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7 Tips for Creating and Running Your First Membership Site

7 Tips for Creating and Running Your First Membership Site

Membership sites like Netflix and Spotfiy are a major part of everyday life now, allowing us access to a huge range of entertainment at our convenience.

However, while these may be two of the most popular businesses built on a subscription model, there are countless membership sites online, like Uscreen, offering users a massive variety of products and services and providing you a great platform to host your online videos. From specially-prepared food to niche gift-boxes, the membership model has redefined our consuming habits – and it’s here to stay.

Want to launch your own membership site? It’s not easy, and the competition is fierce, but with enough work you can reap impressive rewards.

What should you do before you start?

1. Study Membership Sites You Use

Research is, of course, a key part of launching any business – you need to pay attention to the practices used by enterprises you admire if you hope to echo their success.

Study Membership Sites

    Depending on the products or services you intend to offer through your membership site, you may well be subscribed to leading businesses in this sector already. What can you learn from them?

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    • Structure: How easy is the site to navigate? Are users guided from one page to another in a logical way?
    • Content: What type of images and videos do they integrate? Do they feature introductory videos? How many blogs or articles do they publish each week?
    • Community: Do they have a forum, and if so, how is this set-up? How do they cultivate a sense of personality and stand out among the competition?

    Learn from the best and worst alike – if you explore a membership site that doesn’t work, ask where it’s gone wrong. How would you change it to improve users’ experience?

    Study good sites, and make notes of what works and why. Focus as much on fundamental elements (presentation, site architecture) as on smaller ones.

    2. Embrace Your Inexperience

    When you’re just starting out in business, you can easily feel a little lost at sea.

    Well, you’re not alone – even the world’s greatest entrepreneurs had to start somewhere, with no guarantee of success. Richard Branson, who surely needs no introduction, said it best: “the best way of learning about anything is by doing.”

    Few sites are perfect at launch. All businesses need time to grow, to improve, to evolve. Why should your membership site be any different?

    Placing high standards of quality upon your business is great, but avoid making them too high – you’ll only cause yourself more stress, and besides, you can’t really know whether certain things work until you see them in action.

    By launching the site as a work-in-progress, you can gather crucial feedback from users (via forums or submission forms) and build a gradual following while tweaking it. Offer subscribers a low fee, and make sure they know their opinions will help to dictate how the site evolves. This doesn’t mean you should take a lackadaisical approach, but rather, you can start generating revenue and building momentum while getting the site to where it needs to be.

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    3. Consider Free Subscriptions for Influential Users

    As with any business, membership sites can flourish with good worth of mouth. Whether this comes from telling friends over coffee or posting links in forums, organic user-generated marketing is free and highly effective.

    Reviews are another way in which your site can reach a wider audience – an influential blogger or website in your niche can recommend your business to their followers. However, in order to do this, they need something to base their views upon.

    Free Subscriptions

      So, why not offer free subscriptions to influential figures? Ask them for an honest review of your site, and make it clear there are no strings attached: if they dislike it, they’re free to say so; if they love it, they’re equally free to tell the world. People will be able to recognize an insincere review, so the writer’s impartiality is vital.

      Make your site the best it can be as a launch model, and then reach out to influencers.

      4. Foster a Strong Relationship with Your Customers

      Now more than ever, good customer service is vital. The internet has given consumers more of a voice, and word of bad experiences with a business can spread in mere hours, posing a real risk to reputations.

      Fortunately, business-owners have more ways in which to provide great service than ever. Social media, easy video uploads, and email provide convenient communication to resolve issues and put a face on your business. According to a survey by RightNow, 73 percent of consumers cite friendly customer-service as an element able to make them ‘fall in love’ with a company.

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      Create introductory videos and webinars on your site, either hosted by yourself or employees – welcome your users, and make them feel valued. Social-media engagement is a must, and not just to promote your products or services: respond to questions and criticisms as readily as praise.

      Remember: except in very few cases, competitors will exist – don’t give your prospects any reason to choose them over you. You could even create specific groups on Facebook to discuss issues with consumers, and gain valuable feedback to improve your services.

      5. Structure Your Site to Balance Content and Aid Navigation

      As your business grows, you’ll add more and more content to your membership site. Depending on your niche, this may include more blogs, videos, articles, webinars – the more there is, the more potential there is for confusion.

