Woohoo! You’ve decided that the best possible thing you can do for your new or existing business is to create a membership or subscription model that is scalable beyond your wildest dreams. But you soon find you fall face first when you realise you don’t actually know what to do next.
You know what your business is, what it does and who it does it for, but how can you make it really work for you in a subscription format? What will that even look like? And won’t you have to be constantly on the content-creation hamster wheel?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
Subscription, Membership, Recurring Revenue Model
Whatever you call it, you need to be sure that creating a membership, subscription or recurring revenue model is right for you. Let’s cover the basics first just in case you’re not quite convinced.
Creating a subscription is a fantastic way to level up your authority in your field and to add recurring, uncapped, additional income into your business using digital resources.
When you create a subscription you’re basically making something once that can be bought by one or ten thousand people; it stays the same no matter what. This makes it a great semi-passive income stream that can either compliment an existing business or be a stand-alone entity.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started, no matter what industry you’re in:
- If you’re a service-based business that uses brainpower rather than hands-on skills, (like a coach, consultant, or strategist) then instead of focusing on one-to-one, think about how you can deliver a similar result, outcome, or transformation on a one-to-many basis. This could be by breaking the work you do down into bite-sized chunks, creating a support network of like-minded people, teaching a monthly masterclass, holding your customers accountable, or all of the above.
- If you’re a service provider who uses hands-on skills (like a boiler engineer, physiotherapist, or reiki master), consider how a subscription to your services could provide your customers with a sense of relief or instant gratification. Almost like a retainer or insurance policy; where you don’t provide content, you provide ‘just in case’ cover so you’re always on hand if your customers need you. You can also teach what you know, what you do, and how you do it, or create a community of people in your industry.
- If you’re a maker, artist, or creator, then it’s time to teach what you know or create a community of like-minded creators who can share everything that it means to be in your industry.
The Different Types of Subscription Model Content and Their Benefits
I’ve given you some suggestions about what sort of content you can create but let’s break them down. All of the suggestions I’ve given below can be used on their own, or in conjunction with each other. Creating a subscription is about what’s right for you but, more importantly, what your customers want, need, and expect.
Creating a Community or Network
Many people will happily pay to feel a sense of community or acceptance, but will also happily hand over their cash to meet people who may become customers. A sense of community is something you could consider facilitating within your subscription model.
There’s lots of potential when it comes to creating a subscription model around regular, live events. These could be networking events, group coaching, group training programmes or access to guest speakers. If this is something you’re considering, make sure to get organised well in advance, to give your customers plenty of notice to attend your events.
When it comes to pre-recorded content the world is absolutely your oyster. You can include video content like tutorials, workshops, technique advice or ‘how to’ videos, which are all stored safely in a gated area for your members to access.
Providing downloadable content is a great way of supporting your members to achieve goals. These can include workbooks, printables/aide memories, checklists MP3/Audio downloads or infographics. Each are valuable in their own right but become even more so when accompanied by pre-recorded or live content that they can associate with the supporting documents.
As with Downloadable content, template content is as valuable and useful to your customers when presented in the right format to help them to achieve something. They can include swipe copy, templates, workflows and other ‘copy and paste’ type content that supports them in achieving the goals of the subscription model.
Leveraging, Repurposing and Maximising You
Whatever you create, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the potential to maximise what you’re already doing. I’ve given some suggestions below about how you can really benefit from what you’re already creating to get the best possible results out of the time and energy you invest.
- If you’ve created a ‘how to’ video about a topic, consider creating a printed version of the video with screenshots that can be used as a separate piece of content to support your customer. This helps people who learn in different ways to absorb the information in the most comfortable way for them while maximising the content you’re providing. The same applies to video into MP3, video into blog, etc. Think creatively about how else you can present the same information that will support your customers.
- If you’re making recommendations (which we all do at some point!) become an affiliate for those products or services, so you can also be paid if someone takes you up on your recommendations. (Affiliate marketing is a BIG topic in its own right, but worth incorporating into your overall income strategy for maximum results. You can find out more about it in this post)
- Additionally, if you’re talking about a topic that needs more in-depth advice that wouldn’t fit comfortably in your subscription model, consider creating additional digital products that can be used as upsells (more expensive) or down-sells (cheaper) add-on purchases.
- Don’t forget to call people to action. Never assume someone can navigate all of your offers or content. Make sure it’s absolutely crystal clear what to do next, what to buy, where to go or what action to take.
- Consider how best your content might be delivered. Might one meeting room link for all of your networking events be easier for you and your customers? Might getting an email with their content work well for drip-fed styles? Would a bank of information that can be accessed anytime in a self-study format be the right choice? In a world full of excellent technology like Subkit, there really should be no constraints on how you choose to present and deliver your content.
- When you come up with a new idea for a product, it can often result in business owners going out and implementing a brand-new shiny income stream, spending hours (and sometimes serious cash) on researching and creating it. But then, horror of horrors, it doesn’t sell. One of the biggest tips I give to my clients is to qualify the market BEFORE you create anything at all! Again, this is another big topic, and I’ve written more about it here if you’re interested in implementing this technique before you launch your own product)
- Finally, when you’re marketing, re-use the content you’ve already created so that you can create maximum value and impact, whilst saving yourself time. Got good copy on your sales page? Use it in your social media posts. Got a great video in the membership? Take snippets out and use them on social, YouTube and Pinterest to drive traffic back to the sales page.
- In summary, be creative and think about how you present every single piece of content and whether or not it might look good in a different outfit; i.e., presented in a different way.
Whatever you choose to do for your subscription model business, please do remember, more isn’t always best. Your customers can easily become overwhelmed if you provide ‘all the things’ all at once. So consider a content plan to help you stagger your offers, roll out your content on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis and always think about the end-user in the process. As business owners, we want our customers happy and that can often lead to us over-delivering from a content point of view. Remember, you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Give your customers choice and options, but not too much that it causes stress or even analysis paralysis!
As an example, I once joined a membership and received 17, yes – 17, emails in the first 24 hours of my subscription. You can be damn sure I was outta there pretty sharpish. I’m too busy to be dealing with that, and so too might your customer.
Always keep your buyers and their user experience at front of mind when you’re delivering, creating or serving and you won’t go far wrong.
Joelle Byrne is a Business Strategist at JoelleByrne.com who specialises in helping oversubscribed businesses to create multi-revenue, passive, scalable and automated models that are perfectly aligned with their business so they can add more value, make more money and enjoy more freedom. Joelle truly believes that most business types can benefit from creating a model where your business doesn’t depend on you.