Membership Sites - "Why pay for what I can get for free?"

24 replies
A quick question about membership sites as a business model:

Most people join membership sites in search of information about a particular niche, am I right? Why would they pay a monthly or even one time fee for access to a membership site with the information they're looking for when they can get it free from other sources on the internet?

Do membership sites offer anything that you can't get from other free sources?

If you run a membership site, what are you doing to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competition - including free and paid sites?
#membership #sites
  • Profile picture of the author Daniel44
    I'm about to launch a membership site in the IM niche. I have collected together every piece of experience (I have made quite a bit of money online) and information I have and poured it into my membership site through videos, ebooks, tips and pointers.

    I also offer unlimited support and some free hosting. I believe sometimes people just need things laid out in a step-by-step manner in front of them with some motivation. A membership site usually gives them that
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  • Profile picture of the author mattjay
    a model that i've seen others have great success with is a coaching style membership site. provide detailed instructions on something and break it down as a course, then have a forum for members only where you provide support, and also add content to the site regularly to keep members.
    i know a few warriors who do this in IM with super success.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
      Originally Posted by tragictrip View Post


      Do membership sites offer anything that you can't get from other free sources?
      Yes, time. It's the same with any info products... your value is in the research and presentation of information in a way that would otherwise take hours for others to gather online. Most people spend less than 60 seconds trying to find stuff on Google... what does that tell you?

      It's the same reason why people get taxis when they could walk.
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    • Profile picture of the author toytruck
      Paid membership sites offer exclusive access to information that can't be found anywhere. They can be ebooks, reports, online courses, tips, secret techniques, downloads, etc that are only made available to premium members. For niches such as weight loss, IM, forex trading, etc., these exclusive information are quite valuable that's why a lot of people are willing to pay monthly for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Big Al
    I've a friend into his fitness training and he's a good case study (with a few ideas added).

    - He likes the lazy approach and having workouts provided for him

    - Go a step further and these are workouts, systematically put together into 30 or 60 day programs he can simply plug into.

    - "On the internet no one knows you're a dog" so while there is tons of free info there ... if you can brand yourself as an expert then the trusting of the reliability of the information counts for a lot.

    - You could have proven success stories from your members (to go it alone and find the information for yourself could carry a greater risk of failure).

    - Lots of the free information is simply given to people and they read it without any realization of how good it really is. If you can sell the benefits and help people realize how good the information you are providing is ... then it's already going to get more interest than if it's just posted on a thread on a forum that gets zero replies. You're doing them a favor by highlighting it's importance (that they might otherwise gloss over).

    - Accountability ... if you are going to get an hour or two homework everyweek then you're probably more likely to do it because you're part of a membership site than off your own back.

    - Convenience

    I'm sure there are lots of others - but these are the obvious ones to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
    All the information in the world could be free but if people don't know what they are looking for in the first place then how will they benefit?

    This is known as unconscious incompetence - You don't know what you don't know...

    Make sense?
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    • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips
      Also the same information being found in random order can turn into a complete failure. Building the site before the keyword research rarely works out as well.


      Originally Posted by Mike Hill View Post

      All the information in the world could be free but if people don't know what they are looking for in the first place then how will they benefit?

      This is known as unconscious incompetence - You don't know what you don't know...

      Make sense?
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  • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
    PLR memberships are pretty popular in IM. You can get top quality ebooks, blogs, and even turnkey products (info product + sales page + graphics + source files) that you can literally turn right around and resell without making any changes. In other words, memberships are not always just about the information provided. Sometimes it's about packaging and having a business in a box that's all set to go.
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    • Profile picture of the author MichaelParsons
      Originally Posted by Zeus66 View Post

      PLR memberships are pretty popular in IM. [snip] Sometimes it's about packaging and having a business in a box that's all set to go.
      I could not agree more. The PLR I am offering at my own membership site is just to get those creative juices flowing.

      The real hook is the video training I'm producing which gives step-by-step, and is free to the monthly members.

      business in a box truly
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      • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
        Originally Posted by MichaelParsons View Post

        I could not agree more. The PLR I am offering at my own membership site is just to get those creative juices flowing.

        The real hook is the video training I'm producing which gives step-by-step, and is free to the monthly members.

        business in a box truly
        Right on, man. I dig it.

