Multiplying your Income with Membership Marketing


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In a membership program, you can sell to members over and over again, as long as what you offer them is relevant to that need which made them to sign up in the first place. This is called Membership Marketing. It is all about marketing to people who have agreed by subscribing (as free or paid members) to have access to certain services or products and all accompanying offers which a program provides.

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Multiplying your Income with Membership Marketing

  1. 1. Multiplying Your Income with Membership Marketing by Dele OgundahunsiHave you ever come across the expression “captive audience”? A captive audience is aperson or group of persons who, willingly or not, is/are exposed to some form ofmarketing message (for example an advertising message or any other form ofpromotion), because of their particular situation. Take for instance, the audience in acinema hall, conference hall, or TV show. Or take people in a departure lounge inairports and sports stadia. They are there for some other reasons, but they are likely tobe there for a certain time and could be exposed to a promotional message during thattime. Marketing to such captive audiences is likely to be effective because there is ahigh probability of the marketing message being read, heard, or seen. They are alsomuch more likely to buy, if the product or service being marketed can satisfy theirimmediate needs. The opportunities of Membership Marketing for a business can belikened to the opportunities found in marketing to a captive audience.In a membership program, you can sell to members over and over again, as long aswhat you offer them is relevant to that need which made them to sign up in the firstplace. This is called Membership Marketing. It is all about marketing to people whohave agreed by subscribing (as free or paid members) to have access to certainservices or products and all accompanying offers which a program provides. Offline andonline, this aspect of marketing is one of the biggest income generators, with potentialsfor multiple streams of revenue. It is behind the successes recorded by such businessesas Costco (Business & Consumer Supplies Superstore), Hertz (Car Rental) and YouTube(the online social networking site sold to Google by the owners, for $1.65 billion afteronly two years).
  2. 2. How can you generate multiple streams of income from Membership Marketing?1. Find out what you are passionate aboutIf you already have some passion for a particular aspect of life in which people areinterested, you already have a niche on which you can build your membershipmarketing business. Research that niche and its sub-niches, to see if the potentials forincome are huge. The tighter the niche, the more potential there is to make money. Iffor instance you already have a passion for counseling and advising people, you couldlook at creating a membership program in Counseling or Advisory services for any ofthe following sub-niches: singles looking for marriage relationships, newly-divorcedcouples or abused spouses. Visit online forums, social networks and article directoriessuch as to see what people are discussing about that niche.2. Research Your CompetitorsWhile conducting research for your niche and sub-niches, you are likely to come acrossother businesses already established in that niche. At times, the number of businessesalready established in that niche may be so huge, as to make you decide againststarting your own membership program. Not to worry. A lot of times, it also meansthere is a huge demand out there for products and services in that niche. All you need
  3. 3. to do is find out what such competitors offer their members and how they do it andthen try to outperform them.3. Decide between Free or Paid MembershipWhen considering membership subscription, decide whether you want people to joinyour membership program, first as free, non-paying members and later upgrade tobecome paid members. Usually, free members like to enjoy greater benefits which areaccessible only to paid members; hence many of them want to upgrade theirmembership status, later. Again, you may decide that they should pay a token sign-upfee upfront and pay again to upgrade their membership because, often, people thinkthey derive more value when they pay for something. However, ensure that thebenefits of membership are worth the fees. You may have any combination of Free,Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond and Platinum classes of membership.4. Create a Membership Site to generate multiple streams of incomeDevelop a website for your membership program, for members to learn and interactand for you to generate other streams of income apart from subscriptions.Advertisements placed on your website by Google Adsense are another way to makeextra income from your membership program. To earn substantial income fromAdsense on your website, you will need a large volume of members. This could bemade possible, if your program is free-to-join. When selecting Adsense adverts to beplaced on your website, choose default, so that only adverts which are relevant to yourmembers’ interests will be placed on your website by Google. Commissions earned fromAffiliate Marketing are another stream of income. Select products which are relevant toyour niche, while making sure that they are complementary, rather than competitive towhat you offer. Publish personal reviews of the products or interviews with the owners
