We already know the power of signing up just 1 new member a day over the course of a year, so now let’s look at four practical steps involved in making that happen. Or perhaps even signing up 2 new members a day.
1. Product driven offers
In my experience, it is very difficult to solicit new members and sign them up simply by making a direct appeal through a broadcast emailing or a direct mail campaign. By and large, prospects are cold to your idea.
They may not know who you are, or have had any previous dealings with you, so why should they trust you?
You’ve got to be really lucky to strike them at just the right time, they very time that they may be looking for your offer.
A better way is to sell them a product first, like a DVD or manual, and then offer them the gateway to your membership site, with an appropriate marketing hook to draw them in – say a prize draw, a free report, a marketing survey, or a specially discounted one-time offer price.
This way, you stand a much better chance of striking the right chords. They have bought from you, so they know you. You are offering a realistic extension to their purchase with support, backup and helpful assistance from a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
They may not sign straight away, for whatever reasons, but you will have made a mark and the next time you talk to them or make them an offer they will be predisposed to listen to you.
An out-and-about approach such as emailing, letter or postcard mailing never seems to work quite so well as the product-driven or back-end funnelling process that I’ve just described.
2. Piggyback mailings
This is an older term that you might not be familiar with, so let me explain.
This is another good way in to find new members for your subscription site. You have the endorsement of the primary mail sender who (presumably) would not have picked you if they didn’t trust you and your message and you’re reaching a receptive audience. Piggyback mailing is always at a much lower cost than if you were sending out and paying for your own primary mailing. And you’re reaching someone else’s list of warm and predisposed customers. That means they are likely to know the business you’re in and be familiar with it. They are therefore receptive and open to offers that they believe will help them to succeed. Your membership site is one such offer, an offer to take them to the next level in business.
You will need to negotiate a fair rate between you and the primary mail sender, perhaps based on an insertion fee, or a sales commission. You will also need to choose carefully whom you are going to piggyback with. It isn’t much good going to a model collector market, for example, if you are actually selling health and nutrition products. Look at your membership site focus and think carefully about who is out there who can help you to get to the most likely candidates for your membership.
You may need to be a little creative here and think laterally. For example, health and fitness membership websites are ideal for leisure clubs who operate regionally and nationally, such as First Leisure.
Business information sites are ideal for Chambers of Commerce, as well as local, regional and district-based organisations that may be willing to let you ride (piggy back) on their regular mailings.
3. Active links
The more you have, the better the web crawlers and search bots like it. What’s an active link? It is often called a reciprocal link or an inbound link where another company, website owner, producer, manufacturer, or supplier agrees to post your URL on their website in return for you sometimes agreeing to do the same for them.
Again, because of the way pages are indexed, generally speaking the more active orinbound links there are to your website, the better the search engines like it. All of which helps to push you further up the ranking and on to the coveted first page without having to spend a penny to get there.
Whilst this article is not intended to be a lesson in search engine optimisation, inbound links and ‘reciprocations’ are somewhat essential as they enable your business to be able to do business with and through other people, but they also give you a ‘viral’ advantage. You are being seen in other places and traffic is being directed to your site from other sources. It all helps to build awareness and strengthen your brand.
Once again, it is a question of balance. You want some active links, but you don’t want a rash of active links from poor websites!
But be selective! Who do you want to partner with? Who’s likely to have more clout in your sector: another website that offers complimentary products and services to yours, or a ‘link farm’ website that is already blacklisted by Google? Link with these and you will be guilty through association. You have been warned!
Some sites I see are nothing but an appalling list of contact companies. Active links? Unlikely, because no one is ever going to scroll and scan down to key link number 55. People’s attention span and interest is simply not that big.
Equally, make sure your site doesn’t have too many links on any one page. Links are monitored and picked up by the search engine robots and if you have too many you could easily find yourself blacklisted and labelled as a link farm yourself. That’s definitely not what you want.
Remember, your membership site is your baby. You control it. It is your ‘channel’ and you are its gatekeeper. You decide how it looks and what impact it will create in every visitor’s mind. And the more you can control it, the better it will be and the greater its impact when people drop by and call in. Make it easy for people to use and navigate their way around. Make it easy for them to make the best use of their time whenever they visit your site.
4. Syndicating items and articles
The lyrics of a pop song got it just about right when they encouraged everybody to “Make Some Noise!” And that is what you’ve got to do – make some noise! You’ve got to make lots of noise if you want to be heard.
There is an awful lot of competition out there. Everybody is fighting for customers and interest and while rising above the crowd isn’t easy, it is nonetheless achievable.
You’ve got to get your name, your ideas and your presence out there. So you write a series of press releases related to the content of your membership site and you distribute them throughout the web using the appropriate distribution channels (to avoid being accused of spamming), making sure that your press release lands into the laps of targeted media professionals.
Using this method, you are getting your name out there and promoting your membership site to others who will follow the link you’ve provided (your membership site domain name) to follow up on the information you’ve given them.
More than that you are increasing your active link engagement with all of the major search engines, helping to push you up the rankings – and helping to keep you there.
But the thing about SEO is that it doesn’t last, and please don’t expect it to. It’s an ongoing commitment. All of the major search engines frequently refresh their algorithms (the way they work and who to list at the top of the search results) and that can alter everything. It is not unusual for companies that may well have paid a lot of money for SEO and spent a packet on Google AdWords to get themselves in the top ranking to suddenly find themselves shifted down on Page 365!
The search engines feel that they are forced to reconstruct their indexing patterns to deal with Internet marketers keen on trying to cheat the system (an infuriating and seemingly eternal problem!)