membership

[339] How to build an audience for an online course or membership

If you’ve already tried to create your own course or membership programme you’ll know that it’s not a simple case of ‘build it and they will come’.

In this episode, I share the reasons why you must build an audience before you launch an online course or membership site. I also break down the steps you need to take to build your online audience.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode.}

Why online courses/memberships are attractive

If you’re desperate to break free from feast and famine in your business and secure recurring income, creating an online course or membership can seem like an attractive prospect.

Selling online courses or running a membership site can help you serve your clients in a more flexible way - allowing you to cut down on travel time, spend more time with your family and achieve a better work/life balance.

Before you dive in, though - a quick reality check. If you’re looking for a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, this isn’t it. Overnight success stories are few and far between.

Why online courses/memberships are challenging

If you’re interested in launching an online course or membership, you may be attracted by the idea of generating passive income. But in my experience there’s no such thing as passive income.

As someone put it to me recently: ‘If you build a farm, you have to keep feeding the animals’. While there may have been a better way to phrase it (I certainly don’t see my clients as animals!) there is a lot of truth in what she said. You can’t build an online course or membership and then leave it to run itself. The odd technical issue is bound to crop up from time to time and of course you’ll constantly be thinking of ways to update and refresh the content.

The other thing you must consider is your audience. It doesn’t matter that you’re an expert in your field or that you have amazing content; if you don’t have an audience, come launch day, you won’t make any sales.

Why you shouldn’t create your online course before you’ve built an audience

Creating an online course or membership community is exciting – I’ve spoken to many clients who’ve been itching to jump right in – but I always advise them to take things slowly. There are a few key things to consider before getting started.

Firstly, you need to think about your audience. How big is your audience and where do they hang out online? People generally aren’t on social media to buy. So while you might be able to nudge people over the fence via a Facebook ad or social media post, most sales will take place in your inbox.

So if you have a huge social media following but only a handful of people on your email list, you might need a rethink. The average online conversion rate sits at about 1-2% which means for every hundred people on your list only a handful will buy. Which is why you need a much bigger audience than you think.

When it comes to building an audience, though, it’s not just a numbers game. If people are going to buy from you – particularly if they’re spending a few hundred pounds or more – they need to know, like and trust you first and that takes time. I know from analysing my own sales figures that typically it takes people around seven or eight touch points before they decide to buy, whether that’s downloading your worksheets, reading your blog, receiving your newsletter or interacting with you on social media.

Another thing to consider before creating an online course is what your audience actually wants or needs from you. You may have a fixed idea of what you want to deliver or what interests you, but I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve spoken to business owners who’ve spent time and money creating an online course only to discover later that it isn’t what their customers are actually looking for.

Step 1: Work out the size of audience you need

The first step in creating your online course or membership programme is to work out how big your audience needs to be i.e. how many people you need on your email list to hit your sales targets.

Next, work out a rough idea of the course or membership you want to create, how much you’ll need to charge, and how many you want to sell. If you’ve decided you’re going to sell a high-end membership programme, costing several thousand pounds, you may only need a few thousand on your email list. But if you’re selling a course at a lower price point, you’ll need to shoot for 10k or beyond.

To help you work out your numbers, I’ve created a handy tool for you.

My audience calculator will help you work out how many people you need in your audience to hit your sales targets.

 

Step 2: Build your audience on social media

I used to tell people that they should be building an audience on social media, on their blog, and through their email marketing simultaneously. What I’ve come to realise, though, is that if you haven’t nailed your social media content, you’ll struggle to build your audience on your other platforms. It’s only through creating content and engaging with people on social media that you really come to understand your customers’ problems – and how to solve them.

Once you’ve figured out what works for your audience on social media you can transfer this knowledge and start creating the right kind of content across your blog and email marketing (which is where you’re more likely to make sales) and encourage your followers to join your email list.

The first step in building an audience on social media is to learn where your potential customers are hanging out. So if they love Instagram, that’s where you need to be. If they’re all using LinkedIn, it doesn’t matter if you hate it – wherever your target audience spends their time is where you need to spend yours.

Initially I’d recommend that you choose just one or two social media platforms and experiment with different types of content until you see what resonates with people. Once you’ve mastered that, you can tweak your content a little to make it work for the other platforms your audience uses. Consider getting involved with Facebook groups or Twitter chats, whether starting your own or joining in with established groups. This is a great way to find out about things your ideal customers are struggling with so you can start creating content that will help them.

