The LIES about Continuity and Membership income

131 replies
Ahh, here we are again.

'Tis that time of year when someone comes out with a major launch relating to the "best IM strategy in existence": making continuity income through membership sites.

First let me say I don't claim to know it all, nor do I have anything personally against any of the big-name trainers. I really don't.

My commitment is to two things: 1) helping real people get real results, and 2) reinforcing simple truths based on experience.

The big launches relating to starting a membership site will have you believe the following (taken directly from their sales pages, all of which are similar to the others):

"Membership sites are the easiest way to make a solid consistent income"

"You never have to look for more customers" (yes, the sales page actually says that)

"Continuity income allows you to work once and get paid over and over again"

"The 'Set it and Forget it' way of making money online"

Here's my point. As with everything else in this industry, all sorts of things are said to get you to buy the premise of what is being sold.

---> If you don't buy the premise you won't buy the product.

The problem is this: there are many exaggerations and inaccuracies in what is being shared with you.

So let's address the facts, ma'am.

1) Membership sites involve work - in many case A LOT of work

Anyone who has ever started and *successfully* run a membership site will tell you it's not a cake walk. Yes the continuity income is nice. But in order to keep that income consistent - and even to get it built up in the first place - really takes something.

One of the key things to remember is that customers are NOT inherently interested in paying for something on an ongoing basis. Think about it - if you had the choice would your default desire be to pay for something once or to keep paying for it over and over again?

Because of this customer expectations are often high with membership sites. Often this has to do with continuously providing more and more content, which can be fun but it's certainly a ton of work depending on the nature of the site and content.

My point is simply that membership sites are never a cake walk no matter how you slice it (pardon the pun ).

2) The attrition rate with most membership sites is high

This is a biggie and is rarely if ever discussed on a sales page nor highlighted enough in the training materials themselves.

The attrition rate - the rate at which customers cancel or fall out of the membership - is quite high with most membership sites. Why is this?

Well, truth is there are a ton of factors. Maybe the content wasn't good enough in their view, maybe there wasn't enough interaction, maybe the membership itself is not at all consistent with the premise under which they purchased in the first place.

Whatever the case, the idea that "you never have to look for more customers" in a membership model is complete and utter bunk.

On the contrary, to maintain a consistent and thriving income you ALWAYS need to be attracting new customers. That's because your existing customers will be dropping out at a much higher rate that you may think.

Sure, there are things you can do to offset this attrition and good courses will always cover this.

However the fundamental element of human nature will always be present - so regardless of what you do a certain attrition rate WILL exist. There's no getting around it.

3) A membership model is NOT a business model

This is the biggest thing to remember, and it's one that most are completely oblivious to seeing.

At its core, membership is simply a structure for product delivery and payment receiving. And that's all it is.

A membership model does NOT create what your business fundamentally is to your customers. Specifically:

- If you don't understand your target market, a membership model won't magically fix that
- If you don't provide something your target market WANTS, a membership model won't magically fix that
- If your training or information products are severely deficient, a membership model won't magically fix that

I can't emphasize this point enough. A membership model is only a structure. If your business is lacking the core fundamentals then it won't matter one lick what structure you are using.

The point is not to get seduced into thinking a membership model is the magic bullet that will solve all your problems.

Quick story:

Several years ago shortly after I first started marketing to real estate investors, I had this "great idea" to start a membership site for the industry. I too fell in love with the idea of "ongoing recurring income", because heck, who wouldn't want that?

I decided that my membership site would be filled with real estate articles, a forum, a killer knowledge base...all the same stuff that everyone says to put into a really good membership site.

I also decided I would make it "top notch" by having my web programmer build it from scratch. I spent close to $8,000 (yep, 8 grand) developing the site so it would be exactly the way I wanted it.

And I must say, it was damn impressive. It was miles better than anything else in the real estate industry and I was really proud of that.

But here was the problem: The customers didn't want to pay for a membership! And if I had opened my freakin' eyes rather than become completely seduced by the membership model, I would have seen it clear as day.

It was right in front of me. There were already several HUGE free forums people were flocking to in real estate, and there was no evidence whatsoever that existing customer behavior would have them paying for a membership site. None.

And guess what? They wouldn't pay for it. Gee, who'da thunk it?

So after (gulp) $8K spent and a couple months working that sucker to the bone, I folded it and moved on to something else based on actual evidence that customers WANTED it and were more than willing to pay for it. Within a couple months I was back up to a solid and growing 5 figure monthly income.

Here's the moral of the story:

Do not be seduced by strategy - membership or otherwise.

Focus on your underlying business model as well as providing what your customers want. If the strategy matches these things then move forward. If not, pass and don't think twice.

You'll be glad you did.

Best regards,
Ken
#continuity #income #lies #membership
  • Profile picture of the author LB
    I think that ridiculously high churn rates are a problem especially in the IM niche with many customers joining for only one or two months and then leaving. In many cases it would be more profitable to simply sell a one-time product rather than try for membership income. This is especially true if you are a beginner and may not have competitive content to offer each month.

    On that same note, if you create a truly "sticky" site that people "can't live without" they will be happy to pay monthly for it.

    Keep in mind that in the "real" non-IM world, membership fees are typically substantially lower.

    It kills me to see a lot of beginners charging $97 per month for a site and then two months later it's closed.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alminc
      Excellent post Ken.

      I would just add here that those who romantically picture the membership model as the magical solution for lasting recurring income are most often those who sell membership scripts and plugins. They try to introduce the software itself as the magical, powerful income producing machine that you just need to install and presto - recurring income is born...while the software is actually just a tool as any html editor and will never produce one single dollar without the investment of tremendous human efforts in content creation, marketing and entertaining.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Lorence
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    • Profile picture of the author JasonParker
      I get what you're saying... and I know there's always some #1 strategy buzzing throughout the IM world. I actually believe it IS best though, having watched a friend rake in 6 figures per month with his newsletter for a while. It takes no more energy to write a newsletter for 100 people than it does 10,000.
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      • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
        Originally Posted by JasonParker View Post

        I get what you're saying... and I know there's always some #1 strategy buzzing throughout the IM world. I actually believe it IS best though, having watched a friend rake in 6 figures per month with his newsletter for a while. It takes no more energy to write a newsletter for 100 people than it does 10,000.

        In the same way that it takes no more work to sell 10,000 copies of an information product than it does to sell 100 copies of an information product.

        You really do have to ask yourself the question: Would it be simpler just to sell a series of related information products rather than creating a paid membership site?

        The work load is similar.




        There is a TON of work in running a successful membership site and the attrition rate on some membership sites can be exceptionally high.

        Most people think that the majority of members they recruit will stay in as paying membes and in most membership sites it's the opposite.

        With a great membership site you might lose 10% to 25%+ of your paid members each month.

        Do the maths on that and you'll realize how much constant promotion you have to do to maintain your income.

        What hasn't been mentioned in this post though is that there are many other ways to monetize a membership site.

        The membership site fees is just one of them and in many cases is not the largest income for a membership site owner.

        Kindest regards,
        Andrew Cavanagh
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        • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
          Originally Posted by marcanthony View Post

          I couldn't agree more.

          Here's my take...

          I think that the whole continuity program wave is just another sign of the times. Now I'm not suggesting that these types of programs are anything new. But in the IM world, continuity programs have been getting more attention lately.

          This is has been the cycle:

          1. Popular marketer does a video telling us how they have a program that is going to change our lives.
          2. In the video they brag about how their system has already helped others and that it's the very same system that they personally use.
          3. They call their other popular marketing buddies to JV with them.
          4. We start to receive multiple emails that have 95% of the exact same content. The other 5% of the email is a bonus product that normally sales for hundreds of dollars any other time.
          5. After a week of watching promo videos and getting emails, the product is launched.
          6. Now it's time for 50,000 people to fight for 500 available spots.
          7. After the 500 spots are filled the doors close.
          8. Then miraculously the doors re-open and a few hundred more spots are then filled.
          This exact same process is then copied and pasted by 10 other marketers each of which will do the exact same thing 2 or 3 times in the same year.

          This happens over and over again each year. The same exact program is delivered with a new facade and slightly new material. The improvements are comparable to the enhancements made from Madden 07' to Madden 08'.

          It's such monotonous cycle. Although, some memberships are better than others. Like porn memberships... I've never been unsatisfied with any of those.

          Overall, it's a very smart and effective way to do business if done properly.

          But that's just my take...
          Marc...

          You forgot one very important step between product launch
          filling the 500 seats...

          The server crashes and a flurry of frantic emails go out
          whipping the theretofore non clickers into a frenzy... lol

          Tsnyder
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          • Profile picture of the author GlenH
            Totally 1000% spot on..Marc and Tsnyder.

            I seem to remember about a year ago there was also a bunch of products released about the membership site model.

            And the same thing back in 2006.
            .
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        • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
          Originally Posted by marcanthony View Post

          I couldn't agree more.

          Here's my take...

          I think that the whole continuity program wave is just another sign of the times. Now I'm not suggesting that these types of programs are anything new. But in the IM world, continuity programs have been getting more attention lately.
          You're so right when you say continuity programs aren't new.

          I have book club ads with $1 book offers and even book sets with fancy bookcase for $1 going back decades.

          And online continuity is not new either...think of one of the biggest money earners online...porn sites.

          But it is a model internet marketers seem to be experimenting more with these days.

          The idea that a membership site is "set and forget" is stupid and misleading in my opinion.

          You're going to have to work really hard to provide value to members and you'll also have to work really hard to get as steady supply of new members just to replace the ones who don't renew.

          It's just another form of marketing that suits some niches and lists perfectly and others not so well.

          Kindest regards,
          Andrew Cavanagh
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    • Profile picture of the author lpstoops
      I have to agree. I've tried the membership site route, and though I disagree with you, it is very profitable if done well, I didn't like the immense amounts of work it took on my part to keep the members happy and active.

      I think that the ones who really push membership sites to other marketers are the ones who often have a pre-existing staff handling the leg work. Now I could be wrong and I'll accept the criticism, because I've never had a staff working for me...just myself running my business.

      If you're looking for something easy and low maintenance, this is not the solution.
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      • Profile picture of the author Eric Louviere
        A. If I'm reading this thread right, and it is criticizing membership sites and continuity and salesletter techniques, then it's the stupidest thread I've ever read in the history of this forum, period.

        IMO, Chris has hit on about every point I was thinking reading through this.

        And, what type of RE membership site was it? RE Investing... RE agents??

        So, let me get this right, because this has got to be the most ridiculous thread I've ever read. Ken put in eight k into a membership site that did not work, so now... be careful because membership sites, continutiy, sales letter techniques, etc etc dont work and are lies??

        Lies???

        LIES??

        Am I the only one that see's this as total BS?

        Ok, I must have had someone slip something into my cherry coke. I'm not thinking right tonight. I MUST have not read this thread right and I MUST have missed the point. I sure hope so, because it seems a ton of people are chiming in supporting how all of this is LIES.

        alright, maybe I'm talking to the wrong people.

        NEWBIES or those of you who have not made squat online, listen and listen good.

        MEMBERSHIP SITES, CONTINUITY, NEWSLETTERS, AUTO-RESPONDER MEMBERSHIP SITES, ALL THAT --- INCLUDING "SALESLETTERS THAT SELL AND USE PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUES" WORK AND THEY WORK DAMN GOOD IN A WHOLE BUNCH OF MARKETS WITH PASSIONATE BUYERS!

        IT IS ONE OF THE VERY BEST --- YES, BUSINESS MODELS/SALES PROCESSES/SYSTEMS/WHATEVER YOU WANT TO LABEL IT --- WAYS TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE

        And, yes, it takes work. The entire existence of mankind "works" to earn big money. What does not take work?? Is there really that many people here that think you can flip a switch, go to sleep and earn six figures doing nothing?

        But listen, you really can create a dripped membership site that drips content over a long period of time, even a year or more. where you put in work, but earn over and over and over again.

        CHURN: Of course there's churn. You lose people on one end, do everything you can to increase stickyness, and bring people in on the other end.

        NEWBIES: one of the best things you can do is learn/master how to drive traffic constantly. It's why so many never make squat. Once you have that down, you just continue driving traffic.

        But wait, isnt that work too? Of course it is. It takes work to manage PPC campaigns. You can outsource that though if you like freeing up your time. It's all a process, not flip of a switch.

        Ok, ok, ok... maybe for some crazy weird strange reason they dont work in the RE market at all. I mean all of the RE market came together and said, "lets never ever buy into a membership site". I mean, the RE market is just not passionate.

        Hell, I just realized. If this is RE agents market (helping RE agents make more, etc) then I know of a membership site that's huge and awesome from what I gather. Is this RE investing then? 'Cause that's a huge, passionate market.

        Anyway, normally, I'd just stay out of this stupid thread and let everyone just throw daggers at the gurus, but c'mon. LIES??

        Unbelievable. Listen, if you want to make money, sell stuff. Stop listening to people bitch about marketing tactics. It'll get you nowhere. I can just imagine, some newbie came along thinking of running a membership site. Maybe they bought said launch. They are motivated and excited. Then, they come along and read this piece of garbage and give up.

        Total, 100%, slam dunk BS

        LIES??

