In the interview:
01:44 – How to always be ahead
04:33 – Things to like about memberships
06:52 – Andrew’s authority on memberships
08:28 – A forum for… Disney theme park fans
12:38 – How to fuel participation in your forum
15:44 – How many categories?
17:38 – A buildup, then a launch
21:02 – The best ways to offer content
26:51 – Keeping people involved
30:10 – A new insight about passive observers
32:41 – Different ways of delivering value
34:49 – Summary and action steps
38:50 – Scoring membership ideas
41:21 – The wrap up
Access recordings from the SuperFastBusiness Live event inside SuperFastBusiness membership
James: James Schramko here. Welcome to SuperFastBusiness.com. Today, we are delving into my favorite topic, which is the subscription income area, and specifically membership site strategies. For this, I’ve brought along a special guest and dear friend, Andrew Lock.
Andrew: Hi, James. How are you doing?
James: Very well. How are you?
Andrew: Good. Nice to speak to you again.
James: First time I ever saw you was at an event that I went to in the United States. I think it was Underground 4, and you did some special segment of new and cool, amazing innovative sites that were coming and that hardly anyone knew about.
Andrew: I remember that. It’s one of my passions, it’s sharing these great resources that I find absolutely, yeah.
James: Since then, we’ve been in all sorts of different events, and you’ve even visited me here in Manly. You’re coming over to speak at SuperFastBusiness Live 11, which is very, very exciting. You’ll be talking about 7 Advanced Membership Site Strategies for Success. You have always been ahead of the curve. How do you do it?
Getting ahead of the game
Andrew: Well, I think part of it is my passion for the topic, it’s a natural driver; and then the other thing is that I am a researcher. I get a lot of satisfaction from doing the investigation, kind of like a detective to see what’s out there, evaluate it and then once I’ve proven it myself, share that with people and watch their jaw drop or their eyes become wide with excitement. I love that. It’s a real thrill for me to share those things.
James: So you’ve always been able to pick up stuff that’s coming. Recently, your show on Apple iTunes is the number one video podcast in the whole of the business section. It’s called helpmybusiness.com. Well done.
Andrew: Thanks. It’s a real treat to be able to have that accomplishment above very well-known organizations like TED Talks, Seth Godin, people like that. I think it’s much thanks to the viewers really. It’s not kind of a new show because I’ve been doing it since 2007, but I did scale back for a couple of years while I was travelling a lot and really enjoying the benefits of the Internet lifestyle. But I decided to relaunch it in August of this year. So there was a lot of goodwill from previous viewers, and I think that’s really what catapulted it to the top spot.
I really try to have fun with it. I try and provide useful information, but I also try and package it in an entertaining way. So it does stand out from the crowd. There’s very much my dry, British humor in there, and it is different to many other podcasts. But also it’s video. So that in itself is a little different, too. I love listening to audio podcasts but my background was in video, and so it was a natural thing for me to produce a video show.
James: Yeah, it’s really amazing. There’s a lot of topics we could be talking about with you, whether it’s how to do video production, how to master the Apple iTunes, what are all the new tools and technology we should be paying attention to. But the thing we’re talking about today are advanced membership site strategies, and that’s because right now, certainly in the SuperFastBusiness realm, that is a hot topic.
We’ve had guest podcasts from John Warrillow, we’ve had Robbie Baxter, we’ve been talking to people like Dan Fagella. Everyone’s got the same message that subscription is the way to go. Why do you like memberships? Why do you like membership sites?
Why membership sites?
Andrew: Well basically because it’s changed my life. It’s really given me true financial freedom. In my opinion and experience, membership sites are the number one method for creating reliable, residual, recurring or passive income, whatever phrase you are familiar with. It’s that regular chunk of money that comes in every single month without fail. You can count on it. It’s reliable. It’s always going to be there. It usually grows if you’re consistent with your marketing. It continues to grow over time.