For more information on creating engaging social media content, check out Three Types of Social Media Content to Guarantee you Sales Today episode.

Step 3: Build your audience on a blog

Once you’ve built up a following on social media, you can start growing your audience through content.

Having a social media following is vital, but doing so exclusively is a bad idea, as you’re essentially building your audience on someone else’s land. Just last week there was widespread panic with an unexpected Facebook and Instagram outage.  Many business owners were desperately trying to launch programmes and products to their followers but weren’t able to post anything until the outage was resolved.

Publishing content on your own website in the form of a blog, podcast or embedded video puts you back in control of how you connect with your audience. It’s where you move people from the borrowed land of social media onto your own land.

Not only that, publishing regular content on a blog can help you attract more traffic to your website, improve your chances of being found in Google search, help you build your email list.  It’s also a valuable way of getting people to know, like and trust you. I remember one of my customers, dog photographer Kerry Jordan, telling me that she booked a ticket for one of my live events last year because, after listening to my podcast regularly, she felt like she already knew me and could trust me to deliver what I promise.

My advice is to choose one main form of content whether that’s a blog, a podcast or a YouTube channel, and spend time getting comfortable with the format. If you’ve taken the steps above to improve your engagement on your social media channels and taken the time to learn what your ideal customers are interested in, you should have a good idea of what kind of content to focus on in your blog or podcast.

To give you an example, if you were interested in creating content about audience building, as I’m doing here, you’d find lots of people searching online for information on how to pick blog topics, how to build a following on social media, how to know what to blog about, how often to blog or how to convert blog readers. Because I can see that these are all issues my ideal customers are struggling with, I know that they’ll make great blog topics.

Once you have a broad range of topics, do some keyword research to make sure you’re using the keywords and phrases that people are actually using to find that content in Google.

And don’t forget the final step: promotion. This is another reason why it’s vital to build up your social media following first; that way you’ll have an audience of people to share your blog/vlog or podcast with (albeit small at first).

For ideas on blog topics check out How to Make Sales from your Business Blog.

Step 4: Build your audience through email marketing

If you have a sizeable email list, you have instant access to hundreds or thousands of your ideal customers who likely already know, like and trust you. With an email list of 15,000 subscribers, I know that if I needed to generate cash, I could create a course in a weekend and make sales immediately. That’s the power of email marketing.

So how do you get people to sign up to your email list? Our inboxes are already full of emails we’ll never get round to reading, so the last thing most people want is to sign up for yet another newsletter, unless there’s something really juicy in it for them. Creating a  lead magnet - an information product e.g. checklist, a template sheet or a how-to guide that helps solve your ideal clients’ problems - is the most effective way to do this.

Once you’ve created your lead magnet(s), it’s time to turn, once again, to that strong social media following you’ve built up. Promote the hell out of it, on every platform you use, to get those new subscribers rolling in.

And don’t hit the brakes once they’ve subscribed – getting the actual sign up is just the starting point in your relationship. Asking for a sale at this stage would be like proposing to someone who’s only just agreed to go on a date with you. To move the relationship further along, I like to use an email nurture sequence, which sounds fancy but is actually just a way of describing a series of emails that contain useful content new subscribers should find helpful. These emails will be spaced out over maybe 3-5 days, or even weeks depending on the nature of the lead magnet, and will gradually build up that like, know and trust factor.

Find out How to Create a High-converting Lead Magnet here.

Step 5: Beta testing.

I’m including this as step five but don’t feel like you have to wait until you’ve reached your audience goal before you do a test run. When you’re at a point where you have a big enough audience to get even ten people onboard, offering a beta version of your course or programme can be a great move. I don’t recommend giving your course away for free because people are far more likely to do the work if they’ve invested in it but you can offer a significant discount to a select few in exchange for their feedback as they work through the materials. I don’t even think you need to wait until you’ve created the full course before you run a beta test. Creating your materials week-by-week, tweaking as you go based on the feedback from your beta testers can be really effective.

I recently launched a beta test group for my upcoming Build your Audience course and discovered that the material I had put together was actually far too challenging. Because I was working with a small group and could give everyone a lot of individual help and attention it worked out fine, but it did show me where I’m going to have to make changes before the official launch to make sure I’m providing maximum value to the people who sign up.

