Making a successful membership site
What do your members want?
It is important to deliver what your members want, NOT what they need. Hang in there with me and I’ll explain.
Over the course of this series we have discussed why you should have a membership site, how you might structure it, mistakes to avoid and some specific usage scenarios of membership sites. However, if your site is not successful, none of that matters.
Two Levels of Want
Level 1 - The first level is more of a set of preferences. Do your members prefer video to audio? Do they really care about building a community (if not, why spend hours in Community Builder or JomSocial putting together your very own mini-Facebook, when they don’t care to participate)? How about PDF versions of the articles? Content delivery formats, modular presentations with quizzes, all in one long article, doled out over time or available all at once? The list of possibilities goes on and on. Some preferences you can get from knowing your audience and some will be by trial and error.
Level 2 - These are a deeper level of wants…more of an end goal want. At this level, if you are addressing it properly, you can get your members to give up some level 1 wants in pursuit of a greater level 2 want.
For example, your membership may generally hate to take quizzes, but they want the certification that they want from you and, in order to get that certification, they have to demonstrate that they know the material. Hence, a quiz that they willing to take.
Give them WANTS, not NEEDS
I know that some of you are right now saying…no I’m not giving them what they want. Instead, I will give them what they need because it is good for them and they should want it. That’s great in the hypothetical, but you will likely not be all that successful in your membership site in reality.
You can, of course, sprinkle in what they need, after they trust you, but it is best disguised as fulfilling something they want. For example, your membership consists of overweight people…..You know that they have to reduce their caloric intake and expend more calories through exercise. But if you tell them to give up those daily Quarter-Pounders with cheese and jumbo fries…that is not going to be well accepted. However, if you say, “here are some methods to still enjoy your favorite foods and still lose weight”….you will have their attention because you gave them what they wanted.
The bottom line is that a huge key to a successful membership site is to know and fulfill your members wants (with a little disguised ‘need fulfillment’ thrown in for good measure).
Originally published in Joomla Community Magazine.