Full disclosure: yesterday’s article left something on the table.
This reader comment sums it up:
“How could your web developer friend expect those people to get paying members before the member site was built? Why did he mess with them like that?”
First, our appreciation to the four people who picked up on this. We left it out there on purpose, and you spotted it immediately. NICE.
That said, many folks use the terms “membership program” and “membership site” interchangeably, even though they are two separate things – sort of.
Actually, the latter (membership site) is an OPTIONAL component of the former (membership program).
Let’s define our terms:
- Membership program – anything where people make payments (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual, one-time-lifetime-access) and receive something of value in return. If they stop paying, they stop receiving the value.
- Membership site – a piece of software on a web server somewhere that people log into and access something of value they receive as part of a membership program; one of several ways the value can be delivered.
You Probably Belong To Lots Of Membership Programs And Don’t Realize It
For example, all of the following are membership programs by the definition above:
- Apartment/office space leases
- Cable and/or internet service
- Phone service (by land or by air)
- Utilities (water, electric, gas, trash collection, etc.)
- Newspaper or magazine subscriptions
- Monthly bus passes
- Monthly parking-lot access fees
- Customer loyalty programs (buy 10, get 1 free)
- Customer reward programs (pay a small monthly fee and get discounts)
- Credit card accounts
- Book-of-the-month clubs
- Insurance (all types)
- Your gym membership
- The Dollar Shave Club
- Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime
- The people who show up automatically, on schedule, to clean your house or cut your grass
Most of the above may have membership sites – you may log in once to set up automatic payments, then forget about it until you need to change your payment method. However, you don’t need to log in anywhere to enjoy the value they provide.
(Well, in some cases, you’ll use a mobile app or a piece of equipment – or you may need to show up somewhere. But probably still not a membership site, though.)
But go ahead and stop making your payments; watch what happens.
Think About It – Do You Need A Membership Site To Start Collecting Membership Money?
Can you create monthly content and e-mail it to your members right now, while their fees pay for your membership site to be built?
Do you need a membership site to form and grow a coaching program or mastermind group?
Can mentoring, coaching, and consulting take place without the client logging into a membership site?
Back in the day, when you mailed in your penny to receive the first shipment of CDs, did you need to log in to get more CDs? If you decided to cancel, did you log in, or did you make a phone call?
We Know People Who Have Pulled This Off – And Done It Very Well
For example, this person who managed to completely fill a four-week coaching and training program with no membership site… and no sales letter, webpage, or even a blog post describing the program.