Step 6: Do a pre-launch

As with the beta testing phase, the pre-launch doesn’t have to wait until right before your official launch date; it’s definitely something you want to be thinking about while you work on building your audience. Be open about the fact you’re building a course and get your audience involved in the process. Show them what you’re working on and ask for feedback. Get them to co-create the course with you.  When I do that I find, not only do I get great feedback that I can use to shape my course content, but my audience becomes really invested in what I’m creating, often asking where they can sign up long before I’m even ready to open up the sales.

Episode 237, How to Launch a Membership Site with Anissa Holmes is really useful.  Anissa started her membership site with almost no content and basically asked her audience, ‘what do you want to know?’, ‘what do you want to learn?’ which showed her exactly how to create relevant resources for the people she wanted to help.

When you’re thinking of creating a membership programme or online course, I think the two key things to consider are flexibility and patience. Unless you already have a sizeable, engaged email list, expect the whole process to take a year or so and be flexible about absolutely everything, from your expected timescale to the actual content and delivery of the course itself. Be prepared to experiment and let your audience lead you where they need you to go.

Podcast show notes:

  • Why online courses and membership are an attractive source of income (but not as easy as it may seem) (2:35)
  • Why you need to build an audience before launching a course or membership (10:30)
  • How many people you need in your audience to reach your sales targets (17:32)
  • How to build your audience on social media (19:08)
  • How to build your audience through producing content (26:04)
  • How to build your audience through email marketing (38:05)
  • Why you should test your course/membership content before you create it (45:40)

Resources

Janet Murray’s Audience Calculator

Episode 291: The truth about passive income

Keap (previously InfusionSoft)

Episode 325: Three social media posts that will help you generate sales today

Leadpages (Affiliate Link)

Episode 335: How to create a high converting lead magnet

Episode 333: 39 Surprisingly easy ways to increase your email subscribers

Episode 237: How to launch a membership site with Anissa Holmes

Join the priority wait list for Build Your Audience Live here

Apply for a place on the LinkedIn Content Strategy Masterclass here

Get your hands on the ‘How to write awesome sales copy’ course now

Register your interest in the Build Your Audience programme

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

Order the 2019 Media Diary

Order the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club

Order the 2019 Wall Year Planner

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

[334] How to build a large audience without paid advertising with Callie Willows

Are you trying to grow your audience but don’t have the funds for paid advertising?  Or are you feeling fed-up with forking out on ads which aren’t bringing you a good return on investment?

In this episode, Callie Willows from The Membership Guys, shares practical tips on how to grow your audience through content marketing, how to use targeted email marketing to get clients plus how to build your brand authority within your industry.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}.

Callie is the co-founder of the The Membersite Academy - the leading membership site for people who are interested in building and growing membership sites. The site currently has around two thousand active members, but Callie and her co-founder Mike Morrison have never invested in any paid advertising to grow their list. They have built their audience organically.

How to build your audience organically

Janet believes it generally takes around a year to build a big enough audience to launch a membership site or online course.  But Callie and Mike have proved it can be done much quicker if you produce consistent and high-quality content that answers your ideal customers’ questions.

They launched The Membersite Academy back in 2015 with a tiny email list - simply by creating targeted content for their ideal customers. Callie explains: “We were blogging, we were podcasting every week. And we did that for about three months before we launched the membership and free Facebook group. I think we launched with about 500 people on our email list. Now, three years later, we're at over thirty thousand.”

How to get eyes on your content

Callie and Mike put their success down to pure persistence. Prior to launching The Membersite Academy, they were building membership sites for other people. This meant they were both active in relevant Facebook groups and had also started their own Facebook group where they could share and promote their blog content.  They also shared their content across all their social media channels, with friends in similar fields and with their previous clients (who were interested in membership sites already). As Callie puts it: “It was really just about lots of little, different things that we were doing in lots of different places, rather than kind of doubling down on one [method] in particular.”

This echoes something Janet talks about in 39 surprisingly easy ways to increase your email subscribers, in which she explains there is no one ‘magic thing’ you can do to grow your audience - you have to try many strategies to see what works.

As Callie puts it: “Anything with audience building, content marketing for your audience building in particular, is a long game. It's not something where you're going to see instantaneous results, and you do need to persist. And you do need to accept that you'll be putting stuff out there for a while that you won't necessarily know whether anybody is actually paying attention properly or whether anybody cares.”

How to get your blog posts to rank on the first page of Google

One of the key things that helped Mike and Callie build their audience quickly was blogging regularly - twice a week at first. Some of the blog articles quickly ranked on the first page of Google, which meant anyone who was interested in membership sites could find them easily.

