Are you ready to generate income 24/7 through sharing information and teaching? If so, creating an information product is something to consider. While there are many types of information products, one of the most profitable is the membership site. I LOVE membership sites. Thanks to Kindle, few want to pay more than $9.99 for an ebook. But they will pay upwards of $2,000 or more for a course delivered in a membership site. In this post, we’re going to look at how you can create a membership site to sell a course and promote it with automated webinars.
I have ran many membership sites over the years. Currently I have 4 membership sites running. One of them is the leader in the industry and has been for over a decade. When talking about Membership sites you have Fixed Term and Unlimited Term. A Fixed Term is the type we are going to be focusing on in this article. That means the buyer knows exactly what they are spending and for exactly what. The Unlimited Term means it is an open ended arrangement. One that may last a day or a decade or more. Let’s get started and talk about first things first.
The first thing you will need when creating a membership course is the topic you want to teach. If you are already well-known in your space, the easiest way to find the best topic for your course is to analyze the questions that people ask you most often. For example, if you feel like you are always answering the question, “How did you make your startup a success?”, then you should create a course about exactly how you did just that. This way, each time someone asks you that question, you can direct them straight to your automated webinar or to the course itself. It’s a great way to monetize an audience that is already looking to you for guidance. Even if your course isn’t ready, you can start the process of lead generation by creating a website and squeeze page, asking people to opt-in with their email address to be notified when your course launches. These would be the perfect people to promote your first webinar to when everything is ready. If you are not well-known in your space, or you are not receiving commonly-themed questions from your audience just yet, you can determine a great topic for your course by looking at questions commonly asked in your industry. Start with sites like Quora that people turn to when they need answers. See what questions they are asking in your niche to determine which questions are most popular, and which answers could constitute enough content for a course.
Another option is to look at popular blog content using tools like Impactana. This tool allows you to see more than just what is popular on social media. It allows you to see which blog posts on your topic get the most views and comments. These will help you determine what specific topics are most popular in your niche and which ones people are searching for the most.
If you see posts that have a lot of comments, be sure to review them thoroughly as the comments may help you develop specific modules throughout your course to answer specific questions. Last, but not least, do a little research on whether there are courses on similar topics out there already. Contrary to popular belief, it’s a good thing if you find them. It means that there is a market for your course. You can use sites like Udemy just to get a quick idea if there is a market for a training course on your topic and how large that market might be. Now don’t think you need to price your course the same as the courses on there, those courses run very inexpensive.
The Core Course
Now that you know what topic to create a membership course around, it’s time to create your core course content. Don’t try to figure out anything beyond this point until you have created your course content. If you start trying to price your course, figure out what platform to deliver it on, or other things, you will get sidetracked from actually creating the course content. Without course content, you will never have a membership site to sell in the first place. Unlike blog posts and other content that is created to stand alone, course content needs to have a defined order and seamlessly move from one subtopic to the next. This is why you need to start with a strong course outline and follow it when creating your course content. It’s best to create course content in video format. Video is usually recognized as more valuable than text, since a text-based course could easily just have been an ebook. Video courses allow you to create multiple media formats for each of your lessons – the video, an audio-only version (MP3 file), and a text-based version (transcript). Every student will find a format that is best suited to their learning style with this approach. Don’t cheap out on the transcript. While people typically view video as higher value, there is a portion of the market that does not. Those individuals are more interested in consuming the content in the fastest manner and no doubt, transcripts are the key there. Most courses are broken down into modules and subtopics within each module. For example, if you were creating a course on Facebook marketing, you would have a module on how to create your Facebook page. That module would likely be broken out like this. Module Title: Creating Your Facebook Page Video One: Introduction Video Two: Choosing the Right Category for Your Page Video Three: Following the Wizard to Set Up Your Page Video Four: Designing Your Cover Photo Video Five: Filling Out Your About Information Video Six: Adding a Call to Action Video Seven: Recording a Featured Video The reason it is important to create an outline and stick with it is because you will want to start each video with a quick recap of what was taught in the previous video, and you will want to end each video with a quick preview of what will be taught in the next video. This will ensure that your customers who skip around won’t miss out on valuable information from your course. It will ultimately lead to fewer refund requests. Depending on your topic, you can record your video using presentation slides, screen recordings, or a combination of both. Note that if you want to rely on giving your customers an audio-only MP3 version of each lesson that you need to record your videos in a way that your customers could gain value even if they were not watching your screen.
To add more value to your membership course, the next items you will want to create are the supplementary items. These start with the different formats for each of your videos – the audio only MP3 version and text-based transcript. Next, you will want to create items that help your customers fully digest your course content. After all, you don’t want to just teach them something in your course – you want to help them get results so that they fully realize the value of your course. These items can include step by step checklists and quizzes to ensure that they can apply the information in each of your lessons to a real life situation. Finally, you will want to make sure you have included any resources mentioned in your videos in a document or in the text below the video so that customers can click through to any products and services you recommend. If you’re an affiliate for any of those products and services, you can use your affiliate link to generate even more revenue from your course, as some products and services will give you one-time or recurring commissions for promoting them.
