I recently launched a membership feature to my own personal website at StevePederson.com.
The benefits are many, and well worth the headaches I had to endure to get it running and looking the way I want. Though there are some challenges to overcome when setting up membership capability with your site, I’m here to share with you why you should start a membership site, and do it sooner rather than later.
1. Keep people on your site longer
We all know how challenging it can be to get people to your site in the first place. I know that it helps to have a positive attitude about this, but the reality is that people have a very short attention span and are very distracted. If they find your website at all, what are the chances that they’re going to come back again? Honestly, ask yourself how many musician’s websites you visit on a repeat basis.
I’ll be it’s not very often. The reason that it’s not very often is not because websites are not important. It shouldn’t discourage you. What it should do is tell you that you need a really compelling reason for people to return to your website again and again. That reason is because you offer a membership. You have a place where your tribe can call their home.
2. Get your fans engaging with each other
One of the truly fantastic features of having a membership is being able to create an environment for your fans to engage with each other. Of course fans can engage with each other on social media platforms as well, but the unique experience they are having is on your site. They are already on your site, so why send them somewhere else to engage with each other?
3. Create opportunities for future support
Once you get your fans “in the door” with a free membership, you will have established commitment with them. Once they have committed to membership, then the law of consistency states that they will be more likely to take the next step. This can mean giving them the opportunity to move to a paid-level membership.
On your membership pages you should advertise the benefits of Next Level membership. Depending on your membership software, you may even be able to specify different membership levels or packages based on what level they currently have.
Being able to stay connected with your fans, or your tribe, is crucial. That should be a no-brainer at this point. Having a membership gives you incredible access to your fans at a moment’s notice.
Most membership software comes with the ability to add your subscribers automatically to an email list. So, why just have an email list, when you can have an email list on steroids?
Sooner than Later
Here’s why you want to get started sooner rather than later when it comes to setting up your membership site.
1. Technology can sometimes throw you a curve ball.
From the time I decided to set up my membership site until the day it was ready for people to register was over a month. It was probably more like two. That was just my experience. Yours may take a lot less time, and it may take a lot more time.
You have to be patient and be prepared for it to take a while. I ran into a lot of technical difficulties with my set up. Fortunately, I had really good tech support with my membership plugin. It took me trying several different plugins before I found one that even worked satisfactorily with my WordPress Theme.
2. It takes time to build your community
This is pretty self explanatory, but it’s a good reminder. Often times, no matter what we’re doing, we’re the ones that are most excited about what we’re doing. We see all the grand benefits and have all kinds of high hopes. We open up the doors to our membership portal…and then get a little disappointed that the response isn’t as great as we expected.
It takes time. The sooner you are ready – even if things aren’t perfect, the sooner you’ll be on your way to building a great community that you can serve for years to come.
Since setting up a membership site is quite the project, you’re going to want to do it right the first time. It may not be perfect, but the point is that you don’t want to start building a membership site on someone else’s platform just because that’s the easiest way to go. You want to take the time to do it right and invest in a solution that you own and that will stay with you and grow with you.
My recommendation would be to set up your own website first, if you haven’t already, preferably on the WordPress platform. From there you can expand your website, or add on to your website with a plugin. There are free plugins as well as premium plugins that run anywhere from around $35 and up.
For in-depth instruction on how to set up your own musician’s website using WordPress, please check out Music Website Magic – Killer Musician Websites Made Easy.