Membership Sites 101: Part 2

This is the bit people seem to either like, or hate, the most: the tech toys.

There are more options out there than you realise for your membership site. There are many out-of-the-box solution for hosting courses, for example. But the king of online content is WordPress, and there is one very important reason why you should build your membership site on WordPress:

Control.

You control the customer experience. Why thinkific or kajabi or whatever will host your content and make it look good, and they’re easy to set up, you have absolutely zero control of the customer experience. No way to create custom onboarding. No way to create custom interfaces. No way to personalise what they see and do based on their actions.

And that’s a big deal, because the #1 goal of a membership site business should be retention, and without control of the experience, your retention will not be good.

There are other reasons, but honestly, that one is such a biggie the rest are moot.

So, WordPress. What else?

WordPress +

If you’re not familiar with WordPress, it is the software that powers almost a third of all websites. That’s quite a statement. It’s also open source, and free when self-hosted. It’s mature, well supported, stable, and importantly, owned by you.

WordPress gives you the control you need to create a phenomenal product. But by itself, it isn’t enough. It’s the tech-foundation for your product that you’ll build upon.

Plugins

In WordPress speak, plugins are what give your site the functionality it needs to execute your vision.

There are a ton of options when it comes to making your WordPress site a membership site, but seeing as this is my email course I’ll tell you the only ones that I think you should use, and it depends on which CRM you use.

If you use Infusionsoft, it should be iMember360.

If you use ActiveCampaign, it should be activeMember360.

Both written by the same development team, they are extraordinary pieces of software that when combined with the automation-chops of their respective CRMs, will allow you to create an extraordinary product.

CRM

Small business CRMs have come a long way since SugarCRM – Infusionsoft and ActiveCampaign are powerful automation platforms with integrations with hundreds of other softwares.

They’re powerful, and if you’re not using one of them, you should be. Combined with WordPress they’ll create the backbone of your product that will be automated and efficient, enabling you to stay lean and keep margins high.

“Which one is right for me?” is too complex a question to go into here, but one of them will be – get in touch to have a conversation about which one is right for you.

The Toolkit

That’s it. There are plenty more tools you could add to the mix, but if you want to keep things simple, that really is all you need.

WordPress + iMember360 + Infusionsoft
WordPress + activeMember360 + ActiveCampaign

Not nearly as frightening as you’d think, hey?

The thing to remember when it comes to your toolkit is not to get stuck. Analysis paralysis affects everyone, and it’s far too easy to get stuck in minute details and “what if?” questions.

Don’t solve problems that don’t exist yet. Start with the basics and build upon it.

The Toolkit above gives you everything you need for your:

  • content platform
  • landing pages
  • email marketing
  • shopping cart/payment processing

That really is it for your membership site “essentials”.

Read Part 3: Building Your Site

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