It really chaps my hide. When I see someone taking forever to write a long book, instead of writing an "e-book" that doesn't help anyone and only makes you $10 per sale... instead of trading your time for money with a 1-on-1 coaching program... my answer is to create a membership site. But what chaps my hide is that the number one reason people hesitate or avoid membership sites altogether is because they think a membership site means MONTHLY CONTENT!
"Writing" or "recording" consistent monthly content, or creating a "constant stream of products" is probably the worst way to make money. You might as well be writing articles for $5 per hour, coaching on the phone all day for $10 per hour or setting up hundreds of Made-For-AdSense sites that only generate $1 per year in income.
The Problem Is: There's No Room to Grow
(But I Have the Solution For You)
When you create monthly content, you're constantly struggling and working just to MAINTAIN the same level of income. That's no good. You stop and the money stops. Wouldn't it be better for the money to keep flowing in, and you only put in extra time when you want to INCREASE that level of income?
Everyone brand new to making money online tells me their goal is $10,000 a month. $10K monthly is more money than they know what to do with. It would pay off a mortgage, debt, travel, family, and make for a very comfortable full time income anywhere in the world.
The logical conclusion is... if I want $10,000 every month, I "only" need to get 1,000 people to pay me $9.95 per month. Simple, right?
This is backwards thinking. Your only idea so far is a number (the price). Then you think... I'll choose a niche like dog training, I'll create about a year's worth of videos, articles, tips, audios, resources and drip it out. And THEN... I'll schedule thought leaders in my niche (other dog trainers) and record another interview every month. That way I won't have to do any work creating the content month after month.
- People will join and never cancel... right?
- I can hide and they'll automatically pay month after month... right?
- Anyone has 10 dollars every month to spare, so I can add whatever I want in the site... right?
Unless your site delivers a service that peoples' businesses absolutely depend on (like web hosting, webinar service, an email autoresponder, payment processor) then your interview site is a LUXURY site, and it's the first thing they'll cancel!
By the way, you don't want to provide a mass-market monthly service (like an autoresponder) for several reasons. First, it's very competitive and hard to compare/differentiate/beat multi-million dollar companies like Amazon.com, Aweber, GetResponse, InfusionSoft, and more. Second, there are just too many expenses involved and it's tough to make a profit. Third, you become a commodity! If your web host is down for 1 hour in a month, people quit. If you charge $9/month and someone else charges $8/month, and it's easy for people to switch, they quit!
A monthly service won't cut it, an interview or "tips" site won't cut it, so what will? A fixed term membership site that solves peoples' problems! More on that in a minute.
Here's why "monthly forever" (continuity) sites also don't make sense from a marketing and copywriting perspective: what about Month Five?
Tell me about your monthly dog training interview site. You have two choices. Either you can leave the details out and say... just pay me monthly for this site, it's just 30 cents a day. Or, you tell me about your upcoming training... which is great for the first month...
But what happens when you'll be able to stop your dog from pooping on the carpet by the end of the fifth month. Really? I have to wait 150 days, 20 weeks, for that?
You're either trying to solve a non-urgent problem (something where I can wait two months), or you are solving an urgent problem but you're taking too long to get to it.
You can make money from a never-ending monthly interview site, but the reason people buy (and stay) is because they're buying based either your personality (they buy everything you release anyway) or they buy for LUXURY of getting new ideas and distractions. These are only the top 1% of your subscribers, so most of them aren't buying (no matter what you do), and you're giving your best stuff away for 10 bucks!
This is the solution:
Step #1: Choose the End Result
Know your marketplace well enough to uncover how to make ALL THEIR DREAMS come true within a VERY FOCUSED SUB-TOPIC within 21 days.
The key here is to deliver TANGIBLE results but also deliver something people want. For example, in 21 days from now, you can have an affiliate program completely setup including tools, traffic, and automatic marketing.
Step #2: Outline the Course
Break that 20 day plan into four milestones, one every 7 days, including TODAY! Each milestone is about 1-2 hours of training. Not five minutes, not all day, just 1-2 hours. That means I can show you...
