she didn’t know who it was for… exactly.
Like so many memberships she had a variety of people inside. And while that’s one of the awesome things about these kinds of programs, it makes it difficult to message, market and launch.
Just like that, your membership is officially up and running. The rest of the process can be fluid. You offer coaching when clients need it, helping them troubleshoot as problems arise.
Meanwhile, you can adjust the membership as needed while starting to earn!
Create your Membership Success Blueprint
Want to build a membership that grows your audience and increases our revenue. In my Free Membership Training, you’ll learn my 3 must-have components for a successful membership.
Isn’t it time you leveraged your experience and expertise with a dedicated community and with a successful blueprint to guide you along the way?
Lisa Princic is a Business Strategist & Membership Expert who helps thought leaders & niche experts build wildly successful memberships. She's dedicated to helping impact-driven entrepreneurs scale their businesses with powerful positioning and profitable programs designed around their zone of genius. A staunch believer in simplicity and intention, Lisa helps her clients accomplish their goals by focusing on what to do AND what to ignore.