5 Things That Have Moved the Needle For Us (And a Few That Didn’t)
One of the best ways to learn about growing a successful membership is studying what others are doing.
Academy members often tell us that this is one of the biggest benefits they get from being in our community.
With that in mind, I wanted to highlight 5 specific things that have made a major difference in our success – as well as a few things that turned out to be a bit of a waste of time.
Of course, there are some key things that have had a massive hand in our success, namely:
But these five smaller pieces of the puzzle also played an important role in moving the needle for us:
1: We Laser-Focused on Our Niche
The importance of embracing a niche isn’t lost on us.
When you are laser-focused on a niche, everything becomes more cohesive and quite frankly, it’s easier to succeed.
However, that’s not to say we’ve always been like this.
There was a time when the content we shared straddled both membership sites and online courses.
Although we were still very niche, we needed to tighten things up and make a deliberate effort to stay on our lane.
Remaining focused on a niche can be challenging.
Don’t be tempted to branch off and share something that really isn’t niche-specific.
Resist the temptation to stray from your niche like it’s forbidden fruit.
When you do stray, it can really confuse your audience.
They come to you expecting you to talk about a specific topic. The same topic that attracted them to your world in the first place.
Blurring the lines only confuses your audience because they don’t know if you’ve lost interest in the original topic and now it’s time for them to find another source to get the content they want.
So, tighten up your niche and stay in your lane.
This is one of the best things we did in our business and it helped us to continue to show up for our audience in the way that they expect.
2: We Doubled Down on Segmentation
Things really turned around for us when we started to double down on segmentation.
It helped us guide the content we created to craft compelling lead magnets and get people on our email list.
Segmentation allowed us to personalize the emails we sent to our list according to their interest group.
We made sure that when someone opened an email from us, it was relevant to them and their current situation.
Whether they were taking the first step with their membership site or already had one in place that they wanted to grow, the content they received was tailored to their journey.
Before we really focused on segmentation, we worked with one big melting pot of content.
There was one generic, single opt-in where various content was all bundled together – it was our ‘Membership Planning Toolkit’ consisting of a plugin comparison chart, membership to our private forum and a membership planning workbook.
Although it was great content and helped us build an audience, it didn’t go above and beyond for our business.
It wasn’t until we made use of segmentation that our sign-ups literally doubled overnight.
Seriously…we got twice as many email sign-ups in just 24 hours because we got deliberate about segmentation.
We put our content into one of three buckets; planning, building and growing.
This helped us to identify what stage each person was at so they could receive content and CTA’s that moved them along our sales funnel using a tailored approach.
3: We Developed a Killer Opt-In
We put a lot of work and effort into our opt-in lead magnet.
The Membership Plugin Comparison Chart has been exceedingly popular because we spent a lot of time on it.
From researching every ounce of it to working on a design that our members love. The creation of our opt-in was no easy feat.
Plus, we’re constantly working on it.
We refresh it every three to six months, making it a long-term and useful opt-in.
If you’re not willing to put the effort in with your opt-in, your email list won’t grow. It’s as simple as that.
Your opt-in must have a real practical benefit to your audience.
We’re constantly tweaking not just our opt-in, but all of our lead magnets too. We don’t put out anything we don’t believe is genuinely useful and practical.
So, if you want to keep your business moving forward, we suggest you do the same.
But, how can you tell if an opt-in is good enough?
To measure the quality of your opt-in, ask yourself if anyone would be willing to pay for it if you were to sell it as a standalone product.
If not, it needs some more work.
But if it is good enough for someone to part with their hard-earned cash, you’re onto something!
4: We Created The Memberoni Theme
Our Memberoni Theme is a WordPress theme that’s free to our Membership Academy members and is inspired by our own design.
This has been one of the best things we’ve done to help us move the needle and we’ve got so much positive feedback from members who love the entire vibe of our website.
So, we wanted to create something to help them achieve a similar look and feel, without being direct copycats of our site!
The last thing we wanted was to create a wave of replicas of our academy. Plus, a lot of the mechanics and the interface of our site is tailored to us and just wouldn’t work as a universal theme.
We managed to find a middle ground with our WordPress theme: “Memberoni”.
Offering the theme to members inside of the Membership Academy has been a game changer for us.
It’s totally unique and there’s so much you can do with it.
Each update to the theme brings new features and if you aren’t a member of the Academy, this free WordPress theme is off limits.
You need to stay a member to receive the updates and ongoing support.
So, it helps to build desire in the Academy because it’s exclusive to our members, and it helps keep our members because it’s worth the price of the membership alone.
What could you create that is totally unique for your members?
5: We Launched a Weekly Member Roundup Email
In the earlier days of the Academy, we recorded a weekly “Academy News” video where we highlighted top discussions and talked through the latest updates.
Guess how many people watched?
It was a flop. Nobody watched it!
But when we simplified things and switched to sending out a weekly member digest instead – engagement went through the roof.
Sending an email digest acts as the perfect mini roundup of what’s going on and it’s a great way for us to update and communicate with our members.
We also throw in a few extras such as what’s coming up, what new content is ready for them to sink their teeth into and so on.
Since we started doing this type of email blast, people have come to expect it and even look forward to it. People literally complain if, on a rare occasion, it’s a little late being sent out!
It’s something that’s so extremely simple, but has had a massive impact on the community.
We’ve been doing it for around three years and it’s still a big part in maintaining a solid level of engagement inside our member forum.
The Not-So-Hot Stuff
Now, it’s time to take a look back at some of the things we really expected would have more of an impact but in the end, turned out to be damp squibs.
First up is public speaking.
We’ve been fortunate enough to grace a few stages throughout the years but honestly, public speaking hasn’t translated to much in the way of increasing traffic, podcast listeners or sales.
That’s not to say that public speaking isn’t good for business growth.
It can certainly improve your credibility and reputation as an expert within your industry.
But if you’re expecting that public speaking will open the floodgates and keep the sales coming, think again.
Another thing that didn’t live up to our expectations was the idea that getting connected to the biggest names in our industry would change the game.
Spoiler: It didn’t.
Yes, we’ve met some amazing people with huge audiences and learned a lot from them, but it didn’t translate to our membership sales or any tangible business benefit.
Finally, the last thing we invested in that didn’t blow us away was paid advertising.
We’ve put a lot of money in paid advertising campaigns, working with some seriously savvy experts – but the return on investment didn’t measure up to our expectations.
It just wasn’t worth it when compared to other marketing activities.
Now of course, just because these things worked or didn’t work for us, doesn’t mean it will work the same for you. However hopefully you can take insight and inspiration from just a few of the smaller things that have attributed to the success of our business.