A Successful WordPress Membership Site Migration Case Study: Monkeypod Marketing

WordPress membership site migration - a successful case study with Monkeypod Marketing.

Almost every membership site owner or online course creator will go through a migration at one point or another.

The reasons why might seem endless … but for the most part, they can be chalked up to one of three things:

  • Your original setup is limiting your business growth because it doesn’t include the features you need or the tech itself is outdated
  • Your tech stack is getting overly complicated and you’re tired of integrations failing and having to duct-tape solutions together.
  • The cost of adding another plugin to the mix every time you want to improve your customer experience is really starting to add up.

The end goal is always to uplevel your membership area and increase the amount of value given to clients – and revenue for your business.

Unfortunately, a membership site migration carries its own set of expensive and time-consuming, scope-defying tasks.

The Good News: Membership Site Migrations Don't Have To Happen

Even if a site migration is looming on the horizon, know that this doesn't have to be a recurring issue for your business.

The raison d'être is simple:

There are solutions built to flex and grow with you, so you’re not left in the same predicament every time you experience growth.

… which is why today's case study is so important: it showcases what a successful migration looks like from the admin's point of view. It's a migration process that's designed to work, whether you have hundreds or even thousands of existing members and multiple courses to move over.

Full disclaimer: This process looks a little different for everyone based on their unique setup, but what we’re covering today is going to get you there A LOT faster!

Behind the Scenes of a Migration

A screenshot of Monkeypod Marketing's new migrated WordPress membership website.

Greg Jenkins, a well-known authority in the Infusionsoft industry, realized that his company, Monkeypod Marketing, had outgrown the tech stack they were using for his Monkeypod Marketing courses.

He needed to make some changes if he wanted to continue giving his clients a high quality online course experience. So, while he originally built his famous Monkeypod Marketing courses on CustomerHub, it made sense as an Infusionsoft export for him to upgrade to the WordPress plugin AccessAlly.

Greg Jenkins Headshot - Migration Membership Site WordPress“As a leader in the Infusionsoft ecosystem, it’s been a point of embarrassment for me that my membership platform is this tech that’s collecting dust, and literally not evolved in years.

And not just because of the reality of the tech, but because I know better.”

-Greg Jenkins, Monkeypod Marketing

Planning for a Successful Migration

Membership sites don’t happen overnight, no matter how badly we wish they would! It takes planning, resources, and in most cases an entire team, to make it all happen.

That's why one of the biggest lessons Greg learned was how easy it was to underestimate the scope of work included in a migration.

“Things generally take a little longer than you might expect,” he shares honestly. “Especially when you don’t do your homework as to what the process your undertaking really looks like or what it entails.”

Pro Tip: Create a Project Roadmap With Lots of Flexibility

WordPress membership site migrationTo avoid the inevitable project scope creep, it's important to sit down and plan the entire migration process from start to finish with someone who's done it before.

In Greg Jenkin's case, he teamed up with an AccessAlly Certified Partner Jamie DuBose to make sure his project would result in a successful, positive migration.

Make a list of all of your wishlist items for your membership ahead of time so you can prioritize each one of them in the setup process … and always leave some room in your schedule for the unexpected items that pop up as the project begins.

A Practical List For Your Membership Site Migration

So let's take a look at some of the primary “musts” that should be on your list as you're building out your migration task list.

1. Software compatibility

Don't leave anything to chance. Do your research and make sure your tech stack is designed to work together and that everything's in place (from WordPress install to SSL certificate) before you get started on the actual move.

In Greg's case, this meant a lot of research to find the right WordPress membership plugin that could integrate with Infusionsoft and do all the things his original setup couldn't manage anymore.

2. The Design Phase

If you’re migrating from a hosted solution (like Kajabi, Teachable, or Thinkific), you haven't had to worry about things like menus, page layout, or image placement.

While WordPress is certainly a more flexible platform, it also comes with a design challenge that can be overwhelming.

Take time to research a theme that will give you the look and feel that you want, or hire a designer to do this part for you. Some of the more popular themes AccessAlly users have gravitated towards in the past are Beaver Builder, Elementor, Divi, and Thrive Themes.

3. Figure Out What You Can Automate

There's a LOT of manual work involved in migrating a WordPress membership site. But there are also a lot of tools out there that can automate some of the processes.

For example, if you’re migrating from another WordPress plugin to AccessAlly, you can move your members over using the AccessAlly migration wizard: a few simple clicks here saves you hours (or days) of manual work.

4. Streamline and Eliminate Where Necessary

Just because you've always used three or four plugins to get something done doesn't mean it has to stay that way. As you migrate your membership site, you might end up finding some tools in your current tech stack that you just don't need anymore.

AccessAlly is very feature rich and affords you the opportunity to reduce your tech stack (and expenses!). Specifically, you can use AccessAlly’s built-in learning management system (LMS), affiliate functionality, order forms, and member directory to integrate with your CRM.

Making The Migration Worth Your While

The real question of success boils down to whether it gives your business the boost you were anticipating when you first began planning your migration.

Greg shares, “I’m more aware of my own internal growth than I had expected. This project has challenged me in all of the best ways.

The AccessAlly site is better in nearly every way. The most obvious examples being organization, layout, professionalism, but functionally it delivers content in a nicer setting that I believe will help people to be able to consume that information.”

monkeypod marketing site migration on wordpress

Increased Functionality = More Opportunity

Even though his original site built on CustomerHub gave him all the basic functionality he needed for online courses, Greg intentionally chose AccessAlly as a tool that included a whole suite of features he can reach for in the future as time (and opportunity) allows.

“There’s a lot of opportunity moving forward that I’m excited about such as using quizzes to gauge people’s retention of the information. Eventually I’ll include certificates for completion and I might as well move my affiliate area into the membership portal as well.”

Successful Migration Advice:
Don't try to add everything at once. Get all your basic courses and materials ready before you start adding the “fancy” features.

Not only will this help to prevent your project from growing out of control, but it also gives you the opportunity to really take your time and learn each part of your new software.

The Dirty Secret: Continued Resources for Continued Success

One thing that no one (like, literally) wants to talk about is this: You will probably run into some snafus after your migration is finished.

This is totally normal, since it's impossible to learn and anticipate everything before it happens.

But.

Make sure you have a solid set of resources lined up that you can turn to when you're stuck.

Greg was fortunate to have chosen a WordPress membership site plugin that comes with a solid, experienced customer support team behind it. “I have been really impressed with the support I’ve received from AccessAlly,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot and I’ve been able to lean on and depend on their team and their community to help me through the learning curve. ”

Use Trusted Experts to Find Your Sweet Spot

WordPress membership site migration.The problem with finding the right “next step” for your membership plugin, as Greg notes, is that “There are an infinite number of small business tools out there, and you could spend months testing and researching.”

In the case of the Monkeypod Marketing migration, Greg had a few key needs that had to be met with his new tool.

“With CustomerHub I felt restricted and things would need a lot of custom work done to do what I wanted. I outgrew it and the antiquated look and feel wasn’t something I was proud of.”

Features, an Infusionsoft integration, and advanced automated functionality were all on the must-have list. But that still left a handful of options that might work. At this point, Greg sought out his friend and colleague, Jamie Dubose, a membership site expert, and asked for her advice.

“Sometimes the easiest path forward is by leaning on the people who have earned your trust.”
Find out even more about what lead Greg to making the migration in this full-length documentary that gives you a walk through of the entire process.

