Joining a membership site like the Build Your Audience programme can be a great way to grow your business. Not only do you get access to a library of learning resources, you also get to be part of a community of like-minded people you can call upon for advice and support. But with so many resources at your disposal, it can feel overwhelming.
With that in mind, here’s a guide to making the most of the Build Your Audience programme
Bookmark this guide and revisit it anytime you feel ‘lost’ or confused.
1. Set up a dedicated email folder for the Build Your Audience programme and whitelist my email address
Redirect any mail relating to the to this folder, so you can find it easily (including your login details).
While you’re at it, whitelist my email address (i.e. add it to a safe list of emails) to ensure our emails don’t end up in spam. The method for doing this will vary according to your email provider, but if you Google ‘how to whitelist an address with [INSERT NAME OF EMAIL PROVIDER]’ you can easily find instructions.
2. Bookmark the membership site (and this article)
Bookmark the URL for the Build Your Audience Programme. You should also bookmark this post so you can revisit it when you have any questions.
3. Subscribe to our Facebook messenger bot
This is included in your welcome email and is a great way to keep up with community news and make sure you don't miss new content/classes.
4. Introduce yourself in the members’ area
We currently use a private Facebook group for our membership community. This is the place to pose questions (both to myself and other members) and have conversations.
A few things to note about the private Facebook group:
- The pinned post at the top of the page lists key dates for the month ahead e.g. masterclasses. We’ll email you about them too
- There are are number of regular group threads I’d encourage you to get involved with: Monday #accountability (setting goals for the week ahead), Wednesday #honesty (sharing something you’re struggling with), Friday #wins (sharing your successes for the week). N.B. We collate the Friday #wins and send them out in a group email every Wednesday. This is something members find really motivating
- If you’d like me to answer a question, don’t forget to tag me into the post. If you have question about your membership, it is usually better to tag my assistant Jo-Anna Francis as she may be able to come back to you quicker.
Do go ahead and add yourself and introduce yourself to the rest of the group.
If you’re active on Twitter (or you’d like to be). You might also want to follow our Twitter list. Commenting and sharing on relevant content from fellow members can be a great way to build relationships.
4. Add yourself to the members’ directory
This can be found inside our private Facebook group (search ‘Member Directory’). Add yourself and browse other members (this will help you identify others you might like to connect with).
6. Get key dates in your diary
We have a weekly group coaching call - our Office Hour - every Monday at 11am (BST/GMT). Our weekly Office Hour takes place on Mondays at 11am (GMT/BST). If you want to check the time for your specific time zone, you can do that here. There is no obligation to stay for the whole hour - just pop in for a few minutes if you like. If you can’t make the session, you can post questions in our Facebook group ahead of the call (post them under this reminder pic we post every Wednesday morning).
We use the video conferencing software Zoom for the group coaching calls so it’s a good idea to get this downloaded onto your laptop/phone/tablet now. Coaching calls are recorded and posted in the members’ area (usually within 24 hours of the call). Hers's how to get the most out of the weekly office hour.
We also run regular masterclasses on everything from Facebook advertising to email marketing to managing your time more effectively. These are generally delivered by guest teachers - some of whom are based overseas - which means we have to be flexible on timings and may not always be able to give you as much notice as we’d like. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your emails, our messenger bot and check the pinned post in the Facebook group regularly. Masterclasses are also recorded and posted in the members’ area (usually within 24 hours of the call).
5. Set aside some time to look around the members’ area
When you log into the members’ area, the first thing you will see is the welcome video. It is just a few minutes long. Please watch it - it will save you confusion in the long run.
6. Be prepared to take responsibility
My next point might make for uncomfortable reading, but it’s really important.
When you join a membership community it's tempting to think the responsibility for your success lies with the membership site owner.
But the only person who can do the work is YOU. Which means the only person who is responsible for your success is YOU.
So if you don’t use the membership materials and/or use the Facebook group to get support, the only person you can blame if you’re not successful is YOU.
