For predictable online income that goes into your bank account like clockwork every month, nothing beats a subscription website.
A well-run subscription site can add another revenue stream to your business. It can even be your primary business model. You can build an empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars like Dollar Shave Club.
Don’t believe me?
Take a look at these numbers:
- Subscription e-commerce websites saw a jaw-dropping 4,461% revenue boom in only 5 years.
- The largest subscription model retailers generated more than $2.6 billion in sales in 2016, up from $57 million in 2011.
- Many membership sites like Orchids Made Easy, Lady Boss Weightloss, and The Game Changers make $100k+. Yes, six figures my friend 🙂
What’s the secret of these money-making subscription sites? I’m not talking about surface-level tactics like plugins and design. We will delve deeper into strategy-related issues. Before we do so let’s get the basics out of the way.
Table of Contents
What’s A Subscription Site and How Does It Work?
A subscription or membership website is a site where access to content is restricted or gated. Only those who subscribe or join through a regular payment can unlock the door to valuable content or service.
Paid members can log in anytime and enjoy the exclusive content and membership privileges as part of a special online community.
Payment for most membership sites is due monthly. Subscription sites make money through recurring payments.
Now that you know what a subscription site is, let’s move on and discuss the secret sauce of money-spinning subscription sites.
Element #1: A Sustainable Winning Idea
A highly profitable subscription site starts with a brilliant idea.
Without it, your site will stutter along and eventually grind to a screeching halt. It’s the foundation of it all. The spark that ignites your membership site engine.
But what are the main traits of a profitable membership site idea?
A winning idea:
- Solves a nagging problem your audience struggles with.
- Sustainable over time, not short-lived.
- Helps people achieve the desired result they’re willing to pay for.
Here’s how to pinpoint an idea with commercial potential.
- Survey your audience using free tools like Survey Monkey.
- Run a beta group on Slack or Facebook with only a handful of people and gather feedback you’ll use to make the site better.
- Speak to prospects over the phone and hear their inclinations.
- Talk to potential customers in face-to-face focus groups if possible. Face-to-face meetings are invaluable because you can ask questions and dig deeper into your audience’s needs.
- Spy on your competitors and see what’s working for them. Importantly, spot what they are missing. That gap is where your opportunity lies.
- Offer free coaching to your audience around the topics you are considering.
A tested commercially viable idea gives your site a strong launchpad that’ll propel you to great financial heights.
Element #2: A Stream of Delicious Content
Superduper content is the cornerstone of a profitable membership site.
Not all content is created equal.
It takes quality content for people to stick with you over the long haul. Helpful, delightful, and result-getting content is the axis on which a solid membership site turns. Dish out anything less and you’ll see customers drop off in droves.
Here are some tips for ensuring quality content production.
- Invest in quality content by hiring professional writers and subject matter experts.
- Vary content types by mixing up reports, webinars, audios, videos, etc. because people learn differently
- Experiment with different content to see what your audience prefers and stick to their preferred choice while still embracing variety.
- Make sure each piece of content has a goal and moves your audience towards achieving the desired result- don’t produce content for content’s sake.
People gladly pay for value-packed content month after month.
Element #3: A Good Uplifting Vibe
Do you want to know the common thread that runs through all successful subscription sites?
One word: vibe.
Vibe is like love. It’s hard to describe but you know and feel it when you see it. It’s positive, powerful energy in the atmosphere highly charged with a thrill, inspiration, and buzz.
How can you build a good vibe on your site?
- Have great prizes for members who achieve outstanding results. It’ll inspire other members to push harder.
- Feature surprise popular experts on the site not only to give members need tools for success but also bolster their confidence because of interacting with the best.
- Build community through having regular special events like weekly group calls, competitions, and exercises.
- Share member success stories- and their struggles too so the group bonds.
- Roll out the red carpet for new members so they feel valued and welcome.
- Live training.
- Keep members engaged by supporting them fully so they reach their goals. Also, have a system for reaching out to inactive members so they become active participants.
Make your site an exciting fun place. Your members to stick with you longer and you’ll bank more.
Element #4: A Slick Lead Generation System
For your membership site to keep firing, leads have to keep flowing.
Because despite your best efforts people will leave-eventually. Research shows the average membership site churn rate across industries is 6.7%. There are countless reasons people leave membership sites.
- They may feel you’ve got nothing new to teach them.
- They may have had a fallout with other members.
- They may be financially stretched.
- They may be disappointed because their expectations weren’t met.
So, to remain profitable you must keep more members than you are losing. Plus, you must enroll new members consistently. That’s where a reliable lead generation system comes in.
Here’s how to develop a good lead generation system.
- Continue to build your list, it’s your pool for fishing for leads.
- Try out different lead-gen methods like webinars, dirt cheap trip products or guest posting and pick (and scale) the winner.
- Have an attractive lead magnet so hordes of prospects join your list.
- Do regular online events like online summits. Summits have an insane conversion rate because they have a personal touch.
- Give a live talk about your expertise. Conversions for live events are off the charts.
With a solid lead-gen system in place, you’ll make buckets of money.
Subscription Sites: A Fat Chance You Can’t Afford To Miss
I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say membership sites are lucrative.
Not only is the income predictable, but you also build brand loyalty. By dishing out valuable content regularly people trust you more and buy more of your other products.
Running a profitable membership site is not rocket science.
All it takes is a combination of a viable idea, brilliant content, good vibes, and a dependable lead generation process.
According to his cheeky wife, Qhubekani Nyathi aka The Click Guy is an irresistibly handsome guy. He’s an offbeat long-form content writer who helps SMBs grow their income and impact through zingy content that ranks, drives leads, and builds authority. He contributes to prestigious blogs like Search Engine Watch, Crazy Egg, Smart Blogger, Business 2 Community, Get Response, and more.