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Validate Before Your Create Your Membership Site

Ready to start a membership site?

Congrats, we think that is awesome! Before you too far ahead of yourself, do your homework!

Validating your membership-site idea before you build (and launch) is smart business.

Running a membership site is one of the best ways to establish authority, share your expertise and serve your ideal clients in a much larger way. Plus, a recurring revenue model is pretty sweet as well.

The temptation to run with an idea for a subscription membership site before doing any market research can be overwhelming.

After all, creating is the fun part, while working through research, awareness, attracting customers, and generating sales, well … not so much.

Rather then take a build-it-and-they-will-come approach to building your membership site, follow these simple steps to test the waters before investing a whole lot of time and effort (not too mention money) on something that your ideal clients may not even want or need.

Do Your Research

Is There Any Competition?

The first step in validating your membership idea is to research the competition. A quick Google search will tell you who you’re competing with. They may or may not have a subscription-membership site. They may be competing with you via elearning platforms or coaching programs.

Competition isn’t a necessarily bad thing. If there are others in your space and they are having success with your (or a similar idea) it means that people are willing to spend money on your idea.
Take a close look at what your competition is offering. Subscribe to their mailing list. Read the content they post on their website or social media profiles.

If you cannot meet (or exceed) what they are offering then it may be time for a new idea.

Does Your Ideal Member Exist?

When developing any product or service, it is critical to understand your ideal client’s avatar or persona. This exercise defines your target audience and sets in motion the path you follow to create content that speaks directly to them.

If you haven’t already done so, spend some time developing your ideal client’s avatar or persona (see out tool at the bottom of this post) Once you have completed this, go out and see if you can find them online.Do they exist? If not, it’s time to come up with a new idea for your membership site.

If you can find your ideal member (happy dance) it’s time to reach out to them.

 Ask Them What They Want and Need!

First of all – congrats – it looks like your idea has potential.

Now’s the time to talk to those people you identified as potential clients.

This is the tough part for many people. You need to talk with real human beings. But good thing for you … they are everywhere.
If you were thorough in your development of your customer persona, you should know where to find them and how to talk to them about your idea.

Here are a few locations you can be looking:

  • Networking events
  • Conference and tradeshow
  • Social media
  •  Meetups

Don’t ask your family and friends! At least, do not reply on their feedback unless they ARE your target market. Also, beware that they may tell you what you want to hear instead of what you need to hear.

Are They Willing to Pay for What You Have to Offer?

This is though one to validate at this point. However, while you are talking to your target audience, ask them what they would be willing to pay to solve their problem (after all that is what you are doing).

If you are getting feedback that is well below what it is worth for you to build a subscription platform (remember, there is a lot more work to build and launch then you think there is) then you may need to re-think your idea.

Test the Waters

Start Collecting Leads

If the feedback from your target audience is positive, if all the boxes are being ticked, it is time to start writing down names – and time for another happy dance.

In this phase, you are going to start generating some awareness and interest. You can choose whether to “ethically bribe” interested parties with a free giveaway (such as an ebook, infographic or short video), or you could go with a “coming soon” approach whereby you give a rough outline of the sort of thing you’ll eventually be offering and allow people to “register their interest” by submitting their email address in order to be sent future updates.

An important note – if you are going to provide a freebie in exchange for their email, make sure you provide real value. This is the first experience people will have of the content you produce and you want to put your best foot forward.

Create a Minimum Viable Product

Also know as a MVP, this is an offering in the same vein as your proposed membership platform. It targets the same audience but in a way that does not involve as much time and financial investment to get going.
This does not mean a “rushed” version of your final product. Simply something that will achieve some of the same objectives for your target market without the big investment.

A MVP offering is a great way to establish that the demand for what you’re offering exists – saving you time, effort and disappointment in the long run.

Now you understand the steps to go through before developing and launching a full membership platform. ‘Cause no- one wants to spend time working on something people are not interested in or unwilling to pay for.

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