Must-Haves for All Membership Sites
Your member login page is the first thing customers will see every time they visit your site, so making it a clear and easy experience is essential to keep them coming back. Make the page simple and clean, with only login information and no distractions, like the member login page for Book More Brides.
For a simplified customer experience, make sure there’s a clear differentiation between your login and registration fields, make password recovery easy, and allow customers to use email addresses as usernames to minimize the chance of users forgetting their login information.
Membership Content Home PageYour home page is the entryway to every piece of content on your membership site. Whether the member has access to every section of your site or not, use this space to showcase what they do (and could) have. This is where you’re selling the content within the site and getting your members to engage, which is crucial for retaining them as members. Entice them to click through and participate in your offerings with catchy descriptions and CTAs.
Headspace, a meditation app, welcomes members with a clean content home page that prompts them to select a meditation category.
Take some time to carefully consider your user experience throughout the process of signing up, logging in and interacting with your membership site. Getting the details right adds tremendously to the sense of quality your product delivers.
Send Payment Decline and Card Expiration Reminders
Don’t count on your members to update their payment information on their own. Should a credit card on a renewed subscription fail, send your member a friendly notification to update their credit card with simple instructions on how to do so. The same goes for expired cards. The key is to gently press the issue before the card expires so that members have a seamless experience and stay engaged with your site. If their card expires or is declined and they don’t update it, ultimately you’ll need to revoke their membership, which is not your goal.
Spotlight Your Members
Acknowledging your members is a surefire way to heighten their sense of belonging. There are a number of creative ways you can make members feel loved and appreciated.
For instance, Online dating giant Match.com will spotlight the dating profiles of select members (with permission) for up to two weeks on its site. Members are incentivized to stick around by being offered more exposure in the dating pool.
You can also try this: Recognize new sign-ups by name, thereby publicly inducting them as new members. What better first experience than a warm, personal welcome?
Stir Up Your User Forum
Encourage your members to leave comments on your posts and/or forums. It’s the best way to instill a sense of community while engaging your audience. Make sure to respond to every comment, because doing so elicits two critical responses:
Be sure to moderate all comments and remove spam. Allowing spammy comments in your forums/comment sections is an easy way to annoy your members and ruin the authority of your site.
Offer a Cancellation Survey
Seeing members go isn’t fun and leaves you wondering why they lost interest or if you’ve failed them somehow. There’s a lot of power in knowing when your members are dropping off and why, and building a voluntary exit survey into your cancellation process can give you those answers. Keep it short; phrase all questions non-aggressively and offer a write-in option to up your odds of getting responses. Most importantly, welcome all criticism; it’s the best way to improve your product.
For example, Fitbit is a goal-oriented app that offers badges and competition with friends to encourage users to take their fitness to the next level.
Ease of Use for the Business Owner
You would like the ability to:
It’s important that your site can:
Design and Layout
You want your membership platform to offer:
Your software needs the following order processing features:
Customer Payment Management
Your membership platform should be able to:
Your software needs to:
Ease of Use for Members
Your platform needs to offer:
Order forms that
• Are clear and easy to understand
• Can be customized to match your brand
• Work quickly
• Account for errors
Your platform should offer:
A username/password widget or easy way for members to log in to your site
Your platform should offer:
Your membership software needs to:
Integrate with your CRM
Other Considerations (Social, Community and Gamification)
Your membership platform:
Integrate with your CRM
The Main Players
When you’re selecting your membership site software, there are two main categories to consider: Sites built with WordPress and plugins and sites built on a standalone membership platform. Here are the pros and cons associated with each one:
WordPress Membership Plugins
Because of its price, flexibility and broad selection of membership plugins, WordPress is one of the most common choices for entrepreneurs launching their first membership site. According to MemberPress, WordPress is a “serious (yet easy to use) Content Management System that will allow you to structure your website however you want. It has a sophisticated system for categorizing and tagging content, and has a huge repository of free plugins.”
Here are some examples of plugins to build and manage your membership site if you use WordPress:
Standalone Membership Platforms
An alternative to WordPress membership plugins, standalone membership platforms allow you to build a plug-and-play site without plugins.
Although the simplicity of setting up these sites is tempting, it’s important to note that you do lose a great deal of flexibility and customization opportunities when operating on a standalone membership platform. These also often don’t integrate as seamlessly with your CRM and automation tools to enable seamless customer data and experiences.
Whether you are starting a website for your business for the first time or want to make your membership site separate from your business site, you’ll need to procure a domain name. A domain name is what users will type into the URL search bar to find your website. For example, in the URL https://ontraport.com/blog/, “ontraport” is the domain name.
To Sum It Up
You now have a broad understanding of what a membership site is and how it can benefit you, your business and your customers. Although it might seem overwhelming at first, follow the concepts outlined in this blueprint to set yourself on the right path to launching your own recurring revenue stream.