So you have terrific content to share.
But knowing how to package it, ensure that your clients get value from it, and you receive some benefit from it can be challenging.
Have you thought about a membership site?
Membership sites are a fantastic way to increase a steady stream of revenue in your business as well as improve client engagement.
First of all, let’s think about why you may want to restrict access to your content.
What you're about to read
Why restrict access?
In the age of content marketing, where providing valuable content can increase your online visibility as well as your authority, it may seem counter-intuitive to block it.
But ‘gated’ content has been a useful concept for some time. In order for someone to access your material, they have to provide something in return, commonly an email address, or money.
Is a membership site right for me?
Almost any niche would benefit from restricted content. As long as you have content that visitors are willing to pay for, a membership site is something that you may want to consider.
What are the benefits of a membership site?
It can offer recurring revenue for your business which creates more stability.
You have the ability to create highly-targeted content to suit the needs of your specific subscribers.
It protects your content against plagiarism (to an extent).
You create more engagement with your audience.
It offers the potential to scale your business through providing the same content to many people rather than on a one-to-one basis.
So with this in mind, how do we go about it, and what sort of features would we look for?
What kind of features should I look for on a membership platform?
Everyone’s wish list for their membership site is going to be different.
And setting one up can seem overwhelming and time consuming.
If you’re using a WordPress website, you’ll find there are a host of plugins available which can help you set up your membership site.
I’m choosing to focus on Restrict Content Pro (RCP) because it offers almost all of the features I hear people talking about the most when they’re looking for a membership platform, and the set up isn’t overwhelming.
We’ll take a quick tour of the some of the most common features that people are looking for when they’re weighing up platforms, and by the end of the post, you should be able to make a decision as to whether RCP would be a good option for you.
Here are common features which are on many people’s wish list.
The ability for members to be able to manage their own membership, eg. Upgrades, billing information etc
I need to be able to drip content
I’d like to be able to use my favourite payment gateway
Be able to restrict access on different levels, eg. bronze, silver, gold
I need to be able to generate coupon codes
The ability to view comprehensive statistics about usage
Be VAT compliant
Be able to offer affiliate payments
A trial period
There may be many platforms which can deliver all of this, but I’m going to dip into Restrict Content Pro to see how it shapes up against this list.
This is a really strong feature of RCP – the customer dashboard lets members easily manage all aspects of their account.
This is possible with Restrict Content Pro, but only on the Professional or Ultimate license.
Various payment gateways
Yes, this is a winner. RCP is compatible with all the major payment gateways and can handle multiple payment options too.
As the name suggests, RCP is pretty much a pro at this, and you can restrict or grant access to customers depending on the level that they have signed up to. Better still, customers can move between subscription levels and only pay the difference on a pro rata basis. LOVE THIS!
This is a big one for me as I want to be able to run promotions and offer discounts to existing clients. Coupon codes are a doddle to implement on RCP. I can create an unlimited number of discount codes and offer percentage or flat rate based discounts.
The reporting function gives me an overview over any particular time period that I choose so I can see how the membership area is performing.
Thankfully the VAT headache that I often encounter with various platforms is taken care of through an integration with Taxamo.
Although it’s not part of the RCP platform, their sister plugin, AffiliateWP does offer this and as you would expect, it’s compatible with RCP. It does mean payment for both plugins, but for the peace of mind of not having to handle all the affiliate payments manually, it’s high on my wish list.
Support is via a ticket system, and when I submitted a support request it was dealt with quickly and efficiently.
I don’t mind paying for something, but I want to know that it’s going to work for me first. RCP don’t offer a trial, but they do offer a 30-day money back guarantee which equates to pretty much the same thing.
A membership site can do wonders to transform the fortunes of your business. The tech side may seem overwhelming, but there are lots of applications and platforms which will help you implement that side of it, and if you can’t face doing it yourself, hire help to do it for you. This post has given you an overview of some of the most common features that you should look for when reviewing a possible platform to use. Did you have other features you wanted to consider? Post a comment below and let me know.
Vicky Etherington has been running her own online marketing agency since 2003, and in 2014 transitioned to working with coaches and therapists to teach them how to create their own client-attracting websites.
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