You’ve read a lot about engaging with your competition and your competition’s audience, but what if you could do this in a more closed environment that helped you get to know your customer even more? Intro the membership community focused on offering consumers access to industry leaders’ information and content on a VIP basis.
Membership sites are wonderful ways to provide a lot of information to your customer base on a one-to-many basis. This process of serving more than one person at a time lends itself well to many niches. If you and your competition offer information, products, and services to an audience on a regular basis, a customer-focused membership website and community will thrive.
- Develop A Theme – Before you invite one person, you need to know what you want to create. If you’re going to offer knitting patterns to the knitting community, you can invite creators to contribute a pattern based on each month’s theme. If you want to create a membership private label rights store, you could ask each competitor to deliver one package about a specific topic that you assign in advance.
- Define the Ideal Customer – One way to produce the right theme is to develop the customer avatar based on who you want the membership community to serve. Then make a list of what they need and then match that list with the competition’s ability to deliver.
- Choose the Contributors from Your Competition – Once you know what you need and who it’s for, go through your competition list based on available offers from the past. This is a great way to use older offers that have already been created in a new way.
- Determine Responsibilities for Leaders – You’ll also need to figure out what you believe are the responsibilities of your community’s leaders. Anyone who is contributing needs to know the vision you have for the community so that you can be assured that they’ll always represent the community in a good way.
- Decide a Division of Labor – Outside of the duties to contribute a product or service each month. There is always labor to be done for any community, from policing discussion boards to hosting a weekly live chat and more. Divide it up so that you’re not doing it all, empowering them to feel a big part of the community.
- Set a Membership Price – Determine how many members you want to join the membership, and then keep the price affordable for 80 percent of your community. You need to know what type of funds they have available for this environment to make that choice.
- Determine How Everyone Will Be Paid – Each person who contributes products or services to the membership needs to earn something from their participation. You can divide the proceeds each month, you can set up special affiliate links to enable each person to earn off their own promotions, or you can simply pay a set fee each month for their contributions.
- Set Up a Membership Website – Once you have all the ideas set out, you can create the membership site. A great software to use for membership websites is Amember.com. It offers you the ability to add a message board, create an affiliate program, and more.
- Market the Membership – After you’ve loaded the first month’s products and services and information, you can start marketing the membership. As long as you have good deadlines and benchmarks set up to remind your contributors, you can start before you’ve filled the membership.
- Have Regular Planning Meetings – Even after you’ve set it up and start selling, you’ll want to set aside time for regular planning meetings. Thankfully today, you can use Zoom to help you make it easy. Consider planning a year at a time so that meetings can be cut to the minimum.
- Start with a Short-Term Option – Membership sites are best when running long term, but you don’t want to start with a never-ending contract. Start with a quarter or a year contract to get started with renewal options included.
- Sign Contracts – Contracts are always helpful to ensure that everyone lives up to their rights, responsibilities, and duties. Just be clear about what each person is responsible for and be detailed on when and how it should happen. That way, it’s made super easy for all involved to be successful.
If you’re going to set up a membership site with your competition, you should do as much of the work before inviting others to practice as possible. This way, you can maintain control over the membership, inviting different competitors each year if you choose or continuing to work with the same people if it works out for you all. The main thing is to deliver value to your competition by creating a new income stream for them and value for your audience by giving them a needed solution that they grow to depend on in your membership community.