What Is A Paid Membership Community?
An online paid membership community is basically a community where members pay an annual fee to come together and interact online. There are many platforms out there that are specifically made for people to form communities based on a common interest that they build connections on and share knowledge about.
One such platform is LikeMinds, where you can build your paid online community.
And the good news is, you can create a paid community for pretty much everything here!
From teaching to organizing events, networking around causes to growing a brand. You name it, and LikeMinds has in-built features to support your paid online community.
How To Excel At Paid Online Community Management?
The potential to attract enough participants to create a dynamic community requires skills persistence. And to create a high-quality user experience that keeps participants hooked and willing to keep paying overtime is more challenging.
But fret not! Just follow the simple checklist that’s given below and you’ll become a skilled community manager in no time!
- Launch with an adequate user-base: No one would be tempted to visit that has no activity. You need to give people a reason to be inclined to join and remain a member of the community. Make sure you have at least 50 participants before you go live. And an effective way to achieve that number is to create a waiting list and launch your site when you’ve hit the right number.
- Streamline messaging around site’s content: What consistently drives participants to join a community in the first place is the promise of interesting educational content. So, emphasize that in your messaging, and let them discover the value of community interactions on their own accord, over a period of time by experiencing it first-hand.
- Invest quality time upfront: Active participation by the site creator is essential in the initial days, especially because the community members have a connection with you but not among themselves. And second, an active moderator sets the tone for group discussions in a civil and creative manner. Hence, it is crucial to foster relationships in the early days.
- Don’t let your site become a dull playground: Community cohesion can go wrong if not managed properly. For example, old members might get dismissive towards new ones with ‘rookie’ questions, or respond warmly to their friends’ posts and ignore the others. This can be avoided by hiring a community membership advocate for few members to promote community cohesion.
- Help relationships bloom offline: Online communities are great but limited to a point. In order to encourage group cohesion, promoting in-person meetups and conversations is a powerful way to reduce feelings of animosity within a community. For example, members might like to attend a marketing workshop but, would be more interested if their friends are also attending the event.
- Get an optimal sales balance: An active online community lands you the ability to survey your customers on a daily basis. You can receive feedback by asking them directly about the struggles they’re facing or let’s say, the products or services they feel would be most beneficial. Getting the right fit sales call is key to building a robust paid community.
What Are The Value Additions From A Paid Membership Community?
- Ideas generated can save or earn you thousands: If a conference is worth X amount of dollars to attend, an ongoing community should easily match that. Who knows if you get a great idea from a community that eventually increases retention rates or conversion rates by 20% and also boosts ROI for your business.
- Feeling that you are one of the best in the sector: This is an intangible benefit that you receive from a successful paid membership community.
- Acquiring deals with partners/vendors to get discounts: Be it products or services, it can help you get discounts by cracking deals with vendors.
- Receiving immediate assistance from subject matter experts: Experts in the field can render quick assistance in case of product or service-related queries.
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How To Kickstart A Paid Membership Community?
- Using an on-site forum platform: While a Facebook group may be the most convenient and more attractive option, there are several reasons why having an online forum is preferable. Members have immediate access to the community, and the flexibility of integrating forum solutions should be factored in while getting your community started.
- Using a seed group: Running a ‘beta test’ by enrolling a small group of members at either a reduced rate or for free, before the final launch to extensively test out everything is a great idea. The seed group can comprise of people on the waitlist or existing clients.
- Be a leader to drive the community: ‘Showing up’ is one of the most basic and impactful things a membership site owner can do & the same goes for your community. This doesn’t imply you need to live in your forum 24*7, but making it part of your daily routine by visiting twice a day, starting fresh topics, and replying to posts/queries goes a long way in driving community engagement.
- Enable community building features: Private messaging, member tagging & profiles, and status updates are features that make your community more interactive and thereby drive community participation.
- Get all of your team involved: If you are running your paid membership community in partnership with someone else – then having all the team members taking part in your forum goes without saying. It works towards boosting your community’s presence and visibility as well as increasing the chances that members will have their questions answered within a timeframe.
- Share blog content regularly: If you’re publishing regular blogs or other nuggets of infomedia like podcasts, videos, or other content as part of your marketing for your membership site, then it’s worth sharing that within your paid membership community. This is something that adds great value to your community and makes it easy for people to participate.
- Curate a list of questions and inspiration for discussions: Doing this will quickly help you build up a list of fresh, relevant topics that you can initiate within your community when you find yourself at a dearth of ideas. As a founder, you are expected to set a pace particularly in the early days of the community.
Why Are Paid Communities Difficult To Execute Over The Long Term?
- Content churn is a painful process, as not only does a member churning reduce your MRR/ARR, but it also can have a large impact on the culture of your community. We stay with a community for the people and relationships we build and create. When they leave, our equation with the community changes.
- The value of the ‘product’ is largely out of your control. Following on the first point, the value of a community often stems from the ideas, attitudes, and behaviors of other members and it is difficult to control attitudes and behaviours.
- When someone joins a community, its value is attached to human efforts. That can be volatile and hence cannot be easily predicted.
- One needs to ensure that subscriptions prove their value month over month. A paid membership community needs to continually prove its worth every month.
With a paid membership community, you have to be perseverant, consistent, and tactical in handling paid sign-ups, be it products or services. If you do it right, the rewards are yours to be seen.
If you’re looking for a platform to build your paid online community, then give LikeMinds a try today! With its intelligently designed features, you’ll be able to build a highly engaged paid membership community in no time.