But while having a basic understanding of search engine optimisation (SEO) is helpful, Callie believes it’s more important to “write like a human being”. Callie and Mike have found their content generally ranks well (and quickly) in Google simply because they’re addressing the questions their audience is asking.

Building authority on a niche topic can also help a lot, adds Callie. “I think these days, there's a lot of people talking about membership sites and there's a lot of content out there about it. But when we started doing this, we were the only people consistently, week after week, talking about membership sites. And that was all we talked about. We were just like one track ponies…. membership sites, membership sites, membership sites.  So it became natural that whenever anybody thought of membership sites, they thought of us.”

How to use lead magnets to grow your email list

Callie believes there is no magic formula for audience building. Mike and Callie attract email subscribers in a number of ways, including lead magnets, online challenges and a single call-to-action on every edition of Mike’s podcast - to join the Membersite Academy.

“We don't sell a lot of different products, we don't have things like coaching and consulting and things like that,” she explains. “The only thing we sell is the membership. So we just make sure that nobody can know who we are, or be on our email list or in our audience and not know that we have a membership site. And then when the time comes that they're actually in that place where they're like, ‘I either wanna start a membership site or I need some help growing my existing membership site’, we're the first thing they think of.”

Something Callie and Mike have done right from the beginning, however, is segment their email list.  New email list subscribers are categorised based on where they are in their membership site journey. - ranging from interested in starting a membership site, currently building a membership site to established membership site owner. Having different lead magnets which are tailored towards these different stages in the membership site journey, allows them to direct prospective members towards the content that is most relevant to them. If they feel their current needs are being met, they are much more likely to join.

Callie’s top tips for growing your audience

If you’re currently trying to build your audience, Callie believes you shouldn’t expect to get any traction for at least three months - but don’t let that deter you. She suggests giving your audience building a boost with an online challenge, summit or webinar series that will help you get in front of more people and build your email list quicker.

Mike and Callie are running an event called Retain - which Janet will be speaking at - in September 2019.  It’s a conference all around membership growth, looking at sales tactics, retention tactics and all the different ways that you can grow your membership site once it's up and running, and take care of your members better as well.

Podcast show notes:

  • Callie’s business story (2:52)
  • How to start building your audience through content marketing (6:10)
  • How to get more eyes on your content (7:28)
  • How to ensure your blog posts rank well on Google (11:45)
  • Why niching down can help grow your business (14:90)
  • How to improve your conversion rates (17:40)
  • How to use email marketing sequences to grow your client list (21:00)
  • How to build your brand authority within your industry (24:50)
  • Callie’s top two tips on how to grow your audience (29:02)

Resources

Callie’s website: The Membership Guys

The Membership Guys’ Facebook Group and Facebook Page

Retain Live - The Membership Growth Conference

Apply for a place on the LinkedIn Content Strategy Masterclass here

Get your hands on the ‘How to write awesome sales copy’ course now

Janet Murray’s Audience Calculator

Register your interest in the Build Your Audience programme

Order the 2019 Sorted Content Planning Toolkit here

Order the 2019 Media Diary

Order the 2019 Media Diary and Media Diary Owners’ Club

Order the 2019 Wall Year Planner

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn

[303] On-Air Coaching: How do I pivot from serving a small number of clients to a membership model? with Kirsty Carden

Do you offer coaching or consulting to clients and wonder how you can scale up your business?

In this episode I help Kirsty Carden, a successful business coach, with practical tips and strategies on how to launch a paid membership community, how to use social media to get people onto a waiting list, and how to define and refine the offer you are selling.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • Kirsty’s business story (1:15)
  • The challenge Kirsty is facing in her business (1:30)
  • Why selling premium offers can be easier than selling lower-end products (10:15)
  • Why creating a waiting list will help you garner interest for your new offer (17:02)
  • How to use social media to get people onto a waiting list (19:58)
  • Why you shouldn’t try to scale up too quickly (21:55)
  • Why you need to be clear about what your membership is (and offer something specific) (30:40)
  • Kirsty’s biggest takeaways from the coaching (40:38)

Resources

Kirsty Carden’s Website - Live, Love, Grow

Kirsty Carden on Facebook and Instagram

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Content Live 2018

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Facebook Community

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

 

[301] What it really takes to build an online business with Lucy Parsons

Academic coach Lucy Parsons started her business four years ago and has seen her revenue grow from just £10 a week to over 50k a year.