        Stupid

        Eric
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        • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
          Originally Posted by Eric Louviere View Post

          A. If I'm reading this thread right, and it is criticizing membership sites and continuity and salesletter techniques, then it's the stupidest thread I've ever read in the history of this forum, period.

          IMO, Chris has hit on about every point I was thinking reading through this.

          And, what type of RE membership site was it? RE Investing... RE agents??

          So, let me get this right, because this has got to be the most ridiculous thread I've ever read. Ken put in eight k into a membership site that did not work, so now... be careful because membership sites, continutiy, sales letter techniques, etc etc dont work and are lies??

          Lies???

          LIES??

          Am I the only one that see's this as total BS?

          Ok, I must have had someone slip something into my cherry coke. I'm not thinking right tonight. I MUST have not read this thread right and I MUST have missed the point. I sure hope so, because it seems a ton of people are chiming in supporting how all of this is LIES.

          alright, maybe I'm talking to the wrong people.

          NEWBIES or those of you who have not made squat online, listen and listen good.

          MEMBERSHIP SITES, CONTINUITY, NEWSLETTERS, AUTO-RESPONDER MEMBERSHIP SITES, ALL THAT --- INCLUDING "SALESLETTERS THAT SELL AND USE PERSUASIVE TECHNIQUES" WORK AND THEY WORK DAMN GOOD IN A WHOLE BUNCH OF MARKETS WITH PASSIONATE BUYERS!

          IT IS ONE OF THE VERY BEST --- YES, BUSINESS MODELS/SALES PROCESSES/SYSTEMS/WHATEVER YOU WANT TO LABEL IT --- WAYS TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE

          And, yes, it takes work. The entire existence of mankind "works" to earn big money. What does not take work?? Is there really that many people here that think you can flip a switch, go to sleep and earn six figures doing nothing?

          But listen, you really can create a dripped membership site that drips content over a long period of time, even a year or more. where you put in work, but earn over and over and over again.

          CHURN: Of course there's churn. You lose people on one end, do everything you can to increase stickyness, and bring people in on the other end.

          NEWBIES: one of the best things you can do is learn/master how to drive traffic constantly. It's why so many never make squat. Once you have that down, you just continue driving traffic.

          But wait, isnt that work too? Of course it is. It takes work to manage PPC campaigns. You can outsource that though if you like freeing up your time. It's all a process, not flip of a switch.

          Ok, ok, ok... maybe for some crazy weird strange reason they dont work in the RE market at all. I mean all of the RE market came together and said, "lets never ever buy into a membership site". I mean, the RE market is just not passionate.

          Hell, I just realized. If this is RE agents market (helping RE agents make more, etc) then I know of a membership site that's huge and awesome from what I gather. Is this RE investing then? 'Cause that's a huge, passionate market.

          Anyway, normally, I'd just stay out of this stupid thread and let everyone just throw daggers at the gurus, but c'mon. LIES??

          Unbelievable. Listen, if you want to make money, sell stuff. Stop listening to people bitch about marketing tactics. It'll get you nowhere. I can just imagine, some newbie came along thinking of running a membership site. Maybe they bought said launch. They are motivated and excited. Then, they come along and read this piece of garbage and give up.

          Total, 100%, slam dunk BS

          LIES??

          Stupid

          Eric
          Yep Eric, you're right. This "piece of garbage" thread I started is so stupid that 35 people (so far) have thanked me for it - including several highly respected members of this forum.

          And yes, I'm sure hundreds of marketers will "give up" as a result of reading it. Give me a break.

          Some thoughts for you to consider.

          1) For gosh sakes man, the title was to get people to open the thread. You as an ultra-accomplished marketer should know this. Yikes. Don't look now Eric but YOU are bitching about a marketing tactic.

          2) Even though maaaannnny people have taken this thread far away from it's original premise, that premise still remains the same: don't look at continuity income as a magic pill. It ain't. And a number of people with real-life membership site experience have agreed on this thread for just that reason: it ain't a magic pill (which was clearly the point of the thread - did you bother reading my follow-up posts to get things back to the premise of the OP?)

          3) You and I both know that many new and intermediate marketers look at the concept of "ongoing recurring income" as the be-all-end-all. And don't get me wrong, it's fantastic....but ONLY within the context of a solid business approach that focuses on the key things you yourself stated. (Don't look now Eric but we actually agree - you said the exact same thing I did but in your own words, which is to stay focused on the most important business fundamentals)

          4) You and I also know that a lot of what gets stated on sales pages for said membership training products is over-generalized BULLSHIT. Let's not pretend this isn't the case. This was NOT a bashing post. I'm simply relaying what happens to be a valuable real-life example about how operating with blinders on as to what's real can be detrimental. That's not valuable to someone who's newer or just starting out? Come on.

          Bottom line - there's an interesting discussion going on here with insights that are benefiting a lot of folks. I couldn't really care less how you took what I personally wrote, but why come in and crap on what is clearly an interesting and valuable discussion to many here?

          Ken
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          • Profile picture of the author lpstoops
            Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

            Yep Eric, you're right. This "piece of garbage" thread I started is so stupid that 35 people (so far) have thanked me for it - including several highly respected members of this forum.

            And yes, I'm sure hundreds of marketers will "give up" as a result of reading it. Give me a break.

            Some thoughts for you to consider.

            1) For gosh sakes man, the title was to get people to open the thread. You as an ultra-accomplished marketer should know this. Yikes. Don't look now Eric but YOU are bitching about a marketing tactic.

            2) Even though maaaannnny people have taken this thread far away from it's original premise, that premise still remains the same: don't look at continuity income as a magic pill. It ain't. And a number of people with real-life membership site experience have agreed on this thread for just that reason: it ain't a magic pill (which was clearly the point of the thread - did you bother reading my follow-up posts to get things back to the premise of the OP?)

            3) You and I both know that many new and intermediate marketers look at the concept of "ongoing recurring income" as the be-all-end-all. And don't get me wrong, it's fantastic....but ONLY within the context of a solid business approach that focuses on the key things you yourself stated. (Don't look now Eric but we actually agree - you said the exact same thing I did but in your own words, which is to stay focused on the most important business fundamentals)

            4) You and I also know that a lot of what gets stated on sales pages for said membership training products is over-generalized BULLSHIT. Let's not pretend this isn't the case. This was NOT a bashing post. I'm simply relaying what happens to be a valuable real-life example about how operating with blinders on as to what's real can be detrimental. That's not valuable to someone who's newer or just starting out? Come on.

            Bottom line - there's an interesting discussion going on here with insights that are benefiting a lot of folks. I couldn't really care less how you took what I personally wrote, but why come in and crap on what is clearly an interesting and valuable discussion to many here?

            Ken
            Thanks for defending what you were writing. It's important to express truth when you know it to the masses that read this stuff. Much of the crap spread around the net to unsuspecting newbie's is pure hype with about 1% of fact. There some reality in this thread that really should be read by those of you who are trying to start your online business. If you're just getting into this industry, take to heart what's being said here. Learn to read between the lies, ooops, Lines, in order to make the most accurate and wise decision.

            Many 'guru' have the sob story for why it took them so long to make a red cent online. IT'S BECAUSE SO MANY OTHER MERKETERS WERE FEEDING THEM GARBAGE. There are many out there that are sharing knowledge that can actually make you a lot of money if you apply it! There are even more sending you down a rabbit hole and walking away with your money...don't be one of them (I'm talking to you marketers, not the newbie's)....
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            • Profile picture of the author cashcorpinc
              I make a little over $50K a month in continuity revenue in the... wait on it... REAL ESTATE niche.

              Maybe you DO need the "flavor of the month" course to learn how to do it CORRECTLY.

              If you're in ANY niche, selling info or consumables, and you are NOT using continuity, you should be ashamed to call yourself a marketer.
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              • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
                Originally Posted by cashcorpinc View Post

                I make a little over $50K a month in continuity revenue in the... wait on it... REAL ESTATE niche.

                Maybe you DO need the "flavor of the month" course to learn how to do it CORRECTLY.

                If you're in ANY niche, selling info or consumables, and you are NOT using continuity, you should be ashamed to call yourself a marketer.
                Hmmm...let's see here....

                1) You just joined the forum last month
                2) You aren't using your real name and instead hiding behind a username
                3) You've provided ZERO specifics or substantiation as to your supposed $50k per month in continuity income

                Maybe you should read my OP again. The lesson I learned was early on in my marketing career.

                Since then I've been full-time for five years and have generated over $5 million in revenue in...yes...the real estate investing niche. So with all due respect the last person I need advice from is you.

                And for the 27th time I never said continuity models were bad!!! I said they are not a magic pill nor a substitute for an underlying business model.

                Instead of useless brick throwing how about offering some value to the thread that can....gee I dunno....HELP people?

                Respectfully,
                Ken
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                • Profile picture of the author Rod Cortez
                  I actually agree with the heart of Ken and Eric's posts within their proper context (except the BS part). I think some people took Ken's post a little out of context. Here's my take on it: I think Ken made an excellent point in bringing the REALITY that membership sites take work and that generally the salesmanship behind the promotion can be quite hypey. And I've been writing copy for well over a decade (longer if you include direct mail) in a variety of niches.

                  I didn't see anywhere where Ken said membership sites were bad, he was just busting out the reality that it's NOT easy and be careful with some of the promises that have been made.

                  Eric's passion came through and totally understand it because membership sites can and DO work, very effectively, which I think ties into Ken's post much more than he realized because if you focus on the underlying business and not solely on the strategy then it can possibly work for you.

                  Like anything else, there are a lot of variables to consider. Ken's bottom line was not to be "seduced by strategy" and I agree with that. The take away I got from Eric's post was that continuity programs can and do work and that it's a great strategy.

                  I saw two sides of the same coin. Awright, where's my coffee grinder?

                  RoD
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                • Profile picture of the author lpstoops
                  Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

                  Hmmm...let's see here....

                  1) You just joined the forum last month
                  2) You aren't using your real name and instead hiding behind a username
                  3) You've provided ZERO specifics or substantiation as to your supposed $50k per month in continuity income

                  Maybe you should read my OP again. The lesson I learned was early on in my marketing career.

                  Since then I've been full-time for five years and have generated over $5 million in revenue in...yes...the real estate investing niche. So with all due respect the last person I need advice from is you.

                  And for the 27th time I never said continuity models were bad!!! I said they are not a magic pill nor a substitute for an underlying business model.

                  Instead of useless brick throwing how about offering some value to the thread that can....gee I dunno....HELP people?

                  Respectfully,
                  Ken
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                • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
                  Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

                  Hmmm...let's see here....

                  1) You just joined the forum last month
                  2) You aren't using your real name and instead hiding behind a username
                  3) You've provided ZERO specifics or substantiation as to your supposed $50k per month in continuity income
                  Nice try, but none of those really mean anything.

                  Someone who is new to the forum automatically doesn't know anything?

                  (Hint: new to forum doesn't necessarily = new to business.)

                  Someone who uses a username (which is the norm on most forums) automatically doesn't know anything? Would the post be more valid if it had "Joe Smith" or something on it?

                  People can't mention income without posting documentation?

                  You forgot to bash him for not having lots of posts.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
                    Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

                    Nice try, but none of those really mean anything.

                    Someone who is new to the forum automatically doesn't know anything?

                    (Hint: new to forum doesn't necessarily = new to business.)

                    Someone who uses a username (which is the norm on most forums) automatically doesn't know anything? Would the post be more valid if it had "Joe Smith" or something on it?

                    People can't mention income without posting documentation?

                    You forgot to bash him for not having lots of posts.
                    Chris,

                    After reading your reply on Ryan's blog as well as your two comments above, I get it dude. You're defending your friend Ryan. That's all good - I applaud loyalty.

                    Here's the funny thing about all this. I never bashed any person OR any method. Not once. Even Ryan knows that. Heck, he's grateful to me right now because I've given his launch more publicity.

                    All I did was create a provocative post title then write a post that makes what many on this thread have taken as an important point - one I will reiterate yet again:

                    Membership models are not a magic pill. The sales pages make them out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, yet a lot of people (including many who have responded on this thread) have struggled big-time with them even after following the specific advice of whatever course they bought. Why?

                    Because (again)....membership models are not a magic pill.

                    That's all this thread is about. Nothing more, nothing less.

                    Best regards,
                    Ken

                    P.S. I'm actually chucking out loud right now. Ryan used the word "BASHED" in his blog post title for the exact same reason I used the word "LIES" here - to get people to read it! Don't know about anyone else but I just gotta say...this marketing game is plain ol' fun.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Jason Moffatt
                      Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

                      Chris,

                      After reading your reply on Ryan's blog as well as your two comments above, I get it dude. You're defending your friend Ryan. That's all good - I applaud loyalty.

                      Here's the funny thing about all this. I never bashed any person OR any method. Not once. Even Ryan knows that. Heck, he's grateful to me right now because I've given his launch more publicity.

                      All I did was create a provocative post title then write a post that makes what many on this thread have taken as an important point - one I will reiterate yet again:

                      Membership models are not a magic pill. The sales pages make them out to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, yet a lot of people (including many who have responded on this thread) have struggled big-time with them even after following the specific advice of whatever course they bought. Why?

                      Because (again)....membership models are not a magic pill.

