3 Marketing Strategies for Successful Membership Sites

Nowadays, every business owner knows how important marketing is and membership sites are no exception. After all, it doesn’t matter how great your content is, if you don’t market it properly, no one will even know you exist.

Now, more than ever, we are surrounded with numerous marketing tools, tactics, and platforms. We are all told that we must be active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, let alone Pinterest, Google+, and all of the others. Let’s face it, social media is not going away anytime soon. However, social media marketing isn’t everything.

Mike Volpe, former CMO of Hubspot, once said: “Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing” and we couldn’t agree more. Customers easily get bored, so why not mix up your marketing strategy a bit? Fortunately, there are many ways besides social media to drive traffic and sales to your membership site while also having a bit of fun in the process.

In this article we will discuss three marketing strategies that you can try straight away.

Online Events

Events might not be the first thing to come to mind when you start drawing up your marketing strategy. After all, you’re running an online business; it’s not as easy as just inviting a few people over to your bar for happy hour.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t host events. In recent years, the number of options for online events has exploded. You can now hold live Q&A or feedback sessions, webinars, live talks, summits, interviews with industry influencers, Reddit AMAs, or a simple hangout to get to know your following and potential members better.

Online events are a great opportunity to connect with your audience. Your readers consider you to be an influencer and thought leader in your field and value what you have to say, so naturally they will appreciate getting that glimpse into the “real” you while also having the opportunity to ask any questions they may have. Live events will help develop trust between you and your readers, showing you're more than just a faceless author behind a blog.

It’s never been easier to host events online: you can pick your favorite method depending on the type of event.

One of the easiest options is setting up a hangout on Google+. Platforms like Periscope or Meerkat allow business owners to interact with their customers via live broadcasting through a simple smartphone app, ideal for Q&As or hangouts.

If you want something even simpler, why not try a Twitter chat? This allows your readers to connect with you, and each other, in a live Q&A format. There's also the extra benefit of Twitter being a platform your audience is already using and familiar with.

Events are great, but how will they help you convert? Let’s say you’re holding a webinar. After the live event, you can offer a recording of the event as a free download for a short period of time. After that it can be moved to the premium content area on your membership site where only signed up users can access it. As well as the live event being a great showcase of what you have to offer the members of your community, the recording can be used to grow your premium content archives.

You can also create content to accompany the webinar or Twitter chat, such as worksheets, templates, or case studies that are only available to members. This will encourage people to sign up or upgrade their membership during and after the event.

Freebie Marketing

In conventional brick and mortar businesses, freebie marketing is old news. We’ve all bought toothpaste that came with free mouthwash, tried free samples of cheese at Whole Foods, or enjoyed a free starter with a main course. But freebie marketing is no longer reserved for offline marketing; on the contrary, freebie marketing has become a full-fledged power tool in the modern marketer's toolkit.

Freebies are no longer a surprise – people expect them. Think about it, Gmail lets you send emails for free, Twitter and Facebook let you network for free, and YouTube lets you upload and watch videos for free. We all love free stuff and so will your potential members.

Free content should be part of your marketing strategy for your membership site, even if it’s just to keep Google happy. After all, Google can’t find your premium content, which is reserved for your members.

Don’t worry, though, we’re not suggesting you give all of your best stuff away for free. You can create freebies by repurposing old content, creating simple checklists or templates, or offering the first part of your course, ebook, or strategy for free.

However, it doesn’t stop there. You could even offer a completely free membership level in addition to your paid options. These can be restricted by time or the amount of content available.

Don't forget MemberPress can be used to create free membership sites, not just paid ones. A free membership tier is an excellent way to lower the barrier for potential members that are still on the fence. They can have a look around your site without risking their money. After 7, 14, or 30 days their free membership ends and they have to fully sign up or upgrade to a higher level in order to get continued access to your valuable content.

Affiliate Marketing

Some say the days of affiliate marketing are over. However, if done right, affiliate marketing is still very powerful, and can be a great marketing tool for your membership site.

Think about it this way: affiliate marketing is based on trust and reputation. Every single one of your members made a conscious decision to join your membership site; they are loyal fans and followers. Who is better qualified to talk about your products or services than your own customers? Get them involved. They will be more than happy to refer your membership site to friends, family, and clients who might have the same needs or interests as them. In return, you give them a commission; it’s a win-win-win situation.

Now, if you’re quite new to affiliate marketing it might seem incredibly complicated to implement. Fret not. If you’re already using the MemberPress plugin you’re in luck. MemberPress is one of the only plugins of its type on the market that integrates seamlessly with an affiliate marketing tool, Easy Affiliate.

Easy Affiliate is an incredibly versatile plugin that lets you create custom affiliate packages. For example, you can create different commission groups depending on who is referring. Let’s say you have gold, platinum, and diamond members; you could stagger the commission, say 20% for gold, 30% for platinum, and 40% for diamond referrals.

The more referrals an affiliate makes, the higher they move up in the packages. This then encourages your members to work toward earning an upgrade to a higher membership level in order to increase their affiliate commission rate.

Wrap Up

These are just three examples of great marketing strategies you can use to promote your membership site. Of course, you are free to mix and match the marketing strategies that you are most comfortable with and those that match your personal style and brand the closest.

While these are three strategies you might not already be familiar with, there are also the tried and tested marketing options such as email marketing, social media, and even SEO strategies to turn to.

The possibilities are endless. Just make sure you mix up your marketing strategy once in a while to keep it fresh and fun, for your members and yourself.

How are you currently promoting your membership site? What sort of results are you getting? Which of these three marketing strategies are you going to implement? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Categories: Business Marketing
About Joe Fylan

Joe uses WordPress to create websites of all types and loves sharing his experiences of using this software with other users. If you need a steady stream of great content for your website, or you want the latest WordPress news and reviews check out his writing services and WordPress blog.




    December 2, 2015

    Good words Joe. Working on migrating to Memberpress/Wordpress at the moment. Looking forward to getting started on the right foot for 2016.


      December 3, 2015

      Thanks Blayne! Just let us know if you have any more questions about the migration.