I recently had a call with a client who was very excited about the idea of having a membership site. When I asked why, the client indicated that it seemed like a great way to bring in recurring monthly revenue and move away from a one-on-model. I agreed. But, the model she was describing and what she wanted to offer was not a “membership site.” It really was a new program – a continuity program. And there is a BIG difference.
A membership site is just the format or medium you choose to deliver your content to your “members.” It can be a website to an offline newsletter to a password protected login site. But really it’s just the framework to support a new program in your offerings – a continuity program.
The distinction here is critical when deciding whether or not a continuity program actually fits into your product and offerings funnel. Only then can you choose if a membership site is the best way to deliver that program to your clients. It’s like deciding you want to launch a Mastermind (again the format) before you even know what content, information, pricing, marketing or sales approach would best support that format. You need to first decide if the program and offering makes sense before you launch the format.
To be clear – a continuity program is another way to provide your services or content in a consistent and automatic fashion. My best “real world” example is like a book-of-the-month-club where you pay a flat monthly fee and continue to receive the benefits and content of membership each and every month until basically you say stop.
Why continuity programs? They are essential in my mind for building an online business that is no longer just focused on a one-time sale model. It requires you to change your business model to include recurring and passive revenue – meaning it’s happening consistently and automatically and with very little effort on your part to make the sale. The revenue can be consistent meaning weekly, monthly or even an annual basis. Bottom-line is this – continuity programs allow you to be more profitable by allowing you to sell more to an existing client repeatedly than find and sell new customers for one-time sales.
In this article I will reveal 5 types of continuity programs and why they are all equally important so you can best determine what would work best for you BEFORE you launch your continuity program.
Here are my five continuity program types:
This continuity program is the program that has no end in sight. You join now and forever will you be a member – more or less – until you say stop. This model has gotten a bad reputation lately and here’s why: It’s very difficult to see how someone would remain a member of anything (let alone a continuity program) forever. Real world examples would be like Proactive skin care or Netflix DVD’s or a gym membership. Basically, you will pay every month to use that gym until you quit or they are no longer around. Chances are you’ll quit before the gym closes. It’s hard program to sell because the prospect doesn’t really love the idea that they’ll be paying for something FOREVER – no matter how good it is.
This model is very much like the services you receive from an attorney or accountant. Members pay a monthly fee to essentially have guaranteed access to that person (you) or resources when needed. It’s designed for people to provide services over an extended period of time. But, it’s a model still focused on trading time for dollars. You are essentially receiving money from your members for the hours you provide to them. It’s designed where you are paid in advance before those services are provided and it’s ongoing (every month) until the retainer agreement is canceled.
This is a relatively new concept to continuity programs that has had some amazing success recently. Ever participated in a 10-week telephone Bootcamp or a 6-part webinar training program? That is basically micro continuity. The idea is this. Instead of trying to get someone to join a perpetual continuity program that lasts forever, why not “chunk” up your content and deliver it to your members in a piecemeal fashion where you control the timing of delivery to ensure your members get the best results. If they do, they will recognize the value in your program and continue on as a member. Now the “micro” aspect can be as short as 3-day program to a 12-month program – but the concept remains the same. Set it and forget it. Focus on marketing to get new leads and new members.
This is an amazing powerful continuity program that can really expand your bottom line. You get to leverage the power of others and at the same time it positions you as the leader and subject matter expert as the creator or founder of an association. People join an association so they can feel a part of something – something bigger than themselves. It provides a sense of belonging. Providing an association is a powerful way to provide that opportunity for connection amongst the members. And, using tools like online forums is a great method to easily and efficiently provide that connection to the members. This allows them to network with each other and get value without YOU having to provide it directly. Then, you can focus on a strategy of getting more members into your association and perhaps charge a lower price point to get a higher volume.
This is all about access. The access is usually to a lead mentor (you) or key resources that are not available to non-members. A country club is your best example here. People pay a high premium to join and essentially have access to the members, facilities and events that nobody else can. Not just anyone can join which makes this model really focused on the exclusivity and access they get. As a result, you can typically charge a high premium fee for this model. You need to be sure you really stack the cool about the value they get when you have members as part of an exclusive club. It’s not just about notoriety. You can’t just charge exorbitant dues and leave them on their own as members. You need to engage with them and be there for them. They want to see that value to remain in the club and tell others about it so they can join too.
I hope this first part article helped provide an understanding of continuity programs and some of the models out there for you to choose from. In my next article I will share more about the setup, pricing and delivery of continuity programs.
Until Next Time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!