      Use clear categories and to ensure every type of content, product, and service can be found within seconds. The longer a user has to search for something, the more frustrated they’ll become, and the more likely they are to leave.

      Present links to your latest updates on the homepage, and make it clear what users can expect to see. Also, don’t forget your old content – link to past posts or media when relevant.

      6. Invite Customers to Get Involved

      Remember we talked about fostering a sense of community? Well, hosting competitions, group challenges, or events from time to time is a powerful way to do this.

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      3

        For example, if your membership site is based around gift-boxes (such as Chococurb, Birchbox), why not run a competition with three-months’ worth of boxes up for grabs? Why not pose a challenge to members, asking them to submit their own ideas for future products or services, with a prize incentive?

        This helps members to feel recognized, engaged, and part of an exciting community – rather than just faceless customers.

        7. Evolve to Suit Your Growing Membership

        As we’ve already established, great customer service is a must. Listen to your subscribers’ opinions and complaints – change aspects that don’t work, and prioritize those that do.

        Does it mean you appear less knowledgeable and in-control if you ask customers what they want from you? No. It shows you understand that your membership community is integral to the business, and know that your site should suit their needs perfectly.

        As this is your first membership site, don’t be afraid to explain to members that your business is still growing, and needs constructive feedback to become what you all want it to be. Provided they get quality service and outstanding treatment in return, many consumers will be happy to answer questions (as long as they’re kept short and sweet).

        How to Get Started

        Uscreen is a great option for those looking to launch a video on demand website. They offer a user-friendly platform perfect for a huge range of applications.

        uscreen
          Some of Uscreen’s features include:
          • Reporting & Analytics
            As we discussed earlier, to give your customers what they want, you need to know about it first. Uscreen’s reporting and analytics program gives the power to track members’ progress and activities, letting you know which videos are most popular, and which types of content gain the best traction (helping you to improve future content).
          • Scale Globally
            Uscreen is powered and managed in the cloud, so they are able to scale to suit demand and traffic-requirements. They have powerful CDNs (Content Delivery Networks), enabling you to broadcast streams across the globe instantly, for uninterrupted viewing.
          • Stream and Download Videos
            Cross-device access is a must for maximum customer engagement, and Uscreen’s Stream & Download feature enables your members to watch videos at their convenience – at any time, in any place.
          • Custom Storefronts
            With a completely customizable storefront, you can organize your videos as needed, in chapters and episodes. Subscribers can enjoy fast access and easy navigation.

          Starting a business of any kind is never easy, but with the right amount of planning, drive, and willingness to evolve, you can achieve success. Just be prepared to pay attention to feedback, engage with your community, and put members’ preferences above your own – without their subscriptions, your site simply cannot succeed.

          Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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          Jane Hurst

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          Last Updated on March 31, 2020

          How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

          How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

          Knowledge is essential to become successful in life, your career and your business. Without learning new concepts and becoming proficient in our craft, we cannot excel in our chosen careers or archive knowledge to pass down to the next generation.

          But content comes in various forms, and because how we learn influences how much we know, we need to talk about learning styles. This article will focus on how to utilize visual learning to boost your career or business.

          The Importance of Knowing Your Learning Style

          Knowing your learning style enables you to process new information to the best of your ability. Not only does it reduce your learning curve, you’re able to communicate these same concepts to others effectively.

          But it all starts when you’re able to first identify the best way you learn.

          As a college student, I soon figured out that taking online courses without visual aids or having an instructor in front of me led to poor retention of concepts.

          Sure, I got good grades and performed excellently in my online exams. However. I discovered that I couldn’t maintain this performance level because I forgot 80 percent of the course content by the end of the semester.

          There are several types of learning styles known to mankind. To give an idea of how visual learning stacks up against other learning styles, here’s a brief mention of some of the different types of learning styles we have.

          The four most popular types of learning styles are:

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          • Visual learning style (what this article talks about).
          • Aural or auditory learning style (learning by listening to information presented).
          • Verbal or linguistic learning style (learning that involves speech and writing).
          • Tactile learning style (learning by touching and doing)

          But for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on using visual learning to boost your career or business.

          How to Know If You’re a Visual Learner?

          When it comes to boosting your career, business (or education), a visual learner is one who would most definitely choose shapes, images, symbols, or reading over auditory messages.