As a simple example, if you were to just get one new member a day, which is I mean, anybody can do that. One new member a day at a fee of $35 a month, that’s what they’re paying. That would give you a recurring income of a thousand dollars in the first month, and then in a year, $11,000 every single month and that continues to grow. So even with a very small percentage, 1% or 2% of people that leave, it still continues to grow and it still continues to give you more, and more, and more money, guaranteed every single month.
So rather than trading time for money, it’s a lot like music artists who write a song, and that song becomes a hit, that song becomes is played on the radio, it’s performed by other artists, the writer of that song gets paid every time that happens for work they did years ago.
So of course, like any worthwhile business, there is work involved upfront to set it up. But it’s a system, it’s very doable, it’s much easier than it ever has been. Anybody can do it. You don’t need any special skills. Once you’ve done that big chunk of work to set it up, then it’s managing it and you continue to reap the rewards over and over and over again for years. So it’s a beautiful thing.
James: Yes. Absolutely. I’ve enjoyed having subscriptions in place for my business. Someone listening to this might think, what does Andrew Lock know about memberships? How would you say you’re qualified to talk about this topic?
“Why trade time for money?”
Andrew: Yeah, well I’m glad you asked that question because it is important to be credible. I’ve been teaching this for 7 years, but I’ve been doing it longer. When I first discovered this concept and the breakthrough of what a membership site is and what it means, like we just discussed, it was such a profound lightbulb moment for me that I maneuvered and shifted gears with everything that I do, and made sure that everything aligned with that goal of creating membership sites.
So, not only do I have membership sites in my business of helping other people learn the process. But before that, over the years, I’ve developed, and built and sold in some cases membership sites on all different topics. For example, I built a site about home theater, building, and running, and everything to do with home theater. That was a passion of mine. I built and sold a membership site on that topic. I also have built one about the topic of Disney theme parks.
By the way, the revenue side of things ranges from about $100,000 a year on the low end to multi-million dollars. So I have fully immersed myself in that world. I don’t just teach it. I live it in my own businesses.
James: I’m wondering, how would someone be motivated to join a membership about Disney theme parks? What do you offer people for that?
Andrew: Well you know, what’s interesting is, what kind of gave me the idea was Disney, I’m guessing roughly about 5 years ago, started a membership program of their own called D23. Have you heard of it?
Andrew: Well, D23 is a membership for the most passionate Disney fans. When I read about it, I found that they had millions of members on a worldwide scale. The fee I think was about $100 a year or something like that. Maybe $100 or $200. I forget. Anyway, I looked at what they were doing, I looked at what they were providing, and I realized, you know what, not only does this prove that there are people who are willing to pay for a membership site about Disney, but secondly, there’s always a market for people, a premium option.
Whereas Disney, what they were offering at D23 was a low-priced option that was just the same default version for everybody, I could come into the marketplace and do a slightly higher priced offering. The difference that I was able to bring to the marketplace was I can provide tips and resources and ideas because I’m a big Disney fanatic with the theme parks. I visited over a hundred times. I visited every theme park, Disney park around the world.
I realized that the unique angle that I could bring was that I can tell it as it is. In other words, Disney is always going to be like the corporate language and the official message. But if there’s a restaurant that’s rubbish, then I’ll tell people. If there’s things that Disney would never say to the enthusiasts, then I can say those things. So I tell people all these sneaky tricks of how to get the most out of the parks when they go, how to get things for free.
The real diehard hardcore Disney enthusiast that do have annual passes, that do visit multiple times every year, they eat that stuff up, they always want to know what’s new, they always want to know these secret tactics for getting the best out of their visit, and that’s why I created that membership site.
Sorry, that was a long answer.
James: It was a great answer because firstly, it gives us an example of a membership that is not Internet-marketing related. Secondly, it shows how you can turn an expense and a passion into an income-producing machine. I imagine that there’s a lot of possibilities to do that if someone were to take stock of what they passionately buy or consume, they might find they’re somewhat of an expert in that topic. I know I’m starting to build up expertise in the field of surfing from having been a passionate consumer over the last year or two and having a deeper understanding of all things relating to that topic compared to the person on the street. So great example.
