A hot online business model is to build a membership site and sell those memberships for $27 to $97 a month or more. It sounds like a great idea – theoretically just 100 members paying you $97 a month will gross $9,700 per month and $116,400 per year.
But it’s not as easy as it used to be to get someone to sign up for a hefty monthly payment. And if you do, a majority of members tend to cancel after 1-4 months.
So why do they cancel? Because in their minds you are not delivering enough value for the money. They see that their finances are tight and they look for ways to save some money. “I’ll cancel that monthly membership because I wasn’t really using it anyway.”
The only way to prevent this from happening is to be indispensable to their business or their lives. If, for example, your membership gives them the software or the content that enables them to run their business, they’re not going to cancel. Same way if you provide them with something they can immediately turn into profit, such as high quality PLR. But these things tend to take more time and resources than the average marketer has, at least in the beginning.
So how can you start a continuity program that people readily join and don’t quickly cancel? By offering an inexpensive newsletter on a topic they’re passionate about. If your newsletter is in the $5 to $12 a month range and if it’s providing value, they’re not likely to cancel. After all, what’s a few bucks to read something they really enjoy? It’s less than a pizza and it provides value. And it’s almost too much effort to bother to cancel – it’s easier to just let it continue.
But you might be wondering how it can be worth it to sell a newsletter for, say, a $9 a month subscription. After all, 100 subscribers is only $900 – is it worth your time? And how long will it take to get those 100 subscribers?
Frankly, it generally doesn’t happen overnight. You may only get a handful of subscribers the first month, and another handful the second. But if your subscribers are sticking around, then your income is steadily building month after month.
Better still, whether you have one subscriber or 10,000 subscribers, your work stays the same. This means you can continue to add subscribers to infinity and your workload never goes up but your income does.
Plus, it doesn’t have to take a tremendous amount of effort. If you’re already knowledgeable about your topic you can write about it in your spare time. If you’re not, you can interview others and transcribe the interviews, or get other experts to write articles for you. In fact, if you’re smart you won’t spend the majority of your time creating content because you’ll spend it growing your subscriber base. This way every month you’ll earn more than the month before and that’s a great feeling.
Plus, you can market additional related products and services to your newsletter subscribers, thereby further increasing your income. Remember, your newsletter is far more likely to be read than ordinary emails, articles and blog posts because people are paying to receive it. This means you can build a tremendous amount of rapport and power with your readers. And so long as you never steer them wrong, they are more likely to follow your suggestions.
Here are 16 tips to get your newsletter up and running and make it as successful as possible.
1. Choose a topic with a high perceived value for the market. Making or saving money is always good. So is any niche with fanatical followers, many health niches, hobbies and even dating and relationships. If you can find something that people are obsessed with you’ve got a winner. For example, bodybuilders are obsessed with finding better/faster ways to gain muscle and they’ll subscribe to numerous magazines and websites to find the latest techniques.
2. Write a bullet rich sales page with tons of teasers on what they’ll discover in the newsletter.
3. Write one monthly newsletter or break your newsletters up into weekly editions. To begin with, the monthly newsletter format is easier and feels less overwhelming to produce. Plus it can be more impressive looking when subscribers see one big newsletter instead of several small ones each month. However, if there’s a lot of news in your niche then you might want to go with 2 or more smaller newsletters, since you’ll be able to put the news out in a much more timely manner before it gets old.
4. The amount of content you put into each newsletter is going to depend on your preferences, the niche and what your readers want. Remember that quality is much more important than quantity. For example, if you write a newsletter about making money from home, one detailed method they can implement each month is worth more than 100 pages of generic information they can get anywhere.
5. You don’t have to limit yourself just to written content – you can also do podcasts and videos.
6. Use experts in your field to help you generate the content. If you rely just on yourself you’ll run out of info. But with a steady stream of experts you’ll always have something fresh to say. Do interviews, use guest authors and even hire people to write articles for you.
7. In addition to information, negotiate discounts on products and services they might need. Getting these “inside deals” can be an added benefit of being a subscriber to your newsletter. For example, if your newsletter is about how to best use WordPress, you might negotiate discounts on popular themes, plugins or hosting. If you’re good at negotiating these deals they could even pay for members’ subscriptions.
8. Use a $1 trial to bring in more new subscribers.
9. Convert your newsletter to PDF and deliver via autoresponder or download link.
10. Ask your subscribers to submit their own tips and advice and offer them a link in your newsletter or some other reward if you publish what they write. Do this in every issue and over time you won’t have to produce as much content yourself.
11. Survey your subscribers to find out what they would like to see covered in your newsletter.
12. Once you know the value of your subscribers, you can purchase advertising to bring in new subscriptions. For example, if you know that your average subscriber stays for 6 months and you charge $9 a month for your newsletter, that’s $54. If it costs you $15 in advertising to get that subscriber, you’ve made (on average) $39 for every new subscriber that advertising brings in, not including other sales you might make to them.
13. Have a back end. It should be something more expensive than your newsletter and it needs to fit your niche perfectly, but it doesn’t have to be your own product. You can offer an affiliate product – just be sure it’s something you really, truly believe in yourself.
14. Depending on your niche, you might offer a “fixed term” membership. This is generally used when teaching specific skills that don’t change much over time, such as how to run a membership site or how to survive a disaster. You wouldn’t want to use this model if the information were constantly changing – for example, investing.
If the fixed term membership model is applicable to your niche, it offers a double benefit: First, you write the content once and continue to get paid on it for a long time. Second, members see the end in sight and are even less likely to cancel. Weekly publication tends to work well for a fixed term membership.
15. Rinse and repeat. Once you get one newsletter off the ground and successful, you might consider doing a second newsletter. This might be directly related to your first niche or in an entirely new niche.
For example, if your first newsletter is on Commodity trading, you might start a second newsletter on Forex trading. Then you can offer a discount to your commodity subscribers when they subscribe to your Forex newsletter. This will give your new newsletter a financial jump start and also enable you to immediately begin paying for content if you’re having it outsourced.
16. Cash out. If there comes a day when you’re ready to move on, sell your newsletter. Keep in mind that having built in recurring income along with a list of paying members makes your business VALUABLE, so you should get a very good price for it.