                      That's all this thread is about. Nothing more, nothing less.

                      Best regards,
                      Ken

                      P.S. I'm actually chucking out loud right now. Ryan used the word "BASHED" in his blog post title for the exact same reason I used the word "LIES" here - to get people to read it! Don't know about anyone else but I just gotta say...this marketing game is plain ol' fun.

                      So with this rational, I guess it's okay for me to make a post titled...

                      Ebook Sellers = F%$#ing Dickhead Scam Artists

                      ... just so I can get the thread opened right?

                      And then of course in the post I'll elude to who the ebook sellers are but
                      won't actually have the balls to call em out by name?

                      Hey, it's all just controversy to get my message heard so it's okay, right?

                      If you are going to throw around words like "Lies", you better have some
                      substantial proof, and have the balls to tell us who these Liars are.

                      That's my take on it.
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                      • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
                        Originally Posted by Jason Moffatt View Post

                        So with this rational, I guess it's okay for me to make a post titled...

                        Ebook Sellers = F%$#ing Dickhead Scam Artists

                        ... just so I can get the thread opened right?

                        And then of course in the post I'll elude to who the ebook sellers are but
                        won't actually have the balls to call em out by name?

                        Hey, it's all just controversy to get my message heard so it's okay, right?

                        If you are going to throw around words like "Lies", you better have some
                        substantial proof, and have the balls to tell us who these Liars are.

                        That's my take on it.
                        Yay - the king of getting attention chimes in.

                        Based on your reasoning we should eliminate the "Death of...." reports and all such things that create the feel of controversy.

                        No worries on my end. I indicted no person or product in what I wrote. Most importantly I made my points crystal clear and the significant majority of folks have received the intended lesson I was bringing across.

                        Best regards,
                        Ken
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                  • Profile picture of the author Jason Fladlien
                    I've seen Ryan at seminars before giving presentation on his continuity models.

                    The way Ryan does it is probably the easiest, simplest and most effective way to set up continuity programs. Almost all strategies rely on intelligent ways to either get others to create content for you, or to use continuity based programs that don't involve delivering INFORMATION each month.

                    The example he gave at one seminar was this -- you're in a continuity program for car insurance. In this case, you actually pay each month to NOT use the service being offered! (I'd love to create a similar continuity program like that!)

                    Most people have a limited scope on continuity -- they only think membership sites with information being pubilshed, and the person running the membership site is publishing the information. That is the HARDEST continuity model to follow.

                    By far, the easiest is "interview an expert". Each month you get an expert on the phone for two hours and talk to them. This works unbelievably well in niches that are "information starved" and there are several of those out there.

                    Also, software application sites are easy. In this case, they have to pay to continue to have access to the software and/or application. No content to create. You can hire people to handle customer service. Turnkey.

                    I know people who run continuity programs in the way Ryan teaches, and it is by far the easiest money I've ever seen created on the internet. So why be so resistant to such powerful methods?

                    -Jason
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                  • Profile picture of the author Mary Greene
                    Good morning!

                    Over on Continuity Blueprint, Ryan Deiss. . . one of the more honest, decent marketers to walk this earth. . . is brushing off the "lies" dust and offering Ken free entrance into his membership to see some new possibilities for his business.

                    Controversy sells. . .

                    But how about trying more cooperation and civility to succeed?

                    Sure, we had a lively discussion, but did most people walk away with more clarity. . . or just that sinking feeling that nothing works online? Meanwhile, in Allen's War Room, cooperation and civility are getting everybody more fired up and productive than I've seen in years.

                    Let's try it here.

                    Some gurus deserve to be bashed for ripping people off, and the Warrior Forum puts them in their place FAST. But when people as successful as Eric and others on this thread, when people as super successful as Ryan Deiss offer free advice, why not learn something from them we didn't know yet about memberships?

                    Ryan's free videos alone were certainly good enough to give me plenty of ideas until I can afford the higher-ticket item.

                    P.S. Sometimes servers really do crash.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Alminc
                    One of the big problems with launching a membership site is that
                    people are already offering a LOT of GREAT membership based content
                    so cheap that it is very, very hard to compete. This of course depends
                    on niche but in order to, at least theoretically, make some decent
                    money, chances are you must choose rather competitive niche.

                    'Overdelivering' is what customers (members) expect from you, plus
                    you must be unique in some way, you must have some strong USP.
                    In order to survive (at first) and succeed it is not enough to offer
                    'tons of content/products' (everyone is offering that), but you must
                    rise above your competition which can be very expencive and risky.
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              • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
                Originally Posted by cashcorpinc View Post

                I make a little over $50K a month in continuity revenue in the... wait on it... REAL ESTATE niche.

                Maybe you DO need the "flavor of the month" course to learn how to do it CORRECTLY.

                If you're in ANY niche, selling info or consumables, and you are NOT using continuity, you should be ashamed to call yourself a marketer.
                I think the original post might have been made by a situation where "testing" was not an integral part of the business model.

                Before I would drop 8K on anything I would certainly test to see if it was something people wanted.

                I have had a membership program for a little over a year now with very little attrition but it cost very little to implement other than an email or two from current subscribers to a list that cost nothing essentially.

                The key is to find exactly what people want and area willing to pay for, then once you know that, you simply exceed their monthly expectations with good content.

                Is it work? of course, but there certainly is an element of leverage and consistency for selling one product to a select group of people each and every month.

                If it takes you one day to fulfill, and you have 100 members paying 10 bucks per month, that's a pretty good day's pay for anyone. And you don't even have to quit your day job.

                The gurus might gloss over the drawbacks and some important details, but the concept is still a good one. You just have to spend as little as possible testing your niche before you roll out.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alice Seba
            Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

            Yep Eric, you're right. This "piece of garbage" thread I started is so stupid that 35 people (so far) have thanked me for it - including several highly respected members of this forum.
            Keep in mind that people will always thank you for validating their self-limiting thoughts.

            I think you're critiquing sales copy as opposed to critiquing a method of making money. I'm not into the over-the-top promise-the-world stuff either, but a membership/subscription model IS the way to ensure a steady income online.

            Problem is, most IMers (that probably includes a large number of the people who thanked you) don't want to work hard and can't stay focused on a project long enough to make it work.

            YES...membership sites are hard work, but (Ken, "you" is used figuratively here...I'm not speaking directly to you):

            1. No one says you have to do all the work. When you plan your membership PLAN the costs of outsourcing. If you can't crunch the numbers to afford hiring help, don't do it.

            2. It's not that much work when you focus on making 1 project work before you pile on a ton more.

            Retaining members is a challenge, but it's a challenge that can be met if:

            1. You get help keeping the membership valuable (oh yeah, outsourcing and getting help!).

            2. You keep your focus on the 1 project before moving onto another. Get to know your target market and REALLY deliver to them (oh yeah, that focus thing again).

            I feel a bit like a broken record. For those who want to hear it, I think you get the point.

            Alice
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    You are absolutely correct.
    • Its not easy
    • People don't want to keep paying
    • If there isn't something new in there each time a person logs on its like they aren't getting their money's worth --and I mean EACH time a person logs on.
    • There is always some new gimmick or technique that lures them away
    • Its NOT a business model
    All your points are dead on - I just felt the need to post them again.

    As for the guy who writes a newsletter - thats different. If its a typical newsletter you are delivering it to Them - they get it, read it, end of story til the next issue.
    With a membership site they are "coming to your house" - the expectation is different.

    Besides I think there have been so many "membership sites" that have disappointed people that the expectation is greater now.

    Personally I have belonged to many that were never upgraded each month even though the owners would leave messages that "new stuff is coming soon". Some I paid a lot of money each month to belong to.

    A couple are with some really big name in the industry.

    The bottom line, its a lot of work and I dont' think people realize that before they create one.

    End of my rant
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    • Profile picture of the author Careygee
      Originally Posted by Debbie Songster View Post

      You are absolutely correct.
      • Its not easy
      • People don't want to keep paying
      • If there isn't something new in there each time a person logs on its like they aren't getting their money's worth --and I mean EACH time a person logs on.
      • There is always some new gimmick or technique that lures them away
      • Its NOT a business model
      All your points are dead on - I just felt the need to post them again.

      As for the guy who writes a newsletter - thats different. If its a typical newsletter you are delivering it to Them - they get it, read it, end of story til the next issue.
      With a membership site they are "coming to your house" - the expectation is different.

      Besides I think there have been so many "membership sites" that have disappointed people that the expectation is greater now.

      Personally I have belonged to many that were never upgraded each month even though the owners would leave messages that "new stuff is coming soon". Some I paid a lot of money each month to belong to.

      A couple are with some really big name in the industry.

      The bottom line, its a lot of work and I dont' think people realize that before they create one.

      End of my rant
      Yes, this thread is pretty well dead on.
      I started one in 2006 and found out much of the above.

      The main point is above (In Red) and it pertains to the biggest problem
      that is not pointed out. In 2006 I found that out.

      I am now working on a site which I started in Feb of 2008 and
      I need a few more things done to be qualified to be able to
      launch and call it a true quality site and apply most of the above
      comments to the site's structure to be fair to customers and to
      stand the test of time.
      Over 8 months and counting.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
        It's only a lot of work if you set it up to be such. And members only expect what they sign up for

        In fact, a huge mistake newbies make is investing huge amounts of time doing all the work of setting up a full-blown site without first proving the site will actually sell.

        They model other sites (without any real idea if that site is actually profitable) and keep churning out masses of content thinking that is what keeps people interested. It's not, or at least it's only a small part of it.

        Like any model there are tips and tricks to learn that make it so much easier than most people believe.

        And like most things it's a matter of perception and beliefs.
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        • Profile picture of the author John S. Rhodes
          There are many different types and flavors of membership models:

          * restricted access to special content
          * autoresponder memberships
          * 1-time fee memberships
          * secure forum memberships

          I could generate a fairly large list of memberships. My point is that
          you might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Before I
          go on, I want to agree with you:

          * memberships can take a lot of work -- but not ALL of them do
          * memberships face attrition -- but it's often a slow decline over time
          * memberships are not business models -- but they are part of models

          Let's really investigate one big issue: attrition. If you have a membership
          that only requires a 1-time fee then there is no attrition. Sure, there
          might be refunds, but you don't exactly face attrition. You can make
          a lot of money from these memberships and they can be low work.
          They can also be used to deliver a ton of value. Everyone wins.

          You're making some outstanding points but you're also making it
          seem like memberships are evil. They can be wonderful. They can
          be relatively low work, especially in relation to the ROI.

          ~ John
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          • Profile picture of the author Lance K
            Originally Posted by John S. Rhodes View Post

            * autoresponder memberships
            John, was it necessary to include that link in the list to get your point across?
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          • Profile picture of the author pjs
            Originally Posted by John S. Rhodes View Post

            You're making some outstanding points but you're also making it
            seem like memberships are evil. They can be wonderful. They can
            be relatively low work, especially in relation to the ROI.

            ~ John
            Good point. I own a membership service and there was a lot of work up front but I built it with "automated" in mind so now most of my work for the service is the marketing for it.
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        • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
          I broadly agree with the substance of the OP, but I think Kyle makes an excellent point:

          Originally Posted by Kyle Tully View Post

          It's only a lot of work if you set it up to be such. And members only expect what they sign up for.
          Many successful membership sites merely provide a weekly or monthly newsletter - you only need to be setting up massive content, forums etc. if that is what you've led your prospective members to expect.

          But, yes. Some of the claims being made in the big launches are a bit OTT.


          Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
    Nice post Ken, the key line in that whole post to me is this:

    Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

    3) A membership model is NOT a business model
    I've seen it time and time again where someone thinks all they need is the perfect membership model and they'll magically succeed despite not thinking about any of the other factors involved in their business.

    While I admit I'm a little biased (notice my sig link ) and do think, when done right, membership sites are a very effective model, there is definitely a certain naivety in regards to what it takes to create a successful site -- but then that makes it no different to every other model out there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Junaid Gamieldien
    I'm sure that it really is market specific. For example, who would subscribe to a "How To Get Your Ex Back" membership site?

    But I suspect that the price point would be market specific too and is a big determinant in the potential success of a membership site.

    I suspect that in some niches it would probably be easier to reach 1000 subscribers at $10 per month using a $5-$10 front-end funnel than it would to get 500 at $20 per month using a more expensive (or even the same) front end.

    Just thinking out loud...
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    • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
      True enough Junaid, but there certainly could be a market for a Monthly Relationship Advice type continuity with a focus to getting someone back or seducing someone new.

      In most markets there is a continuity model that works, challenge is to find out what it is and link your knowledge to that opportunity.

      In my case, I have seen many more successful membership sites built by people who are already selling products and services into that market and determine from customer demand, the desire behind a continuity offer.

      In my own case, I sold information products and delivered personal coaching for almost 4-years before seeing a clear opportunity for continuity - it was a no-miss because my customer base had been asking for it for years.

      Jeff

      Originally Posted by Junaid Gamieldien View Post

      I'm sure that it really is market specific. For example, who would subscribe to a "How To Get Your Ex Back" membership site?

      But I suspect that the price point would be market specific too and is a big determinant in the potential success of a membership site.

      I suspect that in some niches it would probably be easier to reach 1000 subscribers at $10 per month using a $5-$10 front-end funnel than it would to get 500 at $20 per month using a more expensive (or even the same) front end.

