It’s a common belief that in order to run a membership program, it has to follow an Amazon Prime-type business model. The truth, however, is that with enough creativity, membership sites can be adapted to almost any business type – and a lot of entrepreneurs are catching on. There are successful sites dedicated to fans, coaches, community forums, business support, self-improvement, and the list goes on.

In fact, in our State of Entrepreneurship Report conducted in December 2016, over 200 people reported running their own membership site. Here are eight of the most creative membership sites run by ONTRAPORT users:

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1) Book More Brides – Gives wedding professionals the tools they need to market and promote themselves and fill their booking calendar

2) The Restaurant Boss – Helps restaurant owners operate better restaurants with a series of products

3) Owners Academy – Walks people through the steps needed to build a business they love

4) Millionaire Blueprint – Provides self-directed investors a short-term investing plan

5) Socially Sorted – Works with business owners to get more reach, referrals and results using visual social media and content strategy

6) Basic Bananas – Gives business owners marketing expertise at their fingertips

7) The Chartist – Simplifies the trading and investment process for busy people

8) The Fitness Mindset – Provides members with access to online modules and live coaching calls

1) Jeff and Stephanie Padovani – Book More Brides

LINDSAY KENT What does your membership site offer? How do members participate?

JEFF AND STEPHANIE Book More Brides helps wedding professionals (photographers, DJs, wedding planners, etc.) market and promote themselves to fill up their booking calendar and increase their prices. We specialize in quick, high-impact actions that get fast results.

Members participate by attending monthly workshops and live Q&A sessions, posting and responding to questions in our private Facebook group, and by using our searchable library of training resources on the membership site for answers to specific questions.

LK When did you launch it, and why did you decide to do so?

J AND S We launched in June 2015. We saw a need for a lower-priced option for wedding professionals who couldn’t afford our more expensive courses. It was also an opportunity to create recurring monthly income for our business.

LK How and why do you use ONTRAPORT for your membership site? What are your favorite ONTRAPORT membership site features?

J AND S We use ONTRAPORT for our membership site because it’s super convenient to manage our members, since we already use ONTRAPORT for our CRM. Everything’s all in one place, so we don’t need an extra integration. I love the ability to drip-release content with PilotPress. It makes it easy for me to set up rules to add or release content over time.

LK How has your business changed since setting up a membership site?

J AND S We started with zero members, and now we have 550; membership income makes up 57% of our revenue. I’ve also noticed more powerful engagement and ownership in our Book More Brides community.

LK How do you keep your members engaged and coming back to the site?

J AND S We send weekly “Action Challenge” emails and reminders of the great new content we’re adding.

LK What type of payment plan do you use — subscription-based, flat fee, payment plan?

J AND S We use a monthly or annual subscription plan.

LK Do you have advice for fellow entrepreneurs who are on the fence about getting started with a membership site?

J AND S Selling a continuity product like a membership is a lot harder than you think! (Or at least, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.) Your offer has to be extremely good and you need to nail down a high-converting sales funnel to make it sustainable. We’re still making adjustments 1.5 years later. When creating your offer, focus on selling TOOLS rather than information. They have much higher perceived value.

Learn more about how Jeff and Stephanie achieved their success here.

2) Ryan Gromfin – The Restaurant Boss

LINDSAY KENT What does your membership site offer? How do members participate?

RYAN GROMFIN I offer many different products that can be consumed in different mediums, all to help restaurant owners operate better restaurants. A few of my products are one-time pay and only accessible through the membership site, and some are monthly subscriptions. Some are a combination with a one-time pay for a “live” portion of the training, like with the Mastermind I ran last year, and a monthly continuation fee if they wish to stay in the Facebook group and get new content delivery on a regular basis.

LK When did you launch it, and why did you decide to do so?

RG I launched the site in mid 2014. I had contemplated a membership model for about a year but it was going to be a totally different experience. My original plan was to provide new content on a monthly basis that members would have access to. However, after researching this model with others that were running such sites, there were many challenges that I didn’t want to deal with as a one-man show. But I wanted the recurring revenue.  