“Passion trumps expertise.”
Should you be an expert to run a membership?
Andrew: Absolutely. And the thing that I would say too is that you do not have to be an expert. You simple need to be passionate because the members aren’t expecting you to be an expert. You may be expecting that of yourself, but it’s not required. You simply need to facilitate the community and find great resources to share with them. That’s what a membership site is. If you are an expert, great. But it’s not required.
James: Well let’s talk about that in a little more detail. You’ll be presenting 7 Advanced Membership Site Strategies for Success when you come to SuperFastBusiness Live 11 in Manly in March. You’ve already built several membership sites, at least six, ranging from 100,000 to multiple millions. Now let’s dig into just a couple of the ideas from the 7. I think you’ve already sort of broached on to one, which is participation. I think that’s something that people talk about a lot.
We also hear the word engagement. What is going to be required? Let’s say our listener has been following along this whole subscription discussion to date that I have done on several podcasts. Maybe they’d even started a membership or they’re about to pull the trigger on one, and they’re a little bit worried about, how do I get members in my new site to participate and engage in the forum?
How to get your members to participate
Andrew: I definitely recommend having a forum component for a membership site. If you’re in a Facebook group, that in a sense is a type of forum. I think most people have joined some type of public forum at some point in their lives. The challenge when first launching a membership site is, first of all, of course, you don’t have that many members, and secondly, those members tend to feel a little bit reluctant to be the first ones to get into the forum and start conversations, and start discussions, and start comparing notes with other members.
So I’ve developed a strategy that works like gangbusters, which I call “Prime the Pump.” I’ll be expanding on it at the event. But basically, what it is, it’s a strategy to get participation going in the forum of a new membership site. So what you do is you as the membership site owner, create 10 new membership accounts with random names; you know, John Smith, you pick the names. Basically, what you’re doing is you’re creating user accounts and user names and then you go in or have an assistant go into the site, login as those people and start conversations by either asking a question or making some type of controversial statement that in itself encourages others to respond.
If you do that with 10 simple accounts, that primes the pump and it gets the conversation going. Once it’s going, it will continue. So it’s just a way of kind of lighting the fuse of participation in a way that will definitely work. It’s something that I teach my students. It avoids that awkwardness of, OK, you’ve got a few members in the site but no one wants to be the first to participate in the forum. No one wants to be that first one to kind of dip their toe in the water. But as soon as they see others, then they’ll jump in.
James: Right. Would you say this is better if you have a forum that starts with very few members?
Should you start with a few members?
Andrew: Yeah. It’s what I recommend that people do when they first launch their site. The other tip on forums by the way is not to have too many categories within the forum. In fact, I recommend that you have three as a maximum. You know how you go to public forums and you’ll see maybe 12 different categories of sub-niches within the topic. iI you do that, you’re diluting your efforts. It’s better to start with a couple and then expand them as those needs naturally arise.
James: Yeah, I agree. The most popular forum in my section is the general section. And then we peel and stick just like an AdWords campaign when we get enough interest. So we created our own memberships and subscriptions category because the topic just became so strong.
Now I found, from my perspective, I know we don’t have to agree on everything… but it seems a little bit shady to me having 10 fake characters.
Andrew: Well, I think that’s a fair point to bring up. The way I approach that with people that raise that topic is to simply say that think about the goal. The point is you’re developing the interest and the desire for people to contribute; once they see activity, then they’ll join in. If those topics that the new accounts that you’ve set up those prime the pump accounts, if they raise interesting questions and if they are dealing with things that will help members, then I don’t have a problem with it because the end result is to help people. Once the pump is primed, then you can forget about those accounts. It’s not required. It’s just to get the ball rolling.
James: It’s a catalyst. Yeah. Maybe I’ve never needed to do that because the times that I’ve opened up my communities, I always started with a minimum number of members by building up a little bit of a waiting list.
Andrew: I think that’s a good point. Certainly you have a track record of course; whenever you release anything now, then there’s always going to be a big surge of interest.