      Just thinking out loud...
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    Ken started this with
    'Tis that time of year when someone comes out with a major launch relating to the "best IM strategy in existence": making continuity income through membership sites.
    Continuity income through memberships

    John you bring up some good points on the types of memberships but a couple of those are not continuity programs. If there is no monthly fee then the attrition rate is going to be extremely low if at all.

    Carygee - I can identify with you. I know how much work has gone into mine.

    And yes Kyle - a membership site is just like any other business venture. You need to see if there is a market for it before investing time and money.

    I'm sure numerous people have started membership sites thinking its going to be a walk in the park and the current sales climate is trying to make membership sites look as easy as writing an article.

    I would bet money that the vast majority of people who started one didn't have a clue how much was involved until they were knee deep in the project and felt obligated to continue.

    I'm close enough to Vegas - where do I place my wager - I'd probably win this one
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  • Profile picture of the author OnlineMasterMind
    Did you read his disclaimer at the bottom?
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  • Profile picture of the author Amy Bass
    I can tell you that the membership site I am running (see my signature) is FAR from being a passive or easy income.

    My members expect a lot out of me and I spend several hours a day making sure I over-deliver. So I totally agree with you when you say it is not easy.

    However, I do need to say... It is one of the most fulfilling projects I have ever embarked on. I get a lot of joy and satisfaction being able to get to know and work one on one with so many awesome people.
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  • Profile picture of the author ragnartm
    Just thought I'd bring up the point that one of the Membership Income Model launches is all about making others do the work for you, jv with someone set up the site and have them do all the information it also mentions the attrition rate, saying 20% falloff per month is to be expected or something like that.. One of the things I noticed is that he makes it sound easy to get them to do the work for you and still get only 50% or at all, also I don't remember him saying anything about the massive effort needed to promote it.

    I know a few people that have successful membership sites, and the ones that haven't outsourced support etc, are saying that yes it is a giant time eater, however if you manage to outsource most of the on site work for a reasonable price, having a membership site is a good moneymaker(or so they say). However some of them believe in simply using the membership model as a way to build their list virally with a product of theirs, as well as a place to set up OTOs. All of these sites are IM related though, don't know anyone that owns a non IM related membership site I think.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ernie Lo
    Ken you have made some excellent points, and yes they probably not as easy as some make them out to be.

    But the bottom line is $$$.

    And it just makes smart business sense to run a membership site because, you are going to make more $$ in the long run.

    Here is a pretty simple scenario but, surely it will highlight the point I'm trying to make:

    "You can either sell a $20 report OR sell a $20/month membership site. The person is most likely to stay on for 3 months, so that's $60 VS $20 from that 1 person.

    However I know there are many variables...and it's not a cut clean case...
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Originally Posted by Ernie Lonardo View Post

      "You can either sell a $20 report OR sell a $20/month membership site. The person is most likely to stay on for 3 months, so that's $60 VS $20 from that 1 person.

      Assuming "The person is most likely to stay on for 3 months" is the biggest mistake people make.

      They will in some exceptional membership sites.

      But in the average membership site you should probably expect that half the people who sign up won't stay past the first month.

      You really have to work your arse off to create a membership site where people will stay longer than that.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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    • Profile picture of the author talfighel
      Originally Posted by Ernie Lonardo View Post

      Ken you have made some excellent points, and yes they probably not as easy as some make them out to be.

      But the bottom line is $$$.

      And it just makes smart business sense to run a membership site because, you are going to make more $$ in the long run.

      Here is a pretty simple scenario but, surely it will highlight the point I'm trying to make:

      "You can either sell a $20 report OR sell a $20/month membership site. The person is most likely to stay on for 3 months, so that's $60 VS $20 from that 1 person.

      However I know there are many variables...and it's not a cut clean case...

      Ernie is totally right. You can have a person cancel after 3 months and you still made that extra $40.

      Tal
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      • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
        That's a very short-sighted view of this business.

        A better approach would be to sell the $20 Report, move 20-30% of the most serious customers into a higher-end training package - say for $97-$597 depending on your topic, knowledge level and market.

        Then, move a large majority of them into a continuity program that will help them achieve their end goals - could be a coaching club, membership site, monthly newsletter, etc...

        Understand that in any market there will be lots of tire kickers that will buy the $20 report, but there will be a sweet spot of 20-30% that are really passionate, serious customers who should be turning into 1yr to lifetime customers.

        With a one-time sale of $20 report or membership site that keeps them for 3-months, you miss out on the monetization of the biggest opportunity within your marketplace.

        Another quick point - in any given market, there are customers that would rather pay $397 for a home study course than to pay $27/month for the same information - it's just reality, so it's good to offer a range of higher-end options.


        Originally Posted by talfighel View Post

        Ernie is totally right. You can have a person cancel after 3 months and you still made that extra $40.

        Tal
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  • Profile picture of the author Duff
    IMO setting up a membership site from scratch is hard work and i certainly found it harder than simply selling a $27 ebook. You have to make sure you have rabid buyers that won't think twice about paying $20, $50, $100 per month and as Amy said you have to provide massive value to make them stick around.

    I do have plans on setting up another membership site in a different niche but i think I'm going to do it differently. I will take one of my sites that is already profitable selling a front end ebook and then merge the membership site into the funnel and offer it as a back end offer or upsell to the ebook. Firstly though i will email my customer list and give them the opportunity to get a discount lifetime rate and gauge their response as to whether a membership model will hold up in this market.

    If so i will then roll it out to new customer. If it works great, if it doesn't well i still have a profitable site simply selling non recurring products.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Bruno
      One thing that you should realize is that the continuity business model is not only based on "membership" sites.

      Continuity can be integrated in just about any business model not just membership sites.

      Example
      • You can have continuity program built into AWeber autoresponder delivering consistent content.
      • You can have a continuity program built into a CD or DVD of the month club
      • Continuity in a coaching program
      I've ran membership sites off and on for years and I can tell you they can be quite lucrative if you're in the right market.

      But when there is a big product launch with all the glamour of membership sites, it's merely offering sex appeal to naïve marketers.

      Frank Bruno
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      • Profile picture of the author abelacts
        Originally Posted by Frank Bruno View Post


        I've ran membership sites off and on for years and I can tell you they can be quite lucrative if you're in the right market.

        Frank Bruno
        Thanks for sharing your insights, Ken. Don't blame it on membership site approach when you failed once. Learn from it as continuity is one of the best models. Frank said it best and you have to learn from this fundamental principle - choosing the right market.
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  • Profile picture of the author Debbie Songster
    Just thought I'd bring up the point that one of the Membership Income Model launches is all about making others do the work for you, jv with someone set up the site and have them do all the information
    I'd like to address the quote above.

    I JV'd with someone on a membership site recently. It consisted of a paid forum. The arrangement was as follows.
    I build it and look after the tech support and she (because of her expertise on the subject) answered the questions and "entertained" the subscribers. We split 50/50

    None of this was difficult - she was answering the same questions through individual emails previous to the membership site.

    After 2 months of doing this and having quite a few subscribers with more joining all the time - she decides its too much for her and quits.

    Here's the part that sucks - I've done my job. I built the site and did tech support with the current members. The bulk of the project in the beginning was my job so when she decided she didn't want to do it anymore guess who was out all that hard work??
    Yup - Me!
    What did I learn? Plenty.
    The next one I do will have a payout clause. If someone flakes on me again like that they will owe me the price of constructing the site.

    I've done plenty of partnerships like that (mostly with ecommerce stores) - most work out ok but on the membership sites, people just don't realize how much work is involved.
    The sad part about that case was her membership site was an easy money maker and she threw it all away.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    Some interesting comments in here... I'm going to be on a panel on this topic at a conference in about 2 hours.

    Of course membership sites involve work. Does anyone really think otherwise? But you the site owner do not have to do all the work yourself.

    I know people who own sites that make 5 figures a month who spend very little time on the sites (at least on the content side) since they outsource almost all the content creation.

    A site doesn't have to involve any more work than you want it to. It doesn't have to be a full-time job.

    And yes, of course, all members don't stay forever and you need to keep marketing if you want to keep a constant level of members.

    How is either of those different from other ways of making money online?

    Show me the methods that make money with no work involved and don't require you to keep marketing to keep the income flowing.

    I don't think making a set amount (say $10,000) per month from a membership site needs to involve any more work than it does to make the same amount another way.

    If you sell $20 products, you need to sell 500 every month to hit that target. That takes work and requires you to keep marketing every month.

    How many of the people who buy your product this month will buy another next month (as they do with a membership site)? Probably not many.

    Even if the average member only stays 3 months... how many people have a business where their average customer buys 3 products? Not a few customers, but the average customer? Very few, I'm sure.

    So how again is it that membership sites are such a bad model?
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
      Hey all,

      Some really great comments in this thread.

      I won't have time until later to post more, but it's fascinating how some have chosen to construe my original post as saying that "membership sites are bad" or that "membership is a bad model."

      On the contrary - membership can be an amazing model and one of THE most lucrative in existence...

      If and only if:

      1) Your membership model is congruent with existing customer behaviors within your niche - hardly anyone has hit on this from my OP - it is vital

      2) Your membership site provides what the customer actually wants and is willing to pay for

      3) Your membership site delivers perceived value equal or greater to what the customers have agreed to pay monthly/quarterly/yearly/etc. - if there's one thing I've learned in this business, perception IS reality

      And finally

      4) You, the membership site owner, are prepared to work much harder than you realize - YES, even if you are using other content contributors as I've had plenty of experience with that too

      More later as I want to address some of the specific things brought up in this thread.

      Chow for now,
      Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author dv8
    Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

    2) The attrition rate with most membership sites is high

    This is a biggie and is rarely if ever discussed on a sales page nor highlighted enough in the training materials themselves.

    The attrition rate - the rate at which customers cancel or fall out of the membership - is quite high with most membership sites. Why is this?

    Well, truth is there are a ton of factors. Maybe the content wasn't good enough in their view, maybe there wasn't enough interaction, maybe the membership itself is not at all consistent with the premise under which they purchased in the first place.

    Whatever the case, the idea that "you never have to look for more customers" in a membership model is complete and utter bunk.

    On the contrary, to maintain a consistent and thriving income you ALWAYS need to be attracting new customers. That's because your existing customers will be dropping out at a much higher rate that you may think.

    Sure, there are things you can do to offset this attrition and good courses will always cover this.

    However the fundamental element of human nature will always be present - so regardless of what you do a certain attrition rate WILL exist. There's no getting around it.
    I'm sure you are referring to a certain "guru" who just had a launch with his continuity program.

    He goes over the attrition rate issue. While I don't remember if he said "you won't have to ever look for new customers again", he did mention the issue of losing members and how to gain new ones.

    The key thing I think you, and others, are forgetting is the front end product. If you are CONSISTENTLY selling a front end product, you then put the buyers into a forced continuity program. Which is a whole other topic.

    But, that is how you get new members without "looking for them". They become members because they bought a product from you. They bought that product because they found your site via SEO, AdWords, banner ad, etc. It's not like you tried to get them strictly for your membership site.
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  • Profile picture of the author chris_surfrider
    I have found that promoting subscription-based utilities, rather than coaching/educational courses, has had a better residual effect.

    Things like hosting, exclusive scripts or tools, autoresponders, and so on - where the user is at a serious and actual disadvantage without them.

    Attrition is far lower in that case - because the value remains continuous and in many cases the value and dependability will only increase with time, as with autoresponders, hosting, etc.

    But like Ken was saying, you should ONLY EVER build a membership site if you already see that model alive and kicking in your niche. It's just too much work to set up on a hunch, regardless of what big shot marketer may tell you...

    Here's another point to consider:

    Honest to God, one of the "biggest" moneymakers in other niches where continuity is used is when the monthly fees are small enough that the user just doesn't care.

    If your monthly rebill is only $4.95 or something, some customers would actually find it to be too much effort to cancel than it would to just "wait" or "do it later".

    This is why you see so many "tag on" offers with a low rebill option attached to many mainstream mass-appeal offers.

    Because it's basically an excuse to easily pull down a consistent monthly income with little maintenance and much lower attrition than usual.

    Just something to consider...

    -Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author dv8
      Originally Posted by chris_surfrider View Post


      Here's another point to consider:

      Honest to God, one of the "biggest" moneymakers in other niches where continuity is used is when the monthly fees are small enough that the user just doesn't care.

      If your monthly rebill is only $4.95 or something, some customers would actually find it to be too much effort to cancel than it would to just "wait" or "do it later".

      This is why you see so many "tag on" offers with a low rebill option attached to many mainstream mass-appeal offers.

      Because it's basically an excuse to easily pull down a consistent monthly income with little maintenance and much lower attrition than usual.

      Just something to consider...

      -Chris
      I forget where I heard it, but I heard of a site some guy had that was only $5 a month. He had over 6,000 members. Over 2,000 of them haven't logged into the site in over 2 years.

      So this guy is making between $30-$40K every month and a good portion of his members don't even use the site.