- Milestone 1 (how to get the affiliate program online) the day you get it, on day 1
- Milestone 2 (connect the affiliate program to a membership site) comes on day 7
- Milestone 3 (setup on multiple affiliate marketplaces) on day 14
- Milestone 4 (re-launch your affiliate program) on day 21
I show you how to create a podcast (internet radio show). Module 1, setup and submit to iTunes. Module 2, create longer podcasts with music and graphics. Module 3, market the podcast on social media and special directories. Module 4, how to make money with that podcast.
These are almost always screen capture videos (show your screen and speak out your voice) where you ACTUALLY SHOW yourself going through the steps. Setting all these things up, not just discussing or lecturing.
Every module along the way gets you one step closer to that end goal of having an affiliate program with all the bells and whistles, a podcast that makes money, a sales letter that converts. Every module or milestone comes with a built-in DELIVERABLE. Go through this module and you'll have this result.
They are clearly separated BUT they're all important and they're not just meandering from one topic to another. Each one builds on the previous.
Step #3: Transform it into a Magic Offer
Package it all together into a magical, sexy, unbeatable, irresistible, juicy offer. Everyone else tries to compete by:
- Loading in 50+ videos (I think you mean OVERLOAD 50+ videos)
- Reducing the price down to $9.95 (how many copies will you have to sell)
- Promising bonus after bonus (now the offer is just confusing)
- Adding numbers and numbers, X number of minutes and pages (too much work as a buyer)
Sure, you can get your videos transcribed, add screenshots and package them into reports, organize that membership site with tables and pages. I guess you could add a FAQ or Q&A session or two, which makes me think your core training isn't helpful enough.
BUT what if that podcasting course included (in addition to the 4 how-to screen capture videos in a membership site with transcribed and screenshotted reports)...
- An easy to follow checklist to reference again and again anytime you want to publish a new podcast episode
- A built-in community (usually just comments within the site) to ask questions
- A built-in traffic exchange where you can submit your podcast and get a jumpstart on your number of listeners and sales
Basically, everything you need to make it almost IMPOSSIBLE to be without a podcast of your own this week or this month... without piling on bonus after bonus (which just confuses your offer). And, if copycats come along and create their own knockoff course... just ABSORB THE CHANGES!
Either that "other guy's" bonus doesn't matter, or it's something you can duplicate in your own way and make better.
Step #4: Assemble Your Sales Letter
Create one single web page (with nothing to click on other than your a buy button )so people actually know what they're buying. But when I tell you to "write a sales letter", you get scared...
Sales letters have gone through several cycles. First, people wrote big long direct response style letters where you couldn't really tell if you were buying a book, video course, software, membership site... or even what was in it. Or even what the price was!
Then people moved on to video sales letters. Same idea, just as long and boring â€“ if not even WORSE because you had to sit through 90 minutes of PowerPoint slides.
And finally, WordPress-based graphics heavy multi-column sales letters... basically 5-10 bullet points listing a few sections, and that's it! A site that looks pretty but doesn't convert well because it's so generic.
Do you see the common problem with sales letters? Whether they're long, short, video, or WordPress-based... the problem is CONFUSION!
That's why the most important thing in your sales letter (second only to the buy button) is what I call a "1-sheet." List every all four modules of your course, plus the exact bonuses, checklists, and software. WARNING: you might actually have assign INTERESTING names to your modules and checklists to pay people to pay attention.
For bonus points, make it a stack table... meaning, assign a dollar value next to each module (what it's worth), total up all the value, and then drop it down to the actual price.
A sales letter only needs to do four things but it NEEDS to do these four things, and in this order:
- Attention: Identify their problem and WHY they ended up on your site
- Interest: Agitate the problem and explain WHAT they've tried that didn't work
- Desire: Clearly and dramatically introduce your solution including each HOW-TO step of it
- Action: Tell them to buy right now instead of later, get them excited about the WHAT-IF they buy
That's as simple as I can make it. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Why, What, How-To, What-If. If your sales letter is story-heavy, offer-heavy, price-heavy or guarantee-heavy... it needs re-adjusting. If you are missing pieces or they are in the wrong order, tweak it.
If you wanted to be really lazy, title your headline as, "Who Else Wants to (blank), (blank) and (blank)" and list each bullet point as: "How to (blank)," "How to (blank)" and, "How to (blank)."