Are You Ready For AccessAlly?

If you’re like Greg and know it’s time to set your membership site and online courses up using a tool that’s built to flex with you as you grow, AccessAlly is here for you.

Schedule a demo with a member of the AccessAlly team so we can show you how AccessAlly is helping membership site owners and course creators like you put the focus back on their members and reach participants around the world.

Warning: Choosing the Wrong WordPress Subscription Plugin Could Wipe Out Your Profits

WordPress subscription plugin

Building a digital recurring subscription business is smart, because all of your sales and marketing efforts compound from month to month.

You can have happy long-term members paying you monthly or yearly… for years!

But if you pick the wong WordPress subscription plugin, and realize you need to switch down the line… you might lose all of your hard work and cut your income in half.

The Curse of the WordPress Subscription Plugin Migration

It happens to the best of us: we pick a WordPress paid subscription plugin based on a “top 10 list” and get on with our project.

After hours of work creating our membership site, putting in the effort to recruit paying members, and keeping them engaged and happy…

You suddenly realize that the recurring subscription plugin you started off with doesn’t do a very specific but important thing.

Maybe the plugin…

  • Doesn’t handle pausing subscriptions for members who will be away.
  • Can’t handle free or paid trials, and you want to test this new way of onboarding members.
  • Doesn’t automatically process refunds and revoke access, and it ends up causing an administrative headache.
  • Is clunky on mobile devices and causes a reduction in sales as more people browse on their cellphones and tablets.

Whatever the reason… you realize you’ve set up your recurring subscription business on unsteady ground.

You need to switch WordPress recurring plugins to solve your problem.

But switching means you have to ask all of your current members to sign up all over again.

Now there are ways to incentivize people to register on your new WordPress payment system, by giving them bonuses or other perks.

The curse of migrating is that not every existing paying member is going to migrate over.

Some people will miss your emails, be on vacation, or just forget.

So you’re left managing two different WordPress subscription plugins on your site… or forfeiting some of your revenue for the members who don’t switch.

It’s painful.

subscription plugin decisions

But it doesn’t have to be this way, and that’s why I’m writing this article: to help you evaluate the different WordPress recurring payment plugins out there, so you can make the best decision for your business long term.

So you can avoid the curse of migrating members down the line.

Let’s dive in.

How to Evaluate The WordPress Subscription Plugin Options On the Market

Often we don’t know what to look for when we’re selecting software, so we end up comparing on price and what the different vendors seem to highlight.

But it’s often the “little things” that no one advertises or makes a big fuss about, that end up being really important to how usable a tool really is.

wordpress subscription plugin

Here are some things that are really important to the long term success of any subscription program – so you can dig in and test out the different tools you’re considering to make sure they can handle these cases.

Order Form Design & Functionality

It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: a paid subscription plugin needs to be able to take payments… easily.

That means you need the ability to have a design-friendly and branded order form that can handle the different offers you might want to test.

wordpress subscription plugin

Here are just a few of the things you might want your order forms to be able to handle:

1-click upsells

The ability to have someone make an immediate or later purchase without re-entering their credit card details is important for increasing lifetime customer value. Read more about 1-click upsells here.

Order bump

Showing an additional offer on the check out form right before hitting “buy now” can get people to spend more on their initial purchase. Check out some order bump examples here.

Abandoned cart follow-up

wordprsss subscription pluginNo one talks about the fact that 75% of people who start the checkout process never finish their order… with abandoned cart follow up you can recapture these lost sales.

See a successful abandoned cart follow up email sequence.

Free or paid trials

Offering a free trial or a many-day paid trial is a great way to get more people into your membership or subscription. The more flexibility you have around how you design your trials, the easier it will be for you to figure out what works for your particular business. See how offering a $1 trial increased sales by 400%.

Bundles

Combine different products, services, and subscriptions for different groups of people. There are always going to be people who want a premium experience or are willing to purchase more – so bundle your best stuff together.

Coupons

wordpress subscription pluginRunning seasonal or evergreen promotions is part of many business best practices. The ability to set up different types of coupons is key here: you might want a coupon that expires after 10 people have claimed it, or that runs until a certain date. Still, you might want an expiring individual coupon for each person who enters your funnel. See examples of different ways to set up coupons here.

Multiple currencies

As the digital landscape continues to get more and more global, being able to offer multiple currencies on your subscription payments is great. You might be based in one country but have a large base of customers in another part of the world – so why not have people see the price that makes the most sense to them.

Integration with Other Systems

Ahh… integration, that pesky but oh so important part of any digital system. When many companies say they integrate with another tech platform, they don’t go into detail on how deep of an integration it is.

subscription plugin wordpress

Here’s what you might need to keep your eyes peeled for:

CRMs & email marketing platforms

Your business likely already has an email platform or CRM (if not, check out our in-depth CRM comparison) so it’s important to make sure you’re not adding a tool that won’t work with your existing set up. You might be thinking that your WordPress subscription plugin doesn’t need to talk to your CRM/email system… but with anything subscription related, it’s important to be able to segment the email addresses of your paying members and those who default or cancel. So you can target your messaging and not bombard the wrong people with the wrong emails.

PayPal Subscriptions

Many systems offer PayPal payments for their shopping cart… but for recurring PayPal subscriptions there’s a bit of a hitch. PayPal allows members to cancel their PayPal recurring payments within their own PayPal accounts, so how your subscription plugin handles these cases is imperative. With some tools, you might never be notified that someone cancelled their subscription and so they’ll continue to have access as if they were still paying. Yikes!

Stripe

Over the past few years, Stripe has become the standard when it comes to taking recurring payments via credit cards. Being able to integrate with Stripe and send invoices through Stripe is a great way to make the most of a recurring subscription integration.

Affiliate referral plugins

Will you need an additional affiliate management plugin or system, or does the subscription management plugin handle this as well? If you plan to start an affiliate program, then you'll need to think about how the integration will work for paying out affiliates on a regular basis, too.

Subscription Management

If you’re using a WordPress subscription plug-in, then it stands to reason you’ll need to manage people’s subscriptions over time.

Here are some cases you might not have thought about that come up often once you start offering a recurring payment membership.

Start, Stop, Pause

wordpress subscription plugin optionsSome members might want to pause their subscription and come back at a later time… they might also want to stop and re-start entirely.

Having the flexibility to offer these options shows you care about your members, and they’re more likely to come back when they’re ready.

Apply credits to skip months/payments

Every now and then, you might want to be generous and give some credits to your members so they can have a few months without paying. Maybe they earn these free months by referring friends or because submit a testimonial… the reason is up to you!

Refunds and revoke access

revoke access to subscription pluginEvery business will experience a refund or two along the way, and being able to control access after someone asks for a refund is key. This should be something that’s easy to handle, and that happens automatically once you notify your subscription management system of the refund.

Switch between subscription plans

If you offer different subscription plan levels or payment frequencies, it pays to make it easy for your members to manage their subscriptions. For example, if you offer monthly and yearly plans or a starter and high level plan, a member should be able to switch between these options without waiting to email support or cancel one subscription to re-register for another plan. If it’s pro-rated when they switch levels, so they don’t pay more for switching – then all the better!

Member self-cancellations

To reduce administrative overhead, you should be able to set up a simple “cancel my subscription” button that a member can click to cancel future payments and stop their subscription.

