More passive income, please! It’s time to build a membership site and three platforms hang in the balance – Member Mouse, WishList Member and Paid Memberships Pro. Which one will deliver? Which one will I choose? Let’s start with Member Mouse.
Mom’s Building a Membership Site, Kids!
Today I begin the process of testing membership platforms. A little over a month ago (I think), I began recruiting focus group testers for four training products, the first of which (No Coder Needed, a one-day WordPress crash course) I will unleash on my focus group in 4 days.
I’ve been slow to get this done, but a long and difficult ten days writing last week reminded me of just how much I want to stop writing for money and start writing for purpose. So, no more excuses. The next 45 days are all about product development for me.
I finally got around to releasing one of several books that’s been sitting on my computer unmolested for the past year or two. You can actually grab that handbook, How to Write a Nonfiction Book in 5 Days (my latest in a long line of how-to books and productivity manuals) from Amazon by clicking here or by going to my Amazon widget in the sidebar.
So back to my “why”. I’m coming off a writing job where I learned a ton, but it’s taken me two days to get rid of the “writing headache” (the tension headaches I get when something goes wrong in the writing process and it can’t be fixed to my satisfaction – infrequent, but possible). I like my client – he’s brilliant – and I learned loads, but we had to renegotiate some things and make-do with other things and… today, I’m begging for more passive income, please! So for the next month, I am testing membership platforms.
Why did I choose a membership model?
I chose a membership model because I can’t get my message across in one or two products. My message is bigger than one medium can accommodate and a membership site enables me to engage multiple mediums at once – blogging, training courses, books and video – while generating a consistent stream of income. While I’ve worked with clients to build their training products and install them in membership communities, I’ve never built one of my own from the ground up. My most recent memberships include Jon Morrow’s Serious Bloggers Only community and Blazer-Kennedy’s GKIC.
Iconic is going to be my first membership program. In it, I am creating a community where current and future mompreneurs can come to learn more, earn more and succeed more. I’m amped about the program and ultimately, I want to be able to offer structured programs to women who want to make the transition from welfare to entrepreneurship.
That said, a membership site will allow me to work out any kinks and get valuable feedback from my target audience. In this abbreviated version of the summer program that will launch next year, I can drip the content I would typically deliver in person to my subscribers over the course of two or three months and their valuable feedback will show me how to improve the course.
But first, I have to find the right platform.
First Platform: Member Mouse
For the next two weeks, I will be using the Member Mouse WordPress plugin to run the site. I chose Member Mouse for a few reasons:
- Free trial period – The 14-day free trial period is attractive to me because I don’t like being wrong and the trial period allows me to tinker around with the tool before making a commitment.
- Affordability – Unlike some of the other subscription-based membership platforms, Membership Mouse is EXTREMELY affordable. After the trial period, my investment to keep Membership Mouse will only be $19.95 per month for up to 1,000 members with the Starter plan. I can slide that up to 5,000 members at $39.95 and 10,000 members at $59.95 with no huge price jumps in between. The next jump up is the Advanced plan for $99 per month, which allows 50,000 members. Ultimately, it’s more cost-efficient to go with a one-time payment plan, but if your budget doesn’t allow for a few hundred bucks on the front end, Member Mouse provides an easy way for anyone to get started.
- WordPress Plugin – Member Mouse is a WordPress Plugin, which means I already know how to use it.
- Features – Member Mouse offers an ample list of features for the Starter plan, which may have been available for the freemium level of PMP, but I didn’t see it. My criteria was the ability to offer my members a free membership level, to sell products / downloads, to drip content, to be able to see how well the products are performing (MM has a feature that tells you what each customer is worth to you based on how much the customer spends), lock content, and create a members area (as my man, Mario Brown emphasizes – the web marketer, not the boudoir photographer). I get all those features plus upsells, one-click buying for my customers, smarts tags, coupons and integration with Mailchimp (so every new member who joins automatically gets added to my list).
I have to admit: Member Mouse is winning my heart right now. I actually started with the free version of Paid Memberships Pro last night, but by this morning, I was on to something else. My decision to not use PMP last night was probably fueled by fatigue, so I will try PMP again in another few days when I launch the second training program.
In the meantime, I’ll keep you up-to-date on the developments with this test and check in a few days from now when I start using Paid Memberships Pro and Member Mouse side-by-side. Whichever one comes out on top, will officially be added to my currently non-existent list of affiliate products (you had to know we were going there, didn’t you?).
I know the most useful strategies on any blog often show up in the comments. So which platforms have you used? Which were your favorites? And most important, what should I be looking out for? Speak on it.