Scaling your coaching business is the next obvious step as you gain traction, get raving client reviews, and get the cash register ringing. Before jumping and getting on the next big coaching trend, stop and reflect on how you would like to expand. Would an online course be an excellent step ahead, or could a membership program be the best bet? Either way, knowing what entails in an online course and a membership program can give your clarity to grow your coaching business.
This article will cover building a membership program for your coaching business. We’ll show you why a membership program has its benefits. How to make a membership site and how you can use various membership techniques to get the right members in your sales funnel. Like all business investments, opportunity costs are critical while expanding in a new area, and we’ll share our take on this.
Why do you need a membership program?
As a small business owner running a membership program makes sense in revenue and execution.
- A lot of coaching programs are not cookie-cutters. It is personalized to each of your clients, where you get to know your clients and their immediate pain points. So, a membership program lets you build on progress incrementally.
- A membership program allows access to the community and gives a sense of belonging. Members have continuous access to your resources, making monthly payments a natural progression. They pay for it each month, leading to recurring revenue, making it a more steady income stream.
- CAC (Client Acquisition Cost) reduces with a steady income stream. You can then lower your program cost if you decide to attract more clients to your program. This way, your program becomes more affordable for your clients.
- It’s easy to sell your services at a B2B level. If you plan to approach corporates, then tie-ups with corporates to coach all ‘Director-level’ employees is a viable choice since it makes it easy to offer allowances to employees every month.
Irrespective of your choice of going B2C or B2B, starting a membership site involves a few foundational elements.
How to Build a Membership Site
While building a membership site, keep the user convenience at the center of all your decisions. So consider how the user will access the site and how you’ll set up systems to make it easy for you and your user to interact seamlessly.
User as a Priority:
A new user will look for trust signals to pay for your membership. The best way to begin is to be clear upfront about whether it is a paid or a free account. In case of a trial period, have clear CTAs that indicate there’ll be a charge after a set period.
Keep it Simple:
There may often be an overlap between the users who use your services and potential membership members. Ensure you’re setting up your membership site the right way with access to your services and membership. This way, people can book your services and login into their membership accounts in one central hub. Incentivize members to continue their association with access to select services based on their membership tier.
Sales system integration:
Look out for a membership site with a sales management system. This way, you can use their sales management system with the membership site, making it easy to send invoices, collect payments and track membership details.
Tracking your data helps to know more about your clients, their payment patterns, and rework payment plans that work for different customers. It is also good to check if your membership site can support on-site payments.
Reward Your Customers:
To encourage users to continue their payments, incentivize on-time payments with promos or coupons code to be redeemed later.
Promoting your membership site
Memberships often require a higher level of commitment from the buyer than one-off purchases. They need more nurturing. There are a few ways to nurture them.:
Offer Free Downloadables:
Ebooks, spreadsheets, and checklists work well to capture emails addresses and nurture them. However, don’t go overboard when it comes to email. Run campaigns that are sufficiently spaced out. Factor in seasonal campaigns or holidays that align with your products and use a theme for each campaign. This way, your marketing campaign targets a specific segment primed for conversions. Remember to space campaigns within a week. Subscribers may not follow or recall your campaign if it is too far-spaced.
Paid & Organic Search:
Depending on your margins, you may invest in either social media, PPC, or organic search. You could begin with organic search, but it is a long game so factor it when investing in organic search. For immediate results, invest in paid ads once you determine how much ROI makes it profitable for your business.
Try getting members to your program with attractive beginner-level membership programs (e.g., $10 for a 10-minute session). And then upsell a higher value membership. While this is not scalable, conversions are higher since people tend to feel guilty about not upgrading after a low-cost entry session.
Tracking KPIs for your Membership Site
Evaluate how well your membership strategy is working. Are you on track to hit your sales numbers? Are people happy with your memberships? Is there something you can do to move people further in your sales pipeline? Consider a few KPIs to keep your membership going:
Traffic to your site:
Track your traffic sources and identify your primary traffic source. Diversify your traffic sources so you don’t depend on one channel for your business growth.
The number of downloads:
Monitor the number of downloads for your membership site and study the pattern to understand if your marketing is showing results. If not, ramp up your marketing to increase conversions.
The number of membership upgrades:
An upward trend in your membership is a sign of growing interest in your offering. It also means your content resonates with your audience, and there is scope to expand it to reach a wider audience with similar pain points.