Subscription WordPress Plugins to Evaluate

Selling on WordPress can be as simple or as complicated as you make it – but the key is to keep in mind what you need to accomplish today and where you see your business going in the next 18 months.

wordpress subscription plugin options

Now that you know what to look for, here are some suggested WordPress recurring payment plugins to consider:

  • WooCommerce Subscriptions: as an add-on to the free WooCommerce plugin for WordPress, it makes sense to choose this option if you're already taking one time payments through WooCommerce. It allows subscribers to upgrade or downgrade their subscriptions.
  • AccessAlly: we're biased because we created this all-in-one paid subscription plugin that also includes membership site and learning management system functionality. It ticks all of the boxes above, from member management, CRM integrations, and subscription set up flexibility.
  • MemberPress: this is a straightforward plugin for those who want to use an all-in-one system that doesn't have a ton of flexibility, but that can be extended with additional coding savvy.
  • Restrict Content Pro: this WordPress paid subscription plugin focuses on protecting paid content, as well as integrating with payment systems. It also handles sending emails for you directly.
  • Paid Memberships Pro: also created by a husband and wife team, this plugin comes with both a free and a paid version and might be a great option for protecting content and running paid subscriptions through for smaller businesses.
  • S2Member: the biggest difference between this WordPress subscription plugin and the others on the list is that it has a one-time fee instead of a recurring cos,t which might be good for budget conscious startups or solopreneurs. It handles different payment integrations and protecting content as well.
  • Cart66: this is a big competitor of WooCommerce, and it focuses on offering a simplified interface and set up for both one time and recurring payments through WordPress. They also offer a service to set things up for you.
  • WordPress subscription plugins

  • ThriveCart: although this option isn't on the market at the time of writing this WordPress paid subscription plugin review, ThriveCart is a popular option for offering one time or recurring payments through a few different payment integrations.

So what WordPress paid subscription plugin will be the winner for your business?

It's time to pick the subscription plug-in that will serve for you for the next few years, and beyond as your business continues to grow!

7 Order Bump Examples: What is an Order Bump Anyway?

Order Bump Examples

If you're scratching your head and wondering what is an order bump… and why you might consider adding an order bump to your online sales process instead of an upsell, then keep reading.

In this order bump examples compilation, you'll see the true meaning of an order bump and see how it's different from a traditional upsell.

Plus you'll get some order bump ideas to help you design your own highly effective order bumps, so you can increase your average order value.

What is an Order Bump and How is it different from an Upsell?

Before we dive into our order bump examples, we need to define our order bump meaning… and how it's different from other digital ecommerce terms like upsells and cross-sells.

You're likely very familiar with the concept of an upsell: it's when you're buying one item and you're presented a second product to add to your order. Like adding a pack of gum to your basket when you're checking out at the grocery store.

In the real world, an order bump and an upsell are one and the same. The semantic differences come when you're talking about websites and different pages.

  • An Order Bump Happens Before Someone Clicks “Buy Now”: The magic of an order bump is that it adds an additional item to your shopping cart before you complete your order. This captures the excitement of making a purchase, and it can increase the average customer value.
  • An Upsell Happens After Someone Has Completed Their First Purchase: On the other hand, an upsell usually happens on the “thank you page” after someone has already finished their purchase. This can be done using a 1-click upsell, so the customer doesn't need to enter their credit card details again and it's a seamless purchasing process.

With both options at your disposal when you're selling on WordPress, you might be wondering when to use each type of offer?

Order bumps make the most sense the offer is a continuation of the current product the person is about the purchase – like an add-on.

1-Click upsells are best when there's a complementary offer or product, something that might be more expensive or that might make people question their original purchase.

For example, if your upsell includes more information or additional resources – the buyer might wonder why these weren't included in the original product. By giving this upsell option after they've already committed to their purchase, you remove the doubt and only leave them with a “yes or no” decision on the second offer.

7 Order Bump Examples To Get Your Creativity Flowing

Now that we've explore what is an order bump and why you might want to use them in your ecommerce and digital marketing efforts, let's take a look at some mainstream order bump examples.

You'll see that these order form bumps are very tied to the original product – so use these as inspiration to design your own order bumps.

1. Minnetonka

After you add a pair of shoes to your cart, you’ll see some recommended products that complement the purchase. For a shoe company, it makes sense to upsell a “maintenance kit” – especially if you’re selling leather products. This absolutely mimics the in-person shoe shopping experience, but it happens seamlessly in digital, too.

order bump example

2. Thinx

Although this isn’t a traditional order bump and they could make it easier to add another pair to your order… they do have the incentive right inside the shopping cart to add more products to get an additional 10% off.

This is a twist on the usual order bump, because it’s tied into a discount – but it does get you think about adding more products to your cart before checking out.

An improved version would have a link back to the “shop” page or even a link to “add 2 more of the same product” to get up to 3. This is an order bump example that works well for businesses where buying multiple products makes sense.

order bump example

3. Apple

Apple has mastered the art of the order bump and adding different products to your cart can give you more order bump examples. In many cases, the first order bump is the AppleCare protection plan.

This makes sense for an expensive tech gadget, but you can think about adding any service that would help your clients make the most of or protect their investment in your products. There’s also a second order bump – the trade-in, which makes sense for physical products like Apple sells.

order bump example from Apple

4. Omaha Steaks

Omaha Steaks is unapologetically bold with its succulent order bump invitation that appears as a prominent popup the moment you add your first item to the cart.

Since the company is known for its high quality steaks and gourmet foods, it comes as no surprise that the order bump is for a steal of a deal on filet mignon steaks… something that anyone who’s shopping on the site will likely enjoy.

This offer comes with some smart prerequisites: the order (before filet mignon) must be at least $28. Second, you can only get one per order at the advertised 60% discount.

order bump examples

5. Home Depot

I can’t speak for all people, but when I’m at Home Depot, I’m usually shopping for gadgets or home improvement materials that I hope will last a long time.

That’s why their order bump — an offer for a Home Depot Protection Plan — is genius. Whether the item in question is a table saw or materials for a new roof, I am crossing my fingers that it will be worth the investment. As a consumer, I feel compelled to take advantage of the warranty and consider it a smart choice “just in case.”

Order Bump Example

6. Thirty-One

Well-known for their cute fabric patterns and overall product durability, Thirty-One has a standard order bump that’s very effective, no matter how many times you’ve ordered from them.

On every product page (and checkout form) is an invitation to “personalize” your bag, whether that’s a new purse, a weekend tote, or just a cute box for the kids’ toys. Subconsciously, it works to encourage shoppers to buy multiple items: “Maybe I’ll get one for me and one for my spouse … and personalize them, so we don’t get them mixed up.”

order bump example

7. AccessAlly

Here at AccessAlly, we've tested different order bumps on our own product. In this example, we're offering the ability to add a PDF called “Profitable Courses Playbook” to the order for $49.

Since AccessAlly helps people create and sell their online courses, it makes sense for us to offer an additional product that makes it even easier for people to finish their course creation and marketing.

Order Bump Example PDF

Got more order bump examples?

Real life order bump examples.All of the order bump examples in this post are for traditional retail businesses… but order bumps work well in all kinds of ecommerce and digital businesses.

I'd love to hear what order bump examples you've seen in the wild, and which ones you're considering adding to your business' checkout process, too.

Leave a comment below to share!

How To Use a WordPress Referral Plugin To Increase Your Reach and Revenue

WordPress referral plugin

Referral programs are on the rise: the industry of affiliate programs is projected to reach $6.8 billion by 2020 in the United States alone.