      His membership fee is so cheap that, as you said, people don't feel like going through the effort to cancel.
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      • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
        Originally Posted by dv8 View Post

        I forget where I heard it, but I heard of a site some guy had that was only $5 a month. He had over 6,000 members. Over 2,000 of them haven't logged into the site in over 2 years.
        Just because $5 is too cheap to cancel doesn't mean it's the optimal price. What if he charged $10? Or $15?


        Going back to the original post, I can't agree with the conclusion that real estate investors won't pay for a membership just because one person couldn't figure out how to make that work. Anything that people can make money from could be used as a topic for a membership site, but you have to be able to deliver what they are willing to pay for.

        Just because free content is available doesn't mean the topic is a bad one. Look how much free info there is about Internet marketing. I guess nobody would pay to join a site about that, eh?
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        • Profile picture of the author Ernie Lo
          Chris (Lockwood), I completely agree with everything you've said in this thread.

          Memberships are no more work than any other type of product, the only difference is, you get multiple payments each month instead of a once off payment.

          I think if people spent more timing focusing on marketing the one membership site, instead of hopping from product to product, they would be better off.
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        • Profile picture of the author dv8
          Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

          Just because $5 is too cheap to cancel doesn't mean it's the optimal price. What if he charged $10? Or $15?
          I NEVER said it was the optimal price.
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        • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
          Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

          Going back to the original post, I can't agree with the conclusion that real estate investors won't pay for a membership just because one person couldn't figure out how to make that work. Anything that people can make money from could be used as a topic for a membership site, but you have to be able to deliver what they are willing to pay for.

          Just because free content is available doesn't mean the topic is a bad one. Look how much free info there is about Internet marketing. I guess nobody would pay to join a site about that, eh?
          Chris,

          I understand what you're saying but you're missing the point completely.

          Just because a membership site CAN be built for a certain niche does not mean their existing behavior is congruent with wanting to pay for one.

          How about this - go into the RE investor market right now and offer a membership site the way most of the courses teach (with articles, forum, etc.)....let me know how it goes my friend.

          I would also add this. The nature of the membership site makes a big difference too.

          Having been in that competitive market (real estate) for some time and doing very well in it, I can tell you that the type of membership these folks will pay for is one that is far more exclusive and, ironically enough, much higher priced.

          Please don't misconstrue my OP. The lesson is is not that membership models don't work or that they don't work for certain industries....the lesson is to not be seduced into thinking they automatically will.

          Best regards,
          Ken
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          • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
            Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

            Chris,
            I understand what you're saying but you're missing the point completely.
            I'm not missing the point- you're failing to make one.

            Just because you couldn't make a site work doesn't mean someone else can't.
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      • Profile picture of the author Richard HAN
        Originally Posted by dv8 View Post

        I forget where I heard it, but I heard of a site some guy had that was only $5 a month. He had over 6,000 members. Over 2,000 of them haven't logged into the site in over 2 years.

        So this guy is making between $30-$40K every month and a good portion of his members don't even use the site.

        His membership fee is so cheap that, as you said, people don't feel like going through the effort to cancel.
        I guess you're referring to The Business Fastlane.
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  • Profile picture of the author radiohead
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    • Profile picture of the author Carl Pruitt
      Originally Posted by radiohead View Post

      What I find is people do not want to
      pay monthly fees. They would rather be taught how to fish thaN
      KEEPING BUYING THE BAIT.
      Actually, the average person seems to be more interested in having
      someone do the fishing for them and then lay the fish in their
      lap.

      Promising that some "system" will be easy and very profitable
      is classic sales hype that just happens to work time and time
      again.
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      Carl Pruitt
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  • Profile picture of the author PPC-Coach
    As someone who has run a fairly large and successful membership site for over a year now, I totally agree with the OP. These sites are not set and forget projects. You either have to really be motivated to help your members everyday or you need to outsource the work to someone skilled enough to handle it.

    Those programs that promote membership sites as easy, hands off ways to make money with 2 minutes of work are very deceiving.

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  • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
    Ken is 100% correct - I've coached numerous clients that have 1) started membership sites with opportunity mentality without knowing their market well and therefore, fail miserably and 2) clients who built their business first, then identified an opportunity for continuity and ran with it - they (by and large) operate 6-figure + continuity programs.

    Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author Ernie Lo
    Jeff you raise a good point, but there isn't any reason why you cant have a membership site, and also sell a high end product $397 course to them.

    In fact Jimmy D Brown does it with his $10 listandtraffic membership site and it makes sense.

    Get a whole bunch of members in your funell at $10/month and let them get a feel for your content and then sell the high end product to those paying members.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
      Originally Posted by BlogBrowser View Post

      Conclusion: membership sites can be good money makers but they're also tons of work to keep up with.
      Conclusion: membership sites can be good money makers and the way your friend set his up made it tons of work to keep up with.
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      • Profile picture of the author David_Thompson
        This is by far one of the best threads of the week...I'm all smiles...LOL

        Absolutely awesome insights coming thru, keep them coming guys...

        --David
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  • Profile picture of the author obiswill
    1. Memberships sites are a great way to build a consistent income online
    2. You have to build a site offering different/better information than what is freely available
    3. Membership sites (the truly successfully ones) takes hard work and long hours because nobody wants to pay for free information.
    4. If your membership site is really good...few will know and want to share. hahaha!
    5. If your memberhip site is crap, everyone will know quickly and drop you and tell everyone it's crap.

    I got this from polling members of my membership site. The funniest reply: 'Why would I tell my competitors things they don't know to compete with me?'

    lol! That made my day.
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  • Profile picture of the author quiescen
    Hello everyone,

    I run a membership site that teaches ... get ready for this - New Age piano lessons. And it's pretty successful.

    Been doing it for over 6 years now and have over 100 lessons and growing. The reason it's successful is because I offer something nobody else does. It's very specific, the information is one of a kind and this is exactly what you need to succeed with membership sites.

    When I first started this site, I charged $6.95 a month for access. But now that I have over 100 lessons I charge $19.97 a month.

    The offer I have is an amazing one as well to get them inside. I offer total access to the site for a full month for just $1 dollar which also includes a free workbook and other bonuses.

    Of course, you can't have a membership site without long term subscribers. I've had people stay with me for over 4 years. Yes, you heard it right.

    So, what are they really buying when they sign up for this course? They're buying MY expertise - which they can find no where else.

    My site is at quiescencemusic.com Notice that there's no long sales letter. Just a sample lesson. If they like the lesson and want more, I offer attractive terms to get them in. And then the fun really begins.

    And by the way, I only add new lessons every 3-4 weeks and this is very easy to do.

    ----------------------------------
    Edward Weiss
    quiescencemusic.com
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  • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
    Hi Edward - good example, any market where there is an ongoing support, service, lessons, tutoring, consulting, ongoing development of content or tools makes a great opportunity for a membership site.

    In my case I had an info product business with a high-end 1:1 consulting program, the people who wanted ongoing information and support in the middle (without paying for customized help) were left out - that's where the membership site comes in.

    Jeff
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    • Profile picture of the author David_Thompson
      This thread his so much info the newbies might get info overload...lol

      Something kind hit me while reading this is the fact no one talks about
      the traffic or how the membership site owner position his membership site
      to the starving crowd?

      We did all the market research and found out what they want, develop
      the content so what's next?

      Finding the starving market and create the content for them is only half
      the battle but it is a big part but how do position it in front the on coming
      traffic?

      To me this seems to be one if not the biggest problems with most websites
      what you guys think and how to solve this?

      --David
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    • Profile picture of the author Alminc
      Kyle,

      What are your suggestions on how to set up a membership site that does not require a tons of work ?

      Almin
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      No links :)
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    • Profile picture of the author tiger325
      I agree with previous posts ...membership sites take alot of work however it is more money in the long run
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    • Profile picture of the author FrankRumbauskas
      Money can certainly be made with membership sites but it's not easy. It's a LOT of work. Here's my experience with continuity products:

      - For a while I had a monthly continuity product at $97/month that included a new DVD and two CDs each month. This went very well and I plan to return to this model after the new year.

      - Wanting to reach more people, I digitized all of the content from that program, uploaded it to a membership site, and charged $19.97/month. This did not go well. People bitched all the time that "I signed in yesterday and it's all the same still today, where's the new stuff?"

      - Finally I got sick of all the issues with running the membership site like high-maintenance customers, constantly creating new content that I could sell for much more as a one-time product, lots of chargebacks (people think you cancel by doing a chargeback and while they're at it they charge back the last 3 months too), etc etc.

      So with that in mind I took all of the content and put it on a FREE membership/social network site (see #3 in my sig below). This has worked out VERY well for me as the perceived value is very very high and this has become a viral tool to promote my main product and continue building my list.

      At this time I plan to keep the free site indefinitely, resume the $97/month physical continuity product, and maybe add a $29.97/month option with one CD and a newsletter.
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  • Profile picture of the author Melody
    Ken - did you ever try running the site as a FREE site with other ways to monetize? I ask because I just sold one of my community/membership sites - with a member list of about 4500 - for $35k because it was generating a nice steady hands off Adsense/CPA income. And seriously - it was about as hands off as you could get - I sold it to free up some capital for another project, but in the beginning I did the usual things to get it ranked for key terms, and when I learned early on that this was a freebie, not a buying crowd - I threw the doors open and found other ways to make some money on the traffic.

    I have now followed the model in 4 other niches....and it does seem to work where you have a group that want to pick each other's brains - but don't want to pay for the privilege of doing so!

    This also works in any niche where people gather to gripe, moan, groan or complain in general about an issue, problem etc. I use an opensource community script (Dolphin is good) so they have the community features if they want them.....add a few articles, and then let them create content through posts etc

    In a fairly short period of time, you can usually get the revenue up to a couple of grand a month, and since it really takes minimal time to set up - you can do as many as you can think of ;-)

    Wash, rinse and repeat!
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Daniels
    The time spent on running a membership site depends on a number of things - but much of the work can be managed by outsourcing.

    1. We run 3 membership sites and all the content is written by experts. We tell them what we want them to create content about, buy exclusive rights to that content and add it to the membership site. We can then concentrate on the marketing.
    2. We then take the same content from the membership site and create a newsletter/ magazine and sell subscriptions to those people who do not want to join the membership site. Some people prefer monthly newsletters, either emailed or sent by direct mail.

    Same content, different format and delivery.
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  • Profile picture of the author dbarnum
    Many excellent points here on both sides. I'm very much for good working continuity programs for products and services. What happens, though, is that people need to grow their memberships with the times: with their target audience and technology.

    For instance, head to Amazon.com and see how many different subscriptions there are:
    - Magazines
    - Books of the month
    - CD / DVDs, Videos, etc. of the month
    - Print newsletters
    - Cookbooks
    - Toys
    - And more...

    Many do well. Check their history. But they grow: they restructure, they add online components, they offer service and support, etc.

    The negative side is that some people, some IMers want to take a quick way out, setup something one time and run. While that may work for some business models, even the best ezine or other product needs updated once in awhile. Load it and go, sure, but come back and revise the content at least once a year, maybe add a new section to bring in new readers as old ones check out, which is normal and a fact of all business models.

    So simple can work, but remember to at least review what you have out there annually. Magazine publishers, do. Book publishing companies do. Cookbook publishers do (especially tuning in to lite recipes, for example).

    Conduct membership tune -ups, at least.

    I've stuck with several good continuity programs long-term, and they have this in common:

    1) Support - no tail chasing and hunting folks down.
    2) Generally a means to join their affiliate program to earn from the experience as well
    3) Owners keep their products and services updated regularly
    4) Most often they come up with new product / service lines to use and sell
    5) Support - need to repeat: this is important. It's great when people are there to help with their products, services and affiliate programs.

    Good thread!
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  • Profile picture of the author Anthony Hull
    Hey Warriors,

    Just wanted to chime in here.

    I've worked on both "one-time" products and "membership" products and by far the membership model has proved most lucrative.

    As other posters have said, as long as you provide good quality content, consistantly and provide your members with exceptional support, there's no reason why they will drop out in droves.

    I know many marketers find it difficult to start and run a membership site which is why I developed my Readymade Membership Sites business and a good proportion of my customers have done well with it.

    Interestingly though, the marketers who get the best results with my readymade sites are the ones who:

    1. Don't just sit back and think members will fall from trees
    2. They actively seek out affiliates/JV partners to help promote their sites and offer free access to those people so they can see what they are going to be promoting
    3. They actively build targetted traffic to their sites using methods including PPC, article marketing and list building
    4. They don't just use membership sites as a way to get customers directly, but also use them as BONUSES for customers that buy their other products / affiliate products they are recommending.
    5. They either have an existing list which they have built up, or seek other people to JV (who already have big lists - see 2) )
    6. They spend some time ADDING MORE VALUE to their membership site by adding additional products to the backend or adding additional bonuses to the sales page.
    7. They KEEP IN TOUCH with the members that they DO get and upsell additional offers on the backend (remember it's easier to sell to existing customers, than to get new ones)
    Other points about why membership sites are so good include:

    • If you build up a fairly decent member base (and especially if they are PAYING members) you can later sell the site for ALOT of $$$$, much more than you could get for selling a site based on a one-time product
    • If you make videos of how you create the content for your sites, you can easily OUTSOURCE the monthly work that you have to do. For example, one of my businesses costs me only 20% of my gross profits to completely outsource, so I only spend 1 hour a month on it personally.
    • Because your members are continuously RE-VISITING your member's area, you can easily promote other offers to them WITHOUT having to bombard their inbox. Also, if these offers are for "members only" and some sort of discount is available, your up-take will be greater.
    Cheers,

    Anthony
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    Ken,

    It may have been the way you presented the offer.

