The Membership Guys

Tales from the launch of our own membership site – Part Three

We’re finally here…

The concluding entry in our launch diary for the Membership Academy.

(If you missed the previous entries, be sure to check out Part One and Part Two.)

We pick things back up a day before we opened the doors to everyone who signed up for our waiting list.

At this point we’d been running beta testing for a few days and so far everything was going okay.

Then it started – the tech meltdown…

It hit Callie first – we’d been using Screenflow to record all of our training videos and it had been working just fine; then out of nowhere it decided to corrupt a whole bunch of Callie’s files.

Hours of recorded training, gone…

As if that wasn’t bad enough, our cocktail of software and plugins started going haywire and all of sudden we were discovering bugs everywhere.

We had originally planned to celebrate the night before opening our “early access weekend” – to pat ourselves on the back for what we’d created.

Instead we ended up working until the wee hours of the morning.

In fact, Callie ended up doing an all-nighter re-recording course material; while I managed to squash the last of the tech problems at around 5am.

Not what we’d envisaged!

For obvious reasons we spent much of the next few days, while our early-access weekend was running – expecting the worst.

Fortunately it was smooth sailing from then on. We had a good percentage of our waiting list sign up for the Academy, with nothing but positive feedback coming in.

This continued when we opened the doors to the public days later.

For the launch, we’d decided to offer a reduced membership rate for the first 2 weeks, which amounted to around a 25% discount. However whereas normally for a launch people would throw on various additional bonuses, because of the model we’re using for the actual site content we decided against this.

We have around a dozen courses already, run monthly training sessions, have all sorted of member exclusive downloads, discounts and so on – and while that’s great in terms of providing massive value to our members, it doesn’t really leave a lot of room for bonuses when it comes to launching, running promotions and the like.

After all, if someone isn’t convinced to buy something that has 12 courses (and more added regularly), adding another course won’t sway them.

If 2 monthly training seminars doesn’t do the job, then offering a bonus seminar won’t move the needle.

Ultimately we decided that any bonus that was going to stand out would require way too much putting into it for it to be worth it.

However what this did was make that 2 week launch period seem a little too long.

With such launch promotions you’re going to have 2 main spikes in sales – one when you first open the doors and one when you close the doors.

Between those points, sales will dip.

That’s where bonuses come in as they enable you to inject one or two more “spikes” and keep things fresh.

Without those, the 2 weeks between the opening and closing spikes were relatively uneventful.

We were getting several sales daily – but in hindsight we probably would have reduced the launch period to 7-10 days; as that period can be stifling when it comes to implementing other promotional strategies.

Ultimately we exceeded our month 1 target in just that initial 2 week period, so we definitely consider that a successful launch – though the real story will come at the end of the month once we start looking at retention rates and other important KPI’s.

Just a few random notes and things we picked up on during launch:

  • Adding a Live Chat option to our sales page was something which worked REALLY well for us. It directly led to a number of sales, as well as a couple of big opportunities with potential partners too.
  • Our podcast was a surprising source of member sign-ups. To be honest it was always more of a secondary thing, however we identified at least 5 new members that came from it so needless to say it’s something we’re now focusing more on!
  • The 30 Day Challenge ultimately didn’t lead directly to as many sales as anticipated; however that’s largely due to how big that course became. While that gives us an awesome asset to work with for lead generation and even something we’re going to turn into a physical book, it ended up perhaps being more of a bottleneck than a natural segue into the Academy.

Now we’re almost 4 weeks since launch and we’ve got some really strong momentum going.

We’re building a solid community, members are loving the material and resources and have already started getting results; and we’re getting a lot of opportunities to spread the word and further stamp our mark as THE go-to guys on all things membership site related.

We’ve got a lot of awesome stuff planned, and we’ll be publishing a post in a few months time to take a look at what’s worked and how things have gone during that period; but until then we encourage you to check out the Membership Academy for yourself if you’re serious about building a successful membership website.

Hopefully you’ve found this series of articles useful – if you have any questions whatsoever about the launch then please pop a comment below.