Last month we looked at using letter.ly as the focus of a business idea that I shared with you.
Have you tried it?
Today I have another business idea that I think you’ll enjoy. Just as the letter.ly strategy was lightweight and easy to implement, this idea is similar (but with a more robust offering).
This may not be revolutionary but my plan drills down to the “how-to” of implementation. I did this because concrete examples are what I look for when learning strategies.
My guess is you do as well.
Let’s dig in.
The membership program
We’re talking about a paid access community. You continue to produce high-quality content and only those who pay your monthly fee have access to it. Be it video, audio or text the content is selectively (or collectively) protected by a pay wall.
You may even opt to raise the monthly fee to newcomers later on due to the increasing value of your added resources.
If you’re a life coach, personal development advisor, social media consultant, business coach, green thumb gardener or even software expert this strategy may be for you. Any topic that requires specialized knowledge with a challenging learning curve is fair game here (and bonus if you can interview other subject matter experts in your industry).
Phase 1: Business Tool Kit
The following lists the tools I suggest to implement this strategy:
- A WordPress website. You’re going to want to use WordPress as your website platform. It’s free and easy to install from the cPanel of your HostGator hosting. I’m an affiliate of HostGator and will be paid if you purchase using my link. But I do use their service and highly recommend them. You can register an inexpensive domain name at Namecheap.com after you’ve picked one out.
- Aweber email marketing. You’ll want to give away a free product of some sort to build your list of email subscribers. An email list is an asset; regardless of search engine algorithmic changes you will always have this list of people to contact directly. Again, I’m an affiliate and satisfied user of Aweber so if you purchase from the above link provided I get paid.
- Profits Theme: This is a theme (of which I’m a paid affiliate) that allows you to create your squeeze page (collects email addresses), sales page, membership site with drip-fed content and it allows for Aweber integration. In terms of an all-in-one solution, this is great. No need to bolt on expensive and complicated membership software as it protects content right out-of-the-box.
- Facebook Profile and Page: This is the norm these days. At the very least establish a basic profile page for your new project and consider creating a Facebook Page (see video near end of article) later.
Here is a video overview of the Profits Theme. You’ll see how dummy proof they’ve made it to set up the different types of public and membership pages.
Phase 2: Build Your Business
First off, you’ll need to create your white paper, eBook, video or any other ethical bribe you’re going to offer your email subscribers.
I’m referring to the “gift” people receive in exchange for handing you their email address. You can make this as simple as a how-to paper on a relevant topic or a tell-all eBook.
Use the links in Phase 1 above to register your own accounts at each service listed. There are plenty of other service providers you can use but I’m not about overwhelming you with options; I researched quality providers for you.
What you’ll then do is create your squeeze page in Profits Theme and integrate your Aweber sign-up form. All the traffic that you push to your membership program will first enter this page so take special care to get your headline, ad copy, and design/layout done correctly.
(If you get stuck at this point, then I will help you out.)
It won’t be perfect the first time out. You’ll want to test different formats of the opt-in page but do take your time to get the headline and language that your target customers use spot on.
Here’s the flow – your new lead does the following:
- Finds your squeeze page and signs the opt-in giving you their email address
- They receive/download your gift
- Sees your affiliate promotions embedded within your gift (optional)
- Follows links to your sales letter page; also linked to from within the opt-in gift
- Lands on the sales letter page and commits to paying you tons of money every month
Then you bring your A-game making sure the content behind your pay wall is top notch.
Since you’re using Aweber and collecting email addresses; the folks who don’t bother to look over your material or join at first will still be on your list to receive promotions later. So, consider queuing up several pre-formatted emails to go out over the 30 days following sign-up.
Alternate content-rich emails with promotional ones that advertise your paid community. One way to structure your email sequence is three content sharing emails to every one that pushes your subscribers to a landing page or your sales letter page.
You can set up Profits Theme to drip-feed your content to members. So, ideally you’ll have content ready to go out before your first paying customer. How much content you have ready-made will depend on how long your program runs.
You don’t need to create an entire year of content upfront because once your members join, they’ll comment on the course material. This feedback will help structure future modules so listen closely to what the community tells you about where and when they experience the most pain.
Plus, things change. What is applicable today (depending on industry) may not be relevant 7 months from now. So most times it isn’t a set it and forget it strategy here.
It would be wise to make your program a mix of audio, video, and text-based learning. I’d advise you to implement all of the above simply because delivering content in a single form excludes people who learn best from a format you may not be providing.
But only you know if your content lends itself well to a multimedia approach and if that’s what your audience wants. Like I said, listen to the community.
Phase 3: Promote and Scale Your Business
You need traffic. Without that, your business idea is hosed. Where do you get it? Well, this is the classic snag for most of us but it doesn’t have to be so treacherous.
Consider allowing in a few close friends or fellow marketers as free charter members. These early members can help you tweak your content and offer input as to what your program lacks. You’ll want to ask them if you may use their testimonials for your sales letter page to encourage new members to join and if they’d share the good word with others about your program.
You could supercharge your promotional efforts by starting your own affiliate program. Give this article a read from e-junkie and see if their affiliate service(s) may be of use to you:
Then check out Clickbank to sell your product and score more affiliates. It’s a massive digital marketplace but many products there lack quality and authenticity (in my opinion). Stand out by being the refreshing, genuine marketer that you are:
Your Facebook profiles are another traffic stream. The Facebook Page you set up can share community news, snippets of newly released content (teasers), and push traffic back to your product squeeze page.
Pat Flynn released a current and thorough video on Facebook Page creation here:
If you can’t see the video then click here.
What about Facebook Ads? What about video marketing? Try both.
The video marketing part could be as simple as doing a screencast (blurring out private info) of your community back-end with you narrating over it plus a few Microsoft PowerPoint slides. Submit this video to video hosting sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler and Daily Motion.
Periodically release new videos and consider asking your members to share a video testimonial about their experience with your program. Share these video testimonials on your Facebook Page, video sharing sites, and on your membership sales page.
So there’s your business idea. If you already have a site and process in place, great! This is still a strategy you can employ for any one-off communities or products that you release.
At the very least, the Profits Theme (affiliate link) will help you create a nice squeeze page for any product launch.
Please share this article with your Facebook and Twitter friends to help them kick their next idea into high gear.
What say you?