    Did you try selling a low cost membership to real estate brokers and teach them how to get better results through their marketing, how to close faster, how to get more visitors to their open houses, how to handle a bigger portfolio, and so on?

    This to me, presented the right way may be a good way of going about it. All the bells and whistles mean jack if it's not presented in the right way (i.e. Irresistible) ...

    The two things brokers are looking for are more leads and faster closes... Give them that and see what happens!


    Mike Hill

    PS. I own membership sites and they are the easiest cash I've ever made. They are easy to maintain, you just have to know how to manage it. yes... manage it... Don't try and create all the content yourself.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Louviere
      My post was a bit harsh on Ken and that was not my intention.

      I do agree with you that there is a TON of garbage out there and people do get taken to the cleaners often by proclaimed gurus (and by a ton of people who have never made any money before online but still sell how to make a ton of money online products)

      I just get very tired of people ripping on the very things that actually do work... and work well. For example, I remember when EVERYONE was saying how the content network in Adwords was terrible and to stay away from it.

      Meanwhile, I was cleaning house with the content network.

      Anyway, your title worked as you planned, it created empathy with me, that's for sure. I did not read it as "marketing" tactic, which is great btw, I read it as another person complaining about things that I know for a fact have worked great for me personally and has worked for many others I know close as well.

      Anyway, I wish you the best and I lOVE the RE Investing niche market. It's a great one IMO!

      Eric
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      • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
        Originally Posted by Eric Louviere View Post

        My post was a bit harsh on Ken and that was not my intention.

        I do agree with you that there is a TON of garbage out there and people do get taken to the cleaners often by proclaimed gurus (and by a ton of people who have never made any money before online but still sell how to make a ton of money online products)

        I just get very tired of people ripping on the very things that actually do work... and work well. For example, I remember when EVERYONE was saying how the content network in Adwords was terrible and to stay away from it.

        Meanwhile, I was cleaning house with the content network.

        Anyway, your title worked as you planned, it created empathy with me, that's for sure. I did not read it as "marketing" tactic, which is great btw, I read it as another person complaining about things that I know for a fact have worked great for me personally and has worked for many others I know close as well.

        Anyway, I wish you the best and I lOVE the RE Investing niche market. It's a great one IMO!

        Eric
        Thanks Eric. Needless to say I have a great deal of respect for you. That said I was definitely surprised at your earlier post.

        But you are correct - there are a ton of complainers. And I could see how parts of my OP could have been taken as such.

        We all good.

        Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author RGallowitz
    I run a successful membership site and it takes really REALLY hard work. It's not the "cake walk" people make it out to be. The cost of setting up a decent membership site also far outweighs your normal digital product creation.

    It's not as easy as it looks. There are tons of hurdles.
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  • Profile picture of the author lassitermarketing
    Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

    Ahh, here we are again.

    Quick story:

    Several years ago shortly after I first started marketing to real estate investors, I had this "great idea" to start a membership site for the industry. I too fell in love with the idea of "ongoing recurring income", because heck, who wouldn't want that?

    I decided that my membership site would be filled with real estate articles, a forum, a killer knowledge base...all the same stuff that everyone says to put into a really good membership site.

    I also decided I would make it "top notch" by having my web programmer build it from scratch. I spent close to $8,000 (yep, 8 grand) developing the site so it would be exactly the way I wanted it.

    And I must say, it was damn impressive. It was miles better than anything else in the real estate industry and I was really proud of that.

    But here was the problem: The customers didn't want to pay for a membership! And if I had opened my freakin' eyes rather than become completely seduced by the membership model, I would have seen it clear as day.

    It was right in front of me. There were already several HUGE free forums people were flocking to in real estate, and there was no evidence whatsoever that existing customer behavior would have them paying for a membership site. None.

    And guess what? They wouldn't pay for it. Gee, who'da thunk it?

    So after (gulp) $8K spent and a couple months working that sucker to the bone, I folded it and moved on to something else based on actual evidence that customers WANTED it and were more than willing to pay for it. Within a couple months I was back up to a solid and growing 5 figure monthly income.

    Here's the moral of the story:

    Do not be seduced by strategy - membership or otherwise.

    Focus on your underlying business model as well as providing what your customers want. If the strategy matches these things then move forward. If not, pass and don't think twice.

    You'll be glad you did.

    Best regards,
    Ken
    I think the bitterness may come from the fact that you didn't test your offer before spending a ton of money.

    I'm in your niche and you're right, they don't want to pay for something they can get for free. Although TCI might beg to differ.

    So, doesn't common sense say that you make your offer something that they are willing to pay for on a monthly basis?

    I don't understand why continuity programs are getting bashed when they obviously work. And everyone knows that they are work. Do you include negative copy in your sales letters? I doubt I would make many sales if in my offer I told prospects all the pitfalls of what I was selling. Who does that?
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  • Profile picture of the author Sylvan
    Banned
    This guy was an idiot to try it in the real estate industry. Membership sites do work. You didn't do proper due diligence. You can't say because you failed once that this doesn't work. There are many successful membership site, like Rich Schefren's $350 a MONTH membership site.

    Find the right niche and provide quality content and you will have something successful.
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  • Profile picture of the author khairi
    Warriors,

    You might want to look at the video that Ryan made on his blog:

    => Ryan Deiss BASHED on the Warrior Forum | Driving Traffic

    judge for yourself...
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    Khairi

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  • Profile picture of the author JJ-Undercover
    The OP should be interested in knowing a certain guy whose last name sounds like "dice" posted a video answering all the "lies".

    Quite an interesting little video too. It may "seduce" me to buy his program if I watch it again.

    Link is above me in other guy's post.
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  • Profile picture of the author wkriski
    Jimmy Bruno, a famous jazz guitarist has a membership site for lessons. He charges $20 for his video lessons and forums and also allows students to submit videos of their playing, and he will respond. He signed up over 1300 students at the beginning and provides great value. If that isn't a business model, then what is it exactly?

    The fact that your site didn't work doesn't make membership sites a lie. Also spending $8K was completely unnecessary, considering you can set up a site for pretty low cost (my sites cost $99/month). Like any site you have to differentiate yourself. Just because other real estate guys have sites doesn't mean you can't have one too. There are unlimited amounts of niches in any market with proper differentiation. Say you have an idea for a site - you create some content and test the market for it before you really expand it, so you don't want to spend too much up front.
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  • Profile picture of the author jjjones
    I've had a membership site for several years now and after the first few months I absolutely hated it. It was a LOT of work. But, then I took a hard look at exactly what I had to do each week to keep the site going and I drew up a plan of action. My goal was to automate everything I could and outsouce the rest. Took me maybe two months to impliment everything but now I spend maybe an hour a month managing the site. And that hour is spent running a spreadsheet to see how much money I've made for the prior month.

    Here are a few of things I did:

    1) Hired a topic editor. This is basically a writer who comes up with ideas for articles for the site.

    2) Hired writers (good writers) that are familar with the topic and had them take the topic ideas from the editor and write the article.

    3) Had a script programmed that allows the topic editor to input her topic ideas and the writers to pick the topics they want to write on. They then submit the completed article right back into the same interface.

    4) Hired an admin to take the articles each week and post them to the site.

    Total cost is less then $500 a month including writing the articles (appx 16 new per month)

    That's pretty much it! Now, after 3 years I rarely even look at the site and it generates a nice residual income.

    (The membership site I'm referring to is: http://www.businessideafactory.com/)

    James
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    • Profile picture of the author Adeel_Chowdhry
      Hey Ken.

      I think your painting of the picture isn't totally correct.

      I only started IM this year and I'll try and give my views over some of your points. I'm not here to bash or anything, just give my view okay..


      "My commitment is to two things: 1) helping real people get real results"
      Making money from continuity are not real results?


      "2) reinforcing simple truths based on experience."
      I don't think your experience with the continuity model is that vast. I think a lot of people may take your comments to heart and stay away from a great model.

      I kind of feel that you think the best way to make money is to have a one page site where you sell a product for a one time fee...because you couldn't make it work?

      Let's go further..


      "1) Membership sites involve work"

      Com'on man, everything involves work.


      "and even to get it built up in the first place - really takes something."
      Erm..not really. You're making it sound as if creating a membership site would be like climbing mount Everest! That's far from the truth!

      As I said, I only started this year and I now have 3 membership sites.

      -> The first one (Super Quick Videos) took me and my friend 2 weeks to put together and we created it without any research or surveys of what the market wanted. The only thing invested was our time and about $150 for the site graphics, and $187 for the aMember script.

      For that membership me and my partner create 10 videos a month with PLR for our members.

      - that's been running since May or so and is now a 4 figure a month biz, and we don't even do any promotions for it (no ppc etc), and don't have any jv's or even affiliates!


      "One of the key things to remember is that customers are NOT inherently interested in paying for something on an ongoing basis. Think about it - if you had the choice would your default desire be to pay for something once or to keep paying for it over and over again?"

      That's a totally flawed way of thinking man. If you're offering something of substance, of value, people will pay for it - whether it be one time OR recurring.

      In my example above I offered new videos every month...so how could they pay for that one time?...or rather, why WOULDN'T they want to pay me every month for such great material (that would help them in their business...make more money)?

      -> After I saw how tasty recurring income was I went about and created another membership site offer something of VALUE. Something that would really help people with their marketing efforts by cutting their time in creating affiliate review sites, promotional articles and emails. Killer Presell Templates! Make Super Affiliate Commissions With These Review Templates was born.

      - that is now also a 4 figure a month biz and that's with almost ZERO promotional activity and I don't have any jv's or affiliates! What scares me is if I did go work on getting more customers...i'd make a lot more - I just have a habit from jumping from one thing to another too quickly.


      "Often this has to do with continuously providing more and more content, which can be fun but it's certainly a ton of work depending on the nature of the site and content."

      It doesn't have to be hard work if you use some leverage. There are so many ways to outsource man, and it CAN be totally hands free if you want it to.

      What I did for the 2nd membership site was to partner up with an expert, and have him create the content for me. In return for that, we split revenue both ways.

      The only cost involved in creating that site was about $120 for the graphics and $187 for aMember!

      Think out of the bedroom.. I mean box!

      Anyone can start a good membership site for under $300, and start making an easy $1k/month.

      Look what I said above... I have someone ELSE create the content and I do the marketing... and then we split revenue both ways. I just have to do the hard work of sending their money to them at the end of the month via Paypal (logging into Paypal is hard work sometimes!).



      "A membership model is NOT a business model"


      I think it can be a business model, as well as just another component or system, within your global business.

      So here I introduce my next membership site which was a recurring component (membership model) of my ebay training site (iSpy Auction Riches - Make Money On eBay!)

      Frontend = ebay video product
      Backend upsell = recurring membership for monthly videos in a different area
      Backend upsell 2 = mrr

      That business model got people in via the frontend and proceeds to generate me monthly recurring income through the membership model component that's attached to the global model.

      - turned out to be another 4 figure a month biz!


      "The attrition rate with most membership sites is high"

      Yeah, I agree. Still, generting 3 months income from a single person is pretty neat in my book (higher customer value compared to one off sales) :-)


      "The point is not to get seduced into thinking a membership model is the magic bullet that will solve all your problems."

      That's true for anything. Nothing is the magic bullet, except for my ebay course (you'll be rich overnight if you buy it).


      "I also decided I would make it "top notch" by having my web programmer build it from scratch. I spent close to $8,000 (yep, 8 grand) developing the site so it would be exactly the way I wanted it."

      Look, here's a deal for you. If you want, you can invest a few $k with me and i'll help you set up a membership site...and I wont even rip you off for $8k!


      "But here was the problem: The customers didn't want to pay for a membership! And if I had opened my freakin' eyes rather than become completely seduced by the membership model, I would have seen it clear as day."

      I think you have to first deduce wether or not your business model warrants a recurring membership component. In many cases, you CAN always think of something valuable to offer your customers on a recurring basis, almost always.

      If you've got something right and it's hot and valuable for your members, they'll pay you for it. With that said, I do not agree with what you said.

      I'm actually off planning my next site that includes...wait for it.... a recurring model!!

      All the best,
      Adeel Chowdhry



      .
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  • Profile picture of the author mobear410
    On some levels I agree with you because I feel that $2000 is a huge amount to pay to find out how to MAYBE earn the money back IF you follow the outline exactly which means IF you have more money to pour into it the more money you will earn.

    I strongly suggest that people listen very carefully (play it more than once) the freebie that is provided and be absolutely sure you are ready to invest more than $2000 into the "idea" that is being sold. Think carefully and do more research you may find the same or even better information for totally Free.

    There are easier methods to earning money on the internet than paying someone $2000 for an "idea"
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  • Profile picture of the author ebusinesstutor
    Great points, Ken.

    I do own a couple of profitable membership sites.

    Each site does have a business model for how they earn money. The continuity model is great, as you do earn for many months from each sale.

    Each week we add new content, videos, products, training etc. to continually increase the value to our members.

