Maybe it’s full of thoughtful, detailed articles. Maybe it’s made up of engaging, step-by-step videos teaching your subscribers new skills or strategies. Maybe it’s overflowing with downloadable ebooks, worksheets or other text-based resources. All of these are excellent types of content that are undoubtedly in demand, but have you ever thought about branching out?
Most membership site content is either written or video. This is for a good reason — these are both easy, straightforward ways to present information and deliver value to your subscribers. But they are not the only way.
No matter what type of information you’re selling access to within your membership product, by expanding the resources you offer your members or subscribers by adding new formats and new types of content, you’ll be sure to keep users coming back to your site for more.
You can make your subscribers even happier by adding one or more of these creative types of membership site content.
1. Audio Content
Although your audience might enjoy taking the time to sit down and read one of your articles or watch one of your videos, what if you could find a way to deliver content to them when they don’t have the time? Audio content is perfect for when your audience members are on the go, as it’s easy for listeners to enjoy while they’re commuting, working on something else or at the gym.
You have a few options for making audio content available to your members. First, you can present it as a podcast. Although most podcasts are available for free on platforms like iTunes and Stitcher, you can create a members-only podcast to accompany your site content with new paid subscription podcast platforms like Acast. They offer an embeddable widget you can place on one of your members-only pages so your audience can listen directly from your site.
However, if you’d prefer to stick to just your existing ONTRAPORT-integrated membership site so that you can easily manage memberships and control what content is available to subscribers (who may have varying levels of access depending upon your pricing model), it’s easy to add audio files that your members can download inside your site. Simply upload your audio file to the file manager in ONTRAPORT, grab the download link for the file, and place the link on one of your pages that is viewable by members only. When users download the file, they can save it to their device to bring it with them wherever they go.
2. Design Assets
Your membership site might benefit from the addition of a library of downloadable design assets that members can use to create their own cool stuff — especially if you’re in the business of providing info to other businesses.
For example, let’s say you sell information to gyms and yoga studios about how to get more clients by improving their branding strategy. Major elements of their brand are their website, social media presence and marketing collateral. You can make it easier for them to take their brand to the next level by providing stock photos (that you have the rights to distribute), fonts, color palettes or even graphic overlays they can download and use to create new marketing collateral.
This is easy to do using ONTRAPORT. Just upload the files you want to share with your subscribers to the file manager and place those download links on the appropriate page inside your membership site.
BONUS TIP: If you’ve created templates for ONTRApages that you want to share with your subscribers, there’s an easy way to do this using the ONTRAPORT Marketplace. All your subscribers will need is a free ONTRApages account to gain access to the templates that you’ve designed for them. Once you’ve created the page that you want to share with your subscribers, just click on “Share this Template” in the lower left corner of the editor. From there, copy the share link for that page, and then add that link to a page inside your membership site. Then, when customers log in and click that button, they’ll be taken to their ONTRApages account (or to create an account) to start using your template seamlessly.
3. Discounts/Special Offers
Another stellar way to go above and beyond for your membership site subscribers is to share special discounts and offers from other companies that you partner with, available exclusively for them.
For example, say that you run a membership site for health and wellness business owners that includes boatloads of how-to’s on attracting more customers, improving retention and encouraging referrals. What other kinds of information and services would customers in this vertical benefit from? Maybe they also need graphic design services, web hosting or print marketing collateral. To provide more value, you could leverage any connections or partnerships that you have to hook them up with exclusive deals.
If you’re able to set up a number of these special offers for your customers, create a page within your membership site that’s only visible to logged-in subscribers where they can view links to all the exclusive deals available for them.
There’s a reason sites like Buzzfeed and Zimbio publish endless quizzes — they’re addicting, and they keep readers hooked. Even though your membership site probably wouldn’t be a good fit for “clickbait” style quizzes like “Which Disney princess would be your enemy in real life?” you can apply the same model to keep your membership site subscribers engaged. Most quiz results sort users into one of several buckets according to personality traits, strengths or preferences, and everyone wants to know which group they’re a part of.
Plus, quizzes offer an additional benefit: Once subscribers get a quiz result that they feel accurately describes them, it not only creates the feeling that you know who they are and what they care about, you can actually use their result to tailor the membership experience more towards their tastes and interests.
For an example, let’s go with the same business model, providing marketing and branding strategy to small, local gyms and yoga studios. You could create a quiz that you have all your new members take called “What Does Your Dream Studio Look Like?” Results could include “Trendy, Cutting Edge Health Club,” “Laid-back, Local Studio” or “Growth-Focused Fitness Facility.” Based on their quiz results, you could suggest content within the site that would be most relevant to them. You can also use this information (which should match up roughly with identifiable segments of your target market) to direct them to upsells and cross-sell products that they’ll get the most out of.
5. User Forums
Even though your members signed up for your site because they wanted to hear from you, they can also get a lot of value by dialoguing with their peers — your other customers. Adding a forum element to your membership site can be incredibly rewarding. Not only do you open the opportunity for your members to bounce ideas off of one another and get their questions answered, you’ve also created a valuable community full of like-minded individuals who already have interests in common.
To add a forum component to your site, you have a few options. The first option, which is easy and convenient, is to host your forum on a popular social networking site like Facebook. The functionality provided by Facebook’s group feature is very powerful. One of the biggest benefits of hosting your forum on Facebook is that your members can use their existing Facebook log-in to access the discussion, which means that each time they log in to Facebook they’ll see notifications and threads from your forum in their news feed. A potential drawback to consider is privacy — not everyone will want to use their main Facebook account to interact with other users.
If you’re looking for a way to have more control over the look and functionality of your forum, you can use a WordPress plugin to create your forum inside your membership site so that users can only see it when they are logged in. Some of the most well-known WordPress plugins for forums include bbPress, BuddyPress and DW Question & Answer Pro.
To get your forum off to a great start, you’ll need to stimulate conversation by encouraging your customers to post there. It can be very helpful to have dedicated threads on a few different intriguing topics set up so that new users who log in while your forum is still taking off will have something to respond to. Don’t forget to create rules and guidelines for your online community, and be sure to note any topics that are off-limits or any types of discussions that will not be tolerated. In your guidelines, you should also provide suggestions for what users should talk about. For example, in the ONTRAPORT User Community, we offer the following guidelines:
Welcome ONTRAPORT users!
This is the place for the ONTRAPORT community to ask questions and share USER TIPS, IDEAS, and QUESTIONS with one another about ONTRAPORT. Feel free to add your friends who are ONTRAPORT users; we approve group members daily.
TO MINIMIZE IRRELEVANT POSTS IN EVERYONE’S FEED, this group will be moderated according to these guidelines:
1. No soliciting or disguised soliciting. Feel free to post requests for professional help and get responses via pm.
2. DO NOT USE THIS GROUP AS A SUPPORT CHANNEL. Personal support requests will be copied into tickets and emailed to you, then deleted from this group. If your post includes something like ‘I sent a ticket about this, but just wanna see if anyone else is having this problem’ it’s not appropriate for this channel. Support is available 18 hours a day, most days.
3. No flaming each other, our team or other businesses, including competitors. Keep it positive! Solutions are always welcome. Suggestions can also be emailed to email@example.com or posted in the feature request forum.
Thanks for helping us have this community be the best resource it can be.
Ready to Get Started?
With these five new types of content in mind, challenge yourself to add at least one of them (or another type not listed here) and watch your members’ happiness grow. Have you tried any of these content types out? Let us know how it went for you in the comments section below!