        The PLR = the "what"
        The video training = the "how"

        When you can give people both, it's almost inevitable that you'll succeed. You still gotta be able to market the thing, but that's actually the easiest part. The hardest part is member retention, which is where you gotta put on your creative hat.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bo Mill
    I have just launched a membership site in the IM niche. The reason I am offering it is because it truly is a unique membership website because it offers a unique product and access to some exclusive tips and tricks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Luis Gabriel
    Some people are lazy or dont have the time to get free information, so they decide to pay for a course and get upfront the information needed.

    Take Care
    Luis Gabriel
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  • Profile picture of the author redfoxseo
    Honestly it is about trust. People tend to trust a membership site over free information.
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    A great place to get Coupon Inserts

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  • Profile picture of the author Mukul Verma
    You are paying
    - step by step instructions
    - coaching and experience.
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    • Profile picture of the author LifeBizBalance
      I'd say convenience is the best reason, followed by exclusivity. Most membership programs cap their members, so that gives the sense that the program is of a higher quality.
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      • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
        # 1: Personal guidance from genuine experts (usually through a forum although it may be done on webinars, audio etc).

        # 2: Tools that aren't available anywhere else. eg. software, special lead generation methods etc etc.

        # 3: Resources that aren't available anywhere else eg. video, reports etc. Sure you can discover nearly anything online but it might take you a lifetime to do instead of paying a modest fee and finding all laid out for you in one place.

        Kindest regards,
        Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    Originally Posted by tragictrip View Post

    A quick question about membership sites as a business model:

    Most people join membership sites in search of information about a particular niche, am I right? Why would they pay a monthly or even one time fee for access to a membership site with the information they're looking for when they can get it free from other sources on the internet?

    Do membership sites offer anything that you can't get from other free sources?

    If you run a membership site, what are you doing to differentiate yourself from the rest of the competition - including free and paid sites?
    If you can be a credible source of information for the people that are seeking it, they'll definitely pay to be in a membership site. Not only are you saving them lots of time and from hours of frustrated searching around for information that may or may not be accurate, many membership sites tend to have an interactive element such as a forum and/or personal access to moderators or mentors that is very reassuring especially for someone getting into a brand new niche or field (as a result, they want people to interact with and guidance when needed).

    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author oinky222
    imho the only good "membership" type sites are the ones that offer some sort of software that you can only access if you are a member. otherwise they are pointless as far as im concerned. anytime i see an intriguing membership site i usually just pay for a month, watch every video, then cancel my membership before i have to pay for the second month, so its more just like a 1 time product for me. the only monthly subscriptions id ever be willing to pay for is software like SENuke or Magic Submitter
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  • Profile picture of the author donkey097
    two words - perceived value. People think that if they pay for something it is better than if they got it for free.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adam James
    There is a lot of crap information out there and most of it is free, there are people willing to pay for the information they are looking for as I am sure most of us have done on occasions when we are looking for what we need, instead of sifting through thousands of free useless information.

    The benefit of membership sites as a business model is you get recurring customers each month instead of just making one sale once to your prospect.
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  • Profile picture of the author entri3
    Most of the membership sites are a piure waste! They just copy paster information from other places! You have to choose !
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  • Profile picture of the author EdmundLoh
    The most expensive advice is free advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author tragictrip
    Thanks guys, there's some useful information here. I wasn't referring to membership sites in the IM niche though.

    You see, I'm currently in the process of creating a membership site in the gaming niche, for a particular online game. There are no paid sites for this subniche, and the free sites deliver minimal information. I know there is a market for this because I used to sell in-game currency.

    I'll probably add personal coaching as a feature to the membership site. I might also add an upsell to a secret technique that players can use to earn loads of in-game currency, and limit the number of people I let in on this technique so that it doesn't become diluted and lose its effectiveness.
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    Contact me at: kyleoliveiro@ymail.com[/CENTER]
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny Slater
      It doesn't matter which niche your in, most people will gladly pay a fee to get instant access to information they are looking for and not have to spend hours, days, or weeks trying to find all that information on their own.

      You are not really selling the information as much as you are selling convienience. People are busy, or lazy, or bored, or tired, or one of a thousand over reasons why they don't want to spend a lot of time looking up information.

      I used to have a friend who worked in a data mining company. They charged thousands of dollars just to compile data what was public domain information and format it into a readable report. Businesses and individuals alike used this company every day to access information.


      Originally Posted by tragictrip View Post

      Thanks guys, there's some useful information here. I wasn't referring to membership sites in the IM niche though.
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