When I finished creating my first online product, “Restaurant Owners Roadmap,” I decided to deliver it behind a member-protected website. Then it hit me: Every time people log in to the site to consume the information they just purchased, I can take them to a home screen with complementary products that are available. The icons will be in color if they own the product, or black and white if not. ONTRAPORT easily allows for this functionality plus the ability to redirect to different pages when clicked. That is how the membership site was born.

LK How and why do you use ONTRAPORT for your membership site? What are your favorite ONTRAPORT membership site features?

RG As an ONTRAPORT user and Certified Consultant, I am constantly asked about all the different membership software out there, and I have used many for other clients, but I just don’t get it. The native ONTRAPORT membership features are robust and so simple to use. There is no need for additional code, API connections, pings and all kinds of other issues that arise with third-party memberships.

Hands down, my favorite feature is the ability to show and hide content, plus control redirects based on levels or tags. As I mentioned earlier, I am able to add on products and services to existing clients without really doing anything. Just by logging in to my membership site, they are constantly seeing everything I offer. Current buyers are way more likely to buy more.

LK How has your business changed since setting up a membership site?

RG There is nothing better than my wife telling me $1,264 settled today (she handles the books). Then I stop for a moment and think, I didn’t get a message that I sold any programs today — I have to stop and remember that ONTRAPORT just runs my members’ credit cards automatically without me doing a thing. I love those days. The membership base is not huge, but I would say that nearly every single day some money is being settled. LOVE THAT.  

I love knowing that we have a certain amount of income we can rely on.

Also, as mentioned, the hardest work is making the first sale, but once that sale is made, the most rewarding work is watching that person purchase additional products that will help them run a more profitable business, without having to do a thing.

LK How do you keep your members engaged and coming back to the site?

RG Keeping members coming back and reaching higher engagement is one of my top priorities this year. I have good systems in place for creating new members, and my churn rate is pretty low, but as I plan to really pour gasoline on the fire and grow this business, I know that community is going to be the key to keeping customers for the long-haul and, more importantly, creating raving fans.

Currently I post into the Facebook group and answer questions, but I need to be more diligent with this. My goal is to create a community that is so supportive, friendly, inspiring and helpful that people don’t ever want to leave.

LK What type of payment plan do you use — subscription-based, flat fee, payment plan?

RG I use all of the above — it just depends on the product. One of the things I am most proud of was creating an employee training membership. The restaurant business has lots of turnover, so while I could offer this as a one-time fee program, I decided to make it very reasonable for a 90-day trial. My selling proposition is that in 90 days you can run your entire staff through the program. However, I then charge monthly after that. Very few people drop off because they are always hiring new employees.

LK Do you have advice for fellow entrepreneurs who are on the fence about getting started with a membership site?

RG DO IT … but do it on your terms. There is no one-size-fits-all model for you membership. It’s easy to see what Brendon Burchard does charging $97 for a 20- or 30-minute video once per month — but his list is huge, his exposure to consumers is massive. That may not work in your market. Think about what you already have that is doing well and think about how you can add on a $7 per month or $17 per month additional tool to that. Then, move all of your opt-in offers, products and even services into your membership site so that people who own one product will see all your others. I have recently started adding some of my better “free” stuff into the membership site for that reason.

LK Anything else you’d like to share?

RG “If you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I will take the first four to sharpen my axe.” — Abraham Lincoln.

While I am huge proponent of action and don’t like overthinking things, there is also a certain complexity to this. Take a few extra hours to really think about the entire customer journey from your free stuff to your low-ticket stuff to your higher-ticket stuff, and think about how they build on each other and how you can cross-promote them all.  

3) Matthew Kostanecki – Owners Academy

LINDSAY KENT What does your membership site offer? How do members participate?

