The Membership Guys

12 Universal Truths of Membership Marketing

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As membership site owners, we're constantly looking for new ways to market ourselves…

But the world of online marketing moves quickly.

Things are always changing, always evolving.

And it can seem like every day there's a new tactic or platform we need to jump on to drive member sales.

However for as fast-moving as things may seem, it's important to recognise something:

There are some core universal membership marketing truths that will never, EVER change. 

Before you get too carried away with that shiny new platform or this month's hot new marketing trend – here are a few key things you need to remember…

1. There’s no “secret sauce” or “magic bullet”

We see a lot of people asking things like…

“What’s the number one thing I should do to market my membership?”

“What's the best way to get new members?”

“What tactic will guarantee me more membership sales?”

The first universal truth of membership marketing is that there is no silver bullet, no magic pill, no quick fix or guaranteed tactic to make your membership a success.

People trying to find the magic formula for marketing their memberships…

There is no individual thing that will transform your marketing.

Sadly, in the online space there are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there whose entire strategy is to sell their “proven system” or a “guaranteed way to make money.”

These people continue to perpetuate the idea that there’s some magic button somewhere…

And you just need the read the right blog, buy the right course, pay the right person or listen to the right podcast to find it.

This is simply not true!

While there are some simple membership marketing tactics you can try which consistently work well…

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy that will guarantee success.

What works for one person doesn't always work for another…

So don't fall into the trap of chasing that magic silver bullet. 

2. Understanding your audience is the ultimate membership marketing hack

Speaking of a silver bullet…

This truth is about as close as you’re going to get to it…

The best way to market your membership is to understand your audience.

Spend time with them, listen to them, research what they need, what they struggle with and what excites them…

And build your membership around these things.

That way, you can better serve their needs and then market it to them in the right way.

If there is one thing every membership site owner should do, it's this.

3. Attracting the wrong members will kill your retention

If you're an avid follower, you may have heard me say this before…

Memberships are a marathon, not a sprint…

They’re not about getting a sale up at any cost.

You need to make sure you bring the right people into to your membership.

The wrong people won’t stick around because they’ll realize it’s not for them.

Those who are right for your membership will stay month after month, year after year…

And you’ll benefit from that delicious recurring revenue!

Attracting the right members is all about your mindset and approach to sales and marketing.

If you use cheap gimmicks like false scarcity…

Or are incentivizing people to join for the wrong reasons – i.e. sign up to win an iPad

They won't stay members for long.

Successful memberships are all about that long-term customer relationship, not one-off sales…

Your membership marketing needs to reflect that.

4. Platforms change, the strategy remains

Platforms change all the time….

New social media channels come in and go out of fashion…

Sometimes disappearing as quickly as they appear! 

And while it’s tempting to keep on top of it all…

There is a danger of getting too caught up in the specific platform that you're using…

And forgetting the bigger picture of marketing your membership.

Platforms change all of the time, but your core strategy will rarely do the same. 

A good example of this is Clubhouse…

This is the platform that everyone was talking about at the start of 2021.

Now just a few months later (at time of publication) and the buzz has all-but died out.

It still exists, people are still using it, but the excitement has certainly subsided in a fairly short period of time.

You could be reading this in three years time and it could be non-existent by then! 

There's nothing wrong with keeping on top of the new channels and tools that are available…

But you should make sure you’re not basing your strategy too closely on one specific platform.

Your strategy should be your priority, not the social media channel you use…

In other words, the platform you use serves your strategy, not the other way around. 

5. Quality trumps quantity at every stage of your funnel

A common mistake in membership marketing is focusing too much on your numbers…

People fixate on how many website visitors, podcast downloads, or Twitter followers they have…

They obsess over how big their email list is…

But don’t question whether anyone’s actually reading those emails.

The truth is that it’s far better to have 100 highly engaged people on your email list than it is to have 100,000 people on there who don’t read them or take action. 

If it’s not generating true engagement or sales, it essentially means nothing.

You want 1,000 True Fans instead of 100 people who don't really care…

Focus on quality leads and people who buy, not vanity metrics.

