After building multiple memberships for myself and clients, you could say I’ve developed a pretty good system & strategy for starting a membership program from scratch. But before we begin, I wanted to mention that the biggest roadblocks clients face is actually launching the membership. So to save you from that hole everyone falls into, I’ve put my experience of launching a membership in 30 days into a free, useful guide. Click this link to download!
Let’s go over the step-by-step process on how you can create a membership website from scratch.
Find your profitable idea
The very first thing you need to do (with any business model honestly) is to find your profitable idea. This very first step can be divided into two different steps: find your idea and then validate that it is profitable.
How to find your idea
Just like any product in the world, you need to find a problem and present a solution. When you do this, consider whether you’re solving a temporary or a long-term problem. For example, if you’re creating a membership helping brides to prepare for their wedding, your membership will not have a great retention rate. Why? Because the problem you’re solving for brides is temporary. It only works while your members are preparing for their wedding. Once their weddings are over, there is no longer a reason for them to stay. Therefore, you’re probably going to have a higher cancellation rate. But if you create a membership for pregnant women helping them through the process of having a baby, that’s 10 months of pregnancy and then years of who knows what.
Once you find your idea for your membership, you then want to make sure that it’s something people want or need. That leads me to our next step.
Validate your idea
Your idea is probably based off of solving a problem your target market are facing. But is your solution what they really want? When I first came across this step, I was a bit confused. Because I had poured my heart and soul into creating this solution that I thought my audience needed, I couldn’t understand why someone would reject signing up. ‘I mean, it was that good!’
But when I officially launched, I finally understood. I was complicating my solution way too much. My brain was working like, “they need this, and this, and oh! This too!”. But my members actually needed one, solid vehicle to get to their needed solutions. I mean, it makes absolutely no sense for anyone to bring 3 different cars on a road trip, right?
Beta test your membership
So once you’ve nailed down on your profitable membership idea, it’s time for you to beta test it.
I love this step. Not just because it’s dollar signs in your bank account, but because you’re creating a small, but intimate group of people that will shape your membership for the future. Now at this stage, you want to find around 10 people with as much variety as possible to join your membership as a beta member. Yes, you may give them a heavy discount or bonuses, but the important factor is that they will be the ones who help you improve not only the membership, but the way you help your members get results.
Now, here’s where I see a lot of people make a mistake. They think that they should tell them all about the features they’re thinking of, then say that the beta members will slowly get access. Don’t. Start with minimal features. Don’t say that “we’re going to add on these stuff in the future”. Have one core framework and one bonus that supports them through the journey each month.
From there, slowly show the beta members & the members that join in the process, the ideas you have for improving the membership. By having them vote, voice their opinions, and being a part of the program you build, your members will feel heard in the membership. And that, aside from helping them achieve their goals, is the most important factor in a membership.
How do I build the membership website?
So before we move into the next step, you’re probably thinking. Okay, Hae. I get it. But what about the tech? How do I actually set up an actual membership website. Now, I’m going to say something that may be pretty controversial. But if you’re one of my clients in my programs, wink wink, you probably know why I’m saying this.
Start with a free software. Honestly, you can use a free version of platforms like Teachable, Thinkific, and even free WordPress plugins to make this happen. Migrating your members once you officially launch to a different platform is very easy. It can be done on your end, or you can create a campaign to have them migrate themselves.
But the important thing here is that you’re showing your beta members the upgraded version of your membership. They’ll see that you’ve taken their feedback and created a much better version of what they were paying for. They not only helping you fund that upgraded platform, they helped you build what they wanted and needed.
Improve the member experience
Once you build & beta test your membership, we now want to improve the member experience. This part is to solely focus on the content of your membership and making sure that your members are getting results.
You want to ask your beta members what they think would help them with their journey. Try & test different features, content, and strategies and get feedback. If a member cancels, ask them personally why they decided to cancel. The most common answers you’re going to get are for money & time reasons, but do your best to get answers that are related to the content of the membership.
Hop on 1:1 calls with them to get feedback & testimonials
One of the biggest advantages of having a beta member group is that you can reach out to majority of them personally. A couple weeks or months into your beta membership, you should definitely start reaching out to your members to get feedback & testimonials. To make this session even more valuable, you can add some coaching into the mix and let them know that it’s a free coaching session with you!
On-boarding, cancellation, customer support, etc.
Another way to drastically improve your member experience is by setting up on-boarding, cancellation, and customer support systems. These tend to be overlooked pretty frequently, but having these checkpoints that your members can go across during their membership experience helps them feel taken care of by you or your team.
Also, this is a great time to start creating processes, systems, and workflows for everything you do within the membership so that once you launch, you can start hiring team members and get ready to scale this program.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Hae, is that it? What about launching?”
Well, just like I told you in the beginning, one of the biggest roadblocks I’ve seen people face was launching the membership. So I created a free training for you to grab, called “How to Launch a Membership Without Needing a Big Following”. So sign up the masterclass below, and let me help you launch your membership program!