Running a membership program might look like it’s really easy, but there’s actually quite a few moving parts, depending on how you do it.
Strategy, marketing, content, and community building aside, there’s also the technology side of things.
In my case, I offer a private podcast, content, and community as my membership’s core offering.
Which means I need to host everything and tie it together with the necessary payment processing, marketing, and back-end technology to make it work.
For those curious, here’s what’s involved.
This is the platform that hosts my community. It houses conversations, content, and the resources I include, such as a proposal template, KPI document, and onboarding questionnaire.
They just launched an iOS app which makes it really easy to keep members engaged. And while this company is still relatively new, I think they’re on to great things. Cant’ recommend them enough.
I store my shared content resources using Google Docs. It’s easy for people to get the latest version, download/copy it, and use it for their own purposes.
Simple but it works.
Since I offer a private podcast with the membership, I need a place to host it. Transistor works great. The features are superb, it’s easy to use, it’s not expensive.
Memberful is the tool that lets me collect money, create a unique podcast RSS feed for each member, it connects directly (SSO) with Circle so there’s only one login required, it lets me link directly to a Billing Profile to let members easily cancel, upgrade, or download invoices from within the community, and quite a bit more.
I have to pay 4.9% + $25/month + Stripe fees, but the convenience of everything just working makes it worthwhile. Especially for my use case.
I use Zapier to connect members to the various channels inside of Circle when they sign up. That way it’s all done and ready when they first log in and they don’t have to join the different channels manually. I wish it was easier.
Stripe is the backend payment processor that handles all of my payments and automatically deposits money into my bank account most days. It’s by far the best out there, from my experience. I definitely don’t recommend PayPal. Too many reasons to get into it.
ConvertKit powers my email newsletter. I post blog posts to kevin.me and it automatically grabs new posts via RSS feed and sends them to my subscribers. No logging in required, which I like.
I also like the story and people behind the company, and believe it to be a good platform to invest into as it continues adding new features.
This is where I host my sales page for the Mindshare membership. It’s simple for now but I’ll turn it into a real site soon enough.
First get the idea out there, get traction, then make it better.
Twitter is my primary social media channel for promoting Mindshare. Most of my coworking clients and followers are on LinkedIn, so I keep the worlds more or less (imperfectly) separate so I don’t confuse people about what I do.
It’s resulted in several signups from people I’ve never met nor encountered before, which has been an interesting experience. Lots of work to do there.
And that’s mostly it from a tech standpoint!
It’s not hard to get things set up, but it’s not easy if you’re not reasonably able to use software like this.
Hope this helps if you want to do something similar. There are all-in-one solutions out there that handle much of this, but each have their pros and cons, and this was the product of my research.