    So yes, membership sites do make money, but they also require time and money commitments.

    We have some people leave each week, but we have more people joining. So there is definitely turnover.

    So we are constantly marketing to bring in more people. Fortunately our affiliates are great at bringing us new members every day.

    I strongly believe membership web sites are one of the best ways to build your income online, but they are not as simple as many of the guru sites would have you believe.
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  • Profile picture of the author bobsedge
    As Ryan states in his video, his product is about continuity not necessarily membership sites.

    Continuity programs work and people will still if you give them a reason to continue.

    People continue for a number of reasons.

    1. information, products, or services are being delivered that they can not miss
    2. they believe they will need the information, products, or services in the future so they continue in the program
    3. It is important to the psyche to belong
    4. they forget to cancel the program


    On low priced programs, number 2 and 4 are the prime reasons they thrive. Fitness club memberships are a clear example. The vast majority of people never go to the gym yet continue paying for their memberships. It is safe to say that if everyone showed up on a regular basis, the gym would fail because the lines would be unbearable.

    Also, how many people still pay a monthly fee to aol even theough they don't have to? They just don't get around to canceling especially when small amounts are being charged to credit cards.

    The bottom line, continuity systems do work when set up properly and don't work when set up improperly or are a misfit for the particluar niche. Just like anything else, they need to be done in an area where people are willing to spend money.
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  • Profile picture of the author blujam
    This was certainly helpful to me, as I am setting up
    my 3rd membership site.

    I think it's helpful to diversify into different niches,
    and find ya some O holics, the passion for the niche,
    is what will bring some income...

    I liked what mr reese said, my last membership site
    was a one time fee of $27, and it worked very well,
    we over-delivered and had very few refunds...

    I'm taking a note of that because I didn't think anyone
    else was doing one-offs...great stuff!

    now this next one is gonna be a 4 week coaching program,
    so it's a new model to me, but I think it's gonna be a
    great case study, so wish me luck!

    I'm off to take some more massive action...

    )
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Fladlien
    I think people just like to complain.

    Obviously there is a solution to easy continuity programs... so instead of focusing on the 90% methods that don't work and generalizing it to everything, it'd be smarter to figure out how guys like Ryan do it.

    It has to be easy if Ryan is running several of these, AND speaking at seminars, AND running an internet marketing business AND having a personal life.

    He's found a way to do 8 continuity programs with less work and more profits than most people doing 1 membership site. Instead of calling him a liar because it's not easy for you, it's probably smarter to learn what he's doing instead.

    -Jason
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
      Originally Posted by Jason Fladlien View Post

      I think people just like to complain.

      Obviously there is a solution to easy continuity programs... so instead of focusing on the 90% methods that don't work and generalizing it to everything, it'd be smarter to figure out how guys like Ryan do it.

      It has to be easy if Ryan is running several of these, AND speaking at seminars, AND running an internet marketing business AND having a personal life.

      He's found a way to do 8 continuity programs with less work and more profits than most people doing 1 membership site. Instead of calling him a liar because it's not easy for you, it's probably smarter to learn what he's doing instead.

      -Jason
      Don't look now folks but Ryan has used my post to stir up controversy and gain awareness for his product launch. Heck, I applaud him for it.

      Although his followers who are coming here to defend him are among those overlooking the clear premise of my original post....which had nothing specifically to do with Ryan but rather this (which I now repeat for what seems like the 100th time):

      A membership/continuity model is not a magic pill.

      'Nuff said.
      Ken
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Moffatt
        Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

        Don't look now folks but Ryan has used my post to stir up controversy and gain awareness for his product launch. Heck, I applaud him for it.

        Although his followers who are coming here to defend him are among those overlooking the clear premise of my original post....which had nothing specifically to do with Ryan but rather this (which I now repeat for what seems like the 100th time):

        A membership/continuity model is not a magic pill.

        'Nuff said.
        Ken
        Ken,

        Can you point to "ONE SINGLE PERSON" who ever said membership/continuity IS a
        magic pill?

        Seriously, is there ANYONE who has ever said this? I'd love to know.

        And if not, then WHO is spreading the so-called LIES?

        What exactly are the lies and who is saying them?

        I'd love to know.
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        • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
          Originally Posted by Jason Moffatt View Post

          Ken,

          Can you point to "ONE SINGLE PERSON" who ever said membership/continuity IS a
          magic pill?

          Seriously, is there ANYONE who has ever said this? I'd love to know.

          And if not, then WHO is spreading the so-called LIES?

          What exactly are the lies and who is saying them?

          I'd love to know.
          Jason,

          For gosh sakes re-read my OP which hasn't been changed by a single word - as well as my follow up posts on this thread.

          It's not that anyone is using the words "magic pill" on these sales pages - it's what is implied by what is being stated. Nothing more, nothing less.

          I will also say this. My OP was as much or more so about the people who READ these sales pages taking responsibility for their own impulse to jump to a certain strategy or technique just because they read that it's "easy, reliable consistent monthly income, anyone can do it" etc. etc.

          Absent a core business strategy based on 1) an identified customer 2) with a proven want/need and the 3) access to the specific product or information they want, no model will work no matter how great it may sound.

          Bottom line: Membership/continuity happens to be one of those that seduces people in theory, yet few can make work exceptionally well in practice. Note proof of that in the responses on this thread.

          Best regards,
          Ken
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          • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
            Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

            Jason,

            For gosh sakes re-read my OP which hasn't been changed by a single word - as well as my follow up posts on this thread.

            It's not that anyone is using the words &quot;magic pill&quot; on these sales pages - it's what is implied by what is being stated. Nothing more, nothing less.

            I will also say this. My OP was as much or more so about the people who READ these sales pages taking responsibility for their own impulse to jump to a certain strategy or technique just because they read that it's &quot;easy, reliable consistent monthly income, anyone can do it&quot; etc. etc.

            Absent a core business strategy based on 1) an identified customer 2) with a proven want/need and the 3) access to the specific product or information they want, no model will work no matter how great it may sound.

            Bottom line: Membership/continuity happens to be one of those that seduces people in theory, yet few can make work exceptionally well in practice. Note proof of that in the responses on this thread.

            Best regards,
            Ken
            So the real lie isnt about memebership or continuty, but with sales letters? Continuity programs are excellent for making money. May require more planning and effort, but can be rewarding.
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            • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
              Originally Posted by MaskedMarketer View Post

              So the real lie isnt about memebership or continuty, but with sales letters? Continuity programs are excellent for making money. May require more planning and effort, but can be rewarding.
              Hmmm, interesting question you raise.

              If I had to fully clarify, I guess what I'm really saying is that the way many sales letters are written has us telling lies to ourselves.

              Let's be honest, the design of most sales letters is to get us to suspend our logical reality react with an emotional impulse. After all that's why they work.

              So all I'm saying to people is "hey, as great as ongoing membership income sounds make sure you understand it won't be as easy as they said it would be (or, ahem, as you read it would be). It's still going to take serious work."

              As far as continuity being potentially an excellent way for making money, I agree 100% and have not said otherwise on this thread.

              Best regards,
              Ken
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      • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
        Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

        A membership/continuity model is not a magic pill.
        I don't think anyone is claiming a membership site or continuity model is a "magic pill". A continuity model should be built into any business model if possible. It just makes sense...
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  • Profile picture of the author microjob
    Thank you for sharing
    microjob
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  • Profile picture of the author lassitermarketing
    ===>The Internet Marketers Association (IMA) - an industry association for networking and education - is coming soon to a city near you.<===

    Isn't this a membership site?
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
      Originally Posted by lassitermarketing View Post

      ===>The Internet Marketers Association (IMA) - an industry association for networking and education - is coming soon to a city near you.<===

      Isn't this a membership site?
      Nope. At this point IMA is an offline industry association where people get together with others in their local area.

      Might it have an online membership component to it in the future? It's possible but that is not currently the plan.

      Best regards,
      Ken
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      • Profile picture of the author dageniusmarketer
        Im oh so glad I found this thread, as I am currently in the midst of deciding which method to employ....one time or membership.

        You guys have really enlightened me with the back and forth discussion. I will take what i have read so far and see how I can apply it to my own business.
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  • Profile picture of the author lpstoops
    It has been a great thread for all marketers. It's such a tough debate. Membership/non-membership. Obviously there's quite a bit of money in that, but it's going to require a ton of time to keep things active and healthy. I've been apart of other membership sites that started off strong, but the owner didn't follow through with his promises, and eventually the entire group fell apart. The group was $67/month with 2000 members. It was making the owner a huge amount of money each month. But after three months, he was almost completely inactive towards the members. He was great at traffic and sales, but horrible at follow through. I feel that I have the dedication to keep the group going, but I'm not that great at traffic yet....we'll see.

    Good stuff y'all
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
      Indeed, I've learned a TON from the stuff shared on this thread.

      The promises seen with membership & continuity models are bold - and they can certainly be amazing when done effectively.

      Thankfully a lot of folks have chimed in and gotten specific with ways to have them be truly effective. Much appreciated.

      Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author joerh
    For those that are doing a continuity program that includes monthly newsletter, video training, audio series, etc., what have you found to be the best way to deliver the material? Are you sending them a link in an email that sends them to a hidden page to view or download from or are you sending them a physical product in the mail? What are your reasons for doing one or the other (cost, attrition rates, perceived value, theft, etc.)?

    Thanks for your help,
    Joe
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    • Profile picture of the author lpstoops
      Originally Posted by joerh View Post

      For those that are doing a continuity program that includes monthly newsletter, video training, audio series, etc., what have you found to be the best way to deliver the material? Are you sending them a link in an email that sends them to a hidden page to view or download from or are you sending them a physical product in the mail? What are your reasons for doing one or the other (cost, attrition rates, perceived value, theft, etc.)?

      Thanks for your help,
      Joe
      From personal experience, I believe it depends first of all on the value of the membership your distributing. Then, what are the goods your distributing? If I'm working on a continuity site that sells month templates, scripts or themes, I typically go through my DVD distributor and mail everything.

      Here are my reasons:

      1. It's more expensive for my members to purchase monthly templates etc. and the value they are recieving is high enough I can justify the security measure of spending a bit more on distribution. We're talking about $3 for each DVD mailed. Remember, I'm getting between $87-97 for each member, so there's little loss in profit for me.

      2. If there's lots of graphics or videos, it's a lot more bandwidth from my server = more monthly expenses.

      3. People like to get stuff in the mail. Some may argue there's an immediate gratification complex in our culture (true), but most will never use what they download. If they have delayed gratification many are more likely to remain active and use their investments. And, everyone likes getting a package once in a while.

      I hope this helps you joerh!
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  • Profile picture of the author Sean Hoffman
    It should be known that all niche markets will eventually get flooded and nobody will want to buy your information anymore.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Louviere
      Originally Posted by SEOSuperGuide View Post

      It should be known that all niche markets will eventually get flooded and nobody will want to buy your information anymore.
      Nice lack, gloom-and-doom attitude there Einstein...

      Luckily, you're as wrong as can be.

      People will always buy information.

      And, luckily, some of us are better at driving traffic than 99% of those competitors that'll flood the market as you say. AND, luckily, some of us are damn good copywriters (or have the ability to hire damn good copywriters) to persuade people to continue to buy stuff.

      I guess Google, Yahoo, etc should listen to you though, because all those billions of dollars worth of advertising online could shrivel up and die a miserable death.

      But, luckily, people are people, always have been and always will be. And, people bought how to lose weight information and products 200 years ago, and will continue to buy the same 200 years from now.

      ...Same with all kinds of other rabid and passionate niches.

      So, go forth big SEO stud. Make your mark. Claim your fortune. Sell stuff. It's ok. It does not hurt.

      Whatever...

      Eric
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      • Profile picture of the author lpstoops
        Originally Posted by Eric Louviere View Post

        Nice lack, gloom-and-doom attitude there Einstein...

        Luckily, you're as wrong as can be.

        People will always buy information.

        And, luckily, some of us are better at driving traffic than 99% of those competitors that'll flood the market as you say. AND, luckily, some of us are damn good copywriters (or have the ability to hire damn good copywriters) to persuade people to continue to buy stuff.

        I guess Google, Yahoo, etc should listen to you though, because all those billions of dollars worth of advertising online could shrivel up and die a miserable death.

        But, luckily, people are people, always have been and always will be. And, people bought how to lose weight information and products 200 years ago, and will continue to buy the same 200 years from now.

        ...Same with all kinds of other rabid and passionate niches.

        So, go forth big SEO stud. Make your mark. Claim your fortune. Sell stuff. It's ok. It does not hurt.

        Whatever...

        Eric
        HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, eloquent rebuttal.

        Couldn't agree with you more. Niche's don't shrivel up and die....marketers do. I've said in another thread, success is dependent upon action alone. If you waffle out of your action you'll never find success. Determination and stamina will aid you, not an attitude like SEOsuper..
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      • Profile picture of the author Tim_Carter
        LMAO.

        So eloquently put.

        I love the way you express what most of us are thinking.

        So - do you do copy writing?



        Originally Posted by Eric Louviere View Post

        Nice lack, gloom-and-doom attitude there Einstein...

        Luckily, you're as wrong as can be.

        People will always buy information.