MATTHEW KOSTANECKI Owners Academy helps people build a business they love. Sounds like every other business membership site, right? Well, here’s the difference: Instead of learning just theory, you’ll actually see the tactical steps that I’ve taken to help grow several businesses to achieve millions in sales (including my own!). What’s more, inside Owners Academy, you’ll get to see me actively build a new business from scratch. Members can learn and follow along while they build their own businesses, too.

Owners Academy is made up of two parts: courses and community. The main course is entitled “Building Your Product Brand” which teaches you how to find, source and launch your very own product to sell on Amazon. It’s been a hot topic for a while but I provide my unique spin on how to do it successfully almost 100% of the time. The community part is comprised of private forums which give you support, accountability and inspiration.

Enrollment to Owners Academy is by application, and it’s only open during certain periods of time. This helps ensure I can get a small, dedicated group of students at a time and I can devote the proper time to them without taking away from my other business.

LK When did you launch it, and why did you decide to do so?

MK I’ve always enjoyed teaching, and for the past four to five years, I’ve been a speaker at local small businesses enterprise centers in York Region, Vaughan and Richmond Hill.

I would hold free seminars and webinars about digital marketing, online sales, ecommerce and actually show small business owners the successes I was having. People were hooked and each local center kept having me back for more. After the seminars, I would typically get a few consulting requests which I would have to turn down because my scheduling would not allow for it. This is where I came up with the membership site idea: If I’m working hard on building my own business, why not let people in on how exactly I’m doing it too? I toyed with the idea for well over two years (don’t make the same mistake!) and I finally dove in the week before my first son was born; I figured if I don’t start before he was born, I would never start. I joke with my wife that she gave birth to Ethan and I gave birth to Owners Academy.

LK How and why do you use ONTRAPORT for your membership site? What are your favorite ONTRAPORT membership site features?

MK If you’re like most entrepreneurs (and frugal like me), you research the heck out of every option there is before you give up your hard-earned money and invest into a system. This is especially true for system such as ONTRAPORT, which can act as the backbone and platform for your entire business!

I wanted something as close to all-in-one as possible without having to integrate things. As an entrepreneur, you want to limit the complexity of your systems as much as possible. The less complex, the less likely it is that something will go wrong.

ONTRAPORT came with a free two-hour set-up (as any great software should). Pricing was much more reasonable than the competitors and I felt the pricing structure itself was inline with how my membership business would grow.

In terms of features, the most obvious is the step Sequences and emails I can set up. When a user successfully signs up and pays, they’re added to the course email Sequence and get one email a week for each module. Clean and simple.

I love how I can instantly create landing pages right in ONTRAPORT. This especially comes in handy when I open and close registrations — I can easily have the page redirected or unpublished. No need for extra third-party software and no messing around with integrations.

I also love how ONTRAPORT allows you to take payments on any landing page. Super simple and works out of the box . I’m looking forward to using the affiliate feature to help grow Owners Academy in the near future as well.

I was pleasantly surprised to see video hosting is also offered at no extra charge, and I naturally use it to host my course videos.

For attracting members to Owners Academy, I’ll host free webinars using a provider such as Easy Webinar, and of course ONTRAPORT integrates with them.

LK How has your business changed since setting up a membership site?

MK Frankly speaking, I don’t think I’d have a membership business without ONTRAPORT. It’s quickly and easily allowed me to finally get up and going with the idea for Owners Academy that I’ve had for quite some time.

One thing that’s surprised me about building a membership site itself is how much value I get out it too. I’ve learned more in the past few months then I could ever have done on my own. Plus, the community keeps me motivated in my own business and keeps me on my toes.

LK How do you keep your members engaged and coming back to the site?

MK Once enrolled, members get access to all material upfront but also get a weekly email via ONTRAPORT about each module. In addition, every Monday they get an email inviting them to post in the “Accountability” forum to post the one thing they plan on accomplishing that week. I also do broadcast emails highlighting interesting topics or successes that were posted. The membership software itself also provides a way for members to get updates every time something is posted in a forum if they choose.