That's a huge chunk of money… and the playing field is wide open for more people to get in on it.

For business owners, the projected growth also means that affiliate programs are becoming increasingly mainstream and viable options for you to increase your reach and revenue.

So let's take a look at how you can use something as simple as a WordPress referral plugin to host a profitable affiliate program on your own website.

How a Referral Plugin Can Increase Your Reach

Nathalie Lussier, the founder of AccessAlly, recently shared a candid look at how she's been on both sides of the referral industry, and has made multiple 6 figures in referral sales.

That's good news for those who are building an income as affiliate marketers.

And, considering the fact that the affiliate only receives a portion of the cut, it's even better news for the company selling the products.

WordPress Affiliate Marketing Program Plugin

The initial revenue from an affiliate sale is only the beginning of the story: referrals have a prolific tendency to snowball. A single affiliate might be end up being responsible for a large percentage of your sales. As more affiliates become engaged with your business and actively promoting your products, the bigger the snowball effect will be.

Features of an Affiliate Program Poised for Success

Ok let's pause a minute.

A referral program isn't a magic cure-all for your sales and marketing woes. There's a possibility that it might not be right for your business.

That's because the ultimate goal, for affiliate marketers, is to create streams of recurring revenue, whether through annual launches or with evergreen promotions that keep on earning.

Once your understand this, you'll be in a good place:

A referral program can only be successful if all three parties involved (business, affiliate marketer, and end client) receive a significant benefit. Think of the win-win-win.

To successfully enroll affiliates and earn referrals you'll need:

#1 A Great Product

Hopefully this is a total no-brainer, but the product you're opening up to affiliates will have the most success if it can beat the competition in the eyes of your affiliates and clients. A smart affiliate marketer (the kind you want on your side) will ignore poor quality products in favor of ones that deliver real results to their end clients.

#2 Dedicated Fans or Existing Network

Speaking of a great product… if you don't already have a crowd of dedicated fans or an existing network of peers, you'll definitely want to focus on building relationships before starting your affiliate program.

After all, it takes an average of 6 to 8 touchpoints before someone is ready to commit… so if your product isn't already “out there,” you may find that your affiliates fizzle out and lose interest quickly.

#3 A Good Commission Structure

It's tempting to want to fill your pockets faster. But generosity with your affiliates is a long-term strategy that increases their own incentive to promote your products, bringing you more revenue over the long haul. (If it doesn't pay off for them, it probably won't pay off for you, either.)

Many affiliate programs start at a 50% commission split, depending on the offer.

Selling a subscription product? You'll want to decide how to offer commissions on the recurring payments. Will you pay out indefinitely or for the first 6 months and stop? You decide.

#4 Referral Training Materials

The fact that someone is excited about your product doesn't mean they're a natural marketer. The more guidelines and training materials you can provide to your affiliates, the better they'll be able to promote your product.

#5 Promotion Materials

Along the same lines as the training materials, it's always a good idea to pre-design a variety of promotion materials, from banner ads to social media posts to email swipe copy. Not only does this help save time for your affiliates, but it also ensures that the promotional material will be on-brand.

#6 Affiliate Management & Guidelines

We've talked before about the dark side of affiliate marketing. The more effective you are at eliminating spammy promotion and fake coupons, the better your product will appear to online shoppers.

As a rule of thumb, affiliate programs are more suitable for established businesses than new startups. We talk more about finding the “right time” to start an affiliate marketing program in this article: How To Start Your Own Affiliate Program And Avoid These 3 Expensive Pitfalls.

Prepping Your Business for An Affiliate Program

You know what to include in your affiliate program and how you want it to look… but you also have to do some preparation on the business side of things to make sure that the new referral program will get off the ground without a hitch.

1. Multiple success stories

The best affiliate marketers are often those who have already invested in your product and received its benefits first hand. Make sure you have a strong network of these case studies in place, as they may be responsible for your very first referral sales.

2. Bandwidth to manage a separate program

Affiliate marketing might seem like a hands-off way to get more sales… but there's a ton of behind-the-scenes admin work required, too.

3. A WordPress referral plugin to run your affiliate program.

Finally, you need the right software to take care of the all the technical component of you referral program, from order records (purchases, returns, and refunds) to link tracking and custom referral links. There are self-hosted plugin solutions that you can add to your own WordPress site.

Two of the bigger plugins in this sphere are AccessAlly and AffiliateWP.

Affiliate WP

affiliste plugin for wordpressAffiliate WP is a “standalone” referral plugin that can give your site affiliate functionality and offers some integrations with other order form and shopping cart WordPress plugins. If you have a WordPress site set up, but none of your other plugins or systems include affiliate functionality, you may benefit from using the Affiliate WP plugin.

AccessAlly

wordpress referral pluginAccessAlly is a full suite plugin that includes memberships, online courses, and an e-commerce solution in addition to affiliate program functionality. The benefit of using AccessAlly is that, since everything is housed in a single plugin, you don't have to worry about failed integrations that might put your entire program in jeopardy.

Plus, since it integrates with your CRM, you can have a fully automated program that's set up once, and runs automatically afterwards.

Tips & Tricks' Affiliate Plugin

WordPress referral plugin for affiliates
Tips and Tricks' Affiliate Plugin is another option for WordPress referral plugins that focuses on integration with WooCommerce and Cart66 plugins, along with a few other options. One main drawback will be integrating with your CRM, but the biggest benefit for this option is the low price point. Worth checking out if you're just getting started.

What About Third Party Affiliate Systems?

You might have heard of affiliate tools like Post Affiliate Pro or Everflow.

These software solutions are made for the sole purpose of running the affiliate programs of hundreds (or thousands) of businesses. They can be particularly beneficial if you can't house an affiliate program on your own site (like if you're not on WordPress or you plan to move off eventually).

The downside is that it's another tech tool to add to your stack, and it might not integrate with some of the systems you're already using. You also don't have full control over what the affiliate area looks and feels like. With a WordPress referral plugin, you can design your own affiliate center and keep it on-brand.

How To Set Up Your WordPress Referral Plugin

In this video, you'll see first hand what a “real” referral program looks like to the affiliates and program manager. While the video is specific to AccessAlly, you can expect to follow the same general setup process no matter which tool you sign up for.

Looking for an affiliate plugin on WordPress? This helps explain the options.

1. Accept Applicants

At AccessAlly, we prefer to review all affiliate applications, asking for some key information to assess whether an applicant will be able to send high quality referral traffic our way.

This helps us prevent irritating spam signups that waste our time and that of our clients.

2. Add New Affiliate to a Tier

Each affiliate tier that you create can have a different commission structure. So you might offer a “regular” 30% commission for affiliates, but a higher commission of 50% to key joint venture partners of your business, for example.

3. Connect Affiliates With Resources

When a new affiliate logs into your site, they should see a well-organized area where they can access promotional materials (including swipe copy and graphics), as well as any information available on the number of link clicks, sales, and clawbacks associated with their account.

4. Motivate Affiliates With Contests and Leaderboards

Your affiliates have lives of their own, and may not always feel motivated to promote your product, especially if they've hit a referral dry spell.

One way to counter this natural loss of motivation is by running special affiliate contests and using leaderboards to offer special bonuses to top performing affiliates.

