42 Critical Questions to Ask Before You Start Your Membership Site

Answering these questions before you embark on your quest to dominate your niche with a membership site will greatly increase your chances of success and give a you a much stronger foundation as you move forward.

A lot of people ask me “How do I start a membership site” or “which membership site software is best”? In reality there are other questions that are far more important to answer. While those are important, the questions that cover your goals, content, concept and marketing are far more critical and having a clear answer to those questions will help you overcome the technology and operational issues.

And don’t worry, this list will act as a road map for my posts over the next few months so subscribe to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter/Facbook and I will answer each and every one of these questions in-depth.

  1. What are your goals – revenue, membership numbers, affiliate partners, exit strategy, personal goals?
  2. What is your ultra focused primary target market?
  3. What is your secondary target market?
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CustomerHub – New Infusionsoft Membership Software

I just got finished watching the CustomerHub demo video and it looks promising. I have a client who is providing content to a real estate association that is using this new platform so I will be using it shortly.

The price point looks good at $39 per month, and the ability for users to dig into and change their account info is a plus. I am curious how the CMS will work so we will have to see. I do love the flexibility of WordPress but sometimes you just need to deliver content and don’t need sidebar widgets – or all the other bells and whistles.

Initial Thoughts:

  • Looks promising, could be a strong contender in the Infusionsoft membership provider market
  • Competitively priced
  • Integration with Tender Support will be nice
  • Customer Merge Data could be a great feature
  • Multiple currency support will be a nice feature as we move into global markets

Looks like an interesting system, and after the holiday I will dig a little deeper and report back what I find. This could also be a great solution for content providers who just need a quick way to deliver their content after an Infusionsoft sale even if they don’t intend to implement a subscription model.

CustomerHub Website: http://www.customerhub.net/

Optimize Your Member Site ‘Paywall’ – Pick the Right Free/Paid Ratio

The paywall is the critical element that separates your premium, paid content form the free areas of your site. It is the most critical conversion area of your membership site and small changes can have a huge effect on the profitability of your business.

In this series we will look at 6 ways you can optimize the paywall to maximize your conversion rates.

Determine the Right Free/Paid Ratio

The first question regarding your paywall, and one of the most important is where to place it. Does all of your content have to be paid for? Or are there large areas of your site that are open to the public, perhaps supported by ad revenue?

Below is a graph that shows three common options for paywall placement.

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How to Use InfusionWP Shortcodes in WordPress PHP Files

In this post I will cover how to use the do_shortcode function to imbed InfusionWP shortcodes in WordPress PHP files.

One of the great features of InfusionWP is the large number of shortcodes that are included out of the box that really let you do lot of creative things when setting up your membership or subscription site.

In addition to the over 246 built in shortcodes (and growing) there is even a short code module that allows you to create your own. Needless to say this opens up a lot of doors, and allows you to communicate with infusionsoft un a number of ways. And while I will save some of my favorite specific shortcodes and their uses for another post, right now I want to cover a great trick that will allow you to use shortcodes in the wordpress PHP files.

The do_shortcode function is the little piece of code that can really let you get creative with your subscription site.

WordPress Codex Link: Function Reference/do shortcode

Basically it will allow you to use any of the I4W shortcodes anywhere within the wordpress PHP files. So if you had a shortcode that you really wanted to get deep into your theme now it’s as simple as adding a single line of code.

Not much of an explanation needed – let’s take a look at two simple examples of the do_shortcode function in action.

InfusionWP PHP shortcodes in action

EXAMPLE 1: Adding login options that can only be viewed by logged in members

In this example I needed to add “membership” links to the nav area in a theme where the navigation was created by a PHP file. So when a member was not logged in it would say “member login” and after they had successfully logged in it would say: “upgrade”, “Account”, and “Logout”.

This was easily achieved using the following code:
[code]

  • Member Login

    [ELSE_not_logged_in]

    Upgrade |

    My Products |

    My Account

    [/i4w_not_logged_in]’); ?>


  • [/code]

    As you can see I used a combination of the do_shotcodes function and the I4W ‘logged in’ shortcodes to create the menu links.

    EXAMPLE 2: Creating a front page post loop that can only be seen by members in the index.php file

    In this example I used the do_shortcodes and the not_logged_in shortcodes to create a different front page for logged in users and non-logged in users. So the non logged in users will simply see an image that asks them to log in using the sidebar and points them to the sales page if they are not a member.

    Once the member logs in they will be able to view the video of the week which is simply the latest WP post.

    [code]

    [ELSE_not_logged_in]

    RGRY Video Of The Week

    [/i4w_not_logged_in]’); */ ?>

    [/i4w_is_logged_in]’); */ ?>

    [/code]

    Unfortunately I have not been able to get the shortcodes to work within PHP that is within the do_shortcodes function – that is why I had to point to an iframe in the above example. Not the ideal solution but until I can get the nested PHP to work it will have to do.

    Important Notes: Some I4W shotcodes include variables that use ‘. It is important that you strip these out using strip slashes. More info here: http://php.net/manual/en/function.stripslashes.php

    Also, it is important to add ‘echo’ the function – this part is not covered in the wordpress codex.

    If you have any questions about how to use the shortcodes, infusionWP, infusionsoft, or wordpress please drop me a line, or leave a comment below.

    Client Spotlight: Creating Intentions by Liz Diamond

    Client: Best Selling Author L and Intentional Scrapbooking Expert Liz Diamond

    >> View Elizabeth’s book on Amazon

    This was a fun project where we wanted to take Liz’s weekly coaching calls and recorded video meditations available to her monthly subscribers.

    The site also features an upgrade area were current subscribers can access additional content with the “one-click up sell” feature in InfusionWP.

    The site was built in WordPress, and is integrated into the InfusionSoft Order system via the InfusionWP plug-in.

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