LK What type of payment plan do you use — subscription-based, flat fee, payment plan?

MK I do a mix of both. Owners Academy is $397 upfront and $49 a month for as long as you’re a member. No contracts, and you have 30 days for a 100% refund. The upfront and monthly fee will continue to increase as more courses are added (but once you’re in, you’re grandfathered for life).

I looked at how other courses were priced, and I wanted to do something different that was more inline with the success of the student. For example, most similar courses are $1,500-$5,000 upfront which is a lot for someone to pay based on just a promise they will learn something. Instead, I’d rather earn a member’s business by providing value month over month. If I’m not providing value, then I don’t deserve their money, and they can cancel anytime.

I feel the small upfront fee is also important because it attracts the right type of customer. People who are willing to invest a little bit upfront tend to be more serious and committed for the long term.

LK Do you have advice for fellow entrepreneurs who are on the fence about getting started with a membership site?

MK There’s an old Chinese proverb that I love: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

It pains me to think just how much further ahead I could have been if I had started my membership site four years ago when I first started doing free seminars and webinars. How many more businesses could I have helped create and lives changed?

Don’t get plagued with shiney object syndrome. One of my members in Owners Academy had asked me about selling their products on eBay, Etsy, their own Shopify store, etc. My advice was to focus on Amazon first, master it and move on. All too often we work super hard just spreading ourselves thin with nothing major to show for it. The same is true when considering a membership site: You might spend months like me comparing and contrasting every piece of software. Instead, do what matters to build your audience and then offer them something they want.

Don’t be afraid to learn from others. I typically have the mindset that I can figure out everything on my own. But, in reality, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Last but not least, don’t go into building a membership site for the money. Instead, go into it to genuinely help people, and you’ll find the money will follow you.

4) John Hutchinson – Millionaire Blueprint

LINDSAY KENT What does your membership site offer? How do members participate?

JOHN HUTCHINSON Millionaire Blueprint provides self-directed investors a short-term investing plan and a monthly portfolio of 10 stocks to grow their portfolios. Members participate by using the site to get their monthly portfolio, stay up-to-date with action alerts and to get a weekly review of their monthly portfolio’s performance. They also have access to webinar recordings each month, special reports and unique tools to manage their investing portfolio.

LK When did you launch it, and why did you decide to do so?

JH We initially launched the membership site in 2013 primarily because we had subscribers asking for a centralized place to access everything we included in their membership.

Trying to deliver bonus reports and videos via email became more difficult (due to the inevitable spam folder or lost email). So we wanted to eliminate frustration for the members by making it simple for them to quickly get what they needed and be able to interact with it.

LK How and why do you use ONTRAPORT for your membership site? What are your favorite ONTRAPORT membership site features?

JH We use ONTRAPORT in several ways for our membership sites (we have multiple membership sites, though I’m only highlighting one): First, we use ONTRAPORT as the membership database to manage the usernames and passwords in conjunction with AccessAlly’s WordPress plugin. This simplifies the issues of usernames and passwords and, most importantly (for me and our customer care team), we include log in details in every membership-related email we send, which further eliminates member frustration with not remembering their passwords.

Secondly, we use ONTRAmail as our members-only content platform for email content. ONTRAmail helps us create simple yet professional emails for our members so we don’t look like one of those fly-by-night companies.

The simplicity we’ve found allows us to easily segment our members and, using Rules in ONTRAPORT, to know when we’re losing touch with a member who is not engaging with either the member site or content. This is very important to us in retaining our members. One discovery we’ve made is that by monitoring whether members are opening emails, we can intervene to make sure we’re not about to lose a paying member.

We also use ONTRAPORT as the sales and billing platform, which removes the hassle of worrying about recurring billings and helps manage the overall subscription’s profitability.

LK How has your business changed since setting up a membership site?

JH Our revenue has doubled every two years since we began utilizing membership-based sites for our products along with other product strategies which allow us to scale our membership by utilizing what I call gateway products (short training products) which lead, logically, to the need to join the membership.

