Membership sites have never been more popular than they are at this time in our online history. I have 7 of them myself, and I can tell you it is a wonderful way to increase your income and to build residual income for the future. To make a connection with your prospects, offering them a free membership to your site can be the best overall strategy. We all like that feeling of belonging to a community, and your membership site can be that place for the people on your list.
I use a simple WordPress plug-in to set up all of my membership sites. It is inexpensive and easy to install, so check it out and see what you think.
Now you may be wondering how you can ever make any money if your site is free. The answer is quite simple. You invite them to join, continue giving useful information on your topic, and they will allow you to market to them for as long as they remain a member. It’s the law of reciprocity that makes this work so well.
Think about it, when someone gives you something of value at no charge, you feel obligated to thank them, whether it is monetarily or otherwise. I have students who thank me by retweeting what I write on Twitter, sending me links to information that will help me both personally and in my business, and by connecting me with others who I may not have met otherwise.
Decide what the focus of your membership site will be. You want it broad enough to encompass your ideas and niche, but narrow enough to include just the perspective you want to teach and share with your list. Once you have done that purchase the domain name you will use for this project. Shorter domains are best, but try to include a keyword phrase in there as well. Then set it up as a mini-site, with an optin page, a sales letter for what you will be selling, and the membership area. WordPress has a plug-in that makes this all very doable, even if you are not very technical.
Before you invite your members to join at no cost, add some relevant content to your site. This can include PLR (private label rights) articles and eBooks, rebrandable and other short reports, and short videos that teach more on your topic. That way it looks like you are completely ready to accept new members as they come in.
Within a month or two you will want to offer an upgraded membership for those who want to work more closely with you and need more information. Give them a special offer for taking the upgrade and be sure to include a bonus.