It's no secret: a membership site can be “the” tool that brings your online business to the next level… but for a lot of us, it can be hard to get started.
But at what cost?
If you're just getting into membership sites, you might not have a ton of extra capital to throw around. Or maybe you do, but you're hesitant to actually invest in one, since it's not proven yet that you'll make a ton of income off of it.
It's a valid concern.
But truly there are actually some great (and yes, affordable) options for you WordPress users that will give you the power to build a fabulous, competitive membership site without breaking the bank.
Table of Contents
- Components of An Automated Membership Site
- Resist the Urge To Cut Corners
- The Short List Of Tools You'll Need To Build This Thing
- The Two-Way Integration You Need
- Balancing the Investment: How To Make Back That $150 Price Tag
- What's Your Budget & How Does A Membership Site Fit In?
Components of An Automated Membership Site
What do you want your clients to experience inside your membership site? We probably all come at this from slightly different angles, based on our unique businesses and industries.
In general, most of us are looking for a way to captivate our audiences, keeping them engaged while empowering them to achieve a certain measure of success.
To do this, we might choose to offer a series of targeted courses within the membership site, or create a social network for members to connect and interact with each other.
Or in other words, we want to be able to deliver a high level of value to our clients.
This might lead to evaluating different ActiveCampaign membership plugin solutions… But before we go there, we want to make sure this membership site includes some necessary components:
Your membership site can't just be open to the public. Each eligible member of your membership site will need a unique username and password before they can log in and access the content.
Automated Access Based On Purchases or Opt-ins
It doesn't matter whether you're offering some free content in the course (that only requires an opt-in to access) or paid content – or a combination of both. Giving and revoking access can (and should) be an entirely automated process.
Standalone or Drip-Fed Courses
There are two methods of delivering course content within the membership site. A standalone course will present all content at once, where as a drip-fed course will release the content over a series of time. It's nice to have both options.
If someone wanted to read plain content, they'd probably just opt to buy a book. Your membership site has to be more than that, combining user-friendly navigation with a fabulous design.
A Way To Keep Them Engaged & Interested
It might sound a little crazy, but a lot of people sign up for an online course and never actually complete the material.
While you might think it's not that big of a deal (“Hey, I made the sale after all!”), drop-off students won't be as likely to refer their friends to your business, hurting your business in the long run.
Upsell Opportunities To Keep Them Moving Forward
If you have more than one course, it's a great idea to house them all in the same membership site. Not only does it make course management a lot easier, but it'll also provide unique upsell and cross-sell opportunities for members.
A Two-Way Integration
Not only do you want your website to communicate with your CRM (when a purchase happens, for example), you also want the CRM to be able to communicate back to the website. Many advertised “integrations” miss this key point and only work one-way.
Resist the Urge To Cut Corners
Really, from a business standpoint, it's not worth throwing up a shoddy system just to have “something” to start with. Connecting ActiveCampaign to another system that isn't designed to integrate with it could lead to more expensive duct tape solutions that don't work as well.
Not only will people see right through it (and won't be as incentivized to be a part of your program), but you'll also run into problems further down the road if you ever need a more robust membership platform.
Picking the right tools in the beginning will determine the impact your membership site will make on your business.
…but that's really why this $150 membership site is so sweet. You don't have to sacrifice functionality for the sake of staying inside a reasonable budget.
The Short List Of Tools You'll Need To Build This Thing
To build an ActiveCampaign membership site for under $150, here's what you'll need:
- A Subscription To ActiveCampaign – $49
- A Subscription To AccessAlly, a WordPress plugin – $79
Those two tools (in addition to your WordPress site) will provide enough power to create a fully-functioning membership site that's full of some pretty impressive potential.
Why Use ActiveCampaign For Your Membership Site?
There's a lot that goes into choosing the right platform for your CRM and Email Marketing needs.
But if you want an automated membership site, you'll need a little more advanced capabilities in your CRM/email marketing platform, such as tagging, automated sequences, and a two-way integration potential.
And we've found ActiveCampaign to hit just the right balance between a robust CRM and a budget-friendly price.
(If you're already an ActiveCampaign user, you know exactly what we're talking about.)
The Two-Way Integration You Need
AccessAlly is the link you need between ActiveCampaign and your website-turned-membership site.
AccessAlly is the ActiveCampaign membership plugin for WordPress that helps you sell, teach, and engage your members.
With AccessAlly, you can create a well-designed members-only area (the plugin integrates with any online course website template for WordPress) that's full of some pretty fabulous automation potential.
Although we'll talk more about smart content syncing in next week's blog, you can experience the potential of it all now by playing around with the (free) AccessAlly demo site.
With AccessAlly, you don't need to set up “membership levels” because everything is handled by tags. It's a lot more flexible, and you can see what membership level each person has based on their tags directly in ActiveCampaign.
Balancing the Investment: How To Make Back That $150 Price Tag
Yes, the $150 is a recurring monthly payment. (Although, if you're already an ActiveCampaign user, it's really only a $79/month price tag + tax for AccessAlly.)
But here's the thing: a membership site is an investment that can be used to grow your business and bring in new forms of revenue.
Your challenge is to hit that sweet spot where you're making enough income off of the membership site to balance out the investment…so how many sales do you need to make that happen?
Maybe you sell your courses for $15 apiece. In that case, you've got to make 10 sales per month to break even. Anything after that is profit.
Or maybe you're selling yearly subscriptions for $100 a pop that will give users access to all of your courses. Well, you'll only have to make 18 sales per year for that to happen.
The price tag on your membership site content is totally up to you and what you think it's worth (and kind of up to your customers, too, on whether or not they perceive the value in it enough to pay what you're asking).
The point is this: $150 a month isn't hard to get back when you're talking about a well-constructed membership site.
What's Your Budget & How Does A Membership Site Fit In?
The new ActiveCampaign integration with AccessAlly is key to making fully-functioning membership sites available to entrepreneurs who aren't ready to (or maybe never want to) invest in the bigger platforms like Infusionsoft or Ontraport.
But we'd love to hear from you, especially if you're considering building an Active Campaign membership site for your business. Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below!