Working for yourself is probably one of the most liberating feelings out there… but it also comes with a large degree of stress.
Each paycheck is in your own hands, which can lead to working MORE hours than you would normally at an office. And sadly, the increase in hours doesn't always come with an increased paycheck.
Of course, that's why real solutions for building the elusive “recurring income” are in such high demand.
And the best thing for bloggers, is discovering that there's a form of recurring income that can be easily set into motion with an everyday email marketing system and an integrated WordPress plugin… even if the only resource you have is your current email list of blog subscribers.
Table of Contents
- Why Membership Sites Work So Well With Your Blog
- Start With An Email Marketing System That Uses Tagging Automation
- It's As Simple As Installing A Plugin…
- What's Inside A Membership Site?
- How Your Current ConvertKit Subscription Can Power Your Recurring Income
- When is the right time to add a membership site to a blog?
- How to decide on your program price
- Take the next step to start building a recurring income
Why Membership Sites Work So Well With Your Blog
Membership sites are powerful, yet simple. They allow you to “sell” access to your web pages, creating a unique and valuable members-only area in the process.
And, since it's all automated, it can pretty much run on its own after the initial setup process.
Of course, the catch is this: membership sites only work when you're able to deliver real solutions to the right people.
If you've been blogging a while, this is something you've probably already mastered. You already know what your followers like. Plus, if you've mastered the basics of building your email list, you have a full list of subscribers who are pre-disposed to love what you're putting out there!
Start With An Email Marketing System That Uses Tagging Automation
While there are a lot of great email marketing systems out there (MailChimp, AWeber, etc.), the only ones that can support this particular form of recurring income are those that offer tag-based automation.
ConvertKit is probably one of the stronger options to look at if you're ready to start shopping. The cost of investment is super reasonable, and can be easily offset by the amount of income it will allow you to bring in. (ActiveCampaign is another option that might fit your needs, if you want to compare).
And with ConvertKit's newest integration with the WordPress membership plugin, AccessAlly, you'll be ready to start automating your own income sequence right off the bat.
It's As Simple As Installing A Plugin…
It might sound daunting, but creating a special “members-only” section can be as simple as installing a plugin on your WordPress site.
The plugin creates password-protected pages, that you can “sell” access to…or give away for free, if you wanted. And yes, there are many membership site plugins to choose from, but only one that currently integrates with ConvertKit is AccessAlly.
AccessAlly is a full-featured membership site plugin, which means that it not only provides password-protection for your pages, but also offers a user directory, a course dashboard, and the famous Course Creation Wizard, that makes setting up your courses a breeze.
Plus, since ConvertKit doesn't currently include e-commerce for WordPress, you'll love that you can set up and sell products within AccessAlly itself, using Stripe or PayPal.
In short: the features of a membership site plugin like AccessAlly are attractive on their own right. When they integrate with an affordable and effective system like ConvertKit, they become totally invaluable.
AccessAlly also integrates with ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft, Drip, and Ontraport. So if you're currently using – or looking into using – those platforms, it'll still be an option!
What's Inside A Membership Site?
A membership site refers to the fact that you're protecting your website so that only “members” can view the content. Within this protection, you can house a single course…or multiple courses (especially if you're using AccessAlly, which has no limit to the number of courses and products you can create).
But it's up to you to decide what you want to create and sell in this area!
If you've gained a solid following for your blog, finding out what's going to sell can be as easy as asking the question in your weekly newsletter: “I'm creating a course…what secrets do you want me to share in it?”
The best feedback is always going to come from your subscribers. They're the ones you'll be selling to (initially), after all!
How Your Current ConvertKit Subscription Can Power Your Recurring Income
While receiving some good old recurring income through your membership site might sound appealing, it can also sound like a huge can of worms.
And yeah, there are a lot of people who don't bother to try it out because of the overwhelm.
But here's the thing:
If you're already using ConvertKit for your email subscribers, you already have the skills it takes to set up the whole automation.
The workflow is fairly simple and looks like this:
Step 1: Create Your Course To Sell
Pull together some amazing material, and follow the best practices shared by instructional designers.
The course can be added to your website easily with AccessAlly, at which point you can also add the course as it's own “product” to be purchased.
Step 2: Protect Your New Course With Tags
AccessAlly's Workflow Wizard automatically creates the tags you need to protect your new course. And it will share these tags with ConvertKit, so they're all ready for the next step:
Step 3: Set Up The Automation Sequence In ConvertKit
Once again, if you've been using ConvertKit for a while, you're already familiar with creating automated sequences. The one you set up for your membership site will be triggered when someone purchases a course.
Then, it can send out a series of emails that include a unique login username and password for your new client, as well as any necessary follow-up emails that you think should be sent.
At this point, your only remaining task is to share the news with your subscribers. If you've done a solid job making sure this course is something they're willing to spend money on, most of the battle is over.
Be bold and make a lot of noise about your amazing new course, and help your subscribers see how it can really transform their lives.
When is the right time to add a membership site to a blog?
Super good question…
While some businesses are started with a membership site, the reality is this: a membership site is a substantial undertaking, and requires a level of commitment and investment in order for it to work.
So the first step is always to make sure that you have an email list in place and have put the effort into building it up.
Once you have an established voice with your subscribers and have earned their trust, it's time to start asking yourself the remaining questions:
- Do I have a solid idea of a course that my subscribers would like to purchase from me?
- Am I willing to invest time and money into creating a membership site that's worthwhile?
- Do I have the tech skills needed to set it up OR am I willing to hire someone to set it up for me?
When you answer “yes” to these questions, you're ready to get started!
How to decide on your program price
The last big question to ask is probably the first one that popped into your mind when you started thinking about recurring income: how much can I make from this project?
There are three different ways to price access to a membership site:
Members pay an annual fee to gain access to your website. With this option, you'll want to make sure that you have enough material created to make it worthwhile for them to stick around.
A monthly membership is a super popular option, especially since it often comes at a lower price point than an annual subscription fee. It's also a manageable way to ensure that you start building recurring income on a consistent basis throughout the year.
Monthly memberships work best if you have a series of courses that members want to maintain access to. Seasonal courses, monthly coaching sessions, and in-depth material are all great things to offer.
If you're only planning on offering a couple of courses total, a one-time purchase amount is probably you're best bet. It allows you to price each product according to its content, making sure that it falls inside the budget range of your ideal client.
Take the next step to start building a recurring income
If you're ready to start building recurring income for your blog with a membership site, it's time to take the next step!
Dive in to see what a real membership site built with AccessAlly looks like, and get those creative juices flowing!
You'll love it :)