This helped us to grow one of our memberships from a low of 183 subscribers to over 1,200 subscribers within 12 months.

Perhaps the most powerful impact to our business is the average annual customer value: Since 2013 (when we first transitioned to ONTRAPORT), our annual customer value has increased from $62 to over $300. That’s a massive shift in revenue per customer annually, and I fully attribute it to the growth of our membership sites.

LK How do you keep your members engaged and coming back to the site?

JH We do two things to keep our members engaged. One, we provide content relevant to the product they’ve purchased and drive our traffic to it. Two, we provide useful videos and tools; the videos especially act as an ongoing engagement tactic for our members.

LK What type of payment plan do you use — subscription-based, flat fee, payment plan?

JH We use 60-day paid trials (no guarantee, no refund) with recurring billing taking effect each month thereafter, and we also offer annual membership upgrades. Our trials range from $49 to $97 and our monthly recurring billings range from $49 monthly to $199 quarterly to $697 annually.

LK Do you have advice for fellow entrepreneurs who are on the fence about getting started with a membership site?

JH Memberships have everything to do with a business’s product strategy and what I call “personal, interactive access,” meaning the closer your paying subscribers feel they are to you, and the more engaged you are with them, the faster your business can grow and the more money you can charge for your memberships.

Having any form of recurring payment model eases the stress of starting every month at $0 — when you know you have recurring billing already on the books, you have a more sustainable, long-term business.

5) Donna Moritz – Socially Sorted

LINDSAY KENT What does your membership site offer?

DONNA MORITZ Socially Sorted works with business owners, bloggers and entrepreneurs who want to learn how to use visual social media and content strategy to get more reach, referrals and results in their business.

My main online program, Create Traffic Driving Images (CTDI), is a 10-module evergreen course that helps members learn how to create visual content quickly and easily. It’s a course for non-designers, based on the premise that anyone can create visual content with the tools we have available (even if they are not creative and are time-poor).  

Our members learn how to create a visual content strategy as well as visuals ranging from images to short videos, slideshares and infographics. Members range from small business owners to virtual assistants, social media managers, and entrepreneurs — all wanting to get higher traffic, shares and results online with visual content.

LK When did you launch it, and why did you decide to do so?

DM We released the CTDI program at the end of 2014 so I could teach a bigger audience about visual content. The first round was a simple email launch to a segmented list of people who had expressed interest in learning more about visual content. The first launch sold $9,000 worth of programs to a separate list of 450 people. Six months later, I did my first webinar and did $16,000 in sales.  

Now we launch the program one to two times per year via webinar and we have hundreds of members. In 2016 we also introduced an evergreen, three-part video series, which is followed by a personalized email launch sequence using Deadline Funnel. Each person receives an individualized “cart close” timer. It’s fully automated, converts well (between 5-8%) and has been a game-changer in terms of the potential I can see for online programs.

LK How and why do you use ONTRAPORT for your membership site? What are your favorite ONTRAPORT membership site features?

DM I chose ONTRAPORT for a number of reasons:

  • It was very user-friendly with great training and support.
  • I could start segmenting my list to provide targeted information — and programs!
  • It included the shopping cart and membership site functionality that I wanted.

I didn’t want to be purchasing a lot of extra plugins and add-ons. I like the way ONTRAPORT integrates with so many other tools that I need to use like LeadPages, Deadline Funnel and my WordPress website. The membership functionality works really well, and the entire process of payment, sending log-ins and access is easy for us and for members.  

I mostly love that the ONTRAPORT team is so innovative and committed to improving. Being in Australia, I can contact support via chat, and the Facebook group is always responsive, via staff or other customers. When the CEO drops into the Facebook group you know you are looking at a tool with a great company culture.  

I use an ONTRAPORT Certified Consultant for the technical stuff, but she rarely says “no” when I ask, “Can we do this?” That’s a sign of a great system!

LK How has your business changed since setting up a membership site?