James: Well I have to think, if I was going to open something if I’m not known in the market, generally I’ve got sort of thresholds. I don’t know if you’ve ever found this to be true, but anything under $100 a month, I like to have 65 founding members, and I’ve found the discussion starts off quite well using the same technique, very few forum sections and generally an introduction is the thing I’m after as quickly as possible, to have someone post when they arrive, tell us why they’re there, who they are, and what they’re hoping to get from it.
As soon as they become vulnerable with that, they open up and it seems to be good. But I haven’t had to start a forum with less than say 10 people. When I’ve done my expensive programs, say masterminds, 10 people at once; you know you need six or more people to get a bit of a group going I think when it comes to high-priced programs.
Andrew: I think it’s a very fair point. What I would say is it’s just a different model. I’m not a big fan of product launches. This is in no way in a critical observation of you because you don’t fall into this trap. But there is definitely the potential with a lot of people for it to become too hypey.
James: Oh, they’re horrid. I’m all about releases. You see some of the most famous people. I got a question in my mastermind yesterday morning, they said, “What about such and such? He’s got a domain with his own name.” I said, “Yeah. But he re-launches his one product every year for the last 7 years in a row, like he has no business model. He has an annual launch.”
Andrew: It’s a series of opportunities.
James: Oh, it’s horrendous on the cash flow spike, and the services spike. It’s not a business. It’s a promotion.
Andrew: I completely agree. It’s not a business. It’s a series of promotions. I couldn’t agree more.
James: Yeah. That’s what I love about recurring membership is that you can definitely stage them cleverly in the beginning with a waiting list to anticipate the launch, and I’ve coached a few students through this right now. One of them has literally launched today after a series of email build-ups. He’ll have enough people that he’ll be able to skip the pump phase. But I think what you’re talking about would work really well if someone finds themselves with like one or two members, and they’re starting without the benefit of a launch.
Andrew: I think that’s absolutely right. If someone is in that situation, it depends because there’s multiple ways to run and launch a membership site just as you’ve discussed. I think that approach is a very smart one, too. But like I say, for those that are in that situation where they need activity but they’ve only got a few members, it works very well.
James: Let’s talk about creating content because one of the big questions that comes up, and I’ve got a way of addressing it, but I’d love to know how you approach this, people say, “Oh but Andrew, how much content do I have to put in the membership, and how am I going to keep people happy with the content that I’m putting in there?”
Creating content and keeping people happy
Andrew: That’s an interesting topic and I think to some extent, it depends on the niche. But there are principles and what I teach is that someone starts out with a minimum of 12 pieces of content. I recommend a combination of things like articles, videos, news items, interviews, things like that. Again, it depends on the niche as to what types of content would be most suited and most popular among members, but you certainly don’t need to swamp people with content because there is that definite downside of them feeling overwhelmed of not knowing where to go first or what to consume first. That actually can be a reason why people don’t stay, ironically.
In terms of an ongoing process, I recommend that people who own membership sites release at least one new piece of content a week, whether that’s a one time in a month. At the end of the month, a few new pieces of content or on a weekly basis. There’s different ways to do it, but you certainly don’t need to have a big barrage of content. That actually can be and tends to be counterproductive because people feel overwhelmed. They feel like they’re not keeping up with it. So there’s definitely a balance to it.
What are your thoughts?
James: Yeah, I think that again, you sort of hinted that earlier in this podcast, it depends on the result you want, and for me, I want my members to have success because I know they’ll stay if they feel that the price they’re paying is well below the value they receive, and if it relates to the success they’re getting, ideally, they would have the minimum things to do. If you have a community for any number of years, you’ll reach a point where you have a lot more content than people could reasonably get to.
So I start to use a metaphor to help explain this to people because my larger community for example has over 100,000 posts. I tell people to think of it like a shopping center. We need to get in and get out with what we need today. We need to have the minimum things.
