Friday, April 11, 2008

Challenges in running a paid membership site

Running a paid membership site can be quite challenging as you have to regularly produce good content, worthwhile programs, and keep your members happy. There is also the concern of expanding into new markets where your brand identity can limit your potential.

Last December 2004, I wrote a column piece sharing my thoughts on building and breaking brands based on personal experience.

Now, almost four years later, I am in this situation again with the Club. The above image is what the club is all about today. Some areas are not fully formed yet.
  • Research - when the club was first marketed in December 2003, I was gradually giving one research report per month as an incentive to join.

(Interviewed Reggie Bundang of RegaloService about online Christmas sales in 2007)
  • Training
    • Online Training
      • Podcast / Video - whenever I get the chance to meet with members, I explore having a video interviewing them (example above and blogger series). This in addition to my experiments in coming up with video/audio lectures.

      • Training pages - most of the literature I created are in e-book format for download and will explore putting its entire content online. Perhaps this will also spark more active participation in the forum section.

    • Face-to-face training
  • Networking - this ranges from forum discussion, to eyeball or meet-ups, and creating groups within social networks. The purpose is to keep a strong presence of the group within these sites. (e.g. LinkedIn)

  • Promotion - this includes disseminating updates on what they are up to, directory listing, banner ads, low-cost sponsorship and advertising opportunities.

  • Publishing / Mentors program - Offer an incentive for members who joined way back when we started by developing a book/training program with them.
The community has become bigger compared to what it was initially intended. The new additions were also a response to growing needs by current and request by new members. Keep it together or break it apart? Or maybe I'll just form a new site while keeping this community grow as is, we'll see.

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