Once you’ve done the research, made plans, set the pricing, and built up your membership website, now is the time to share it with the rest of the world and start earning an income from all your hard work.
It can be very intimidating to launch your membership website into the world!
Building your audience, getting previous customers to sign up, and even pay for a membership can take some time.
So here are some foolproof strategies that can help you to get moving forward with confidence so that you can successfully launch your membership website and have everything in place to help you grow month on month after your launch..
Build your audience
New members are the lifeline of any membership site.
No matter what membership site you have, there will always be cancellations, so it’s important to make sure that you are consistently generating new leads if you want to launch your membership website with a bang and then keep things growing and growing with momentum.
Even if you have a core number of followers, you’re likely to have a specific number of members for your site in mind to give you the lifestyle you want.
The reality is that of your current audience you could expect a sign up rate of around 3-8%.
This means if you have an audience of 20,000 email subscribers and social media followers launching could be a success.
But launching to a list of only 50 could be a very disappointing thing for you.
This is a common issue I see and one which creates huge disappointment after launches.
People think 80% of people will sign up and when they don’t they lose heart and confidence.
It’s crucial to be realistic. Some of our clients with over 200,000 people on their lists see sign up rates of 2% but they are happy with this.
It’s a simple maths equation
The size of the audience at the engagement of the audience = The success of your launch
This is why as you build your membership site or your signature course it’s crucial to focus on lead generation.
When it comes to building your lists you need to give away something that your audience will find valuable for free.
This could be a free eBook, a blueprint, checklist, a free video or even a free part of your membership, i.e. a resource or one of your courses.
One of our clients gives away free social media graphic templates to help build her audience.
Just look at what you already have created and how valuable will people find these?
The thing that you give away needs to be related to what you are selling as part of your membership otherwise you’ll struggle to get sales.
Look at what you give away as a teaser and the membership as the 9 course meal.
Build your lead generation funnel
To do this you’ll need to have something in place called a lead generation funnel. You’ll be able to use this funnel not only for the launch but also for your ongoing marketing.
A lead generation funnel consists of the following thing.
An optin page. This is the page that offers your free something. This is a very simply designed page with the single focus being for people to enter their email address in exchange for your free something.
CRM or Email marketing tool – You’ll need to connect this to an email marketing tool.Our preferred tool is ActiveCampaign but there are 100’ of options, Keap, Mailchimp, Awebber, Drip, Convertkit and many more I could mention.
Know like and trust campaign – This is a simple – 5-6 part email series that your new found subscribers will receive to get a better insight into who you are and get to know you better, like you and trust that you could help them to solve the problems they have.
Pre-Launch campaign – This little campaign is used to inform subscribers that you are building a membership site and offer a special pre-launch price or ask for some feedback as you build your site. I talk about this in more detail here.
Once your site is live this campaign will be changed to your Sales campaign.
It’s all pointless without Traffic
The reality is building a funnel will do nothing for you unless people see it.
Think of a funnel as the secret sauce to launch your membership website.
Here are a few ways to get people to your lead generation funnel.
These can include:
- Paid advertising. Facebook ads are a great way to get cost effective traffic to your site. If you get your targeting and your messaging right on the ad and your landing page you can see conversion rates of 20-50%.
- Your current lists: If you already have a marketing or custom list built up you can run a few emails to offer the free giveaway. If they are interested they’ll optin and go through the pre-launch automated campaigns.
- Content: Creating content related to your membership site to help you get found in search engines but also content you can use for your emails and social media posts. All of the posts should offer the free lead generator to help build your audience. This can take time and if you are looking for quick results then use the 2 options above first.
- Podcast guest and speaking: Getting on podcasts and speaking on stages is a great way to build awareness of you and your expertise. You should offer your free guide as something valuable for their listeners. Again this can take a long time to take effect and you need to be selective about the type of podcast and speaking gigs you take on as they can suck up a lot of your time.
If you’re unsure on how to market a membership website click here for a blog post that will tell you 6 top tips all about it
Build excitement for the launch
Ok so as your starting to build your audience it’s time to build some anticipation and excitement
Launch your membership website as if it is the biggest party of the year, then you need to do some previews and ‘teaser content’.