In this episode, Lucy - who is part of my membership community - the Love Marketing Membership - shares how she has gained fantastic press coverage for her business, used webinars, Facebook lives and email marketing to convert leads into sales and successfully written and promoted a book.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this episode:

  • How Lucy’s business was doing when she started the membership (3:28)
  • How Lucy got press coverage for her business - and how it impacted her business (7:54)
  • How creating content consistently helps your business grow (and improves your SEO) (10:10)
  • How the Office Hour helped Lucy (15:42)
  • Why growing your online business takes trial and error (23:14)
  • How investment has helped Lucy grow her business (27:14)
  • Lucy’s plans for her membership (31:19)
  • How Lucy’s income has grown since she has been a member (34:19)
  • Lucy’s biggest tips for growing your online business (36:45)

Resources

Lucy Parson’s Website - Life More Extraordinary

Lucy Parson’s Membership - The Extraordinaries Club

Lucy Parson’s on Twitter and Facebook

Episode 105: How to build a memorable personal brand with Phil Pallen

Episode 291: The truth about passive income

Episode 81: How to generate recurring income from a membership site with Mike Morrison

Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Membership

Content Live 2018

Love Marketing, Make Money Income Goals Checklist

The Janet Murray Show Podcast Guide

My YouTube channel

**MY BOOK ** Your Press Release Is Breaking My Heart (A Totally Unconventional

Guide To Selling Your Story In The Media)

My FREE Janet Murray’s Love Marketing Facebook Community

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

 

Want to join the Build Your Online Audience programme but don't have the budget? Here's how

So you’d like to join my programme and membership community, Build Your Online Audience. You know it would be great for your business. Trouble is, it feels out of your budget right now.

If this sounds like you, the first thing you need to do is reframe the problem. Instead of saying ‘I can’t afford it’ ask yourself ‘what could I do to make it affordable?’

With that in mind, here’s ten ideas to help you raise the funds to join my Build Your Online Audience programme - ideas several business owners have already used to fund my live events, courses and coaching. 

1. Get in early

Currently the Build Your Online Audience programme is £240.  So get it early and bag yourself the very best price. You can join here.

2. Offset the costs with an event/offering of your own

If you want to invest in your own learning, how about hosting your own live workshop or opening up a number of consultancy slots to cover the costs of your training? If you run a product-based business, perhaps you could host a pop-up event in a local market, office or co-working space. Plenty of venues rent out space by the hour at very affordable rates (my personal tip: try schools, colleges, and churches) and you can put together a sales page on Eventbrite in minutes. Start thinking creatively and the possibilities are endless.

3. Host an online event or sale

What do you already have of value in your business? Perhaps you have some information products i.e. courses/webinars/videos you could bundle together and offer at a special price? Something you could teach in an online class or webinar? Or products you could bundle up or offer at a special price for a limited period? I’ve yet to come across any business owner who doesn’t have something to offer.  No need for fancy landing pages or software- a simple email or web page will do (our Pop-Up Christmas Market (in 2017) - which we put together in less than 24 hours - is a good example of how to create a 'sale' without any fancy resources). 

If you need to raise funds consider bundling up your products/services to create a new offer

4. Get more customers/clients 

Yep you heard me right. Work out how many new clients you’d need to attract - or products you’d need to sell - to cover the cost of your membership. Then ‘reverse engineer’ the process i.e. work out how you’re going to making it happen. If you run a consultancy or coaching business, this can be as simple as emailing your existing/previous clients to ask for referrals (or offering an additional service or ‘upgrade’). If you have a product-based business, you might consider hosting a special sale (see number 3) or hosting a pop-up event.

5. Get someone else to pay for your membership

Do you have a client who would benefit from you being part of the membership? If you can show how it could have an impact on their bottom line, you may be able to get them to contribute towards the cost or even cover the lot? If you have multiple clients who would benefit, you may be able persuade them to split the cost. Several of my own team members (all contractors with multiple clients) have done this successfully to fund their own training/personal development costs. 

6. Look for money ‘behind the sofa’

  • Are you paying direct debits for services you no longer use?
  • Do you have any tech/equipment (or anything at all in fact) you’ve been meaning to sell on Ebay?
  • Is there a dress in your wardrobe you meant to return but didn’t get round to it?
  • Do you have money sitting in a bank/building society account you no longer use?
  • Is there any unnecessary expenditure you could cut out right now?

