049: Continuity Membership Sites (How to Get That $97/Month Passive Income Site Off the Ground and Making Money)

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Having a membership site is the best option for recurring revenue on your products. Say that you have something for sale, usually a course, and you want to know how to get the best "bang for your buck" on monetizing that product.

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You could write a report or an e-book but there's a few problems with that. A Kindle book might only get you revenues of 99 cents each copy sold. A regular book might sell for $10 but after publishing and other costs, you will only net approximately a $1 on each copy.

If you're lucky, you will make that wonderful $10K but ONLY ONCE and in the meantime, you had to wait for 2 years of making no money on it and the information could be ‘dated' by the time of release.

Besides, who wants to read a book on how to get a podcast or book published or how to get site traffic, etc.? People want answers NOW.

Wouldn't it be more helpful if you showed someone on video how to do it?

If you record a series of videos on how to solve someone's problem, it's easy to justify charging $100-$1000 for that course that will bring them from start to finish.

A Quick Intro on Membership Sites

A membership site is where someone can become a member of yours for free or for payment...

For example, Facebook, Twitter, and Ebay are all membership sites.

Why? Because you sign up once and you have access to that site forever for as often as you want/need.

Netflix is also a membership site. This is one that you pay for.

You can have this membership site that can be free, or someone pays one time for access, or they can pay multiple times.

It doesn't make sense to randomly sell your video/video series all over the internet. It's a lot easier to manage your video content when you put it on to a membership site.

Membership Sites and Payment Options

"I want to have a membership site but I just don't know what I can sell for $100 a month over and over again" is where a lot of people get stuck.

It's not necessarily about someone paying you month after month into infinity.

Let's do a quick exercise: take a piece of paper and write $997. If you sold a $997 package on real estate, what would that contain?

The # of pages and the # of hours of video is just clutter. What you're really talking about is the VALUE of what you're giving them.

What is their end result that is going to justify the $997 program price?

For example, show them how to get their realtor's license, how to flip a property, how to buy and rent a property/become a landlord, etc.

Then you put it into video format so they can go at their own pace.

You can do additional valuable things like offer them milestone assignments, provide them with your "swipe file", provide them with checklists and templates, ship them a printed manual via Lulu (www.lulu.com) and/or give them access to next 6 monthly group calls.

Then, figure out how many of these $997 packages you would have to sell per month to meet your income goals. If you wanted to make $10K per month, that would be 10 sales or 1 every 3 days.

Here's where the fun comes in. If you take that $1000 course and split it into (4) $250 payments or (8) $125 payments, that opens you up to people that have that money in installments but didn't have it one lump sum and that's a cool place because you've just opened the door to a much larger segment of the market, which in turn could result in significantly more than the $10K a month goal.

If you're ever worried about the price that you charge, look at your competitors.

  • You don't want to compete on price. You don't want to the Kmart of your niche. You want to be at their price point or slightly higher.
  • You want to be in a niche where there are a lot of eager, hungry, wealthy buyers.
  • If you haven't done a membership site yet because it's scary, then you don't know what's important and what's not or what's going to work for your part of the market, your ‘niche'.

You don't know what's important until you start doing it.

You need to fail fast, i.e. put out these websites and do them quickly before you get bored or distracted and then you'll figure out which ones work. When you determine your best one, you can concentrate on making improvements, etc.

How to Structure Your Membership Site

You can have a membership site that has only one product/package on it that people join just to get access to that product.

Fixed-Term Sites: where a customer pays one time for the product/package either as a one-time fee or in installments, and when the installments are finished they are done but have access forever.

For a Fixed-Term Membership Site, give people a choice in the sales letter (you can see what a sales letter looks like at MembershipCube.com), which shows people what they're going to get out of your site and lists all the advantages. Then, you use "side by side" buttons for the 2 different payment options.

Make the payment plan option as close to zero % interest as possible. That way, you're taking another obstacle away from them.

These sites generally have very little additional content being generated, with the exception of some Drip Content (see definition below). Some things that you could add would be a series of monthly Q&A calls (maybe 6 month's worth) or software or templates.

If the customer pays all at once, great. If they make installment payments, they get all the drip content up front, but if they stop making payments, then they will of course lose the course as well as the additional software and files.

