Most professional podcasters aspire to have a membership community. Not only do they help you to go deeper with the members, but they also provide consistent and predictable income while acting as a launchpad into your other services.
Sure, it’d be great to have 100 people paying $100 per month, right? But where do you even start? That’s what this article is all about.
I started my membership site, Next Level Practice, in January 2019. It is a community for counselors, therapists, and coaches who are in the start-up phase of their private practice and want to take it to the next level.
In my experience, there are three aspects of a membership community you’ll want to make sure yours includes:
- Solutions to a clear pain.
- A beta test group.
- Ongoing systems to provide value.
That said, following are my suggestions for creating your membership community:
Before you get started, do your research. Make sure your audience has communicated the pain(s) they want solved. (In previous articles, I’ve discussed the formula for asking about the pain, product, and price, so your audience tells you exactly what they need and want to buy from you.)
Once you understand their specific pain and how you’re going to solve it, you have a clear purpose for the group… and that makes it much easier for potential members to opt in or opt out.
When it comes to communicating your community’s purpose, here’s what NOT to say:
“I want a community for [fill in population here].”
Instead, try this formula:
“This community will help [population] to overcome [pain] and experience [feeling or outcome of community].”
For Next Level Practice, we say, “We help you from the moment you think about starting a practice until you hit $100k.” This is a simple, clear, direct sentence that makes it easy for people to say, “Yup, that’s me!”
Once you have identified the pain and focus, create an interest list. This will help you get an idea of how many people are interested in joining your community. Typically, 10-20% of the interest list will join the first cohort. So, run the numbers in order to determine what it would take to be “worth it” to you. For example, maybe you want to gross an extra $1,000 per month during the first phase. Your final price may be $100/month, but for the beta test group, you’re charging $55/month. That means you need 19 people to reach your goal. So, if only 10% of your interest list opts in, you’d need at least 190 people on that list.
Lastly, implement systems. I thought it would be good to have some outside perspective on this, so I asked Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income about his tips on membership communities:
- Realize that it is not ‘push-button easy’: Pat said, “It’s important to consider the journey that the people are going to have. Is it for support purposes? Is it for networking purposes? Is it for content purposes? We need to know exactly what we want to create before we start putting rubber to the road and creating. But once you nail that, it becomes a lot easier to finally materialize.”
- Choose the right platform: Pat said, “I’m a big fan of circle.so. I think there’s a lot of other great platforms out there, like Mighty Networks, and you could of course use Facebook groups and whatnot to bring communities and memberships together.”
- Get team members involved: Pat recommended, “When a team can be involved in the community and step up and be a part of the conversation and help people along, that can go a very long way, too. That way, community is a part of it from the top down. And when you get people stepping up and actually having conversations with people and engaging with the community, it always helps the thriving aspect within the space.”
- Regularly schedule events: Pat said, “Every month we have a COTM, or a Challenge of the Month, something that members can get a lot of value from and continue to stay on board for as they look forward to the next one. These things have to be achievable and something that can be done within the month, obviously. But once you get the results, that’s a great way to hook people in.”
- Don’t be afraid of churn: “I think reducing churn as much as possible—the number of people who actually leave each month after getting the bill—and there’s actually a lot of fun things you can do to encourage people who have left to come back… and come back even stronger. Also realize that when people leave, it makes the base that is within the community much stronger, too.”
As you develop your membership community, remember that there are people (like Pat and I) who have done this before, so reach out and get help if you need it as you identify the pain you’re helping solve, build out a test group, and implement ongoing systems to add value.