Devote an hour to looking at your ‘money leaks’ and you might be pleasantly surprised how much cash you can gather together (I recently claimed back £82 that had been sitting in a dormant bank account).

Headphones on a white table with a pink notebook and iphone
Spend an hour looking at your 'money leaks' and you may be pleasantly surprised

7. Offset the cost of your membership with sales to other members

As a member of the Build Your Online Audience programme you’ll be encouraged to do business with other members. We do this in a number of ways - from the weekly #sells thread in our private Facebook Community (where members can post about their products/services) to online events like the Christmas Pop-Up Market. In fact, I actively encourage members to set themselves the target of making back the cost of the programme (at least) through sales to other members.

Amanda Overend, founder of Books and Pieces, academic coach Lucy Parsons, Corporate Cakery founder Samantha Whittingham and animator Beth Searle are amongst those who’ve made their membership fee back in sales to other members (and myself).

I have previously ordered bespoke cookies from Corporate Cakery to send as Christmas gifts to my top customers. 

I hired animator Beth Searle to create a stop-motion video to promote my 2018 Media Diary.

 

I have also bought (and received!) Christmas presents via designer and photographer Emma Mapp, jewellery designer Sally How , online gift shop owner Pragya Agarwal and Jessie Wilson.

Are you up for the challenge?

8. Consider if there is anything else holding you back

When prospective members tell me they don’t have the budget to join the Build Your Online Audience programme, it’s actually rarely about the money. When I dig a little bit deeper there is usually something else going on: perhaps they don’t feel ready for the membership are worried they won’t have the time to make use of the resources or they’re not convinced it will get them the results they need. So do ask yourself if there is anything else holding you back.

These are the most common concerns people have about joining the Build Your Online Audience programme. Do any of them sound familiar?

9. Put your Big Girl / Big Boy pants on

You’re an entrepreneurial sort - otherwise you wouldn’t be in business. So if you really want to sign up for the Build Your Online Audience programme, I believe you’ve got what it takes to figure out how to get yourself there. If you've tried some of the ideas above (and maybe you have some of your own) but still can't raise the funds, you may need to set it as an aspiration for the future - but at least you can say you've tried (and made some money to put towards your membership). 

Want to be a 2020 success story? Join my programme and membership community here. 

Lost your mojo with your membership community? Here's how to get it back...

Being part of a membership community can be a great way to get support with growing your business. But there will be times when you need to take time out: when your workload gets crazy, you have family issues to deal or over the holiday period, for example. At times like this, you may feel like you’ve lost your mojo, and wonder how you’ll ever get it back.

If you’re feeling like this, rest assured this is perfectly normal. Life gets in the way for all of us from time to time. The key thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.

With that in mind, here’s seven tips to help you get your mojo back with a membership community.

1.Don't beat yourself up about it

We’ve all bought resources or signed up to online training programmes we haven’t used as much as we’d like to. Sometimes life or business (or both) just gets in the way. That doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t be able to.

2. Reconsider your ideas on ROI

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. It's about the impact on the bottom line of your business.

For example:

Holiday cottage owner Sara Moreton made an additional £2500 from one idea I suggested to her on a group coaching call.

 

 

 

Children's book company owner Amanda Overend doubled her monthly income last July due to the support she received in the group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independent travel company owner Helen Robshaw has earned more for doing less.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even if these members had done nothing else with their membership for the rest of the year, there is a clear return on investment for their membership.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and lost with your membership site, you may need to spend more time familiarising yourself with what’s on offer.

As a membership site owner, I’ve noticed that members who reach out and say they are stuck often haven’t gone through the steps we recommend in our onboarding process e.g. watching the ‘welcome’ video, having a look around the site and/or introducing themselves in our private Facebook group

If you still have the emails from when you joined, going back through the ‘onboarding’ information you were sent can be enough to get you back on track. If you can’t find the emails - or have gone through the information and still feel stuck - you could even ask your membership site owner for a live ‘tour’ of the site. We have recently added a learning unit in the Facebook entitled 'Getting the most out of working with Janet.

3.Don’t hide

If you’ve had to take a break from your membership community - or are struggling to keep up - you may experience a range of emotions: embarrassment, frustration or even anger, for example. You may feel annoyed at yourself that you’ve paid for something you’re not using or isn’t getting you the results you hoped for.