DM Since selling online programs, and especially since setting up an evergreen sales funnel to sell programs with automation, my business has completely changed. I was able to double my revenue, as well as flip from consulting income to almost 90% leveraged income from affiliate and program sales. With two small children, that was my biggest “a-ha” about the power of online courses — and the power of a tool like ONTRAPORT.

In fact, in 2016 I suffered a major injury and was not working full-time for a few months. To still be able to have a five-figure month from affiliate and program sales while not working many hours was literally mind-blowing to me. It has me fired up to do more short courses and evergreen funnels — and maybe a full-blown monthly membership site.  

Creating an online program has also lead to many other benefits, including work with major brands and speaking at major tourism and marketing conferences, as well as podcast interviews, being a contributing author, featured in major blogs and more. It has become a major driving force of my business along with my blog.

LK How do you keep your members engaged and coming back to the site?

DM Members of my programs have access to a members-only Facebook group where myself and a team member are active. I’ve recently started using a tool called Grytics for Facebook group management, and it has increased engagement and interaction a lot; it helps us to post into the group, check analytics and engage with particular members.  

We also do regular email updates as well as keeping the content fresh in the program itself. We periodically add more videos, PDFs/planners, bonuses and updates, so our members generally check back in to the membership site platform for regular updates. We are about to start doing some regular Facebook Live Q&As in my groups as well.

LK What type of payment plan do you use — subscription-based, flat fee, payment plan?

DM The main program (Create Traffic Driving Images) is a one-time purchase. Purchases can be via three-month payment plan or discounted slightly if they purchase in full. We have also offered an eight-week advanced group training which was offered via payment plan and up-front payment as well.  

I can count the number of refunds I’ve had to give on two hands which I am grateful for. Knowing that ONTRAPORT allows me to sync with Stripe to set up a monthly payment plan option and take care of missed payments with automated emails gives me peace of mind. So far, it’s worked seamlessly.

LK Do you have advice for fellow entrepreneurs who are on the fence about getting started with a membership site?

DM Whether it’s a stand-alone program, group coaching program or a monthly membership site, I would recommend that you seriously consider taking your knowledge and packaging it up for your audience. Chances are they are waiting for you to do it. Don’t worry if there are other courses out there — that’s a sign there’s a need for it, and nobody will produce a course with your unique teachings and content.

Having online programs or “leveraged” income as part of your business can completely change your business — not only from a revenue perspective, but it will free up your time.

6) Christo Hall and Franziska Iseli – Basic Bananas

LINDSAY KENT What does your membership site offer? How do members participate?

CHRISTO AND FRANZISKA Our membership site gives business owners marketing expertise at their fingertips. There is everything they need to roll out their marketing campaigns with step-by-step examples and support from our team as they implement.

The site includes sequential release of video resources, worksheets, links to register for support webinars, links to live chat and support. We make it a central place where our Basic Bananas members know they can go to get any of their business and marketing questions answered.

Members participate by watching the video resources in their own time, commenting with questions and feedback, bringing their questions or marketing campaigns to our weekly “Question and Answer” webinars where we review their marketing live. It’s a community of over 300 awesome entrepreneurs from around the world supporting each other.

LK When did you launch it, and why did you decide to do so?

C AND F We launched to create the support we felt every business owner needs at their fingertips. There’s enough for business owners to think about, so we wanted to give them world-class marketing at their fingertips. We launched in 2009. It has been revamped every couple of years.

LK How and why do you use ONTRAPORT for your membership site? What are your favorite ONTRAPORT membership site features?

C AND F We use ONTRAPORT for the members site so the whole customer experience can be automated, everything from payments, passwords, step-by-step access to content — it’s all managed in the one place and put on autopilot. ONTRAPORT does the tech stuff while we concentrate on looking after our members’ questions and the content.

LK How has your business changed since setting up a membership site?

C AND F Building a members area has allowed us to scale things up while providing much greater value. We have doubled revenue every year and, most importantly, created a community of amazing entrepreneurs and helped to make a difference to thousands of people lives.