What is the difference between bonuses and supplementary items? Bonuses are using value-adds for your membership course that relate to the course material. Here are some ideas for bonuses offered with membership site courses.
- A one-on-one video or audio-only consulting session with you.
- A private Facebook group for customers to join and discuss the materials they are consuming in your course. This is almost a standard bonus for most membership site courses.
- A series of Q&A calls where customers can submit their questions to be answered by you on a weekly or monthly basis.
- A copy of an ebook you’ve written in the past on related topics.
- Access to another course you have created in the past on related topics.
- A free ticket to your next upcoming live event or conference.
The goal of adding bonuses to your course is to increase the value of your course without having to create more course material. The bonuses you add to your course will depend on the time you have to devote to your course once it is sold. For example, offering one-on-one consultations and Q&A calls will require you to continue to devote time to your course and customers beyond traditional support. Facebook groups, ebooks, and access to other courses you’ve created in the past do not require as much hands-on involvement after the sale. If you’re unsure of what bonuses to offer, visit other popular course landing pages in your niche to see what they offer. You may want to start this research ahead of time so that you catch all of the landing pages for courses that open their doors for a limited time only.
An optional way to get even more out of your membership course sale is to offer upsells. Upsells should be related products and services that can further help customers of your course get more value. For example, if you offer a course on funnel-building, your upsell could be done for you funnels. That way, if your customer decides that they love the idea of creating a sales funnel, but they can’t create all of the individual components for it, your upsell service will be there to help. Again, this is dependent on the amount of time you want to devote to your customers after the sale. Something like a done-for-you service should be priced at a premium that makes it worthwhile to devote customized service for your customers.
Once you have put the time into creating your core course, supplementary items, bonuses, and upsells, you will be ready to price your membership course. Most course creators choose a one-time price with flexible payment options. For example, you could choose a price of $1,997 or twelve payments of $197. Since the total of the monthly payments are higher than the one-time price, it will drive more people who can pay the one-time price to do so. You can consider the extra from the monthly payments option to cover any customers whose payments get declined before they have completed their twelve installments. The price you set on your course should mostly depend on the value that the customer will ultimately get from completing your course. It’s not dependent on the size of your course. A course with six videos that can ultimately lead your customers to generate a million dollars in revenue next year is going to be worth more to them than a course with a hundred videos on how to post updates to Facebook. Along with the pricing options, you need to think of refund options as well. With membership courses, you can easily lock people out of the course if they decide to cancel. You can’t stop them from downloading all of the materials for your course, but you can stop them from getting any updates or future bonuses related to the course, should you decide to update it. Most course creators choose a 30 or 60 day money back guarantee. Some offer a no hassle, no questions money back guarantee, while others only offer a refund if customers can prove they did some of the work, such as completed homework for each module or quizzes, but did not see results. The latter option will likely lower the number of refunds requested as people who know they will not complete the work will either not buy in the first place or not complete the work in time to make the refund period.
When the content is ready to go, you will need to choose how you want to deliver your membership course. The most common today is to build a membership website with WordPress using plugins and services like Wishlist Member, s2Member, OptimizePress, and similar platforms. Other options include course delivery platforms like Fedora and Kajabi. There are also course marketplaces like Udemy to consider. Note that the latter allows customers to use site wide coupons that might discount the pricing of your course. When choosing your membership platform, note the pricing terms and options. Keep in mind that one-time fee based products will likely require updating if you plan to keep your membership course open for years to come. Products and services with recurring pricing models, on the other hand, will require you to continue paying a premium fee to run your membership course, regardless of its popularity and sales. Some major considerations for the membership platform you choose to launch your course upon should include the payment methods and options that the platform will allow you to offer your customers, affiliate marketing options if you choose to have other promote your course on for commissions, and other integrations that you want to use for promotion of your course.
Once you are ready to launch your membership course, you can choose to host live a live webinar at the start of the launch and turn it into an automated webinar that runs continuously, or create an evergreen sales funnel that lead potential customers to an automated webinar that will sell your course. The topic of your webinar should be something closely related to your course that offers amazing value to potential customers, but also leads them to wanting more from your course itself. For example, using the Facebook marketing course idea, you could create a webinar around the topic of how you can use Facebook pages to generate revenue for your business. Once attendees learned the power of Facebook marketing for revenue generation, they would be easily convinced that they need a course with more in-depth information on the steps it takes to create a successful presence on Facebook. After you have decided on your webinar topic, you will need to create the content for your webinar. You will also want to put a system into place to automate the handling of your webinar attendees, including those who buy and those who do not buy. Then you will want to use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to start driving registration for your webinar.
Creating a membership course is a great way to turn all of the knowledge you have on a specific topic in your niche into a viable business that generates income for you 24/7. Once you have created a great membership course for your niche, learn how to start using automated webinars to promote it!