(To really crush it, model the sales letter into about 20 PowerPoint slides and present it on a live 1-hour webinar telling people to buy at the end.)
Step #5: Create the Content of Your Fixed-Term Membership Site as Live Webinar Sessions
Schedule each module as a 90-minute live training session.
Create a FEW PowerPoint slides just to announce and then later recap your how-to training. Explain EVERY click and actually do it. Present with GoToWebinar and record with Camtasia. After just four 90-minute sessions spread out over three weeks (day 1, day, 7, day 14, day 21) you're done.
Setup WordPress and place the videos inside a Wishlist Member site and then sell the recordings â€“ but call it "training" and not "replays" or "recordings."
"But What About My $10,000 per Month Recurring Income?"
I don't know what your personal situation is, but I'm convinced that most people want a $9.95/month membership site because they want a site that's an easy sell (who wouldn't want it?) BUT they also want to stop building a list once they hit 1,000 subscribers.
You heard right. The $9.95/month wanna-be's want a $9.95 per month site, with 100% a retention rate (exising members staying in) and a 100% conversion rate (new members joining) and 1,000 email subscribers. (In reality you would need 100,000 targeted subscribers.)
I don't want 5,000 subscribers because what if I make a typo in my email, and lots of people see? Or if 1% report my emails as spam, that's 500 spam complaints. My autoresponder will cost me $30/month instead of $10/month, I'm not sure if I can afford that even at $10,000 per month profit.
Not you, of course!
Here's the reality. Not only do I believe it's tougher to sell $9.95 per month forever than $99 one time, you'll get massive cancellations month after month.
You might have heard people like Jimmy D. Brown claim that the "average membership site retains members for three months" and I've seen many, many, many people worry about retaining members (even they don't have a membership site) along with what price to charge (even if they don't have a membership site).
- Make your membership site a how-to course (instead of tips and interviews) and you'll increase retention
- Make your membership site single-payment or fixed-term (with an end date) and you'll keep the average person in for longer than they'd stay in a "monthly forever" site
- Add assignments (challenges) to your membership site so people can clearly measure their results and you'll increase retention
- Add a tool or software inside your membership site that they'll lose if they cancel and you'll increase retention
Honestly, as soon as I shifted my thinking from: dripping, dishing out content in little bitty pieces, adding filler content, worrying about "how much content per week" is enough... and into: getting people from point A to point B, I created sites faster and made more money with them.
I have plenty of membership sites where the content is all delivered upfront, and people continue to make payments for months to come. Our "Make a Product" system allows anyone to dictate out articles and a book. It's $197 when paid upfront or $39.95 spaced 31 days apart for five total payments.
No Drip Content with Zero Percent Financing
If they stop payments they lose access to our tools that make article and book dictation possible.
We make more sales because of the payment plan. About half of people take the payment plan. Way more than half of the people completed all five payments. It's as simple as can be!
We do this with Newbie Crusher which is $97 (or two payments of $49.95 spaced 31 days apart), Speed Copy ($497 or five payments of $99.95 spaced 31 days apart). Note: Speed Copy drips out a little bit (one module every 30 days with bonus reports and videos in-between) but the content finishes before the payments do and people don't cancel... because they COME BACK AND RE-USE the tools and the training even after they've completed the course.
If you're THAT worried that people will join and then cancel, JUST TRY THE PAYMENT PLAN OPTION! You can always remove that button later, and if people cancel partway through, they lose access. It doesn't cost you any extra money or take any extra time and it'll make you more money.
I can't estimate your own numbers, but you can expect HALF of your buyers to pay full price, HALF of them to take the payment plan. HALF of those will complete all payments, and the other HALF of payment plan buyers about HALFWAY through. It's spooky how dead-on the numbers are for me.
Now all you have left is to...
- Step #1: Choose the End Result
- Step #2: Outline the Course
- Step #3: Transform it into a Magic Offer
- Step #4: Assemble Your Sales Letter
- Step #5: Create the Content of Your Fixed-Term Membership Site as Live Webinar Sessions
So go ahead right now and stop worrying about pricing, retention, or content -- launch your membership site that solves peoples' problems.
How about you, what do you think?
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