So if we walk into a supermarket and like the shelves are stocked with stuff, that’s kind of what a forum might look like to a stranger. But what we want to think about is what meals do we want to prepare in the next few days. Do we need toilet paper and a toothbrush and some basic essentials? We’re not going to buy one of everything in the shop. We don’t need everything there. We just think about what do we need today or right now. We go and get those things and put it in our basket and we check out.
That’s what I encourage people to do is to pick and choose what they need off the shelves and just ignore the rest. Know that it’s there, and if you run out of supplies, you can go and get it. That way, I’ve been able to put a lot of things in there. Amazingly, people join for the content but they stay for the community. It’s the network effect of user to user exchange and peer support. That’s the phenomenal, emotional glue that holds a community together. It’s also, as the forum facilitator, one of the most inspiring things to be a part of.
Andrew: Very much so. I completely agree with that, and that’s something I found to be the case too. I think to some extent, it does depend on the niche because there’s different expectations within different niches. There’s also different expectations based on what people pay as you say because ultimately, what counts is that they feel that they’re getting more value than the price they’re paying each month.
Sometimes, you just have to kind of try a few things and survey and get feedback to really kind of hone it, but usually, people think that they need more content than they actually need for members to be happy. So it’s really good to kind of keep constant track on that and naturally ask people.
When people leave
Also whenever someone leaves, I always say, “I’d love to know what happened here. Was there something that we could do better? What was the reason that you left?” That feedback is valuable because they’ll tell you and you want to look for trends.
If you get three people in a row saying, “I just didn’t feel that the value was there,” then you’ve got to do something about that. If you get three people in a row saying, “I just felt overwhelmed,” then you’ve either gotta do a better job of helping them get started and navigate through the membership site or have a system in place to show them that they don’t need to consume everything at one time as soon as they log in. There’s a number of ways to address that.
James: Yeah. I think a post-exit survey is wonderful, and quite often, an opportunity to resell the service with a different perspective. When I ask people why they’re leaving, they might say, they’re not using it. Then we might talk about why aren’t they using it or why did they join and what changed when they joined to now? It’s a good one to find out what happened. It’s amazing how much life sucks people in and it gets them sort of distracted. So I think it’s important to have mechanisms to keep people coming back.
For example, you can have a slipping away program when people aren’t logging in often. You can send them a little reach out to say, “Hey, how’s it going? We miss you. Check out the latest post here” type of autoresponder, which is easy to set up these days. What other things do you do to help people be involved in the community and creating content themselves?
Getting people involved in creating content
Andrew: Well a big one, which I think you eluded too earlier, is to guide them as soon as they log in. If you just send them a username and password and leave them to their own devices, they are going to be confused, they are going to feel overwhelmed, and probably they’ll feel frustrated. So it’s so important to have a here’s-how-to-get-started type of message. With most memberships and platforms, it’s very easy to do that the first time they log in.
It should be, step one: introduce yourself over here, click this link. Spell it out. What do you want them to do. “Tell us your name, where you’re from.” It could be something like “Why you joined this site or what you hope to get out of it?” That simple interaction that they take very quickly, very early on, does incredible things to solidify their attachment to the membership site and to the community. Otherwise, the longer they’re just passive, the more likely they’ll just either lose interest, or forget about it, or any number of adverse outcomes.
There are a lot of different strategies and I found just as a guide, if the rate or percentage of people that leave compared to your overall membership each month is more than 2%, then you need to work harder at these types of systems to help and guide your members to navigate through the world of your membership site. Less than 2% is a good percentage.
The reality is people are going to leave for different reasons. Some people would just move on to different topics or there’s all kinds of reasons, and so you have to expect that. But if it’s more than about 2%, then there’s definitely things you can do to tweak. I’ll be covering some of those things, some of those specific strategies too in the presentation at the event.
James: Nice. So we’re talking about churn and how to keep it nice and low. Yeah, I agree. If you start hitting 5%, then you’ve got a blood letting. It might also has a lot to do with the sales process at the front door and the expectations being said. It’s fascinating managing a forum in terms of the culture that comes in and as it changes as the members step up.