Continuity Site: where you charge the customer monthly and indefinitely. You can have a membership site with just the one product/package but that also has "drip content."

Drip Content is little tidbits that you post every week or so, such as a new blog post, a new video, bonus files, etc. to keep your members entertained.

Robert's plug-in for producing Drip Content is WP Drip and it also comes free with his program Membership Cube, which is everything you need to know from A to Z on how to start Membership Sites.

One of Robert's Continuity Sites is Double Agent Marketing. It was launched at $17 a month (now it is $47/month) and it includes resale rights (see below) and training materials and courses. There are backlogs of years of resources.

It comes with a starter kit, so even if someone is not ready to participate in Q&A they still get access to all the resources that are on the site. Once someone joins the site, there is a monthly "meet-up" group Q & A call.

In Membership Cube, Robert and Lance show the monthly call that they set up through GoToWebinar and set it up so it's monthly recurring. The link to join the call is in the members area of your continuity site and this is also where members can submit their question(s).

Then they use Camtasia to record the entire session. Once the recording is processed, it can be dropped into the members area of your continuity site.

Resale Rights: this is the Netflix of the internet marketing world. This is allowing someone to re-sell your product, or portions of your product, for a fee. For example, if you sell a course on how to do webinars, you could re-sell the rights to distribute that course for $20 per right and any money the buyer realizes from that is 100% theirs.

Then, if you're running a continuity site, you would want to have several of these "businesses in a box" as resources for your members. They would have paid the $20 to buy just the webinar class, but now you can charge $47 month because you can provide unlimited access to multiple programs.

Continuity Site with a Twist

This is a continuity site, along with the monthly Q&A PLUS a service that they won't want to shut off by cancelling their membership. For example, Webinar Crusher uses this concept. On this membership site, Robert has the "starter kit" which is everything you ever wanted to know about running webinars. Then they have the monthly Q&A session.

AND, it comes with a GoToWebinar account. You end up paying less than if you'd gone to go to webinar and paid them separately for you to have an account. And, for people who want to do webinars, they are NOT going to want this access shut down.

What You Want To Avoid

There are a lot of people who say, "Just make a site that's $5 a month and throw in one piece of content per week. Write an article. Record an audio. Have an interview. And because it's under a $10 payment these people just won't notice it and they'll never cancel." WRONG. There are several problems with this:

The way most payment processors work is that they will charge you a flat amount plus a percentage. For instance, PayPal may be $1 + 7.5% of your $5. If you charge $1000 for something, they might take $10 or $15 out of the fee which is not that noticeable but at $5 you've lost almost half.

Later on, when you want to have an affiliate program or a referral program for your product, who's going to promote you for a measly $1 or $2 which is all the affiliate promoter would be making.

The industry standard is 3-month retention. That's only $15 so why not just charge the $15 and get it over with.

Most credit cards have a 3-year life before expiration. That means the average person has a year and a half remaining on their card before it stops being effective. Then, if you try and make contact again to re-bill them they're likely to just not do it once they realize they've not really been getting anything useful out of your site.


  • The bottom 80% of your list will buy all your low ticket offers.
  • The next higher 15 % will probably buy mid-ticket up to $100 or payment plan
  • 4% will buy high ticket
  • 1% will probably buy everything

If you're running a $47 or other similarly priced continuity site, you're going to get about 1% of your list to join it. If your list is only 1000K subscribers that's 10 people and if you have a $47 a month site, that's $470 a month just for showing up an hour of your time each month. There aren't many jobs where you can do that.

If that dollar amount is not high enough to meet your goals, you just raise the monthly fee for your continuity site.

Closing Thoughts

Do you have a low-ticket membership site? No? Then set it up.

It's a lot easier if you have no other sites already to have a fixed-payment site.

A great start would be a $100 site. Do you have a high-ticket membership site? No? Then set it up.

Move on to the $1000 site. You can then break that one up into payment plans to appeal to a wider range of customers with different budgets.

Once you have those cranking, set up your continuity site. Create that a Q&A site with the expectation of about 1% of your list joining it. Create a service you can tie in so that your members never want to cancel.

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Filed in: Archive 1: 2012-2016Membership SitesPodcast

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