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Membership Marketing Funnels: 8 Keys to Automate Membership Sales

As a membership site owner, you know that you need a constant stream of new members to replace those that decide to move on. That’s where having strong membership marketing funnels come in.

Your membership marketing funnel provides touchpoints throughout the customer journey and helps increase engagement with leads and customers to maximize conversions.

Funnels serve as a relationship builder and help establish credibility for your business by giving your leads a taste of what it’s like to be your customer and retain them long-term.

The most successful membership funnels follow a similar formula to convert cold traffic into warm leads, ready to say yes and become a long-term client.

When done well, this process yields incredible results for welcoming in your ideal clients.

Let’s take a look at the components you’ll want to include and dive into how to make a marketing funnel.

Must-Have Components of a Membership Marketing Funnel

1. Lead Magnet Landing Page

The first component in your marketing funnel is the landing page for your lead magnet. This is your opportunity to convert cold traffic that lands on your website via a social media post, paid ad, organic search result, or referral, into a lead.

You want to ensure this page is mobile-friendly and distraction-free. Your #1 goal at this stage in your membership marketing funnel is to whet the visitor’s appetite enough that they see enough value in what you have to offer with your lead magnet to hand over their email address.

If you offer a free trial for your membership, then your lead magnet and accompanying landing page might focus on this trial offer instead of another free download. Both are great options, and you may have to test to see what works best for your particular audience and type of membership site.

2. Lead Magnet

Your lead magnet should deliver so much value that it becomes a no-brainer for your leads to invest in your offerings. When designing your lead magnet, try to deliver quick, actionable wins that leave prospects begging you for more.

Some of the best lead magnets to create an engaging, hungry-for-more, list of prospects are mini-courses, video training series, and social media challenges, but the sky’s the limit.

If you have an especially large amount of valuable video or downloadable content, you might also give a free trial to your membership as the lead magnet knowing that people will want to stay on board to retain access to all of your resources.

One of the easiest ways to convert your leads into paying customers is to gate your lead magnet using your membership site platform using The Login Optin™ Strategy.

3. Thank You Page

Once someone says “Yes” to your free offer, you want to set expectations for your relationship going forward.

The thank you page, or confirmation page is your best opportunity to sell to your new lead because they have just raised their hand to continue to develop a relationship with you.

You’ll want to ensure you let them know how to access their free lead magnet, and when it’s appropriate offer them a low-priced offer. This offer is sometimes referred to as a tripwire.

Your tripwire strategy offers a low-cost product, priced much lower than its actual value to your new leads. This offer is presented with the intention of selling your recurring membership later in your membership funnel and proving that you have something of value to offer.

Once a lead becomes a customer, the likelihood that they will buy from you again goes up. This low-cost offer provides you with an opportunity to obtain paying customers early on in your funnel, making it easier to sell to them even more down the line.

laptop displaying a tripwire example

4. Email Marketing Funnel

Your leads should receive an email from you immediately after opting in, welcoming them to your community with the delivery of your lead magnet.

You also want to use this first visit to their inbox to ensure you set clear expectations about how often they should expect to hear from you. If you have a double opt-in setup you want to make sure that confirmation email requires them to confirm their email before delivering the lead magnet.

Setting these expectations early in the relationship is going to yield a more positive experience and interaction with your subscribers.

Now it’s time to weave a sequence of sales emails, that are both informative and guide people toward signing up for your paid membership.

Your email funnel should consist of approximately 5 emails, spaced out every day or every other day. These emails should touch on compelling and time-sensitive reasons to join your membership and could contain an expiring coupon to get people off the fence.

Once this sales funnel is dialed in you can sit back and watch those leads turn into customers day in and day out.

Writing these emails may seem like a daunting task, but know that you’ll be able to edit your email marketing funnel once you’ve had people go through it and you see which emails are converting and which ones are falling flat.

4.24% of visitors from email marketing buy something, compared to 2.49% of visitors from search engines and 0.59% from social media.

5. Sales page

Leads that click through from your emails will be directed to the sales page for your membership site. Some people will be ready to buy immediately, so be sure that your buy now button is prominent and above the fold to cater to those visitors.

