Paid memberships these days offer coaching and/or course material and community. If your product offering combines any of these, James and his many-time guest John Lint believe the best membership software puts it all under one roof.
In this podcast episode, James shares the then and now of his membership site design.
He and John look at Kleq and the features that make it James’s choice over other membership site platforms.
And our two experts make practical recommendations for anyone looking to start a membership site.
Table of contents
1. How James used to arrange his stuff
2. Why are you doing it that way?
3. An emphasis on private coaching, via chat
4. The mobile aspect of the feature
5. A platform for whatever customer experience you choose
6. The two common approaches
7. What James’s membership will look like
8. Where everything’s under one roof
How James used to arrange his stuff
James’s foray into educational products started with information courses. He had a product, did a warrior special offer, and put it up on Clickbank for a while.
Then he sold it on his own cart for a one-time fee. And when people purchased, he gave them updates and upgrades.
James wound up making a small membership area for his customers, into which he put recorded webinars and other material. And he kept updating the product – all of this for a one-time fee.
James realized belatedly he was insane to create so much value.
Then he started promoting other people’s forums as an affiliate, which gave him the idea of creating his own forum.
James liked the recurring subscription model. And he wanted someplace to put his forum and discuss things, and to accommodate the content he made as well.
He started with a partner, but after four years of an unequal arrangement left to start his own community.
James rolled all of his individual products – 10 to 12 of them – into his membership. He started by using BB php, then upgraded to vBulletin and then to XenForo.
Why are you doing it that way?
When James showed John around his membership, John asked, why are you putting products in a forum?
A good point, thought James, though up till then it had been convenient for him to simply stick a video in and let people comment.
At that time, he had content and a community, and was doing coaching. The thing that really changed the game for him was, in the last five or six years, he’d started offering private coaching.
Most recently, he’s had an offer level somewhere between what used to be SilverCircle and his current membership, where people can attend a weekly call like Silver Circle members used to.
These “intensive” members represent what James sees as the future for his membership – they get a high level of coaching, and have access to the community and all of his content.
An emphasis on private coaching, via chat
The newest incarnation of James’s membership will be installed on Kleq, John’s all-in-one subscription-based software, with an emphasis on private coaching.
John has showed James how to facilitate the coaching using a simple chat with push notifications.
John comes from an online course background – creating master classes and the like, and then enhancing the sales of those products. And one of the ways to do that is by adding community and coaching, say group coaching, weekly calls, or, in this case, private chat.
John thinks, how can I create a course and make it better and sell better? Well, by adding more value. And an example of value is giving private coaching within the course.
Among the many pages you can add to a course in Kleq is the private chat page, which will offer a private chat experience inside that specific course.
The user sees only the coach in the chat, and so has the private coaching experience, but the administrator sees everyone who has chat access and can chat with them all.
Kleq combines that with web notifications that inform users of activity, say, a reply from James, or a like on their comment, allowing them to return to the site and re-engage.
The mobile aspect of the feature
Now, Kleq also offers a mobile app, a native feature which James has and recommends. This gives you the private chat experience on your phone.
The notifications are native as well, and will inform a user if James replies to them, or tell James, the coach, that a question needs his attention.
A platform for whatever customer experience you choose
Kleq’s flexibility allows just about any kind of customer experience.
You can offer a high-ticket course, for instance, and with it six weeks of coaching. Then students who want to continue with the private coaching can upgrade to a recurring membership plan.
The approach is up to you. Little by little, you can build the ultimate online business you need to offer different price points, to make courses but also have a recurring income source and the peace of mind that comes with it.
You can offer these experiences, and it will be easy and customizable. If someone wants to have 10 private chats, 10 different private coaching arrangements with maybe even different coaches, they can do that in one installation, one website.
The two common approaches
That’s the goal, says James.
He sees, typically, one of two camps.
The first is course-focused, with a light chat maybe somewhere, but generally not – many a membership website builder caters to this. And with that, usually, they’ll have a Facebook group.
The other approach is forum-based – membership + forum. There are a lot of platforms for this which are very social-like, but not so good at handling structured courses.
What James’s membership will look like
People wanting a course, and a forum, and messaging, and a Facebook group, then needing as well landing pages and a cart and a website and hosting find themselves juggling a confusion of platforms.
James has everything in one place. In his new version of the James Schramko membership, he’ll have:
– The Members’ forum, where members can talk to each other.
– The Sounding board, for which people can pay a bit extra to have one-on-one chat with James. These members will have access to a weekly call as well, with people on the same level.
– Playbooks, James’s new version of content. These will feature short, bite-sized, super easy-to-follow frameworks that James has been using forever.
– Training. This will contain Ask Me Anything calls and recorded talks from James’s live event – older content.
James wants to keep it to four, easy-to-use tabs. And because his is a lifestyle business, he wants to be able to do everything – answer questions, dictate, monitor stuff – on his phone.
And he wants users to be notified of whatever happens that relates to them, so they can come back to the site and continue to get great value and ROI.
Where everything’s under one roof
The big point, says James, is there are platforms pushing the community aspect; there are platforms pushing the course aspect; there are lots of people gluing all sorts of stuff together. And that’s a mess.
Kleq is the one place where you can have your courses, your community, your coaching, all there under one roof. You can also set up the pages, the campaigns, you can collect the money, it does everything except for email integration.
At time of recording, James is inviting a few people to check out his new membership and offer feedback to tune it. And moving forward, he’ll be rolling up all of his memberships into the new solution.
What people may not know about working with John is he opens a call each week for people to ask questions and get help with whatever they’re working on – strategy, tactics, the works. The level of support is off the charts.
Access a wealth of business resources inside the James Schramko membership
Liked the show? Leave us a review on iTunes