Running an online business is fun. But some days you feel like you’re drowning.
Just when you think you know something, that’s when life will slap you in the face and show that you, in fact, know nothing.
What is my membership site?
Why did I create a membership site?
Ever since March this year I’ve been making over $2000/month from my video courses on Udemy – some months, more than $4000/month. Logic suggests that I should sell these courses on my own platform directly to the customer and pocket the cut that Udemy takes.
Why did I think it would work?
I’ve been so impressed recently of the power of the email list to sell my Udemy courses and e-books that I thought that one email to the list would result in hundreds of sign ups to the membership site. I was wrong.
Why? Here are some of the mistakes I made and I hope you can learn from them:
Lesson #1: Pricing
At Udemy, users pay a one-off fee for lifetime access to a course (2-4 hours of video).
However, with my membership site, users are asked for a monthly fee for access to all my videos and courses (10+ hours of video) plus forums with access to yours truly.
The two pricing structures and products are completely different. My subscribers evidently prefer a one-off price rather than recurring fees.
Lesson #2: Email title
I split-tested the email by sending to 10% of my subscribers first, then another 10%, and then the remaining 80%. The first “test” email had the title “The day has come … ” A bit dramatic! The second’s title was: “Watch me create an online business” – much better and more specific and it was rewarded with increased open rates.
I should have gone for the second one in the last 80% email instead of “experimenting” still further. But, at least I didn’t go for “The day has come…” because that was obviously a bad idea.
Lesson #3: Email branding
I usually send emails with my logo at the top. If you’ve been on my list for the last few years, you’d have seen exactly the same logo on every email I’d sent.
However, because the membership site is a new site (well, a new subdomain) I thought I’d change the logo.
So subscribers were immediately greeted with an unfamiliar logo at the top of my email to them. Not great branding.
Lesson #4: Email sales copy
I would guess the copy could have been better considering the poor performance of the email. Here’s the email text:
Do you want to know how I create online businesses that allow me to work when I want, at what I want?
Big announcement! I’m opening the doors to my new membership site where I’ll teach you web design, online marketing and more.
All my courses are available – you can learn:
Plus many more. And I’m adding to them all the time.
There are already six video courses available. Plus there’s also a private forum with access to me.
Join me at learn.robcubbon.com and learn online business.
Too much detail? Not enough? Difficult to say. What do you think?
Lesson #5: Links in the email
I always try to keep the links in an email really simple. I never like to give the recipient any choice of which link to click although I may put the same link in twice.
On one email (yes, the 80% one!) I decided to list the three courses without linking to them. This caused a 1% drop in click-throughs (see chart in Lesson #2).
Lesson #6: I should have offered free membership first
As I mentioned in Lesson #3, this is a new site with a new branding and my customers weren’t used to this. So it would have made more sense to introduce them to learn.robcubbon.com by getting them to sign up to a free course.
I will be making this course free soon: Talking To Clients: An Introduction To Website Building.
People should have a some free value from a membership site first, before they’re asked to pay for the premium content.
Lesson #7: I should have asked the audience
I have been asking about pricing and the membership site on Facebook a lot but I didn’t ask my subscribers about whether they were interested in a membership site. That might have been a good idea. 🙂
You can do it
Have you thought about creating a membership site. Don’t let my mistakes put you off. But, if you do, be sure to introduce the membership site to an audience gradually and explain the benefits over a period of time.