Others will have had their interest piqued enough to click through from your email, but will need a little more information before they commit to completing their purchase. Find inspiration in these sales page examples to guide yours.

6. Membership Tool for Smooth Onboarding/Delivery of Membership

Another important piece of your membership marketing funnel is the membership site itself.

The marketplace for membership site plugins and platforms can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first rodeo. As the creators of AccessAlly, the most complete membership and LMS plugin for today’s modern entrepreneur, we’ve spent countless hours researching and testing the most popular plugins and platforms on the market.

Most membership plugins and platforms are not a one-size-fits-all tool. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t taken the time to truly understand what you may need. Do some research to find the tech that best supports your business. You can start by reviewing our 50+ membership and LMS comparisons.

If you’re gating access to your lead magnet, your prospective customers will already have access to your membership site as a free member.

With the use of a cross-selling dashboard, you can help entice your leads to purchase just by showing them what other offers you have available using a greyed out icon on the main page where your lead magnet is accessed.

This is a high-value touchpoint in the membership marketing funnel, especially if they have purchased a tripwire offer from you.

They can easily click a one-click upsell button to complete their purchase for additional offers with little to no effort on your part.

If your leads aren’t currently funneled into your membership site as a free user, you want to ensure the fulfillment for their purchase of your membership site is as smooth as possible.

A tool that will automatically log new customers into your membership site upon purchase completion is one of the smoothest onboarding experiences you can deliver because the customer journey doesn’t stop there. Any hiccups in this process could result in refunds or decreased likelihood that the customer will be a repeat buyer in the future.

7. Onboarding Funnel

Your onboarding experience is an essential part of your membership funnel. With an automated, yet personalized onboarding funnel you’ll be able to guide your customers through the membership experience you’ve created, the way you want them to experience it.

The onboarding funnel should be crafted with the ultimate goal of increasing engagement.

When you integrate your membership site with your marketing automation system you can personalize the onboarding experience for each member, prompt them to revisit the membership if they haven’t logged in within a specified time period, or if they haven’t completed certain objectives.

You can even use your onboarding funnel to highlight different areas within your membership to give your members a reason to return.

The more engagement you create with your onboarding funnel and your membership site, the more likely you are to retain your members long-term, increasing your bottom line.

8. Engagement Sequence

The last element of your membership marketing funnel is your engagement sequence.

Not only do you want to ensure your members are logging in and engaging with your content during the onboarding experience, but you also want to ensure their engagement stays high throughout the lifetime of their membership.

One of the best retention strategies is automating an engagement sequence.

You can include similar emails mentioned in the onboarding experience that will prompt members to log back in or encourage them to explore features they may not have checked out yet. All of this can be triggered within your marketing automation system based on the actions taken on the membership site when you use a membership plugin like AccessAlly.

You’ll also want to notify members when new content is available or new offers have been added inside the membership.

These customers already know the value you provide and will continue to purchase from you over time, you just have to stay committed to their success and strategically place your offers in front of them.

example of an engagement campaign

Membership Marketing Funnel Tool Recommendations

Now that you’re familiar with what it takes to craft a successful membership marketing funnel, it’s time to decide which tools you’ll need to execute it.

Some users prefer an all-in-one system such as ClickFunnels or Kartra, but often these platforms are lacking when it comes to the overall user experience. If you’re just getting started online and want to test a proof of concept, they could be a good fit for you.

However, more long-term solutions that offer the most flexibility and sustainability are built using a WordPress membership plugin coupled with a CRM or marketing automation system.

This tech stack is designed to flex and grow with you over time and can prevent a costly and tedious migration in the future.

Here at AccessAlly, our users love pairing AccessAlly with ActiveCampaign, Keap/Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ConvertKit, and Drip. However, we know AccessAlly isn’t the best fit for everyone so be sure to do your research and find a tool that best supports your membership site goals.

Nathalie Lussier

I’m a writer, technologist, and regenerative farmer. I founded AccessAlly with my husband in one frantic weekend to solve my immediate course platform issues. Over a decade later the company has grown, and our product has evolved to serve millions of learners across the globe.

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