5. Manage and Review Link Clicks

As your program begins to grow and you start getting some great referral traffic, you'll want to keep an eye on where all that traffic is coming from, and whether it's converting into sales.

Take a look at the link clicks periodically to see what pages (and affiliates) are making the biggest impact on your program.

6. Payout Time

Pay your affiliates promptly and on time every month, to maintain trust and a positive working relationship with them.

Increasing Reach with Your Referral Program

A well-run affiliate program will grow and expand along with your business, multiplying the effectiveness of your campaigns, leading to increased visibility and reach for your products. As you begin to develop your own referral program, always look for ways to leverage your existing fans and clients, trusting that the ripples will make their way to other circles as well.

Take a look at how AccessAlly has helped WordPress membership site owners scale with its' built-in affiliate functionality.

Selling On WordPress: Everything No One Told You About

Selling on WordPress.

WordPress is the most popular content management system and website platform… so it’s only natural that you might want to start selling on WordPress.

Whether you plan to sell digital products, physical goods, services, or a mix through an online membership portal… You need to know what you’re in for when you decide to open up a shop using WordPress as the tech backbone.

In this guide you’ll learn about the key things no one talks about when it comes to selling online using WordPress, and the best options to get started.

The Obstacles of Selling on WordPress

Before we get into “how to sell on WordPress”, we need to address some of the challenges of selling on this platform. This is the nitty gritty stuff that no one talks about, but that could save you a lot of frustration later.

Let’s dive in.

A “Buy Now” button won’t make you rich

Unfortunately, you can’t just put up a buy now button and expect people to buy. Selling on WordPress, or any platform for that matter, takes more than just technology.

You need to understand the psychology of sales and the marketing that goes on behind the scenes.

Yes, you can’t take people’s money without a “buy now” button, but unless you’ve spoken to potential customers and really understood what makes them want to buy, it won’t take you far.

Selling Securely and SSL

Most web hosts these days are offering SSL certificates with their hosting plans. (Some of my favorite secure WordPress hosts are WPEngine and Kinsta!)

For good reason! When you’re taking payments through your WordPress website, you want to make sure that the connection is secure enough to handle payment details from customers.

You’ll want whatever WordPress plugin or payment option you choose to also be PCI compliant. The last thing you want is to be caught in a security breach that affects your clients!

Speaking of hosts… what about crashing websites?

If you’re planning to launch a program and send a slew of traffic to your WordPress website… you need to prepare for the possibility of a crash.

Some hosts are better than others when it comes to a large influx of traffic. With hosts like WPEngine and Kinsta, you’ll be in good shape if your launch goes well and you see a spike in visitors.

Cheaping out on your hosting is not a good idea when you plan to sell from your website. The upside is that when you choose a good host, you’re not at the mercy of a 3rd party server like you might be on a platform like Thinkific or Kajabi.

The refunds will come, how you react is up to you

Yes, it’s true. If you offer a refund policy, you’ll have people take you up on it. It’s just part of doing business, and it doesn’t mean that you’re a less worthy human being.

Not every product or service is the right fit for every customer.

Handling refunds means swallowing your pride and following through on your promises. But it’s also a technical process that you need to be able to execute, when the need arises.

Choose your WordPress shopping cart wisely, knowing that you’ll need to administer refunds and possibly manually handle some of these steps.

Some checkout pages are more effective than others

Trust is everything when it comes to selling online – and selling on WordPress is no exception.

Sure, you can use your WordPress theme to customize the look and feel of your checkout pages… but usually the payment plugin you’ve selected will come with some standard designs that you can’t alter.

You’ll want to make sure that you ask only for the pertinent information on your checkout page, to reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions.

The more you stay on brand, and the less it feels like a visitor left your website to check out and make a purchase… the better, and the more trust it builds.

Speaking of abandoned carts… where did that cart go?

The stats around abandoned carts are startling: 70% of online sales are aborted before they’re completed.

That means someone intended to buy, started the process, but left before clicking that “buy now” button.

Having a solution in place to capture these folks and follow up with them is key.

Selling Multiple Products? Here’s how to streamline…

If you offer many products, your experience with selling on WordPress might increase in complexity quickly.

Whether you need a sales page or item description page for each product, or you want to display all of them in an easily searchable format… you need a plugin to help manage that.

You might also need the ability for people to add items or remove items as they decide what they want to buy. Displaying all of your products in a neat way can be hard, and we’ll discuss some options below.

Tracking pixels and analytics are key

Use analytics when selling on wordpress.

If you do any form of Facebook or Google advertising, then you’ll know that tracking pixels help you assess if your ad spend is converting to sales.

On WordPress there are ways to tap into Google Analytics as well as add tracking pixels… but most of the time you’ll need to create a separate “thank you page” to get the cleanest data.

To PayPal or to Stripe… that is the question

best way to sell products on wordpress

Everyone has a preference when it comes to how they prefer to spend money. For some, offering a PayPal option means more international sales because people can hold multiple currencies in their PayPal account and not suffer the conversions when purchasing abroad.

There’s also a benefit to using Stripe to handle subscription payments: people can’t cancel their subscriptions themselves unless you give them that option. With PayPal subscriptions, they can manage and cancel a payment plan even if they agreed to make all payments.

So which option is best? I recommend both because you get the best of both worlds. Not everyone has a PayPal account, and Stripe is available in many countries – so either way, you’re covered and you won’t be turning away customers.

The 1-Click Upsell – Where most businesses leave money on the table

If you only have one product or service, you might think that 1-click upsells don’t apply to your business.

But practically any product or service can benefit from a premium version or add-on. Being able to offer something additional right at the point of purchase, whether it’s through an order bump or a separate 1-click upsell page means you’re making the most of the excitement that happens during a sale.

No one wants to be sold to, but everyone loves to buy.

By giving someone a chance to add an additional offer to their order before they finish is a great way to provide a more in-depth solution, and to add more revenue to each transaction.

The fortune is in the follow-up

When it comes to selling online, everyone focuses on getting the sale… but the real fortune is in the long term relationship with your customers.

Being able to follow up with new and potential customers is key to building a business that grows from year to year. It also leads to building better products and offering better services, because your clientele will grow along with you and your offerings.

So how do you follow up? I recommend using a marketing automation platform so you can customize your messaging to each client based on their interactions with you so far.

Dive deeper: Read our comparison of different automation marketing platforms so you can pick the one that best works for your business.

Now that you know what to expect, let’s explore your options for selling on WordPress

There’s no shortage of WordPress plugins and 3rd party integrations that you can choose from to start selling from your WordPress website.

Here are some of the most popular ones, along with a few things to keep in mind for each.

1. Straight up PayPal buttons

selling on wordpress with paypal

If you decided to go with a pure PayPal option, you can get away from using any WordPress plugins by embedding a regular PayPal buy now button directly on your pages.

This is the simplest method, it won’t cost anything, and it’s also very flexible. It doesn’t allow for a ton of customization, and it might increase in complexity as you add more products and services. You can’t do 1-click upsells, but if you’re just getting started it’s not a bad idea.

2. WooCommerce

Selling on WordPress

When it comes to WordPress shopping carts, WooCommerce is the big kahuna. It’s a free plugin that gives you ability to start taking payments right away on WordPress.

However, most people don’t end up sticking to just the free WooCommerce plugin because it is fairly limited once you realize you want to customize things to suit your goals.

That’s why WooCommerce has a thriving paid add-on ecosystem: you can purchase additional plugins to add more functionality, integrations, and customization options.