  4. 4. of the products on your membership site and encourage members to buy. You may alsodevelop your own products and sell to members. These can include downloadableebooks and software, audio and video files, workshops and tutorials which can bepromoted on your website.5. Promote Your Membership Program & WebsiteIn order to continuously get people to sign up, you have to promote your membershipprogram and website. Also, when you get your membership site noticed out there,businesses which have complementary offers will often come to you. On the Internet,you can offer free information products such as ebooks which are rich with hyperlinksto the sign-up page of your membership site. Article Marketing is another way topromote your membership site. Write articles (or get them written for you) on topicsrelevant to your niche and get them published in offline publications and online articledirectories, not forgetting to include at the end, hyperlinks to your membership site.Other ways to promote your membership program include free trial membership,speaking at seminars/workshops, contributing to relevant blogs, forums and socialmedia websites (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc), where you canplace a hyperlink to your membership site, as part of your signature or closing credits.
  5. 5. 7. Keep Members EngagedMembers are not only interested in what you have to offer for sale. They also want tointeract with you and other members. It is therefore a good thing to have a forum onyour website, where members can share ideas and experiences and ask questions fromother members and get them answered. Your website can also include a blog wherearticles can be posted for others to read. Also, constantly interact with membersthrough e-mails (when they buy a product, when you have added something new to thewebsite, etc) or periodic newsletters with resources to help them. You can also have acustomer support live chat on your site, for members to have their questions answeredin real time.8. Develop Co-Marketing OpportunitiesDon’t forget that as your membership grows, so does your database (or mailing list).This database in itself is another stream of income for your business. Look for otherbusinesses which sell to people who have the same interests as your members. Discusswith them and see if your membership program and their business could work together.You can introduce their products to your members through free trials and collectcommission on each sign-up for their products; work out special discounts for yourmembers, etc. It is however important that you let your members know upfront as theyare signing up for your program, that third party offers from other businesses can bemade to them.9. Get the Right ToolsRunning a membership program or website efficiently, requires a number of tools.These may include a Good PC (must have a lot of memory and storage capacity), fastinternet connection (such as broadband) and a web host with reliable servers which can
  6. 6. support a lot of hits (i.e. visits to your membership website), Audio-visual apparatusessuch as hands-free headphone and microphone to record your audio tutorials, videos orteleseminars, autoresponders, newsletter software, accounting software, affiliatemanagement software, audio and video recording software, web design software,subscription management software, billing & shopping cart software for payments madeon your website, forum and blog software, article submission software, etc. I suggestyou sign up at Member Magnet ( OR ( fortheir eCourse, to teach you more about Membership Marketing and get you acquaintedwith all the tools you need (their package includes a software!).10. Determine and Prepare Your Exit StrategyI once read the book by Michael E. Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most SmallBusinesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It , where he says people should runtheir businesses as if they wanted to sell it. Sure, if you have driven a car for some timeand now want to sell it, chances are you will take care of the dents on it, do somerepainting and put a few other things in order, to make it look attractive. You need torun your membership program and website in a way as to make its value worth morethan what you have spent on it (remember how much the owners of YouTube sold it toGoogle?). Suppose you want to retire from the day-to-day running of this membershipbusiness and take some long vacation, or look for some other exciting business intowhich you can put money and efforts? You may sell off your membership site or havean arrangement with the new owners, where you still have a percentage of the profits.Your exit strategy is how you want to quit the business when the time comes. A carefulplanning of your exit strategy will ensure you make some whopping income even whenyou no longer run the show.Finally, always have it at the back of your mind that instead of selling that singleinformation product and smiling away with a few thousands in income, you can makemillions of extra income if you build a membership program and website around theniche which the information product is about. Look for other products, services andresources complementary to your information product, put them together, build amembership program and website and you could be on your way to making millionsfrom Membership Marketing.====================================================AA 360° marketing professional, Dele Ogundahunsi consults on Marketing Strategy &Business Growth. He is CEO at The Field Marketing Company.