Membership Sites 101: Part 1

Setting the Foundation

The first thing you need to understand is that membership sites are NOT passive revenue. They are hard work. But that hard work, if executed well, can pay off magnificently. So that hard work is worth it.

I can’t think of many business models, apart from runaway success products, where a handful of people can create and run a multi-million dollar business. But membership sites is one of those products.

And the first place you should start is competitor research. If you’re going into a space that has a lot of competitors, it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed magnificently. If anything, it makes it more likely. Just look at the fitness industry. It’s saturated, yet it’s only getting bigger.


Start by signing up to as many membership sites as you can be bothered to. Take note of their calls to action, their messaging and their new user onboarding experience. Take note of the things you like, the things you hate, the expectations you had that were let down, and the expectations you had that were exceeded.

You should also join sites that aren’t in your industry. You can still learn from them, especially ones that are doing extremely well. Check out these as part of your research: and are some of the best.

Your Customer

Finally, the most important part of your foundation: get really clear on who you’re providing this service for.

You can’t be everything to everyone, and if you try, it’s a recipe for failure. If you have 3 potential customer types, build three products! Being very specific will always be more successful than trying to appeal to too many people at once.

Athlean-X: The #1 Sixpack Building Program
Barefoot Investor: Invest with confidence, set up your family, and retire with dignity.
Lynda: Learn a new skill online, on your time.
eHarmony: Find the Right Match
AWC: Australia’s leading centre for fiction, non-fiction and business writing courses.

All of these sites have very specific targets, and very specific products – and this enables them to be very specific with their marketing, making it easy to interested leads, cheaper to find them, and easier to convert them.

I won’t expand on how to create a custom avatar, because that’s been done to death. But knowing who your customer is, what motivates them, and what they need from you, is the single most important part of a membership site.

Read Part 2: The Tool Kit

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