WooCommerce is best for physical products, but it can be used for any type of product too.

Dive deeper: Check out the WooCommerce ecosystem to see what’s possible with this framework.

3. Easy Digital Downloads

selling on wordpress

If you’re offering something downloadable or that requires a license key, then you’ll notice that the majority of WordPress businesses turn to Easy Digital Downloads.

It’s a free plugin with a paid upgrade that will run you $299/year if you want integrations and recurring payments, but it handles more than just the payment piece. It will also allow you to set up a download area for your digital products, and also tracking licenses if you’re offering any.

It’s a great option especially for selling software, ebooks, and the like. If you need something simple that works out of the box, this might be it.

Dive deeper: Check out the Easy Digital Downloads site for more details on what it can do for you.

4. AccessAlly

best way to sell products on wordpress

If you want to offer a more personalized download area that includes a membership portal, online courses, member directories, or gamification… then AccessAlly is the full fledged payment and delivery solution for you.

Unlike some of the other plugins above, AccessAlly won’t require you to purchase additional plugins or add-ons: you get everything you need to open up your shop and deliver your paid client experience.

It’s ideal for you if you were planning to build a tech stack that includes an affiliate management plugin, an LMS plugin or online course component, and a CRM or automation marketing tool.

Instead of duct-taping different plugins together, AccessAlly lets you take payments, create logins for your members, track affiliate sales, create online course content, and follow-up automatically with each member.

5. Thrivecart

selling on wordpress

Another option for taking payments on WordPress is brought to you by the ThriveThemes team, and it’s designed to seamlessly integrate with your WordPress site and layout.

With Thrivecart you can take payments on your WordPress website, and handle different things like taxes, subscription payments, and also integrate with other systems you might be using.

It’s a great option for those who don’t feel a full learning management platform or membership site, but who want more of a robust experience than EDD or WooCommerce provide out of the box.

Dive deeper: take a look at the Thrivecart page and get on the waiting list for when they re-open up registration.

Using the right tool for the job

What you plan to sell on WordPress is going to help you determine which of the options above will best suit your business.

Keep in mind that your business may shift over time, and what makes sense today may shift as your business grows or you add additional products and services.

If you can forecast a 12–18 months down the line, you might be able to select a tool that will grow with you – so you won’t need to re-do your set up work again once you outgrow your current solution.

Selling digital products

If you’re selling digital products you might choose Easy Digital Downloads, AccessAlly, or WooCommerce with add-ons.

Selling memberships

If you’re selling memberships you might choose AccessAlly, WooCommerce with add-ons, or Thrivecart with add-ons.

Selling courses

If you’re selling online courses you might choose AccessAlly, WooCommerce with add-ons, or Thrivecart with add-ons.

Selling coaching, booking time/scheduling

If you’re selling coaching you might choose PayPal, WooCommerce with add-ons, or Thrivecart with add-ons.

Selling services

If you’re selling services you might choose AccessAlly, WooCommerce with add-ons, or Thrivecart.

Here’s to selling successfully on WordPress!

We’ve covered a lot today, but the most important part to getting started with selling on WordPress is to start.

You won’t have it all figured out on day one, but each step you take will help you validate your ideas, and improve your process. Good luck!

90 Day Year Review: Time Management for Entrepreneurs

90 Day Year Review

If you're curious about Todd Herman's 90 Day Year program, then you've come to the right place. In this in-depth 90 Day Year review, I'll be going over the cost of the program, who it's for, the benefits, as well as the drawbacks.

To give you some context, I signed up for the 90 Day Year course in December 2015, a few months before I went on maternity leave. I was able to take time off and come back to my business feeling clear on my top priorities (and how to achieve them!), thanks to Todd's training.

Since then, I've gone back through the program, become a proud affiliate of Todd's work (which means I may earn a commission if you sign up through my link – but more details on that below), and Todd and his team have also migrated the 90 Day Year program onto our AccessAlly platform for WordPress.

Keep reading to find out what my biggest takeaways were, and how you can take advantage of the proven 90 Day Year system.

Takeaway #1: Time Management vs. Energy Management

When it comes to “getting more of the right things done” there are two key elements that you need plenty of: time and energy.

If you’ve got plenty of time, but you’re feeling frazzled and sleep deprived… you’re better off taking a nap than trying to work on an important project. (Been there, and this results in half-baked ideas and mediocre results!)

On the other hand, if you’ve got a good energy groove but your day is constantly being interrupted or is so highly scheduled with calls… you won't get very far either.

There's a concept I learned from Todd Herman, creator of the 90 Day Year program, called Time Blocking.

What many of us end up doing in an effort to get more done is to start a bunch of different tasks or projects… But each time we move onto another task without finishing the one we started, we’re losing the efforts we’ve already put in and delaying any one thing from getting done.

Instead of flitting from project to project, each time you have a time block to dedicate to your work… pick up where you left off until you’ve finished a deliverable.

This means it can go out into the world and “work for you” while you move onto the next thing.

This is huge, and if you only did this one thing as an entrepreneur… you’d be miles ahead of the pack!

You can even keep thinking about your “one thing” while you do other things around the house, and you might even come up with more amazing ideas between work sessions that you would have missed if you were still context switching.

90 day year progress goals

Takeaway #2: Starting With The Right Expectations: What Stage Of Business Are You In?

With any goal setting: it’s important to get clear on what your biggest priorities are… and you can’t do that unless you take a level headed look at your business as it stands right now.

Todd Herman shares this “5 stages of business growth” framework to help you evaluate where your business is at right now:

Dream Up: This stage of business is all about choosing the right idea and making sure there's an eager market for it. You're not building your product or offering yet, you're seeing if it will take off first.

Start Up: At this point in your business, you have some sales coming in but you haven't fully found your “groove” yet… maybe the sales take a lot of work on your part, and they're not as consistent as you'd like.

Ramp Up: Now you've got steady sales coming in regularly, but you're working a whole lot because you haven't built in the foundations for your business to operate without you.

Scale Up: At the scaling stage, your role is to attract the best team members you can to help you keep growing and running the business you've always envisioned.

Leader Up: Your business is at the top of its game, you're the recognized leader in your field and it's time to start thinking beyond the business you started… it's key to spot trends and adjust your sails!

In my case, I find myself oscillating between Ramp Up and Scale Up and I've found that a lot of my time now that I'm a mother has been to focus on training my team and systematizing the business even further.

Takeaway #3: Goal Setting: Good, Better, Best

I love a good goal! Who doesn’t? But sometimes setting goals can set you up to fail… especially if you choose big goals that are too far out into the future.

That’s one of the reasons the 90 Day Year is such a successful program, because it teaches you how to break down bigger goals into 90 day achievable ones. Then it further teaches you how to break these big initiatives down into 2-week sprints, which is something that I first learned from the software development space in school. (Super effective!)

Another way that you might benefit from re-thinking how you set goals is to set 3 different levels of goals…

For example, let’s say that you’re focused on building your email list. Your “good goal” might be to add 5 new subscribers to your email list per day, your “better goal” might be to add 10 per day, and your “best goal” might be to average 20 new subscribers per day.

When you set goals this way, you’re practically guaranteed to succeed, instead of stopping yourself from getting started because the “20 per day” feels too intimidating or impossible.

Similarly, you might not get all of the tasks on your to-do list done every day, but if you set yourself a “good, better, best” goal for how much you can get done then you’ll still feel accomplished when your head hits the pillow at night.