        And, luckily, some of us are better at driving traffic than 99% of those competitors that'll flood the market as you say. AND, luckily, some of us are damn good copywriters (or have the ability to hire damn good copywriters) to persuade people to continue to buy stuff.

        I guess Google, Yahoo, etc should listen to you though, because all those billions of dollars worth of advertising online could shrivel up and die a miserable death.

        But, luckily, people are people, always have been and always will be. And, people bought how to lose weight information and products 200 years ago, and will continue to buy the same 200 years from now.

        ...Same with all kinds of other rabid and passionate niches.

        So, go forth big SEO stud. Make your mark. Claim your fortune. Sell stuff. It's ok. It does not hurt.

        Whatever...

        Eric
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  • Profile picture of the author RC7000
    I'm starting a membership website after reading some of Ryan Deiss's stuff. Some of the advice here has been great. After working out ways you outsource most of the work I'll be happy with 250 customers at $9.99.
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  • Profile picture of the author RC7000
    Hi,

    I purchased Ryan Deiss '30 Days to $10K'. It's okay, doesn't have everything I need to get started but it has given me ideas. He has new stuff out but I haven't looked into that.
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  • Profile picture of the author J.Knight
    This thread should be on the 'Warrior Wall of Fame' for a thread with real value.

    The objections and solutions raised have altered my thinking on membership sites.

    Thank you all!

    JK
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanleedotcom
    Ok, gotta chime in on this one.

    There are essentially two types of membership sites. The full community sites, where there is always new content added and active forums.

    These are the types of sites I've built and have had members stick with them for up to 6 years (an example is the recently renamed: StrengthCoach.com and PersonalTrainerU.com)

    With these type of sites, it can be summed up with one phrase "people COME for the content - but they STAY for the community".

    There are also membership sites that I call "MicroMemberships". The content is delivered without interaction with your clients (no forums). This is usually with more evergreeen content like weight loss.

    Both can and do work.

    But like a house built on a shaky foundation, the content MUST be solid so members will stick with it.

    I also run physical monthly products (newsletter, audio cd, etc.) and those can also keep clients for a long time when great content is offered. I had one program run for over 3 years (I recently renamed it too).

    The key is implementing some solid stick strategies like unannounced bonuses delivered at specific intervals. And live events to foster more member interaction.

    A continuity program is most certainly a business model. It's a business model just like a health-club with membership-fees is a business model (although, health clubs DO NOT want you to come and use the club - that's the big difference).

    Case in point...

    Try and sell a web site with guaranteed monthly income (membership site) vs. a site with one product and zero guaranteed sales (typical ebook site). The people who shell out BIG money (7 and 8 figures) for these business want to see revenue, growth, etc.

    I've had continuity programs online since 2001 and I can tell you, when done RIGHT (not as a get-rich quick scheme), they can provide you with substantial wealth.

    Great conversation!
    Ryan Lee
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  • Profile picture of the author voiceofreason
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    Hey there,

    Wanted to add a few thoughts to this one. My first product many years back sold for about $1,000 as a one time purchase. I eventually made the change to a membership based model.

    I'm now on my third member site. With that said, I made plenty of mistakes along the way that I had to learn from. Primarily:

    - Yes, the site needs to be sticky. But I found that the BEST form of sticky is not in the site at all. If you host live training events such as webinars and teleseminars that are interactive in nature, and tease your members with what they're about to learn (And actually DELIVER what is promised) your retention rate will go through the roof. I still have over 65% of my same customer base from over 1 year ago.

    - Make the site what THEY want, not what you want! I hosted 3 conference calls within my target niche that spent the whole time discussing with my core potential customer groups, what they wanted. See? No assumptions! I asked them what tehy wanted, and we discussed it FIRST, then I built the site.

    - Keep the cost down. No really guys, depending on who your niche is, I made more money charging less than when I did charging about 30% more. Why? Bounced credit cards! Sure, plenty of people were willing to pay more, but I was losing plenty of money and time trying to follow up on bounced payments. I finally took the hint, dropped the monthly, and things were fine again. My income shot up the very next month due to payments actually going through. For me, staying under the magic $100 per month barrier makes a world of difference.

    Of course, if you're targeting a high income bracket, this may not be an issue for you, but it's worth considering.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alice Seba
    Wild Bloom...it is "scarcity" how? I don't think anyone said you can't make money other ways. Out of all the quotes, mine taken out of context, is closest to saying that...but that is not what I meant.

    You chose to side with Ken...obviously. Ken has an opinions and experience and so do we. But ours makes us ignorant & scarcity minded. Very curious.

    Weird. Maybe the dictionary definition changed and I didn't get the memo.
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  • Profile picture of the author Keith Kogane
    For my $0.02, (and as someone who is noodling a membership site venture) a membership site is rarely going to be effective as the front end product, unless it's relatively cheap for something of massive value. The Stomper Net Effect launch was an example of this. You had the massively priced SEO course, which made the "continuity" or "membership" seem like tiny payments towards that huge perceived value.

    But back to my point, looking at the classic info marketing funnel, something like a paid recurring membership belongs further down the chain, past even a higher priced premium product. I tend to think that in IM, once you've got a list of people who have bought your low price, mid price, high price products, they've indicated they just want to keep on giving your money. That's where the membership site belongs because it solves nearly all the problems of attrition, expectations, etc.

    The same way the internet allows cheap interaction with an audience of prospects through the automation/duplication powers of computers, a membership/continuity program can maximize the profit potential of your loyalest customers though those same powers.

    Now, you can probably get away with leading with a membership site in some markets, but as the OP pointed out, you're competing with every free, developed community out there.

    However, if you follow the classic funnel and place a membership properly within it, it should work for any niche you can extract super-loyal buyers. With that positioning, you're no longer competing with every free source, because you're dealing with people who know, like and trust YOU as the exclusive source.

    Make sense?
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  • Profile picture of the author Franck Silvestre
    It was a long read...

    I'll just talk about the retention rate here. If you give me something I want, I stay for year. If not, I'll go.

    I think that the retention rate is directly related to the end result.

    Why it doesn't work from some people? Simple, because the marketer REALLY needs to think like his customer, and even find what they need, but they don't know.

    Some marketers are experts at this while other just don't get it. The members will quickly feel that they have nothing to do here and leave.

    Franck.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
      Originally Posted by aboutalhah View Post

      I'll just talk about the retention rate here. If you give me something I want, I stay for year. If not, I'll go.

      I think that the retention rate is directly related to the end result.

      Why it doesn't work from some people? Simple, because the marketer REALLY needs to think like his customer, and even find what they need, but they don't know.

      Some marketers are experts at this while other just don't get it.

      Franck
      Spot on Franck. You've gotten to the core of what has a membership site ultimately succeed. Or ANY site for that matter.

      Great post.

      Ken Preuss
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    • Profile picture of the author BlogBrowser
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      • Profile picture of the author ryanleedotcom
        RE: Drop-out.

        People drop out of membership and continuity programs for all types of reasons.

        Yes, one certainly is they have moved onto another interest. But in my experience, that is more the exception than the rule.

        You can have the most butt-kicking program and community - but people always see the same thing differently.

        For example, one person might drop out because there is "too much" information - and they feel overwhelmed. I know that is a reason I dropped out of one program recently.

        Another reason is they feel the information now might be too "beginner". Which, by the way, is another reason to offer multiple membership sites, products and even levels of membership/coaching.

        But no matter what type of continuity program you are running, the key is the customer must feel like it's a good VALUE. If you take a step back and really look at it from their perspective (instead of just how much $ you will make) and you try to provide killer content at a good value, you'll have loyal subscribers for years and years.

        However, if you only provide crappy "turn-key" membership sites with generic content, then I believe everyone loses.

        It's a different frame of mind. I'm not talking "get rich" quick programs, I'm talking long-term businesses that can last for many years.

        Great discussions happening here.

        Ryan Lee
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        • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
          Originally Posted by ryanleedotcom View Post

          Another reason is they feel the information now might be too "beginner". Which, by the way, is another reason to offer multiple membership sites, products and even levels of membership/coaching.
          The point you make here is critical. Especially in cases where there is information and training involved.

          People need to be able to "move up", so if "the next level" doesn't exists and there's a one-size-fits-all approach, attrition will be high.

          Great point Ryan.

          Ken
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          • Profile picture of the author ryanleedotcom
            Hey Guys,

            I've seen it happen so many times (the information becomes too beginner as your member advice and learn/apply what you teach them).

            I made mistakes in the past by NOT offering different levels of membership.

            My fix has been to offer more advanced "coaching" options and it was much easier to do (rather than just create more content online and have more confusion).

            First, I did it by offering a physical product to compliment membership. It was double the price, but they also receive a CD in the mail with more advanced techniques.

            Another tactic I used was to offer a group coaching program offered via bi-weekly teleseminar. Even with that group, people eventually wanted more access to me and more personalized information.

            Now, I offer a high-end $9k per year mastermind coaching group.

            One thing I'm in the process of implementing is a mid-range coaching group. More advanced than by $10/$20 per month programs, but not with the personal service of my $900/month mastermind. It will probably fall in the range of $200/$300 a month.

            I'm glad to finally posting here and sharing at the Warrior Forum! Really cool sharing of ideas here.

            Ryan
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  • Profile picture of the author Melody
    Don't overlook free membership sites as money producers either! With the right niche, and a good community script, they can be excellent income producers through affiliate programs, and Adsense, and generally build pretty fast with the right marketing.

    I just sold one that was 18 months old, 5k members, for 35k - and it was producing a steady Adsense revenue, with virtually no time on my part and a total expense monthly of about $50. That's the third one I've flipped in the past year, and I have two more ready to roll out shortly - just after I get this mobile advertising launch finished.....
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  • Profile picture of the author Ben_Curtis
    LOL-my partner and I are working on a turnkey website membership program, and as always, warriors are giving me lots to think about.
    We were thinking $15-20 monthly for the site, and a discount member area for ebooks relating to internet business. Ebooks for non-members available for regular price.
    Thanks, all!
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  • Profile picture of the author sw
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    • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
      Originally Posted by sw View Post

      I definitely agree with your take on this subject. Membership sites are not easy and do require lots of maintenence and money to follow through. Very high customer turn over can have you back to square one in a matter of a few months. Its quite a risky undertaking that I feel most people may want to bypass on.
      Ask anyone who's got my Overnight Membership Site training program if they think your statement is accurate

      Membership sites and continuity programs are as easy or as hard as you want to make them.

      Members expect what you tell them to expect.
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      • Profile picture of the author Sipboy3000
        I have been building membership sites using Wordpress and flipping them for a nice quick profit. The GURUS in this niche make this an easy way to make money for me.

        I started selling mine because I found it rather difficult to manage them on a consistent basis.

        I would argue that it is still a viable business model based on your interests and passion. I you are involved in a niche that you have a passion for, then you could easily make money because it would be fun for you.

        However, if you are doing it strictly for money, you may run into some issues that will consume your time for more than you intended.
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  • Profile picture of the author lavaleekathy
    A great post Ken! Membership sites DO require a high level of maintenance and should be continously monitored to ensure satisfaction of your members and the health of your business. I think more and more business models are depending on membership automation services that may offer convenience to it is hosters, but it also lacks that personal touch with its members to ensure continual satisfaction. Great thread!
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    • Profile picture of the author Nathan Hangen
      I think continuity is a difficult to manage program...for instance I think Amy Bass offers a great program at too cheap of a price and as a result she's probably busting her ass trying to please people. Sorry Amy if I'm making false assumptions.

      I also think that forced continuity is a flawed system. For instance, having continuity just for the sake of having it is lame. I don't think a product should be forced down people's throats in a continuity method.

      Now, monthly newsletters, dvd's, and audio are a great way to do it. People like getting something in the mail and you aren't stuck "managing" the program. Coaching is a great continuity program, as is any kind of lifestyle maintenance niche, but otherwise continuity is a difficult model to use if you want to spend less time on the computer.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurelwachtel
    An informative post, and I get the gist of what you're saying... there's always going to be a new strategy getting attention throughout the internet marketing industry. I think its probably the best as I have seen others in the internet marketing industry generate six figure incomes per month with the simple use of a newsletter to subscribers. You can make the same amount of effort writing a newsletter for just 50 people than you can for 5000. An interesting perspective!
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    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
      a membership site offering two levels of "membership": beginner content and advance content. How would you implement that in a feasible fashion?
      You can have a two-level membership program without having separate content. You can have the levels differ according to their ACCESS to the content or according to additional privileges/discounts.

      For example, in my marketing mentorship program, Marketing for More, both Basic ($69/month) and Elite members ($99/month) get the same content. However, Elite members also get free recordings of any teleclasses they miss. This benefit alone keeps many of the members in the more expensive program.

      Elite members (the more expensive level) also get steeper discounts on products and services as well as the right to have what I call Feedback Feasts (what others call hot seats) centered on their marketing dilemmas. The Basic members can attend Feedback Feasts but not request one. This privilege also keeps many of the members at the higher level.

      And finally, a few members joined just to get a 50% off discount on press release distribution. They get this only with the higher level membership.

      More than 3/4 of my members spring for the more expensive membership.

      Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author onlinemoney00
    You have valid points, but there are certainly some things you can sell online that people will definitely continue 2 pay for
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