Whether you run a paid community or plan to, you likely have questions. James Schramko and KLEQ's John Lint are seasoned paid membership owners. They've made it their business in this SuperFastBusiness episode to provide answers.
Product development, market intelligence and unique selling point are just some of the topics they cover. So sit back, and tune in to this second installment of Answering Unanswered Membership Site Questions.
01:19 – Creating order out of the content in your membership. Access to your content needs to make sense. James and John share their organization methods.
05:23 – The things that were absolutely necessary in the first six months to a year. When you’re starting from scratch with no pre-existing audience, what will see you through the first year?
10:41 – The one thing John and James owe most of their success to. Less is more, as our two experts have discovered in their business, and this one principle has stood them in good stead.
15:21 – Where do you begin with it all? When market intelligence is your starting point, you can’t go wrong.
In Episode 806, James and John took on the challenge of answering paid membership questions from anonymous Facebook groups. Today, they’re back to address more of these queries that languish for answers.
Q.: What’s the best way to organize your content?
A.: This could be for an online course or a membership site.
When it comes to an online course, says John, it’s all about, what’s the path to deliver the result that the user wants? He knows what the final step, the final result, is. How will he break down the process to reach it? If he’s at A, what are the steps needed to get to B? These are the main steps. And inside those steps, what are the smaller steps? That’s one way of organizing an online course, and one that he’s used for years.
“How do you deliver the result people are signing up for?”
When it’s about the membership site itself, it’s again breaking down the experience that they want the member to have. You might ask:
– What are you going to deliver inside your online membership site?
– What kind of membership is it?
– Is your membership site content-based? Is it community-based? Is it coaching-based?
When you have clarity on that, you can break things down and say, Alright, I’m going to have this, that, and that, etc.
If you’re talking about, how do you organize your content or your stuff online, there are various tools available for that, among them John’s all-in-one solution, KLEQ. There are also a number of ways you can go about it, depending on your content.
James, for instance, had a $10 per month membership where the only deliverable is a social wall, where people can ask a question and get an answer. That is perhaps the simplest membership you can create.
You might also do a drip-fed membership, similar to a challenge James has currently going.
Or, at the other end of the spectrum, you could have a whole forum containing categories and topics and resources that members can navigate at will, like SuperFastBusiness. Within that, you might control who certain parts are accessible to, like a pod concept that James is exploring – only the three people in the pod and administrator can view their conversations in the forum.
James recommends as a starting point thinking of the courses or memberships you’ve experienced and liked.
Q.: What were your top priority tasks strategy in the first six to 12 months of launching? Would like to hear this from people who started from scratch with no pre-existing audience.
A.: If you’re starting from scratch, says John, the first thing you’ll need is to build an audience. Building an email list, building your own audience – this is the most important thing.
As you’re gearing up to launch, you want to be building that list little by little. Tell people – we’ll be opening the doors soon; it’s going to be awesome. Create an event around it.
At the same time, you want to be thinking, what is the result your audience wants, and how are you going to deliver it? You want to create an offer that converts, you want people to buy it, and you want them to get results.
Towards that end, you want to set up certain elements:
1. A sales page with good copy that tells people:
– What they’re going to get; the results they can expect
– Why they should get it; the benefits
– How they can access it
2. An order page to accept payments online
3. A thank you page. This will welcome them and provide the necessary information to access and use your membership site.
When it comes to the launch, people do it multiple ways. You can do the simple sales page, order page, thank you page and do a limited time campaign if you want to. You can put it on evergreen, if you wish, once it’s ready.
You can produce videos before the sale, to get people to know you, like you, trust you. This way, you can also help them before they actually buy, with a tip or a story. Give them a glimpse of the results; show the people you’ve helped.
Decide on when you want to open the doors, and then do your email campaign. Send emails, one email per day, maybe for the next four or five days.
And then perhaps after that, you may decide you want to leave it on evergreen, meaning that whenever they go on my website, they can get access to the membership site.
