If you’re familiar with me, you know I’m a BIG advocate of the membership/recurring revenue model for businesses.

In fact, I’ve built my career around creating membership sites and helping others do the same.

Why? Because a properly structured membership saves the business owner time and increases their bottom line with stable, recurring revenue.

That being said, a membership site might not be the best fit for everybody.

If you’re curious about using the membership model in your business, there are three questions for you to ask yourself about your market.

These three questions really serve as a great way for you to get an understanding of whether a membership site would be a good fit for your market.

The first question that I want you to ask is, “Is there an ongoing need for the product/service/information my business provides?”

“Is there an ongoing need?”

This is the best kind of membership site you can create – one that satisfies an ongoing need.

For example, my friend Paul Evans has a membership site called TeenLifeMinistries.com and he helps youth ministers with their Sunday service.

What he initially discovered was that youth ministers often don’t have the time to prepare for their Sunday service, so he made it easy for them.

He provides PowerPoints and handouts, everything a youth minister would need to deliver their service. Now, the youth minister has a substantially shorter prep time for their service and they feel less stress as a result.

It’s a great example of a market and a membership. The market has a need and the membership is satisfying that need on an ongoing basis.

The second question that you can ask to determine whether a membership would be right for your market is, “Are people looking to learn or master a subject?”

Are people looking to learn or master a subject? 

One of the mental blocks entrepreneurs face with online learning is how much information is already available for free online.

However, if there’s a lot of free information available, it actually makes for a PERFECT opportunity for a membership site.

As I teach in TRIBE, overwhelm is the #1 factor that discourages people from continuing to learn a subject. This gives you the opportunity to offer a membership that organizes the information to give people a clear and simple direction to learn or master a subject.

The key is to give your audience clear directions on the steps they need to take to get the result they want. Do the thinking for them.

More information isn’t better, but organized information that has a clear direction is.

I call this the “Success Path.”

A good example is the guitar market. A beginner obviously wants to be coached through the basics until they become more skilled.

However, once a player has a high skill level, their learning isn’t over. They will still want to learn different techniques, different styles of playing and so forth.

There’s both an immediate and an ongoing need for people from all corners of the market.

That’s why business/entrepreneurship memberships are popular, because the business landscape is always changing, especially in digital. And entrepreneurs are looking to grow their business so they’re always looking to stay up-to-date on the latest trends.

The third and final question to ask is, “Are people gathering online?”

“Are people gathering online?”

Many membership sites focus on teaching information but there are other memberships that are dedicated purely to bringing people together.

We live in an amazing time. No matter how quirky or obscure your interests are, chances are you can connect with a whole bunch of people around the world who share the same interests.

Before you might have been the only person in your community who had these interests, but now the Internet gives us the opportunity to create and join communities of like-minded people.

Heck, Facebook is community-based membership site and they are the third most visited website in the world!

There are some membership sites that are all about the community. People pay month after month just to be around others like them, have discussions, and engage with one another.

Most often, people join a membership for the information but stay for the community aspect. Once they’ve got active and started networking and engaging with others, they don’t want to leave!

Summary

Is there an ongoing need you can fulfill

Are people looking to learn or master a subject?

Are people in your market gathering online? 

If you answered yes to any one of those questions, there’s a good chance that a membership site could thrive in your market.

That’s not to say it’s going be a perfect fit, but the odds are certainly in your favour and it’s something worth exploring.

If you’re interested in learning more about membership sites, you’re invited to join me for a FREE membership workshop beginning April 3rd, 2017.

You can secure your spot in the free workshop here ==> www.tribeworkshop.com

Additionally, I’ve compiled a PDF that might interest you titled Membership Masters: 10 Proven Strategies for Growing Successful Membership Sites” 

You can download the PDF here ==> stu.clickfunnels.com/membershipmastery

 

  • Great post, Stu! I now have more ideas than I can handle. Now, the challenge is choosing which to go with. Thanks for always producing great information.

    • Awesome! Start with the one that is easiest to get going. Momentum is very powerful.

      So one of my clients was in a similar position and he selected the one where he was most familiar with the market. Once he got that rolling, he launched a second and now is gearing up to launch a third.

      But each time, it’s easier for him to launch because now he has a process and experience (and revenue coming in!).

  • Justin Clark

    Stu, why did you decide the membership model was not good for your business and went the $2K course route instead?

