You have designed and published your WordPress membership site, made sure everything works and started spreading the word. But how do you quickly get your first members to join? After all, subscribers are the most valuable asset of your membership site, and if offering a subscription to a paid product or service is your main revenue stream, then your business simply won’t go very far without them. While there is no simple success formula for it, there are several strategies you can employ to find potential members, attract them to your website and entice them to sign up.
1. Run a Targeted SEO Campaign
This is a very obvious step, but sometimes webmasters mistakenly put it on the backburner, thinking that as long as their product is great, search engines will automatically find them. When working on your SEO strategy, look for keywords that are not overused by others in your niche. Think of something very specific to your product. This stage really begins at the level of designing your service and coming up with a niche. If you’ve done it successfully, you should have a very targeted membership service, ensuring that the market is not crowded with similar options before you launch. After you have done this initial step right, you should have no problem customizing your SEO campaign for that narrow niche you are addressing.
2. Browse Websites and Blogs in Your Niche
Take a few minutes every day to browse some websites and blogs related to your subject matter, leave comments, and communicate with authors and other visitors. You can utilize popular forums for the same purpose. Find active threads about your niche, register and start participating in the discussion. Find threads where people are specifically looking for the service you are offering, contribute to the conversation and drop your subscription link. While you can repeat this process on all kinds of websites, it is usually a lot more effective to stick to those that are relevant to you and your potential subscribers. There are only so many hours in a day, and you don’t want to waste any time on sites that will not generate any interest in your product nor send members your way.
3. Maximize the Use of Sign-Up Forms
You can’t know exactly which page of your website the user will end up on first, so it’s always a good idea to include a sign-up form in every place on your site that you think is in any way relevant to your product or service. Include it in your newsletters and on your social media sites, too. A non-intrusive sign-up option in the top left corner of your main content usually works well for drawing attention, or a site exit pop-up can be used.
4. Participate in Ad Swaps
Suggest webmasters in your niche, such as other WordPress subscription service owners, to exchange ads on each other’s sites. This technique works great if the two webmasters have a similar amount of traffic, as then it becomes a more fair trade. But even if your membership base is lower than the one on the site you want to trade ads with, you can still make things work. If the fellow seller’s traffic is twice higher than yours, suggest featuring his or her ad twice, in return for running your ad once. Try to regularly find sellers to swap ads with, and check whether you can include your sign-up form right on their sites. This will make it particularly effective if their content revolves around your niche. A good place to start is going back to the first step of this article, and posting on various websites and blogs related to your subject matter. Once you start a meaningful, mutual conversation with these webmasters, that’s a good time to ask for an ad swap.
5. Participate in Giveaways
This is a great feature that’s somewhat underutilized by WordPress membership site owners. Contribute one of your products to the giveaway event, where several other online sellers will do the same. Each one of you can then cross-promote the entire giveaway package of products, bringing every participant traffic from all participating sellers, rather than from their website alone. This method has a similar effect to the ad swap, except you are likely to get even more traffic, since several participants are usually involved and each one of them can present the giveaway products as part of their content, rather than a banner or other ad form. In most cases, all of these sellers will already have their own following, consisting of members who trust their opinion, which will make promoting yourself as part of a giveaway so much more effective. And just like it is with the ad swap, this strategy works best with giveaway events in your own niche.
6. Use High-Quality Membership Management Software
Do not settle for overly simplistic membership software just because it’s free, especially if you are planning to build up a large subscription list. You might be thinking that you can start with a free option and eventually migrate to a paid one, as your needs grow. Keep in mind, though, that shifting your existing members to a new program might be problematic, and can cause you to lose many of your current subscribers. Plan ahead on this one. If you believe your membership list can quickly reach 1,000 members, do not start with software that limits you to 100. At the very least, choose a plan that will allow for an easy upgrade when needed. Same goes for things such as an autoresponder. Going with something free and low-quality might cause you a lot of technical problems down the road, as the volume of your communications increases.
Some of the popular WordPress subscription plugins you can look into are Membership and Paid Memberships Pro. A very user-friendly plugin with great documentation, Membership allows you to divide your site into premium and free areas, allowing only paid members to access certain information. You can also give different subscribers access to different amounts of content, provide free trials and give your website visitors an option to sign up for multiple memberships. Paid Memberships Pro will let you control membership levels, create a hierarchical or subject-oriented subscription model, and set up different membership prices and payment cycles. WP-member, Restrict Content Pro and s2Member® are some other options you might want to check out.
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