Membership Sites: Creating a Unique Membership Site
Creating a unique membership site is a worthy goal. I started adding membership sites to my business well over a decade ago. Now it’s your turn and we’ll take a closer look at the first step of creating a six figure a year membership site business, which is to determine your Market Criteria. The four parts of creating unique membership sites include determining:
- Your market
- The topic
- The angle/slant
- The brand name for your site
Let’s jump right in…
Part One of Creating a Unique Membership Site: The Market
The first thing you need to determine is your target market (your audience) for your site. You can start by brainstorming your own problems, hobbies and interests. If you want to expand this brainstorm, then also consider the problems, hobbies and interests of your friends and family.
For example, if you like to scuba dive, there’s a potential market. If a family member, friend, or co-worker is adopting a baby from overseas, that’s a potential market. Or if your friend is struggling to get traffic to a website, that’s another potential market. You can also just think about some of the popular, evergreen markets such as:
- Weight loss
- Hobbies (golf, car restoration, home improvement)
- Make money online/business
- Physical and mental health issues
- Weight loss
Any of these are great places to start because they are “evergreen” with longstanding proof of staying power in terms of popularity and profitability. Of course, what you’ll want to do is focus in on a smaller target market and address one specific topic within that niche. That is what’s next…
EXAMPLE: The target audience / market that is the focus of my ongoing Syndication Optimization training includes ANYONE who does any kind of business online (membership site owners, coaches, course creators, bloggers, eBook authors, etc.)
Part Two: The Topic
The second thing you need to figure out is what your membership site is going to be about – i.e., what topic? Here’s where you turn to market research. That’s because the best way to figure out what topic is going to be profitable for you is to look at what sorts of content your market is already buying. To that end, enter your market keywords (such as “weight loss”) into the search boxes of marketplaces such as ClickBank, Amazon, and Udemy.
You can also search Google for your keywords alongside words like “membership site” (or other infoproducts such as “course” or “eBook”). Take note of which topics are popular and profitable (e.g., they are bestsellers and there are plenty of competitors). For example, you may find that “weight loss for women over 40” is a popular, profitable topic. Or perhaps you find a topic such as “training service dogs” seems to be profitable. That’s how one of my clients decided to start a membership site about horses and got to six figures a year in less than six months!
Other than determining if a topic is profitable (i.e., your market is already buying content on the same topic), ask yourself these questions:
1. Is this a topic that interests me?
It’s best if the topic not only interests you, but you also have some experience with it. That way, you can share your own unique insights and experiences. This isn’t required, but is definitely a big advantage.
2. Would this topic be a good fit for a membership site?
You need to pick a topic around which you can create a lot of content (such as a training site with multiple lessons). In other words, if all you can create around a topic is one slim report, then that’s not a good fit for a membership site.
Don’t worry if there’s competition, as that is just a sign that the topic is popular (which is a good thing). You’ll separate your site from the competitor’s site in the next step.
EXAMPLE: Connie Ragen Green is the creator of the membership site at Really Simple SEO Tips and chose the topic of “content creation, syndication, and marketing” because she’s one of the world’s leading experts, having sold multiple millions of dollars worth of digital content and authoring more than twenty non-fiction books over her 15 year career. That’s what she knows best and is best able to teach to others.
Part Three: The Angle
What you need to do in this step is determine your angle/slant/USP (unique selling point). This is the one thing that makes your membership site different and better than your competitors’ offers. Take a look at the competing infoproducts in your niche, and then ask yourself the following questions. (Take note that you may not be able to fully answer these questions until you have done the work I’m sharing with you here.)
- Do you have a unique qualification to teach this content?
- Have you pioneered any strategies, come up with new tips, or are able to offer unique stories or insights regarding the niche?
- Have you developed a unique “formula” or “system” around a process?
- Have you coined any new phrases and/or strategies and methods related to the niche?
- Are you the only one delivering this content via a membership site?
- Is your pricing unique in some way?
- Do you offer any unique bonuses?
- Do you offer anything like “certification” that sets your site apart?
- Is your customer service unique in some way?
- Does your site serve a unique segment of the market?
- In what other ways is your site unique/different?
Part Four: The Brand Name
The last thing you need to do is create a memorable brand name for your site. If you’ve pioneered and named a strategy, that’s a good option for a brand name. if you can develop a brand name around any other part of your USP, that’s good too.
EXAMPLE: The name “Syndication Optimization” was chosen for the membership site at Syndication Optimization because it expresses two key ideas: that it’s all about “content syndication” and that it is an in-depth training program that teaches you the intricacies of syndication every piece of content you create. Or as Connie likes to refer to it, it’s an “education in content creation and optimizing your syndication of that content.”
Here are three quick ways to create a brand name…
1. Combine two related words to create a brand name.
An example, look at my course: Entropology. That’s a combination of “entropy” and “ology” (from the Greek and meaning “the study of”) combined to create one memorable nickname.
2. Use alliteration to create a brand name.
For example, let’s suppose your membership site is all about creating viral content. You might choose the name “Popular Posts”. The double letters starting with the letter P sound good together when said out loud.
3. Nichefy proven models to create a brand name.
Look at existing membership sites in other niches and tweak them slightly to create your own brand name. For example: you might look at the name “Nicheology” (Jimmy D. Brown’s initial PLR site) and name your membership site “Marathonology”. Do a quick search at Google for “popular membership sites” and brainstorm ideas. Just be sure that you don’t plagiarize anyone’s name. IE You can’t name your membership site ChicFilA Chronicles … that would be trademark infringement.
Your Turn to Work on Creating a Unique Membership Site
For this lesson, your assignment is to research, plan and develop the four market criteria you just learned about. Specifically:
- Who is your target market?
- What is the topic for your site?
- How will you set your site apart from competing offers in your market?
- What is the brand name and catchy tag line?
Set some time aside to do some researching, brainstorming and planning on these issues so that you will be able to start creating a unique membership site. You will also benefit from going through a previous lesson I have created for you on creating a six figure membership site.
I’m bestselling author, entrepreneur, and information publisher Connie Ragen Green, working with people on six continents to help them build and grow a lucrative online business. Come aboard for my most popular and longest running membership program at Syndication Optimization and we’ll get started right away.
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