LK How do you keep your members engaged and coming back to the site?

C AND F We regularly add new content and move people through a sequence. The community is so strong now that people get so much value it is hard to leave. We have welcome videos to build familiarity and show new members how to get the most out of their membership. We also send a welcome pack by post so they get an awesome gift box. There are hidden bonuses of valuable content to wow members throughout their membership.

LK What type of payment plan do you use — subscription-based, flat fee, payment plan?

C AND F We offer the option of yearly membership upfront or payment plan.

LK Do you have advice for fellow entrepreneurs who are on the fence about getting started with a membership site?

C AND F Membership sites are an awesome way to provide a lot of value to your customers and also provide the business with recurring revenue, so get off the fence and get it set up. Even if you aren’t an online business, you can provide great value with a members site, create more raving fans and build community, which is key to marketing any awesome brand.

7) Trish and Nick Radge – The Chartist

LINDSAY KENT What does your membership site offer? How do members participate?

TRISH AND NICK The Chartist’s goal is to simplify the trading and investment process for busy people. We provide robust, proven strategies for the Australian and U.S. stock markets, trading education and an active community forum for members to interact, organize meet-ups and get supported.

Members participate by initially joining a two-week trial membership for $19 which gives them access to all strategies, education and the community. At the end of the two weeks they automatically transition to a $120 monthly membership or they can choose different annual memberships for further savings.

LK When did you launch it, and why did you decide to do so?

T AND N We launched the membership site in 2005 after receiving our Australian Financial Services License which allows us to give advice on stocks, derivatives and foreign exchange. We decided on a membership site as our goal was to make the advice affordable for members and simple for us to operate. A membership site requires the same amount of work for one member as it does for 1,000 members so we can leverage our time and expertise.

LK How and why do you use ONTRAPORT for your membership site? What are your favorite ONTRAPORT membership site features?

T AND N We joined ONTRAPORT in 2014 after trialing several CRM and marketing software packages. ONTRAPORT was by far the most intuitive and all-encompassing.

Currently we use ONTRAPORT to:
– Onboard members during the two-week trial process (95% of clients do the trial first)
– Automate the renewal process for existing members, including reminder emails
– Prompt members to update their credit card details
– Ask for feedback if a membership is cancelled
– Send cart abandonment emails
– Build a marketing list via various opt-in pages linked to blogs, social media etc.
– Send weekly marketing emails to our prospect list
– Email communication with the list to allow audit trail (we’re in a heavily regulated advice business and recourse is extremely important for compliance)

Our goal for 2017 is to start a second membership site exclusively for the U.S. stock market and totally operated via ONTRAPORT. We have watched the membership capabilities of ONTRAPORT evolve, and we are ready to set up a new WordPress site with PilotPress using ONTRApages to sell directly to the U.S. market.

LK How has your business changed since setting up a membership site?  

T AND N The beauty of a membership site, as mentioned previously, is the leverage it provides — the same amount of work no matter how many members you have. As a result, once established and you are in a routine updating your content you can focus on marketing and promotion, increasing member numbers. In the last 12 months we moved our trading forum that had been a public online forum since 1998 into our membership community. As a result our members get access to exclusive training, they can chat with us and our analysts and they can chat with each other. This has created a real buzz around our membership service and added a level of exclusivity.

LK How do you keep your members engaged and coming back to the site?

T AND N We update our trading strategies daily and, when all analysis is complete, we use ONTRAPORT to send an email to members reminding them to log in and view our trade recommendations. We try to add new training, articles or videos to the forum each week, and we encourage members to use the community to ask questions.

LK What type of payment plan do you use — subscription-based, flat fee, payment plan?