90 Day Year preview

Who The 90 Day Year Is For

Although any entrepreneur could benefit from the 90 Day Year, I believe that it's especially beneficial for people with a lot of ideas (like me!) or who have other constraints.

Take moms for example: we only have so many hours that we can dedicate to our businesses every day. Knowing how and where to focus is key to success.

Other constraints that the 90 Day Year can help with include those with a full time job trying to get a side business going, and anyone who is already successful and can't find the time “away from the business” to shift gears.

If you want to be sure that what you’re working on is absolutely going to move the needle in your business, then the 90 Day Year can help you with that.

For instance, you could spend your first hour online checking your emails… Or you could spend that time working on a marketing piece, delegating something to a team member, or crafting a presentation that will help you make sales.

If you’re not sure what you should be working on next, I love using the “Goal Tournament” concept that Todd Herman teaches in the 90 Day Year to get clarity on what will bring you biggest return on time invested.

The cost of the program is $999, which is a fraction of what it could cost you to be working on the wrong initiatives, or stuck in a rut. There are also payment plans available that make it an easier investment.

Investing in your business is always a risk, but investing in yourself and your ability to systematize, grow, and focus on the important things in your business is all upside.

90 Day Year Todd Herman

90 Day Year Review

Todd Herman and his insights on business and leverage are exactly the tools that can help entrepreneurs make a bigger impact, without feeling pulled in so many directions.

I first met Todd Herman in 2012 at an event where he was speaking, and I instantly connected with his message. He wasn’t in the online space because he was working with high level athletes in his private practice, and honing his skills.

Since then, he’s taken the online world by storm and taken everything he learned from his private sports clients and put it into The 90 Day Year.

This is a comprehensive “doing” program, and it doesn’t have hours and hours of video to keep you distracted from achieving your goals. And as a busy entrepreneur, that’s good news!

I signed up for the 90 Day Year in the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy, at a time when I knew that I’d be slowing down work for awhile once the baby arrived. But really diving into the program gave me a new lens for evaluating our projects and making sure that my team would thrive while I was away.

One of my favorite parts of the program is how it blends both the “creative minded” side of things and the super clear “numbers matter” side. Todd has a great way of making everyone who is participating feel taken care of, going so far as to personally call members on the phone to coach them out of the blue.

Plus, the caliber of 90 Day Year students is absolutely top notch. I found myself among many of my already successful business owner peers, along with fresh faces who made just as much headway in the course of their 90 day run through of the program.

The best part is that the program teaches you skills that you can keep using, every 90 days, to set goals and achieve them.

Between the in-depth workbooks and execution plans, the strategy, and the focus on moving forward in your business… anyone who is serious about their business growth will benefit from enrolling in the 90 Day Year.

There’s a reason that this program works: it’s based on the science of winners (both in sports and business!) and it’s taught in a straightforward and masterful way, that cuts out all the excuses.

I really wish I would have had the opportunity to learn the 90 Day Year strategies earlier in my business career, because it would have given me a much better framework for time management and getting meaningful stuff done… Not to mention that I’d be even further along than I am now.

Results You Can Expect + Bonuses

I’m not the only person who has benefited from the 90 day year program. Todd Herman has tapped into his work with Olympians and Billionaires, and he's helped many entrepreneurs perform at their best, too.

One my favorite things about The 90 Day Year is that it’s not about “specific how-to” advice… because you can have all the information in the world, but if you’re not taking action on it then it won’t do you or your business any good.

Instead, the program really helps you DO. It helps you get moving, break things down into manageable chunks, and most importantly keep the “main thing the main thing”.

In recent years, Todd has moved the 90 Day Year program to our AccessAlly membership and learning management platform.

So it's only natural that you might be curious about using AccessAlly for your own online courses or membership site.

That's why for the first time ever, we're offering anyone who signs up for Todd Herman's 90 Day Year program through our affiliate link – six months of AccessAlly, on us.

Here's what you get:

  • 6 months of AccessAlly Pro (worth $590): if you're new to AccessAlly, you'll get your very own license and access to the plugin for your courses. If you're an existing client, we'll credit your account for 6 months and you won't pay again until then.
  • A complimentary Jumpstart call to help you get up and running on the platform (worth $200).
  • Plus all of the training, tutorials, and support you or a team member might need along the way.

I’m a proud alumni and affiliate partner for Todd Herman’s 90 Day Year program, and because I receive compensation when you sign up through my link I’m able to offer six months of AccessAlly Pro FREE as a bonus.

I never recommend anything that I haven’t personally benefitted from, and this program has gone above and beyond and transformed the businesses of many entrepreneurs I know personally, including my own.

Registration for The 90 Day Year opens December 13th and closes December 18th, 2018.

Here’s To Getting More Done, Without Sacrificing Your Health or Time with Family

90 Day Year Review: Find out if Todd Herman's program might be the time management solution you need to reach your business goals.

One thing that I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs struggle with when it comes to building a business is the toll on their health, or the time away from family.

It’s tough balancing your time between family, taking care of yourself, and growing your business. But unless you can get your business to the point where it fully supports you and the lifestyle you want, it’ll be hard to enjoy stress-free time.

If you're ready to start operating at a different level, and you know that Todd Herman and his 90 Day Year program is the approach for you…

Take advantage of our AccessAlly Pro bonus, and sign up through our link.

We'll be in touch to confirm that your order went through our link, and with details on redeeming your bonuses so you can get started leveraging the power of the 90 Day Year + AccessAlly.

Membership Sites for Moms: Case Study with Ma Yoga®

membership sites for moms

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

That's the common line used to acknowledge how challenging (and lonely!) it can be when you're a mom who's trying to raise a child. Unfortunately, many moms (and moms-to-be) simply don’t have access to a kind and caring community to help with the rewarding but challenging task of raising a family.

That's why membership sites for moms are gaining traction.

Membership sites made for moms (and in many cases by them, too) have become increasingly popular in recent years. With services that range from coaching to community networking, these memberships provide the guidance and connections that so many mothers around the world crave.

And it’s no wonder: as schedules grow busier and more hectic, the need for online resources that you can tap into from the comfort of your own home has become a high priority and desperate need for moms around the world.

That’s why we’re so excited to put the spotlight on Ma Yoga®, an amazing online sanctuary for moms and moms-to-be. Continue Reading

5 Best LMS Plugins for WordPress

best lms plugins for wordpress

When it's time to compare tech tools, my automatic starting point is the tech equivalent of an arms race: the plugin with the most features wins.

Maybe in some cases this is a good way to make a decision.

But LMS WordPress plugins are different: their whole purpose is to enhance the learning experience inside your online courses, so that you can have happier students and grow a steady stream of revenue as a result.

In this case, the more important thing is to make sure your plugin can give you the elearning boost you need before delivering “nice to haves”.

That's why we've selected a handful of the best LMS plugins for WordPress to show how they compare in these key areas, to help you make the right decision for your course and students.
Continue Reading

7 Proven Membership Site Models (with Examples)

membership site models

What membership site models will be the most profitable for your business? (Yes, you can combine more than one!)

It's a question you'll need to answer in order to create a membership site that will enhance and grow your current business. There are different types of online course sites and experiences you can create based on your strengths as a teacher, leader, and business owner… and what your ideal customers are willing to invest in, too.

In short: the type of membership site you choose can make or break your offer, and affect conversions and the long term sustainability of your site.

