November 19, 2021
 How to Make a Marketing Plan for Membership Growth

Mastering how to market a membership site sets up your website for revenue and membership growth.

As the subscription economy grows, more bloggers and ecommerce sites introduce membership and subscription business models. To capitalize on the subscription trend, you’ll need to create a marketing plan for membership growth.

In this post, we’ll review membership marketing ideas, sales strategies, and the basic elements of a membership marketing plan.

8 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan for Membership Growth

Marketing a membership site is similar to marketing any website or business. In the steps below, we’ll go over the details of a marketing plan while offering some specific strategies and tips for membership growth.

Step 1: Set Goals and Objectives

Setting specific goals for your membership marketing plan helps focus your efforts. A goal is a high-level statement of what you want to accomplish. For example, a goal could be to increase paying members.

Objectives take your goals and put them in a specific and measurable form. Think: How will I know if I’ve accomplished the goal? Marketers often set objectives for different elements of their marketing strategy, such as reach or conversion. For example, to increase paying members by 10% during the next six months. This goal has a measure and a timeframe. You can tell when you achieve it.

After establishing goals and objectives, make sure you have a plan to track the key performance metrics (KPIs) you’ll need to determine if you’re meeting your goals.

Data points needed for marketing plan goals and objectives include:

  • Conversion rate
  • Cost per lead
  • Cost per customer
  • Cost per click
  • Total sales

Step 2: Define the Target Audience

Before you can start marketing your membership site, you need to understand who you want to reach. If you’ve already launched a membership program, use what you know about your existing members to help build a profile of your ideal customer.

Consider these elements when deciding the target audience for a membership site:

  • Demographics
  • Behavioral patterns
  • Lifestyle
  • Interests
  • Information sources and media habits
  • Purchase behaviors

Step 3: Hone Positioning and Messaging

In our post on how to grow a membership site, we talked about the importance of your value proposition. What do you offer members? Why should someone pay for a subscription? Whether a membership saves someone time or helps them learn a new skill, the value proposition needs to be at the center of your positioning and messaging.

Positioning creates the identity or perception of your brand with potential members. A positioning statement describes what you want members to think about your site. Once you develop your positioning statement, you craft the messages you’ll use to create that perception.

Step 4: Set Pricing

When it comes to membership sales strategies, pricing is the most important. Use the research you did while defining your target audience to determine what your audience is willing and able to pay. Remember, no matter how affluent your audience is, your membership price needs to reflect the value someone receives from the membership, or they won’t renew.

Step 5: Determine Channels and Tactics

At this point, you know who you’re trying to reach and what message you want to use. Now it’s time to determine how to reach your audience. Use the research from your audience targeting to decide where your marketing will be most effective.

Membership marketing options include:

Digital Display Advertising. Place ads on the websites your members visit most frequently.

Paid Social. Boost posts on the channels your audience uses. You can also use advanced targeting features to match the demographics and interests of members.

Email Marketing. Building an email list is a great way to market your business. Try offering a free download of your membership content to give people a taste of why they should upgrade to a paid membership.

Organic Search and Social Content. Content marketing should be part of your plan. Creating free ungated content gives people an idea of the value of your membership. When they see value in your free content, it makes them want to purchase a membership. Also, share this content on social media and begin building a community there. When people start feeling a connection through your digital content strategy, they’ll want more.

Webinars. Much like email marketing, webinars are a great way to capture leads and give prospects an idea of why they should purchase a membership.

Paid Search. Paid search is an excellent option while you build up your organic reach. It will help get your site seen by people who search for content in your area.

Step 6: Develop Creative Assets

Once you know what channels and tactics you’ll use, you can create a list of creative assets. You won’t know what graphics or ad copy you’ll need until you know what marketing tactics are in your campaign. As you decide on a marketing tactic or channel, be sure to note the advertising specifications, so you can reference them or provide them to a designer.

Step 7: Finalize Your Timeline and Budget

The final step before you turn on your marketing campaign is to finalize the timeline and budget. If you have a limited marketing budget, don’t stretch it too thin by launching several campaigns simultaneously. Instead, try one to three campaigns, then evaluate their effectiveness. If you spend a small amount on 10 different campaigns, you risk not reaching enough people to draw conclusions about the results.

Step 8: Optimize Your Campaigns

Analyzing your marketing campaign performance against your goals and objectives allows you to make adjustments as needed. Compare the cost per lead and conversion rates of different campaigns. If one significantly outperforms another, shift more of your budget to the better converting campaign.

Help Growing Your Membership Site

Membership sites are simple to create and maintain on WordPress, with many plugin options available for you.

If you're creating a membership site on WordPress, you'll need an optimized hosting solution to keep it fast, secure, and always available.

Consider fully managed WordPress hosting from Nexcess. It’s optimized for WordPress, and smart monitoring tools are built-in to help you keep it that way.

Check out our WordPress plans to get started today.

Lindsey Miller
Lindsey Miller

Lindsey Miller is a WordPress and WooCommerce expert and Chief Executive Officer of Content Journey, a content marketing agency that focuses on increasing organic website traffic for their clients through SEO and blogging. She knows WordPress inside and out and has been working with WordPress since 2010 when she started her first WordPress blog. Since then she has attended WordCamps all over the world and had the honor of speaking at many WordCamps and other WordPress events such as WooSesh and WordFest. Lindsey has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in human relations, clinical mental health from the University of Oklahoma.

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