6. “Build it, and they will come” does not work

Please don’t take your business strategy from Field of Dreams…

Yes it's a great movie if you enjoy a bit of cheese – but “If you build it, they will come” does not work.

Even if you have the world’s best product, you can’t expect people to randomly find it…

You need to market it…

And put as much (or even more) effort into marketing your product as you did creating it in the first place.

We see this a lot…

People invest so much time, effort, and money into building the best possible membership…

Everything looks perfect, but when they open the doors, nothing happens…

They hear crickets…

That's because they haven't actually told anyone about it.

You need to have a market to sell to, understand its need and offer a solution to meet those needs…

Otherwise, you're building a membership for you, not your potential members.

7. We are all in the business of solving problems

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a web designer, music teacher, business consultant, or coach…

If you strip everything down, the one thing that every business does is solve problems.

And people join memberships because they have a problem that they need solving…

A goal they want to reach…

And it’s our job to do that – to get people from where they are now to where they want to be…

Think of your membership as a painkiller, not a vitamin.

You want it to be a must-have, not a nice-to-have.

Make Your Membership Essential Not Expendable

8. Never market on price alone

Price is naturally a big part of membership marketing and the buying decision…

But it shouldn’t be the focal point.

As soon as your customers' decision becomes about price rather than value, you’re in trouble…

So if your competitive edge is based on being the cheapest, it’s not hard for someone else to beat you…

That strategy is paper-thin, and it quickly becomes a race to the bottom.

9. Trust is currency

“With all things being equal, people will do business with people they know, like, and trust.”

This is a great quote from Bob Burg, author of The Go-Giver

And is super important when it comes to memberships…

That's because they're not just a one-and-done deal.

When someone joins a membership, they're starting a relationship that (you hope)  will last for months, or even years.

And a key part of the buying decision is based on trust.

You need people to trust that you're the right person to solve their problems…

And to do that, you need to demonstrate that you're credible and show you have the expertise to deliver the results they want.

This is where content marketing comes in.

10. Don’t use any membership marketing tactics you’d be ashamed to use on your own mother

Don’t market in a way that you wouldn’t want a loved one to be marketed to.

You know the type of marketing I’m talking about…

The kind that relies on the audience’s ignorance or tries to manipulate people into buying.

It might not even be outright lying.

It might be something like…

“How can we give new members 50% off without our existing members finding out?”

If you venture into these thought processes, you’re probably heading in the wrong direction.

So, if you’re weighing up a tactic like this and wondering how to avoid getting caught…

Just don’t do it…

It’s not worth destroying the trust you’ve worked so hard to build.

11. It doesn’t matter how great your product is if you're unable to market it effectively

If you can’t connect the dots between what you’ve got and what people need…

And you can't compel someone to buy…

It doesn't matter how great your product is, you're not going to succeed.

An average product with great marketing will always beat a great product with average marketing.

Should it be that way?

Probably not…

But it’s something you see time and time again with businesses across the world, not just in memberships.

Marketing is not optional if you want to grow.

12. Happy members are your best marketing asset

Happy members tell your audience that your membership drives results and changes lives…

This is priceless information and should be a huge part of your marketing strategy.

If your members are willing to go out and spread the word, leave reviews, become affiliates, or give recommendations, it’s so valuable for your business.

What someone says about you is worth so much more than what you say about yourself.

This fuels what we call the Membership Marketing Flywheel…

A highly effective strategy for online memberships.

Membership Marketing Flywheel Course

It’s central to our own success with the Membership Academy, which is a multi-million dollar business.

When it comes to marketing memberships, so many people don't look beyond the sale…

And for the Flywheel to work, you need to do this… 

You need to blow members away with a fantastic experience that turns them into advocates who bring in more members.

It becomes a self-driving wheel that boosts the continued growth of your membership…

And this is why membership owners need to market beyond the sale.

So, there you have it, our 12 universal truths of membership marketing…

We hope you've found them useful…

That we’ve cleared up any doubts you’ve had about marketing your membership….

And given you some clarity and focus on how to move forward marketing your membership.

These truths apply to all membership sites (and many other types of businesses)

So always keep them in mind!

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