If your membership site shows a decline, identify bottlenecks hindering your progress. Are they in the top, middle, or bottom of the funnel? Based on this assessment, fix the issues to get your membership back on track.
Factors determining the outcome of your membership
There are a few factors that determine the success or failure of a membership program:
Show social proof to create a positive impression. Repeated exposure to clients who have made great strides thanks to the program can influence others to consider the program. And backup the testimonials with data and share success numbers (for example, sales coaching increased pipeline by 300% thanks to the coaching program)
Know your Target Audience (TG):
If you are looking at institutional sales, then your primary TG is not the client but the decisions making HR at the organization. Sell the value your program brings to the decision-makers first, like employee well-being, higher retention, etc. Once you are past this, you can focus on the secondary TG that is the person signing up for your coaching.
Use VoC (Voice of Customer):
Design your program using the VoC. VoC uniquely defines how your customers speak about the topic concerning your industry. Use this unique voice to communicate your solution.
For example, a Product Manager coaching program should use specific lessons that may interest your audience and not focus on “How to brainstorm effectively.” “How to create mood boards,” “storyboarding in product development,” etc. Talk to customers, use customer surveys, feedback, and internal documents to pick their top priority questions, and create program lessons that address these questions based on where they are now to where they want to be. This way, you position yourself as an authority in your niche.
Fine-tune your message:
Based on your TG and VOC, fine-tune your message to communicate the right message to the right audience. Determine their awareness stage and where they stand before communicating with the respective segment. So, if your audience is a group of beginners, ensure you build trust with low-cost offers, frequent founder interaction with your members, and social proof. As your audience matures and moves onto a higher tier, provide solutions that aren’t typically covered anywhere else.
For example, if your coaching package is for SDRs who are good in closing but aren’t good at pitching, tailor your program message to cover “compelling pitch templates,” “how to create a good first impression.” and so on.
Capture your audiences’ attention by knowing how and where they need help with your coaching services and lead them to your membership site through targeted content and convert them with your VoC based message. While you draw up plans to grow your membership plans, understand the opportunity costs for your membership program to take calculated risks.
Opportunity Costs for your Membership Program
Working on a membership program can be a win-win situation for your users and you. Your users get emotional support in the form of community and a sense of belonging to resolve their pain points. As a business owner, your business earns from recurring revenue.
However, not all membership programs are alike. While they may be cost-effective for the buyer and offer higher retention for the coach, it may not always mean more income.
To grow your profits look for ways to repackage your programs. If you have a product or service, offer a coaching program as part of this service, making it a part of your core selling process. Also, if you collaborate with other coaches or other people in your network, reach out to them to know if you can share their audiences through giveaways or join live sessions or webinars. It allows you access to a new audience and the opportunity to position your services for a broader reach.
Do not miss out on alternate ways to package your coaching programs if that means higher revenues. Ultimately, that matters for the survival and growth of your business.
Benefits of a Running a Coaching Membership
Diversifying your income stream is an excellent way to keep your business running. Even if you face any potential roadblocks, you can still maintain a healthy bottom line with a membership site. Some benefits include:
Focus on other areas in your business:
Unlike 1:1 coaching, a membership site can run passively without your active daily interaction. This frees up time for other activities in your business that may require attention.
As a small business, running your business can often involve managing all things alone. With a membership site, your clients interact in one place, making it easy to take an overview of your business. It also creates a common ground for your clients to speak of their shared experiences, influencing other people to buy one or many from your entire suite of products or services.
Wrapping it Up
When you’re on the lookout for a credible revenue stream, factor in a membership site along with your coaching services to generate new leads, create new offers and convert leads with them.
Operating this way has its benefits since you are focused on the user, which leads you to create memberships sites with sales management integrations and seamless support to your marketing plans. Also, ensure your membership site has analytics for a data-driven approach to decision-making. Don’t forget to incentivize customers for on-time payments.
Use organic or paid search depending on your business needs and budget. Free downloads and low-cost offers (tripwires) are an excellent way to begin. Once you have traffic, track people’s performance on your membership site, their purchase pattern, and interactions. Look out for signs that your business resonates with your members. Use social proof for influence and identify your target market to fine-tune your message. And factor in opportunity costs in your business as you benefit from customer retention and time to focus on critical areas in your business with a membership site.