“Keep the pipeline filled, so you’re never desperately scratching around for traffic.”
James adds, there are two things you absolutely must think about besides the launch.
1. Keeping the customers that have purchased. Do whatever it takes to deliver on the results. Follow through, have fantastic support.
2. Start thinking about your pipeline and how you’re going to fill it for the next time. Add people from different areas – it might be a podcast, it might be short social media videos, a challenge, a book. But keep the pipeline filled, so you’re never desperately scratching around for traffic.
Q.: What was the one thing you implemented that brought you the most success?
A.: For John, it’s simplification. Simplifying your processes, simplifying your product development, simplifying the way your members are going to get the results, not trying to have to deliver an encyclopedia.
People are buying the shortcut to success. They’re trying to buy the magic pill. Now, there’s no magic pill. But The job of a creator is to try to create the magic pill with their stuff. So what is the fastest way they can get people a result? That’s the only thing that people care about. If you can achieve weight loss or make money with one video, it’s better than a hundred.
“Simplifying is always one of the best things that you can do in your business.”
Simplify the funnel, the traffic process. Simplify your team. Make things replicable so that you can easily train someone to take over if needed.
Simple is a great tip, says James. Less is more in giving you fewer but better choices.
His tip for the question, the one thing that he thinks has been key to his success, is he cared more about his customers than most of the other people that he’s experienced.
He shows that by turning up on a regular basis. He’s been turning up almost every day for decades, to log in and tend his forum and answer questions. If someone asks him a question every day, he’ll give them a daily update. If they do it once a week, he’ll give them a weekly update. That’s been a hard thing for his competitors to replicate.
A.: The most important thing in his mind, says John, is one that gets skipped a lot. The most important thing is to fully understand your market. Most people don’t talk about market intelligence and business research. They talk about the funnels, the campaigns, list building, offers, etc. All of that is important, he says, but nothing will work and nothing will happen unless you fully understand your market.
In a course, that would be module one. What does it mean to understand your market? It means:
What are they struggling with?
What are their problems?
What keeps them up at night?
Why do we ask these things? Because our product is going to be the solution to those problems. And we need to fully understand that. You can’t think you know, you need to do the research.
“You can’t think you know, you need to do the research.”
Go on other people’s websites and pay attention. Go on Facebook groups, go on YouTube comments, look at the comments that people are getting on their blogs, on their podcasts, whatever; listen to podcasts, analyze sales videos. That’s what John does all the time.
He downloads sales videos from other people. He studies them, watches them more than once. He transcribes them sometimes. Back in the day, he would copy sales letters off the web with pen and paper, because it forced him to notice some of the power words that they used.
Research and analysis can lead you to understand: people don’t just want to make money; they want more freedom, they want lifestyle, they want to be able to be free, they want to be able to have that peace of mind.
And when you know that, you can write great emails, you can write great ads, you can write great sales letters, you can create great sales videos, you can create awesome YouTube videos and put them on social, you can do great posts on Instagram, because you know that that is what people want.
James will say the same thing: research.
He has had people copy his sales pages and wonder why they don’t convert for them. The simple answer is they don’t have the same customers. These copycats are not helping with the same problem, they haven’t done the same pre-marketing, they don’t have the same solution.
You need to roll up your sleeves and do the work and really know the market to be in a position to even have an opinion about the market, and then finally start to control some of that market. And you need to be patient.
It often helps to be the customer for your product. If you are the customer, be a member of other people’s products, be a member of other people’s services, experience it. Buy other products and services, go through other people’s campaigns or funnels and really know the market. And then you’re in a position to make an offer that might be compelling.
James and John have found their offers that convert, and with years in business are quite happy with their positions in the market. If you want to start, prepare to do the hard work. At the very least, pull out a spreadsheet and fill it in with everything you can find out about your target market.
If you’ve got a question for James and John, send an email, hit reply to the episode reminder when it comes out, or put a comment below this episode.