If your business has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be looking for other ways to reach out and connect with your customers. While some businesses have been forced to close during these uncertain times, other business owners have found new and innovative ways of amending their business model to reach their customers where they currently are and continue to provide goods and services, albeit in a modified, socially distanced way.
For some businesses, opportunities exist to offer training, tutoring, and other styles of e-learning via an online platform. Not only is this an excellent way of maintaining some level of income during the tumultuous weeks and months ahead, but it is also an excellent way of staying in contact with your customer base, making it much easier for you to resume your normal business activities when these uncertain times are over.
One way of offering training, tutoring, and other styles of e-learning is to create a membership site that limits access to content on your website to those who have been granted access. Read on to find out more about the benefits of creating a membership site, factors to consider when creating a membership site, and how you can use your existing WordPress website to monetize your content.
Why Membership Sites Work
People Value that Which They Give Value For
It’s strange but true: people are more likely to value and pay attention to something that they have paid for than something free. There is plenty of free content available on video and social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook, yet people are much more likely to become engaged in and value the credibility of content they have paid for, even if the content is largely the same.
A Sense of Community
Although this is not usually foremost in the minds of people looking to join a membership site, one of the more subconscious reasons that people enjoy membership sites is the sense of community it fosters. Not only do membership sites give people a sense of pride and inclusion, but many people also enjoy the interactions and unintended friendships that can occur between like-minded people within the space of a membership site.
Types of WordPress Membership Sites
Learning a Skill or Solving a Problem
Some membership sites have the purpose of helping customers to learn a skill or solve a problem.
Such solutions could be short-term or even instantaneous, or could involve a period of learning over several months. Learning how to cook a certain type of cuisine, grow a successful vegetable garden, or learn Internet marketing are all examples of potential membership sites in this category.
Finding Motivation and Tracking Progress
Membership sites in this category tend to involve weight loss, bodybuilding, sports training, 12-step programs, and anything else where a sense of long-term motivation and progress tracking can be beneficial to participants.
Factors to Consider when Setting Up Your Membership Site
The Type of Content To Offer
There is an enormous range of content that you can offer in a membership site, and much will depend on the type of information you’re passing on, what makes you most comfortable, and what your customers are most likely to respond to. Consider video tutorials, infographics, long pieces of written content like e-books, articles and white papers, live interactive presentations, workbooks, charts, courses, and quizzes.
Ongoing or One-Off Payments
Some membership sites require a one-off fee for lifetime access, while others require ongoing membership fees to be paid. Membership sites that aim to motivate and track the progress of participants typically involve ongoing payments, while membership sites that aim to teach a skill or solve a problem may be better suited to one-off payments.
Single-Level or Tiered Access
Some membership sites allow full access to all gated content to all members, while other types of sites are tiered and provide different benefits depending on the level of membership.
For example, a membership site offering three membership tiers may provide full access to the online content to all tiers, but only provide access to a Facebook community or message board to the top two tiers. The most expensive TMA also includes small group training or one-on-one live sessions or problem-solving workshops.
WordPress Plugins to Build a Membership Site
If you already have an existing WordPress website, adding a membership site component can be as simple as installing a WordPress plug-in. This way, you won’t have to worry about having a separate domain or a complicated login procedure, you can simply add a “login” button to the homepage of your existing WordPress website, making it simple for your customers to find your new content offerings.
If you don’t have an existing website, there are several more options available to you, including using a non-WordPress based solution to create a membership site. However, setting up a membership site with WordPress is as simple as installing a plug-in, so WordPress is still an excellent choice even if you are starting from scratch. For more information about setting up a new WordPress website, feel free to contact the team at FuelThemes.
Below are some of the most popular WordPress membership site plug-ins.
The Memberpress plug-in is renowned for being easy to install and simple to use. It allows you to restrict access to your new or existing posts, pages, and other content types, to people with certain membership levels. Memberpress also has an excellent reputation for integrating beautifully with email services including GetResponse and MailChimp.
Learndash has been specifically created for online courses and offers a range of features that do not feature as prominently in some other WordPress membership plug-ins, such as quizzes and step-by-step course builders. It also includes a unique points-based system, allowing you to reward your customers for staying engaged and progressing through the course modules.
Restrict Content Pro
The Restrict Content Pro WordPress plug-in is lightweight and allows you to add all the features you need one by one, so you’re not adding unnecessary bloat to your website. The Restrict Content Pro plug-in includes payment integrations like PayPal, Stripe, and, 2Checkout.
Not every business will be able to create monetized content to offer training, tutoring, and other styles of e-learning during this current period of isolation. However, by thinking outside the box and considering the type of information you have access to because of your usual line of work, you may be surprised at what you can come up with. Remember that people still need the same goods and services during this period of isolation as they always have, but they are looking for it to be delivered in a different way.
If you used to teach gymnastics classes for children, for example, consider how you could create online video tutorials to teach basic concepts or even offer group or one-on-one training to your current customer base. If you’re a barber or hairdresser, remember that people still need help with their hair – they are just not able to leave their homes to do so. Consider how you could meet their needs using the online tools at your disposal.
With a little ingenuity and the bravery to think outside your existing business structure, many business owners can find ways of changing their business offerings to meet the demands of an isolated society. Creating a WordPress membership site and offering training, tutoring, or other styles of e-learning could be just the way to set and achieve some new business goals. To discuss how to create a membership site using a new or existing WordPress set-up, feel free to contact us today. The team at Fuel Themes is happy to help.