Many digital creators have realized just how powerful building an online community can be for their brand. But it can be a challenge managing your community across multiple platforms.
A great solution is creating a digital membership that brings your community together all in one place. Why? Because when you create a membership website, your followers become a part of a community where they can build relationships with people who share their goals, motivations, and interests.
If this sounds like a daunting task, don’t worry! We’ve got your back with some helpful advice. Ahead, we’re exploring how to market a membership website, and the steps to take before and after it’s live.
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How to market a membership website: The background work
So, you’re invested in bringing your membership site to life. That’s awesome! But before we dive into tips for how to market a membership site, we should touch on a few important preliminary steps.
1. Define your unique point of view
Whether you’ve built a large following or are just in the beginning stages, knowing what makes your perspective unique is essential. If you understand why people follow you, it will make marketing your membership website easier.
The most important thing to remember with this step is that you don’t need to have all the answers and you don’t need to be an expert. All you need is an interesting perspective on your topic and the passion to bring people together as a community around it.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help map out why your perspective is unique:
What inspired me to build a community around my topic?
Why will my perspective bring people together?
What are popular opinions on my topic and how do I see it differently?
Do I have any life experiences that I can share with my community to get them excited about what we are building?
How does my perspective allow people to achieve the results and transformation they couldn’t on their own?
If you can answer most of these questions, you’re one step closer to launching your membership website, and in turn, promoting it.
2. Identify your audience?
Once you know what makes your perspective unique, the next thing to consider is who you are trying to reach. One of the biggest mistakes many creators make when planning how to market a membership website is trying to appeal to everyone.
When you create a membership website, you’re bringing people together around a specific goal or interest. While it’s great to want everyone to feel welcome, your group doesn’t need to be for everyone.
In fact, being too general in defining who your membership site serves is one of the fastest ways to fail before you even get off the ground. Here are some simple questions that will help you think about your audience:
How old is my target demographic?
What kinds of people are currently members of my competitor’s community spaces?
How are my competitors appealing to their audience in their marketing?
Why is my audience looking for a membership site to join in the first place?
It might be hard to find concrete information on these questions, but it’s actually not about finding one answer. By pushing yourself to think about the lives, goals, and interests of your audience, you’ll better understand how to market a membership website to them.
We have a free workshop on finding your Ideal Member in our Mighty Community. You can find it here.
3. Research what competitors are doing
Every successful digital creator knows that researching the competition is part of the job. Learning what other people have done in the past is a great way to plan your membership website’s future.
We aren’t saying that you should make a carbon copy of what your competition is doing. But you can use their work as inspiration for your own. Better yet, when you research other people’s marketing materials, you can figure out where their flaws are and adjust your strategy accordingly
All of the steps so far are linked together. If you take the time to know why your voice is unique, you will better appeal to your audience. And when you know what your competitors are up to, you can develop your own language for how to market your membership website.
How to market a membership website: Once it's live
Now that we’ve gone over some preliminary steps for how to market a membership website, let’s walk through what to do when it’s out in the world.
There are a number of different ways to market your community, but just remember that there are no quick fixes, and results will take time.
We comprised the rest of our list with tips and strategies that increase your interactions with your community and draw new people in.
4. Create a blog
Writing your own blog outside of your membership website is a great way to draw new people into the fold.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of only thinking about how to market your community to people. But remember this: You are the reason the community became a thing in the first place! A blog is a perfect vehicle to tell people about yourself, hone your unique voice, and promote your community.
There are a number of different angles you can take for your blog too. You could use your blog to create thought leadership within your topic, helping shape the latest new trends. Or maybe you’d like to take a more personal approach and try to appeal to readers through your own ups and downs in your entrepreneurial journey. We believe that you should have fun with it and find natural ways to market your membership site in the pieces.
5. Host a free virtual event
Who doesn’t like a free sample? Hosting a virtual event that’s free to join can be a great way to get your name out there and show people that you and your community have a unique perspective on your topic.
The virtual event could be a presentation about something pertaining to your community with a few special guests. Or it could be a networking mixer where potential members get a sneak peek at the variety of opportunities open to them if they join your membership website.
When you’re a newcomer in the membership space, finding ways to get your name (and face!) out there can go a long way. People want to know that they are dealing with a real person, not just a talking head. Offering some free content is a great way to market your community because it gives people a taste of what they’ll be getting when they opt-in.
6. Use an email list
If you’re planning on keeping up with a consistent blog or hosting a virtual event, make sure to collect reader and attendees’ emails.
Creating an email list is a wonderful way to market your community to the world. You can expose new people to the awesome content you’re creating and remind old members about what you’ve been up to.
We live during a time where everyone’s attention is constantly being pulled in multiple directions. It can be easy to forget about something you’re interested in. When you have an email list, you can periodically remind people that your community is out there.
To make it easy for people to be added to the list, create a signup bar on your website and various social media accounts.
The most important thing to remember though is that your emails should be interesting. No one wants to read a boring email that is a laundry list of updates. Think of these emails as an extension of the work your blog is doing: Exposing new and returning people to your unique perspective and community.
7. Ask your community for testimonials
There’s nothing wrong with hearing about how great a community is from its creator, but what really sells people are member testimonials.
This might not be something that you have right away, but as you grow your community and continue strategizing how to market your membership website to new eyes, this is a very effective way of doing it.
A good testimonial will highlight how your membership website has changed a member’s life. If you can get your community to articulate how you helped them achieve results they couldn’t on their own, that will get more people to join your community.
Better yet, testimonials can be used in a plethora of different marketing materials that all appeal to different audiences. In your plan for how to market your membership website, consider getting written, video, and audio testimonials. Depending on what you receive you can make short ads for social media, graphics for emails, a dedicated page on your website, and much more.
Many creators underestimate the goodwill that comes from asking for testimonials too. At the end of the day, you brought together a group of people around a shared interest or goal, right? When you ask them to tell you how you did, you’re building a deeper connection with your members, and getting the acknowledgment that your hard work is paying off and changing lives.
8. Learn as you go
Something that can be incredibly freeing is to remind yourself that none of your plans need to be set in stone forever. In fact, the most successful digital creators realize that they’ll need to mix it up from time to time to grab new people.
While it’s great to be prepared and have a plan for how to market your membership website, you can’t account for everything.
Once your community takes off, you’ll uncover new information and perspectives from your members that will make you change course with your marketing strategy. That’s completely okay!
Part of your job as a community builder is channeling your inner Sherlock Holmes and doing a bit of detective work. Ask a lot of questions, listen to your members’ suggestions, and experiment with new ways of presenting your work.
Not everything you try will be successful, but you might have to miss a few times before you score.
You can learn by asking members, and if your membership platform offers analytics like Mighty Networks does, you can dive into them to find out where members are spending their time and what's not working.
Mighty Networks is the best platform to build a membership website
So we’ve explored a number of different methods for how to market a membership website, but none of that matters if you choose the wrong platform to host your community.
Mighty Networks is a powerful cultural software platform that replaces a website builder with a white label community platform. Mighty's flexible Spaces let you build the membership YOU want, adding in features like live streaming, online courses, discussion forums, and written and video content. We bring content, community, courses, and commerce together in one place, under your own brand and domain name, instantly available on web, iOS and Android.
If this list has stressed anything, it’s the importance of innovating and expanding your offerings for your members. We believe the platform we’ve built will help you do that.
So, how about we get started?