When you feel like this, it’s tempting to ‘hide’ and hope no one notices your absence, but the longer you leave it, the harder it will be to make a comeback. So be brave and let your membership site owner(s) - and your fellow members - know how you’re feeling.

If you’re a member of the Build Your Audience programme I’d encourage you to either tag myself or my assistant Jo-Anna Francis into a post in our private Facebook group or drop us an email. Although it might seem like a bigger step to post in the Facebook group, you’ll also get the support of other members, which can be invaluable.

Feeling disconnected from your membership community? 'Fess up how you're feeling to fellow members and you'll get tons of support

4.Accept responsibility

My next point might make for uncomfortable reading, but it’s really important.

When you’ve lost your mojo with a membership site, it’s tempting to point the finger of blame: at the membership site owner or at other members of the group, for example.

No membership site is perfect. While there will almost certainly be improvements to be made, there is only one person who can do the work and get results and that’s YOU.

Start by taking an honest look at the situation. Key questions to ask yourself might be:

  • Have I been showing up and trying to do the work? If not, why not?
  • Have I been participating in community activities e.g. group calls or live classes? If not, why not?
  • Have I tried to make use of the resources on offer? If not, why not?

Get clear on how your own behaviours and habits may have influenced the situation - and the things you might need to change. Then you'll better placed to ask for the help you need to move forward.

5.Start with small steps

Remember that getting big things done is about taking a series of small steps, one after the other. When I don’t feel like going out for a run, I start with the smallest step possible: getting changed into my running gear (telling myself I can always back out if I really don’t feel like it after that). I’m usually out the door in minutes.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with the easiest step you can take and go from there. That might simply be checking into the community area once a day or jumping onto the next live call (if there is one).

If you’re a member of the Build Your Audience programme and you’ve lost your mojo I’d encourage you to do these three things:

  1. Check into our Facebook group once a day. This will help you feel more connected with the group.
  2. Make sure you have subscribed to our member bot (the link is inside the group). Our bot will keep you up-to-date with news, including new content and upcoming masterclasses
  3. Join our next Office Hour, group coaching call (generally Monday 11am BST). You don’t need to stay for the full hour, but showing up will help you feel part of the group again. If you can’t join the group coaching call, post in the Facebook group to see if another member (or group of members) is willing to jump on a quick Skype call with you (or even meet for coffee if you live nearby).
  4. Send us an email explaining how you are feeling and what you most need help with right now and we can offer advice on your next steps.
Jumping on a live call - or arranging to meet with a member who lives nearby - can help you feel more connected to the community

6.Consider scheduling your ‘learning time

When you’re busy running a business, finding time for learning can be a challenge. Here are some ideas that might work for you (I’d recommend trying one at a time - otherwise you may become overwhelmed).

  • Commit to doing one thing every day for 30 days. This could be something small like posting a question in the community area or even just logging into the members’ area (once you’re inside, there's a good chance you'll end up sticking around). Research consistently shows it takes at least 30 days to form a new habit, so you should only need your willpower for a short time.
  • Schedule a short block of time at the same time each day to work on your learning/development (start with 10-15 minutes - you can always add more as you go). Put it on your calendar, as you would a phone call with a client or a dentist appointment. Use the pomodoro timer to make sure you stay on task.
  • Schedule a block of time for your learning every week. Put it on your calendar and make it non-negotiable. Use the pomodoro timer to make sure you stay on task.

There are some great ideas on how to be more productive in this podcast episode with productivity expert Mike Vardy.

7.Practise ‘just-in-time’ learning

When you join a membership site you generally get access to a library of resources e.g. video lessons, cheat sheets and webinars. With so much information at your disposal it can be tempting to try to learn everything at once. This can lead to serious overwhelm.

A better approach is to only consume information that relates to the area you’re focusing on right now (rather than something you’d like to learn in the future) - a strategy that is often referred to as ‘just-in-time’ learning. So if your priority is on building your email list right now, don’t worry about that Facebook Advertising training for now - you can always come back to it later.

The Build Your Audience programme is designed around a roadmap that takes you through the steps you need to take to build your online audience - starting with social media, moving onto a blog/vlog/podcast and then onto email marketing.

If you're feeling stuck, I'd recommend going back to the roadmap  and taking an honest look and what you're doing well and where the gaps are in your strategy.

Once you've identified the areas you need to work on, tackling them one at a time will almost certainly feel less overwhelming. 

Interested in joining my membership site? Here’s some more information about the Build Your Audience programme