This kind of approach can be used to help your membership site, and help you to get your audience aware of what is going on, and get them excited about it.
Some examples of what other creators have done to get their audience engaged and looking forward to the launch have included:
- Posting a countdown on social media. Done daily, it can build up some excitement. (just make sure you launch the day the countdown ends)
- If you currently have an email list, you could send email campaigns to give some details, but as more of a tease of information, rather than a detailed breakdown.
- You could give your current following some free access to what you offer your members so that you can ask for some feedback, as well as reviews and testimonials.
- Sharing screenshots of your site can be a good idea as a way to share some ‘behind the scenes’ footage. It can generate some curiosity which can be a good thing for the business.
- Ask for feedback and your audience’s thoughts on what they would like to see inside the membership area and what would help them to go from where they are now to where they want to be.
- Create a coming soon page and let your followers know that this is available and if they’d like to know more to come to this page and pre-register.
If you would like to get some money in the bank as you build your site you can offer a pre-launch early bird special offer to your current audience. This is oppositional and not something you have to do.
A pre-launch offer would be a super special offer exclusively for people that pre-pay for access for the membership.
This price is typically locked in for the whole time of their membership. Meaning when you increase your pricing the early birds will continue to pay what they originally paid for.
This could be a 50% lifetime discount or you could bundle up to add value.
Lets say your membership has 2 membership levels.
One is content only, the other is content plus group coaching
You could offer the Early birds the VIP membership for the same price of
Other common offers I have seen include a free coaching call with the Site owner or giving away other exclusive free content that won’t be part of the membership site.
The key thing to do with a pre-launch is to make sure that there is enough time between your pre-launch and your main launch.
The big launch
Ok so now you’re ready for the big curtain raiser – the big reveal!
You’ve done all the teasing to your social channels and your email list.
There is no doubt that you’re about to launch your membership website.
Treat the launch as a big event and coordinate your efforts.
Plan your social media posts for the week and create your launch series of emails and inform any of your friends to see if they are willing to tell their audience about your amazing new membership.
Are you going to go live on Facebook or Instagram every night to answer questions as part of the launch.
I’ve actually seen clients do this and have cake, party poppers and champagne to celebrate the launch and the special offer.
If you launch with a 5-7 day end point from start to finish. This will give your launch scarcity.
Scarcity has been proven to be a very valuable tool in helping to close sales.
If you are going to be running something that is a little time-sensitive, then this kind of scarcity will have some specific dates around it all, so this is something to emphasize as much as you can. If you have more ‘evergreen’ products or services, then the simple thing to do is to leverage the scarcity by offering a discounted introductory pricing during the launch or offer an exclusive, one time only added bonus.
With this, though, it is a good idea to limit the discount or bonuses to a specific time period.
Again you could have an early bird part of the launch which is day 1-2. This is where you give away something super valuable for free again a free coaching call to the first 10 or something exclusive like a free ticket to your next event if you run events.
What I don’t advise is creeping up the price through the week, just take away the bonuses.
Make sure that your emails and social media are coordinated to tell people that they’re running out of time for the early bird and for the close of the launch.
You will get more sales at the end of the week. People tend to wait to the very last minute
When you hit the deadline, close the offer and don’t extend it or allow late comers to get the discount. This will help you lose integrity quickly with the current members that stuck to the rules and joined in the proper time frame.
Take a breath and assess the results.
Give it a few days and run a few emails to ask the people on your email list why they didn’t join. This will give you invaluable information to help with your next launch or to work into your marketing if you are going to run an evergreen open door policy with your membership site.
Getting ready to launch your membership website can be a lot of work, it’s something that you need to factor into the development of your site. If you don’t factor in building your audience and letting them know that this is coming then you could end up with disappointing results
The strategies in this post can help in the build-up to the launch, as with the launch itself. But it is a good idea to remember that you shouldn’t neglect audience building and lead generation. It’s a key part of any business’s growth and should be a serious consideration of yours.
Don’t forget to do your maths and work out the numbers you need or to make this launch work and give you the confidence and momentum, realistic with your numbers and you launch date in and be sure you then stick to it.