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Membership Sites

11 critical mistakes to avoid in a membership site. 
Part 2 of 3

3 mistakes relating to content

A quick review: The first four critical mistakes we discussed last month are: 

1 - Not enough value
2 - Complicated user interface
3 - Poor user experience
4 - Bad customer service

Now on to the next 3 which are related to your content…

5 - Not enough content

This relates to number 1 in the last article but deserves to be identified as a critical mistake on its own.
There are lots of ways to not offer enough value that do not have to do with content, but it’s impossible to give enough value if your content is thin, especially if the member is paying for the privilege of accessing your site.
If you do webinars, or podcasts why not give your members access to the archives of those? Or if you publish a newsletter (print or electronic) have a repository of back-issues on the membership site. It really costs you nothing as you have already produced these and now you have fat content.
KEY: As with mistake number one, the old adage holds true here.....under-promise and over- deliver.

6 - Giving all the content at once

Ok, so this sounds like a contradiction to number 5, but it is really not.
If you are teaching something, for example, if you give the members access to all the information in one lesson, you can easily overwhelm them. So, dole it out, either manually, or automatically.
One really simple way is to break up the content into small bite-sized chunks. My JoomFuse documentation videos are short and focus a single point.
I have a client who is running a course right now, and she releases each lesson in consecutive weeks. You can go back, but you have to wait to go forward. She is a smart entrepreneur in that besides the lesson itself, she gives the member ‘homework’ to do and topics to read pertaining to that week’s lesson so they are not bored or lose interest before the next week’s lesson is released.
KEY: Give out your content over time and in bite-size chunks to create interest, urgency, and engagement.

7 - No reason for them to engage

You cannot just spit out all your information, regardless of how great it may be, without getting your members to interact and do something. Otherwise, they will drift away. The client I mentioned in number 6 engages with her members by giving them exercises to do related with the lesson. Then, in addition to that, she holds a live weekly call where members can ask her questions about that week’s lesson.

Encourage your members to comment on your blog posts, forum posts, etc. Maybe hold a contest every once in a while for the best new idea or whatever. Give something of value to the winner, like a book on a related topic, or a backup battery for their electronic gizmos, or something related to your membership topic (say a free set of knitting needles for the winner on your knitting know-how site).
KEY: If you want to keep your members, this has to be a two-way communication and they must feel engaged (or minimally feel that they can become engaged if they choose to be).
And for next month?
Next month, we finish up the critical mistakes series with “4 Mistakes Relating to Your Bottom Line”. This will be of special interest to those who charge to belong to your membership sites.

Originally published in Joomla Community Magazine.