    • That’s not actually accurate. The membership model is VERY good for my business. In fact, we have 4 recurring revenue streams (memberships) planned for this year including software and 3 different membership programs. Those will actually be rolling out in the next few months.

      However, if you’re referring to TRIBE in particular, it’s because that was better suited to teach as a course. And here’s the good news. If you create a great experience with a course, people will naturally want more afterwards. And that sets up the promotion of a membership site VERY nicely.

      • Jim Vickers

        Stu, I’m a retired Financial Advisor, 50% through creating the content for an online personal finance course. Do you think it would be better to offer the course inside a membership or offer the membership as a follow on to the course?

        • It depends on the nature of what you’re sharing. Courses are great for helping people learn something in a short time frame. So they’re good for helping people get a specific result.

          Membership sites are great for supporting people over a longer period of time. So they are typically better where people need help implementing what they’ve learned or where the subject matter takes time to produce a result (playing a guitar) or where things are continuously evolving and people want to keep their skills fresh (growing a business).

          • Jim Vickers

            Thanks Stu. I think you’ve helped me clarify my approach but how does this sound? Use the course as my magnet for the membership? The course teaches the “what” and the membership guides the client’s ongoing “how”?

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            Stu McLaren

            It depends on the nature of what you’re sharing. Courses are great for helping people learn something in a short time frame. So they’re good for helping people get a specific result.
            Membership sites are great for supporting people over a longer period of time. So they are typically better where people need help implementing what they’ve learned or where the subject matter takes time to produce a result (playing a guitar) or where things are continuously evolving and people want to keep their skills fresh (growing a business).
            7:18 p.m., Wednesday March 15 | Other comments by Stu McLaren

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            Stu McLaren

            It depends on the nature of what you’re sharing. Courses are great for helping people learn something in a short time frame. So they’re good for helping people get a specific result.
            Membership sites are great for supporting people over a longer period of time. So they are typically better where people need help implementing what they’ve learned or where the subject matter takes time to produce a result (playing a guitar) or where things are continuously evolving and people want to keep their skills fresh (growing a business).
            7:18 p.m., Wednesday March 15 | Other comments by Stu McLaren

            Reply to Stu McLaren

    • Greg Leischner

      Justin that is a great question! Last time it was offered, I could have done a more affordable ongoing membership payment, but no way could I afford $2K at the time.

  • Victoria Labalme

    Super valuable, Stu. I learn from you every time you share….

  • David Levin

    Hey, Stu. Excited to hear what’s coming up. I’m partnering with a friend to develop his membership site. Looking forward to hearing more.

    • Awesome! What market?

      • David Levin

        Parenting. My favorite guy in that space (and one of the biggest). Pretty great opportunity.
        By the way, I’m building the site right now. Are there any good resources you can point to for page design examples, or is that all part of the course? (P.S. Sorry for the slow reply. Yours went into my spam folder.)

  • Matt Swift

    Thanks Stu this is really helpful 🙂 Great summary. I provide exam preparation for police and military applicants. This ticks the second two questions, but in terms of ongoing need, it is only a few months that an individual is preparing (but there ARE more clients every month ongoing). So at present I charge a one off fee for access to an online training system (protected by Wishlist member on your recommendation too!) What are your thoughts on switching to a monthly subscription instead of one off fee? e.g about $50 per month instead of $100 upfront one time?

    • I would keep what you have and then think about a membership on the back end of the course that supports people ongoing.

      • Matt Phillips

        Thanks Stu, that makes sense. Some of my competition use a subscription model but as you state – it’s a specific result in a short time so subscription doesn’t really fit. However I could add more value and provide more support to people who want it via an additional service which is ongoing based on need. Thanks again!

  • Gabriel Renaud

    Thanks Stu! Great article!

  • Dean Phillips

    When putting together your PDFs like at the end of the guide, I noticed you (and Bryan Harris did his on one of his launches) used an almost round up style of experts.

    Do you guys interview these people or grab the tips from their sites and then use them in the guide?! I’m always curious how to build this style of guide if your online network isn’t as wide spread 🙂

    Thanks dude! Excited for the workshop

  • Such simple questions yet they have helped me decided that YES my membership program idea is a good idea. Great post – glad to have found you.

  • Wade Wallace

    Is it possible to get into the workshop even though it started already?

  • Leslie Black

    HI Stu – I loved seeing you at PLF LIVE! I’m still wearing my bracelet. 🙂 Do you have a date for your next workshop?

  • I have a very small list and am just starting out Stu

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