Something you mentioned before, which is interesting, the passive people. I’ve learned to embrace my lurkers because I used to not understand why people would join and then never participate, but I also know that I’ve got a lot of market leaders are members of my forum. Surprisingly, when I go and look, they do log in fairly often even though they never post. So they’re just quietly observing, and reading, and researching.
So imagine, they’re getting some value from the membership without actually posting. So it’s important that we work out or recognize that what we think might be a way of getting value might not be the way that other people get value just by belonging and being able to observe might be enough value for some members, whereas other members are going to be very frequent posters and start a lot of the discussions and be right there educating new people, and stepping up and becoming sort of tribal voices within the community.
“Embrace your lurkers.”
A mix of members
So people naturally assign themselves to the various roles, whether it’s passive observer or active instigator. It is certainly fascinating human dynamics in play.
Andrew: It is. I found that to be the case too. I think on the most basic level, it comes down to introvert versus extrovert, but of course it goes a lot deeper than that, but I think saying introvert extrovert helps us to understand that we are created differently and people’s needs are different and it’s very tempting to jump to a conclusion based on how we are and how we would interact and how we would want other people to interact.
But as you astutely discovered and have verified that people can be very happy by observing, they can feel like they’re getting tremendous value by doing that; whereas others really want to dive into the community, ask lots of questions. Some people like to be controversial, not because they’re troublemakers but because that’s their personality. They tend to play devil’s advocate.
There’s a big, wide world of different character types out there and it is good to have that mix in a membership site. It actually makes it a far more interesting community.
James: Our most popular discussion thread, which had a huge number of views is our Market Watch thread, where we have sort of a contrarian posting viewpoints about what’s happening in the market. It’s really interesting to be able to get raw and honest information in a private environment.
Other things that I think work well for satisfying different needs are, we have a monthly training, a live monthly training, where I present for about 90 minutes. It’s effectively putting an information product into the community each month.
Then of course we put our event recordings. It’s now the only way that people can buy my recordings. So I used to do DVDs, or USB sticks. Now, the only way to consume them is to become a member. So that’s a nice way to package information products. It’s so simple to understand. One place, annual or monthly recurring, and it’s accessible. But also, you can help people learn better because they can ask questions.
And then other little things we’ve done is create some custom software. If you can add a software element or a point of differentiation into a forum, that can also help people justify the subscription if you have any sort of tool sets or software things that do cool stuff that they would pay for anyway, that will be a great thing to have.
Andrew: Yeah, very true. I haven’t delved into software myself, but I do know that it’s something that is a great way to stand out from the crowd, any kind of little tool that helps people. One of the things that I love to share as you mentioned at the outset is resources that most people aren’t aware of. It’s not something that I own but it’s something that members love to discover whatever the niche is is these tools and websites that provide some type of value or service that they would have never have discovered on their own.
James: Excellent. So what do you think someone listening to this might do as an action step from this podcast? We’ve talked about the reliability of income that comes from a recurring membership. We’ve covered the idea that a forum is a good thing to have. Also, I guess we’ve mentioned that you don’t have to be responsible for creating all the content yourself because your members will contribute if you can have them participate.
You also talked about the prime the pump technique to have people start that participation as the catalyst. We also spelled out some tips for organizing a forum into the minimum sections possible and to avoid overwhelming people. If they do happen to leave or churn as it’s called, we could survey them and find out why they’re leaving and see if we can address that. That’s pretty much what we covered.
Andrew: That was a good summary.
James: I’m a great listener, Andrew.
Andrew: Very, very impressive. By the way, I will be delving into content creation. That’s something that I’ll cover in depth at the event.
James: Yeah. It’s the perfect audience for you to be covering this topic.
Andrew: Because it is a sticking point for a lot of people. And there’s some really, really nifty strategies for creating content that most people haven’t thought of that I’ll share that certainly makes it a lot easier, makes it faster, and it’s types of content that members love. So I’ll share some of those insider secrets and more advanced strategies that I’ve discovered over the years.
