Starting a membership site with a forum?

14 replies
Hi,

I have decided to give a hobby niche a go and see if I could make it work. The niche is in the arts and crafts which I know is profitbale as ebooks on it sale well on ebay, ebooks on it have a decent gravity on clickbank and there are many selling supplies and ebooks on adwords.

Now, im really thinking about starting a membership site in this niche. The problem is there is alot of information that can be found free in this niche, really all of it can be. Yet ebooks are still being sold on the subject which is a good sign.

But I think this is a rather passionate niche and I wanted to created a membership site where I charge $3.99 a month. Of course I would build a list and offer this membership site to my list.

Since I feel these people in this niche are passionate about the subject I think a forum would be good. However the niche already has free forums on the subject, so im wondering if communication between these people would only result to them discussing more popular forums etc.

I really want to create a little community in this niche where users can help each other. It seems that I need a forum for this, maybe I could spice things up a bit and make it a bit more like myspace where users can create profiles and everything?
#forum #membership #site #starting
  • Profile picture of the author Dan Ambrose
    A forum is an excellent idea to build a community (and keep members too).

    Don't worry about them discussing other forums, you cannot prevent that happening. If it's from your forum they found good info - they will stay with you.

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  • Profile picture of the author coreytucker
    but the problem I see is perhaps say the membership site grows slow, the forum would be dead. But I think a mysapce type site would be nice in this situation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Ambrose
    Well you can always generate posts with a financial incentive (pay per post). There are even companies out there that will start therads and make posts in your niche such as forumbooster.net
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  • Profile picture of the author JJOrana
    Not recommended.

    What you should do is build your membership site first, once you reached a mass market, then launch a forum.

    Nobody will post in a forum with few members. You have to start with large enough number of members.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan Ambrose
      Originally Posted by JJOrana View Post

      Not recommended.

      What you should do is build your membership site first, once you reached a mass market, then launch a forum.

      Nobody will post in a forum with few members. You have to start with large enough number of members.
      Nothing hurts by having people kickstart the forum.

      However I do agree that the forum should only be launched after you have built a membership with at least 100 subscribers
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  • Profile picture of the author IMChick
    The best advice that I've read on the WF is to pick one thing and stick with it until you have mastered it, including the nuances and variables, and only then move on.

    It would be an absolute disaster to launch everything at once and do most of it poorly. Seriously can damage your credibility.

    Think of it this way--once the first part is up and running, re-launch the first part to match the launch of the second item. Much more traction than just one big launch mess, no?
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  • Profile picture of the author coreytucker
    Ok my plan is to build a list in this niche and build a relationship with my readers. I will then show them the membership site where I add content and things like that. Manifesto Marketing sure does make it seem easy, but you guys are saying basically a forum inside the membership site is a bad idea then?
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  • Profile picture of the author coreytucker
    wait, so it could hurt me if I provide the membership site and a forum as a bonus? Im not just making the members pay $3.99 for a forum and nothing else, they will get the content thats added once a week, videos etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author coreytucker
    Hmm, I have a idea. I could offer it for $3.99 with a forum say once a week for the first month. Then if things are not going well I could offer a special offer of "get a lifetime membership to the site for only $29.99" and just sale it as a product.

    I mean thats 7 months, im sure alot of members would drop off before then. I gotta say that if I got that message I might jump on it, a one time small payment looks better to me even than a small $3.99 a month payment. But thats just me.....
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  • Profile picture of the author JJOrana
    I say, drop the forum and start focusing how to provide quality content to your membership site.

    Forum is only a "nice to have" feature.

    I have managed forums with thousands of members and you must have moderators to help you with that. You can't do it all by yourself. It will consume your time a lot.

    Search for "Ryan Lee" and you'll see some videos and articles and he is not encouraging to put up a forum.

    He manages about 40 membership sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author coreytucker
    hmm, ok. But I was really shooting at a community type site for this niche. I just think it would be nice, but I know what you are saying.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
      If you want to have a forum when your site launches (which I don't usually recommend) here's what I'd do...

      Go to elance or where ever and hire people to post. Hire a few and give them all different persona's. Create interesting characters that engage and encourage others to post.

      You need an active forum with different people posting otherwise new people simply won't post.

      An inactive forum can lead to refunds as people assume the product is also inactive/old/outdated etc. I've had people refund because my SUPPORT forum was inactive. (And an inactive support forum is a good thing!)
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  • Profile picture of the author Calvin
    I don't know if this is going to help, but this is what I suggest.

    Because you say this niche already has a lot of information floating out there in cyberspace, set up a Wordpress blog.

    Using the password protection feature in Wordpress 2.7, create a "Page" called "Members Area" or some such, and password protect it.

    Create another "Page" with your salesletter and an order button through Paydotcom.com. (You can use the order processing system of your choice, but Paydotcom would allow you to also run an affiliate program and build your subscriber base.)

    On a successful order, they are given the password to access your "Members Area" page.

    If you add them to your email list, you can change the password every month, and even add a "Page" for previous month's archives and charge extra for access to the archives.

    You can sign up at syndicatekahuna.com for free, and get niche targeted content delivered directly to your blog, without you having to lift a finger.

    Thus, you can concentrate on providing quality content to the paid members, and use your own quality content as "seasoning" to the free content from SK.

    Then, when your membership is built up a bit, you can easily add a forum, or a link to your forum, to your Wordpress blog. If you want to make it a members only forum, just put the link to it inside of the password protected area, and protect the folder on your server. You can reveal any additional passwords for accessing the forum inside of the members area.

    The whole thing takes less than an hour and a half to set up, and it takes very little time to maintain, leaving you a lot of time for promoting the site.

    I made some videos that go step by step through what I just described, since I'm sure what I just wrote is more confusing than helpful.

    If you want to see the videos, there are here:
    pushbuttonsuccessformula.com

    Hope this helps.

    Calvin
    Signature
    Coming Aug. 1, 2015 - I will pay you for talking to me on the phone.

    Stay Tuned.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Fenty
    The Admin of this forum is quite clever. Hes made allot of the forum free with 1 sub board a paid section of the forum. So naturally people's curiosity gets the better of them wondering whats in the "secret section". So they sign up to have access to the FULL forum.

    Which I belive is better than having a forum thats paid only because people may not want to pay just to come in and find a dead forum.
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