          I’m talking about preferring to read an actual map when navigating to a new place over listening to verbal directions. I’m talking about discovering that you actually have trouble remembering what your manager said at the meeting because there were no graphs or illustrations to support the points raised.

          Most people who struggle with learning probably aren’t leveraging their best learning styles. The earlier you identify how your learning style can boost your success, the less struggle you will encounter with processing new information throughout your career.

          However, visual learning in particular CAN 10x your career or business whether it is your preferred learning style or not. And here’s why:

          Several studies have arrived at the conclusion that the brain retains more information with the help of visual aids. In other words, images are directly processed by our long-term memory which helps us store information for longer periods of time.[1]

          While some lessons can be performed orally, several concepts can only make sense if you have an image with an explanation of sequences (i.e learning about the human DNA).

          Visual learning does use a different part of the brain and visual cues are processed by the part of the brain known as the occipital lobe.

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          By engaging more parts of the brain during learning, you’re able to have a fuller understanding of concepts and facilitate better interaction with your immediate environment.

          How to Use Visual Learning for Success

          Here’re 4 ways to use visual learning to boost your career or business:

          1. Bring back the to-do list. Then add shapes and colors to boost productivity.

          We live in an age where computers have taken over virtually every aspect of productivity and most human functions. But written lists are making a comeback, and with an endless number of important tasks to complete, having a to-do list of tasks in order of importance can improve your productivity.

          While coming up with a list is initially challenging, adding colors and shapes to written lists that you personally write and manage gives you an extra layer of assurance and boosts aids recall so that you actually get stuff done.

          I have tried this technique in my work as a registered nurse and discovered that adding shapes and colors to to-do lists helps me delegate tasks, recognize where more work is needed, and makes it easy to cross off completed tasks at the end of the day.

          2. Add graphs, charts and symbols to your reports.

          Yes, it seems like more work cut out for you. However, graphs enable you monitor the heartbeat of your business.

          Graphs and charts help you trend your finances, budget, and pretty much any data overtime. With the help of free and premium software available on the market, it has become easier to take plain data and in a matter of seconds, have relevant information displayed in different shapes and images.

          As an entrepreneur, you can make predictions and allocate funds wisely when you’re able to see whether your efforts are rewarded. You can use colors and charts to delegate actions to members of your team and track performance at the same time.

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          And when broken down into monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual goals, graphs and charts communicate what ordinary text cannot.

          3. Effectively brainstorm with mind-mapping.

          Mind-mapping is not new but I don’t think it’s been talked about as often as we do to-do lists.

          With mind mapping, you’re organizing information accurately and drawing relationships between concepts and pieces from a whole.

          Think of a mind map as a tree with several branches. For example, the tree can symbolize healthcare while each branch stands for nursing, medicine, laboratory science, and so on. When you look at nursing, you can further branch out into types of nursing; pediatric, women’s health, critical care, and so on.

          It’s an interesting relationship; the more ideas you’re able to come up with for your chosen subject, the deeper you get and the stronger the association.

          Mind maps really show you relationships between subjects and topics, and simplifies processes that might seem complicated at first glance. In a way, it is like a graphical representation of facts presented in a simple, visual format.

          Mind mapping isn’t only limited to career professionals; business owners can benefit from mind mapping by organizing their online learning activities and breaking down complex tasks into simple actions so that you can accurately measure productivity.

          4. Add video streaming to meetings.

          What if you could double the productivity of your team members by video streaming your meetings or adding flash animation to your presentation at the same time?

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          When you offer video as an alternative method of processing information to colleagues, there is a greater chance of retaining information because we recreate these stories into images in our minds.

          For organizations that hold virtual meetings, it can also be an effective way to enhance performance during if people can see their colleagues in addition to flash animation or whatever form of video is provided during the meeting.

          Is Visual Learning Better Than Other Learning Styles?

          No, that is not the point. The goal here is to supplement your existing dominant learning style with visual learning so that you can experience a significant boost in how you process and use everyday information.

          You might discover that understanding scientific concepts are much easier after incorporating visual learning or that you’re able to understand your organization’s value when projected on a visual screen with charts and graphs.

          The overall goal is to always be learning and to continue to leverage visual learning style in your career and business.

          More About Learning Styles

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          Reference

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