T AND N We use a subscription-based payment plan. Members start on a two-week trial during which time we use ONTRAPORT to onboard prospects. The onboard sequence is run via API between ONTRAPORT and Joomla. As 95% of members join via the trial it’s an important aspect of our business that must run smoothly. The onboard sequence has evolved over the years and coupled with forced renewal we run at a conversion rate of 65% (six-month average). Importantly, the onboarding sequence reminds prospects that they will switch to a monthly membership at the end of the trial and makes it clear that they have the option to cancel at any time. We also offer recurring annual memberships.

LK Do you have advice for fellow entrepreneurs who are on the fence about getting started with a membership site?

T AND N ONTRAPORT offers almost everything you need in one place, for one fee rather than having multiple subscriptions to numerous services. Keep it simple! Over the years we have trimmed our products as we were trying to be everything to everyone. The result was that our members felt overwhelmed with information and choices. Refining our products means a simpler sign-up process and less confusion. It also means less work for us. Do one or two things, and do them really well. Provide excellent service so that members feel loved and loyal. Once you have your membership site and systems in place, use ONTRAPORT to automate and leverage your marketing dollar.

LK Anything else you’d like to share?

T AND N We came across ONTRAPORT after extensive research and testing of other services. Without doubt ONTRAPORT was extremely intuitive and the support is just quite incredible. The Facebook community page is extremely useful.

8) Bob Newberry – The Fitness Mindset

LINDSAY KENT What does your membership site offer? How do members participate?

BOB NEWBERRY Members have access to online modules and live coaching calls that are delivered each week for the first eight weeks of our program, and they maintain access to the content for a full 12 months.

Membership also includes a workbook of the exercises in each module, and members are granted access to our existing private Facebook group to connect with our support team to ask questions, share their wins/challenges and experiences with other members who are going through the same thing.  

LK When did you launch it, and why did you decide to do so?

BN We launched to a small group of members in one of the gyms that I own late last year, and we just launched a larger free, live webinar campaign in February. We launched because the Fitness Mindset system has greatly helped both Steve (my business partner) and I take control not only of our health and fitness, but also other areas of our lives (careers, family life, relationships, etc.). We figured if this system could help us and the test group we shared it with, then there are certainly other people out there that we can help with our expertise and experience.

LK How and why do you use ONTRAPORT for your membership site? What are your favorite ONTRAPORT membership site features?

BN I integrate ONTRAPORT with AccessAlly for my membership site. I actually chose AccessAlly specifically due to its integration with ONTRAPORT. The two systems work really well together and make it easy to deliver a great experience for members.

Tagging and adding members to Sequences and Actions based on their behaviors is probably the best feature in ONTRAPORT.  We can see who is or isn’t actually accessing the online material so we can then reach out and make contact with anyone who may be struggling and offer our assistance.

LK How has your business changed since setting up a membership site?

BN Having only recently launched, we are still not at the level of members/revenue we are targeting. However, the main reason we chose ONTRAPORT is because of it’s ability to scale the business and do everything in one system. The potential automation options are huge (e.g. customer loving/nurturing, sales/reactivation sequences); it’s just a process now of testing what works and what doesn’t.

LK How do you keep your members engaged and coming back to the site?

BN We typically use weekly emails to notify members when the next module is ready, reminders for live coaching calls, and stay in touch to address any fears/limiting beliefs that we know members will be going through.

LK What type of payment plan do you use — subscription-based, flat fee, payment plan?

BN Currently we use a one-time upfront payment for access to the course for 12 months, plus three upsell options for those wanting more intensive coaching sessions one-on-one with us. We are currently working on providing a subscription plan for people who want to continue to dial in to the weekly, live mastery coaching calls after the initial eight-week period.

LK Do you have advice for fellow entrepreneurs who are on the fence about getting started with a membership site?

BN Just do it! You will learn so much about yourself in the process (i.e. how much knowledge you actually have that people are willing to pay you for), and also smash through plenty of your own limiting beliefs.

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8 Creative Membership Sites Run by ONTRAPORT Users
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8 Creative Membership Sites Run by ONTRAPORT Users
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ONTRAPORT users share their best advice for running a successful membership site.
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ONTRAPORT
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