James: Yeah. That would be really fantastic to know what you’ve discovered from having so many membership sites, especially selling them. I think that’s really interesting because you can’t sell the membership site if you are the primary person or the only content creator or the super answerer of questions. You’ve got to have mechanisms to make the forum valuable without you. So that will be a really important topic for us to talk about.
“Prime the pump.”
Andrew: So you mentioned some action steps. If someone doesn’t have a membership site right now, the first that you want to look at is really to make a list of the topics that you are naturally passionate about. So I ask people to think about things like what activities do you enjoy, hobbies and interests, what do others seek your help with. For example, do people always approach you to help with their car or do people ask you for recipes when they come over for dinner. Those are all clues. What magazines and books do you read. Those are clues too as to the types of topics you may consider for a membership site.
So that would be a good action step for someone who really is excited based on what we’ve talked about with this potential to get recurring income. That’s really the first step, to make a list of potential topics, and then of course you’re into the research phase of verifying which of those topics would be the best one to choose moving forward.
James: So you do a passion inventory. How do you score those opportunities?
Andrew: Well first of all, it’s just a question of making a big list. And then the first step with the research phase is to find out if there are products or services including membership sites being sold around that topic. If you can verify that other people are selling anything online on the topic that you’ve written down, that’s a good first verification step because it proves that there is a demand and it proves that others are willing to spend money on that topic.
James: Yup. Yeah, that’s fantastic. So we’d write a passion inventory, we score them according to viability, and then we get started. We create it.
Andrew: Of course it’s a process and there’s many other steps to do it. What I’ve done is I’ve made it a scientific process so that if someone does the work in creating their list, they can legitimately and scientifically verify whether a site is going to work or not. It should never be left to chance. It’s a very bad idea to come up with an idea and just plow into launching a site because you just don’t know for sure if it’s going to work out unless you do the research. So it would involve things like keyword research and so on to further verify exactly.
For example, if you write down scuba diving as a topic that you’re interested in, you verify that there are other products being sold online around scuba diving, then you want to find out exactly what is being sold and what price points. Knowledge is power. Rather than you just plowing ahead and launching and guessing on the fee that you charge and what angle you’re going to take, if you look at what everyone else is doing, first of all, you can find the gap in the market and secondly, you can come in a price point that has been designed based on knowledge of the marketplace rather than just a figure that you plucked out of the air.
You certainly don’t want to be a “me too” offering. What’s the point of you bringing a membership site that just is essentially a carbon copy of something else that’s already been done?
James: Exactly. You’ve got to find a unique angle. What I have found is that people can belong to several memberships. Customers aren’t generally just going to have one. They’re going to be a member of several, and that’s what made it easy for me to start teaching some of my peer group. I’ve been involved with helping a copywriting forum, a storytelling email-based forum, a direct response marketing forum. So all these things are sort of related to my field, but I found that people will belong to several of them rather than just pick one. If you can be unique, then it’ll stand on its own.
Andrew: Yup. Very much so.
Find out more about Andrew
James: Well, we’ve had a good discussion here Andrew. I’m looking forward to seeing you present live. You’re an amazing presenter. You’ve done lots of speaking and it certainly shows because you have a great wit and entertaining style. No doubt, that’s been helping your Apple iTunes show. Definitely, listeners should go and check out helpmybusiness.com. It’s a great, fun show. You’ll get a real insight into what Andrew’s all about and we’ll get through some more advanced membership site strategies in Manly at the event.
Andrew: Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s really fun for me to share that and I love speaking especially with the Australian audience. It’s always a fun thing to do. I’m really looking forward to it.
James: They’re a smart crowd, this bunch. Many of them have been to five or six of the events. They’re definitely the intermediate to advanced end of the spectrum. It will be a lot of fun for all of us.
Andrew: That’s who I resonate with too. That’s who I design my teaching around. I’ve watched some of the recordings of past events. I was definitely familiar with that aspect. So yeah, it’s going to be a treat to be there for sure.
James: Thanks, Andrew.
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