People ask me all the time how I got started with Internet Marketing and I tell them that there were two things. One, I wanted a way to take my knowledge and expand it using the web and second, it fulfilled a way for me to create passive income.
The response that I usually get from people after I tell them this, is that they want to start a membership site and want to know how to get started. So, I decided t write a short series of posts describing to you how to get your own membership site up and running.
So you want to start a membership site.
The first thing you need to think about is your niche and your topic.
Now think about this for a moment…
Your goal is to get members to happily pay you month after month for content. Obviously, that means you need to:
But here’s something else…
In order to get your members paying month after month, you need to be able to make them look forward to each upcoming lesson. And the best way to do that is by creating a membership site around a step-by-step process. That is, your lessons teach your members how to achieve a specific result.
You see, if you just provide tips and tricks for your members, there’s no sense of continuity. Your members don’t develop as strong of a psychological commitment to staying a member, because they won’t have a need to see the course through until the end.
Now imagine having numbered steps and lessons instead. When someone is receiving lesson 10 of a step-by-step process, they’ve made an investment of time and money into learning the process – so they are less likely to “bail” before they’ve received all the steps.
Let me give you a few examples of sites that teach a specific achievement or result using a step-by-step process:
Now let me give you an example of what a 12-week online marketing course might look like:
Step 1: Choose a niche.
Step 2: Market research.
Step 3: Plan your sales funnel.
Step 4: Get a domain and hosting.
Step 5: Get an autoresponder.
Step 6: Write your autoresponder messages.
Step 7: Create a squeeze page.
Step 8: DIY product creation – research and outline.
Step 9: DIY product creation – creating and polishing the product.
Step 10: Create a sales letter.
Step 11: Drive traffic – free methods
Step 12: Drive traffic – paid methods.
Notice how each step builds on the previous step.
It starts with a member not even having an idea for a niche… and ends with the member driving traffic to a sales letter and making money.
In other words, if the member completes the steps as the course progresses, he or she should be able to enjoy a specific achievement or result by the end of the course.
Note: The above example is a 12-week course. Naturally, you could easily stretch this out to a year or more by creating more steps and more in-depth steps. You could go on indefinitely as long as you kept providing more advanced info as the course progressed.
One final tip…
To keep your customers happy, make sure that they are progressing and enjoying results right from the beginning.
Example: If you create a yearlong course, don’t stretch out the process for a year. Instead, give the step-by-step instructions your customers need to experience some type of results immediately (within a few weeks or month after joining) and then provide more in-depth instructions as the course progresses.
In short: Satisfy your customers’ needs for instant gratification while still providing the continuity that will keep them as a member. You’ll learn more about that in Part 2 of this series.
Copyright (c) 2010 Mr. Inside Sales
How much time and money do you devote to your company’s sales pipeline? Think about the resources, the software, the meetings, the forecasting, the managing and measuring you do, and the time and effort you give it. If you’re like most CEO’s or VP’s or sales managers, your sales pipeline is your life blood. It’s what you run your company by; it’s how you make decisions, and often times it even drives your stock prices.
While the pipeline is a vital part of the sales process, it is also where the most fundamental mistake is made, and this mistake costs companies millions (if not billions) of dollars every year.
The problem is that most companies spend too much time, money and energy on measuring and managing the pipeline rather than managing and improving the quality of leads that go into – and ultimately come out of – the pipeline.
In other words, most of the leads that go into your pipeline are never going to close, should never have been put in and, as a result, your company wastes hundreds of thousands of dollars generating and then chasing, and measuring and managing leads that will never close. That’s the real problem.
Ask yourself: “What is my sales department’s closing ratio?” I’ll bet you can answer that, can’t you? A typical company will report that it takes an average of 50 cold calls or contacts with decision makers to set 15 appointments out of which 10 will turn into proposals or pitches which will result in 1 or 2 sales.
And once this metric is established (as measured by the sales pipeline, of course) the sales strategy is set – to get more sales, you just have to set more appointments. And if you want more appointments, then you have to get your sales team to make more calls! Suddenly everyone works harder, goes out on more appointments, and…and…the desired results don’t come, do they?
And here’s why: until you address the fundamental problem- the quality of leads that go into your pipeline – you won’t improve your close ratios or your sales. Remember, you can’t close an unqualified lead, so stuffing more of them into your pipeline isn’t going to get you the results you want. In fact, it will just cost your company more money, frustrate your managers and wear out your sales team.
You’ve got to stop managing your pipeline and start training your sales teams how to generate more qualified leads. That’s the only real answer.
In fact that’s the secret of all top sales producers. Look at your own top reps. What are their closing ratios? I’ll bet they are the highest in your company, aren’t they? They would never consider setting and running 15 appointments because they don’t have the time to waste. They would rather spend their time qualifying (I call it disqualifying) out the non-buyers so they can spend their time finding, qualifying and working with real buyers. And they know how to do this because they understand sales. Unfortunately, 80% of your sales team doesn’t.
And that’s why sales training is your only real answer.
But sales training is what most companies don’t do well. In fact, if you want to know how well your own sales training is working, simply shop your sales team. Either call in, or get on your lead list and have some of your reps call you. Try throwing them some objections and see how they do. If you’re like most companies, you’ll be appalled by the results.
Again, this is the real problem. Until you solve this basic problem of training your sales team, having them generate and stuff more unqualified leads into your pipeline won’t get you the results your company needs. That’s why most companies end up spending so much time and effort managing and measuring the pipeline. It’s something they know how to do.
If you want to get out of this unproductive cycle and actually start improving your sales and revenues, then here’s what you need to do: Get back to the basics of sales training and redefine what makes up a qualified lead. Identify all the elements and create a qualifying checklist. Make your reps fill it out completely before any leads are generated. If you’re not sure of a lead, have a manager re-qualify it for them.
The bottom line is you must train your sales force (and sometimes your managers) how to find and qualify real buyers. The more of these you identify and put into your sales pipeline, the more meaningful it will become.
So take the emphasis off managing your pipeline, and start training and managing your sales team. If you do it right, I guarantee you it will finally give you something you’ll be happy to measure – more sales!
About the Author
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