Before we get too far, let’s get on the same page about our definition of a membership or course website:

A membership site is a place where free or paying members can log in to access their content, courses, and community. You can charge a one-time fee for access or build in a recurring revenue stream with monthly or yearly payments.

7 Types of Membership Site Models

In this guide to membership site models, you'll see the leading membership site types along with membership site examples for each one.

1. A Community-Focused Membership

The community-focused membership site is all about facilitating strong relationship-building among your paying members.

WordPress Member Directory Plugin

Some of the identifying features of a community-focused membership include:

  • A member directory, where users can search for, and connect with, one another.
  • Forum, so members can easily carry on group discussions.
  • Masterminds, where members receive a high level of support, feedback, and resources.
  • Accountability tools, so members are empowered to follow through and achieve their goals.
  • …or other “people-driven” benefits.
This is an especially powerful type of membership site for clients who need help meeting their peers and getting the support or those who are looking for high-end resources to rise above their peers.

There are a number of things to think about when creating a community focused membership site, from membership goals to mapping out the engagement interaction paths that will be available inside your membership site.

The more active, engaging, and supportive you are as the organizer, the better experience your members will have.

The best part about this type of membership is that people are more likely to stay with you as active paying members once they've made great connections in your community. You might be interested in a WordPress member directory plugin that allows members to customize their profiles, opt out of the listing, or connect with each other more easily.

Example: Tara McMullen's CoCommercial community.
 

2. The All-You-Can-Eat Education Buffet

Think of this style of membership as the Netflix of online learning: a member joins and has access to a bunch of content from day one. It's a library of courses that continues to grow over time to incentivize current customers to stick around and attract new clients, too.

The most important thing you can do in designing your education buffet membership is to make it easy for people to find the right course for them.

You can do that using quizzes that guide people to the right next step. Or, you can connect them with the appropriate material by offering sophisticated search functionality, or even giving recommendations based on previous courses they've enjoyed.

This buffet-style membership site attracts people who want to improve themselves and their skills. They may come on board to achieve a specific goal and leave when they've gotten what they needed, but if you plan out an educational roadmap then people will know where to go next after they complete their initial goal.

Many education buffets offer a wide range of topics to attract a large client base. However, when you're just getting started, it helps to have a focused outcome in mind that appeals to a very specific audience (rather than trying to be a jack of all trades).

Focus on getting a targeted set of courses done well, and branch out from there.

Example: BrainPop‘s online learning portal for kids.

3. Coaching and Accountability Membership

This type of membership is often called group coaching, and it packs a lot of value for the participants.

Types of membership sites: coaching and accountability.

There are a few different ways to offer coaching and accountability with this model:

Generally, you’d offer live office hours or coaching calls where members can show up, ask questions, get support, and accountability. You can also create opportunities for the coach or leader to keep track of participants’ progress, encouraging them if they get stuck along the way.

Ideal clients can range from busy executives and business owners to anyone who has a personal goal to achieve. In any case, the client needs help to make their goals happen (think athletes, students, language learners, etc.). People prioritize what they care about. Committing to this type of coaching membership helps clients pursue and make their dreams a reality.

In our busy modern world, there aren't a lot of places where you can get individual attention from someone with a lot of expertise… at least, not without breaking the bank.

This type of membership offers you and your clients the best of both worlds.

If coaching is something you love and you want to help your clients achieve their goals (without putting a cap on your earning potential), this might be for you!

Example: Erika Lyremark's Mark'd Mastery.

 

 

4. Done for You Resources

This type of membership offers a big time savings for its members by eliminating time-consuming work and offering a resource that can be used as is or with minor tweaks.

Membership site type: done for you resources

Flaticon is a great example of Done for You Resources.

If a teacher, ministry leader, or blogger needs new content each week and can simply take your material and tweak it… They'll stay on board to save time and keep getting your new materials.

It's a no-brainer for the right clients, and if you're drawn to this type of membership it's likely because you've BEEN your ideal client so you can create the best materials for them. 

This type of membership will see you creating a lot of consistent content, so think through the best way to organize it from day one. 

Offering templates, lesson plans, and other “done for you” downloads is a powerful way to scale and provide items of value to members.

Anything that saves people time is highly valued, and if you're already seeing interest, you know that the demand is there. All that's left is a matter of marketing it properly to get the word out.
This type of membership tends to be extremely stable, because of the recurring needs of your specific set of clientele.

If you're already doing the work creating this type of content, and people are asking how you do it or if you ever offer it… then this might be a great type of membership site for you to offer.

Example: Lesson plans created by teachers on Education.com.

5. Retainers and Other Service Memberships

The best way to describe this type of membership is a client dashboard. It can be used to facilitate the process of onboarding a new client… Or, you might use the membership site after the services have been delivered, as a way to stay in touch with a client and offer additional training or resources.

Retainer membership type.

It’s set up to communicate with your clients, retainer engagements, and other services… so you’re freed up to focus on the service itself, whether that’s interior design, copywriting, or health coaching.

Depending on which step of the client process your membership site will take over, you'll want to create a map of the steps that you generally take when signing up a new client, while you're working with them, or after you wrap up an engagement.

A huge part of this membership model depends on leveraging a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This lets you keep track of each clients' interactions and where they are along the process and tag them based on what point they're at in the process (whether they have signed a contract, agreed to your terms, watched the welcome video, booked their first call, or any of other steps you generally do manually).

This is a no-brainer type of membership for freelancers, agencies, and anyone who works with clients already. It's also a great way to onboard 1 on 1 coaching clients, and build in a clear process to keep everyone on the same page.

Example: SnapCopy uses credits to manage client copywriting projects.

6. Internal Training Turned Into a Profit Center

As your business grows, you’ll start to amass a lot of internal knowledge that you want your whole team to become familiar with. Having a membership site to host internal training, onboarding videos, exercises, and other resources is extremely efficient.

You can keep track of who on your team is up to speed, and easily bring in new team members and help them onboard quickly.

A solid internal training program can strengthen any growing team. As your business grows and requires more team members to function, it will become a no-brainer to have this program in place. Not only will it free you up from doing 1-1 training, but it will also ensure that everyone is on the same page.

If you're working with a team, you've probably already started recording short training videos for how to do certain things in your business, or run weekly/monthly training sessions that are recorded. You might have even started to create a company wiki to house this information.'

Example: Digital Marketer turned their own internal company training into a paid certification program that they've continued to improve and earn from.

7. The Dripped Content or Dripped Release Course

Some membership site models are a natural fit for things that happen every month or every week. For example, you might be creating a new piece of content to match the astrological changes happening each month.

Or, you might be creating an online course that would be better consumed over time, like music lessons that must be mastered before moving on.

Doing this type of membership might mean you need a drip course plugin, or other way to release content over time if you're not creating it live each month or week.

Dripped Membership Model

Example: Whole Woman by Sarah Jenks is a monthly membership that follows the cycles of the moon with dripped content, and also combines other elements of the membership site models above.

How to Choose the Best Membership Site Model for Your Business

membership site model examplesIn the end, you know best who your current clients are and what you can offer as a benefit to help them grow.

Don't be concerned if none of the options above feels like the “perfect fit”. You can always mix and match to come up with the perfect balance of materials that will engage your clients and bring in a stream of recurring revenue.

Want this post in downloadable format along with 10 ways to overcome the most common membership site struggles? Click below to grab it now.

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