And if you miss Office Hour or a masterclass because you didn't put the date and link in your diary. Or if you miss something important because you didn't check your email/the Facebook group or messenger bot..it's your fault.
You must take personal responsibility for your own learning. Which includes looking after your own personal organisation and asking for help if you need it.
In other words, I am not your mum!
7. Focus on quality not quantity
People use membership communities in different ways. Some like to work through all the resources, show up to live calls and post in the Facebook group every day. Others prefer to dip in and out as and when they need help. Both are fine.
Do remember that getting a return on your investment in a membership community isn't about using every resource, showing up to every call and/or posting in the group every day (in fact consuming endless content can actually be a form of procrastination).
It's about the impact on the bottom line of your business. I've lost count of the number of Build Your Audience members who've told me they've made back he cost of their membership from one conversation, piece of learning and/or connection they've made in the membership.
So please don't think you're not getting value from the membership unless you are logging into the membership site every day and/or consuming every single piece of content.
This is simply not the case.
7. Schedule your ‘learning time’
When you’re busy running a business, finding time to dedicate to your own learning and development can be a challenge. Even if you can only spare 10-15 minutes a day, the trick is to make learning a ‘habit’ so it becomes harder for you not to do it. Research consistently shows it takes around 30 days to form a new habit, so you’ll only need your willpower for a short amount of time.
In fact, thinking about some of your bad habits e.g. checking the news on your phone every morning, checking Facebook numerous times a day, reading your emails as they come in (rather than saving them up to read in batches) can help you put it into perspective. You developed those habits easily enough...so it should be possible to develop a positive learning habit.
For many people, doing things at the same time each day or week can help a lot e.g. allocating 15 minutes at the start of each day or blocking off an afternoon a week for learning. There are some great ideas on how to be more productive in this podcast episode with productivity expert Mike Vardy.
8. Join the weekly Office Hour whenever you can
We have a weekly group coaching call - our Office Hour - every Monday at 11am (BST/GMT). This is your chance to ask questions and get help if you’re stuck. There is no obligation to stay for the whole hour - just pop in for a few minutes if you like. This will help you build relationships with other members and feel part of the community.
TIP: Add this to your diary as a recurring event and set a reminder. If you feel you’re losing your way with your marketing or becoming disconnected from the group, this is often the quickest way to feel connected again.
9. Ask if you need help….and tell us what you need
If you’re stuck on something, please don’t struggle in silence. Post your challenge in the Facebook group, tag me in and I’ll jump in and give you some help. You’ll also get support and advice from other members, which can be invaluable. My assistant Jo-Anna Francis is also on hand to help, so tag her in too (in fact you’ll probably get a speedier response). If it's something more personal, do feel free to email.
10. At the same time, be realistic
I believe takes at least a year of consistent work to build an audience and create a marketing system that works for your business. So set realistic goals, be kind to yourself and try not to compare yourself unfavourably to others.
In my experience, ‘comparisonitis’ is the biggest threat to small business growth. But comparing yourself to other business owners you perceive to be more successful is not helpful: they may be further on in their journey, have more money and resources at their disposal, be working in a completely different industry...the variables are endless. Focus on your own business, on your own improvement and get there in your own time.
11. Be prepared to share the ugly bits
Commit to the Build Your Audience membership programme and you will most almost certainly make mistakes and get things wrong. Don’t be afraid to share this with the rest of the group; not only will you get loads of support, you’ll probably find that’s where your best learning happens.
But do remember that it is no one else’s responsibility to make you feel good about your business - the only person who can do that is YOU. Equally you are the only person who can make yourself feel bad about how your business is going. Celebrating success is a big part of what we do in the Build Your Audience membership programme. If you find yourself feeling disheartened by others’ successes (and your own perceived failures) try shifting your perspective and asking yourself what you can learn from them you could apply in your own business. Better still - ask them for their advice.
Not a member yet? Here's some more information on the Build Your Audience membership programme