Case Study: Tips for Launching and Running a Membership Site with Warwick Brown – Ep 113
We reached out to Warwick Brown, who recently launched a brand new membership site. He gives us the low down on what it takes to start and run your own paid community.
Warwick Brown is the founder of Account Manager Tips and helps organizations grow client revenue and retention by empowering account management teams with the tools and mindset to succeed. He is also the creator of his new membership community, the Kam Club, a private learning community helping busy account managers get results. Warwick is joining us to talk membership communities– how to build a profitable one that adds value.
Question: What were you doing before you started to build your membership community?
Answer: It goes back two or so years ago when I was hitting a bit of a ceiling in terms of my career, people couldn’t see that my skills were transferable, I was struggling to get interviews outside my industry. Then I had this realization that I could do something about it and that was to take control of my career and my brand, blog, take on social media and be more proactive instead of reactive to opportunities. Eventually my blog got a little traction, I started to build a course and I launched Kam Club.
Question: With so many ways to put out content, why a membership community?
Answer: I’ve had my blog going for two years and I have a decent email list of about 3000 people with reasonable engagement. At the end of the email sequence people receive when they sign up is a survey where they can share their challenges. I could see that people were struggling with no processes, no systems, no support. It got me thinking about how I could help people beyond writing a blog post every week and go deeper. I wrote a course, sold it before it was made (which I do not recommend), had a few students go through it, but that’s the end of the journey and there was still a huge gap of knowledge I could give to people. I listened to your podcast and I bundled the paid membership site into the course and used the community to put out smaller courses and webinars and other stored content I had written but not published. It was the journey of responding to feedback from my community and realizing I created the wrong course as a first course.
Question: What is the progression into the Kam Club?
Answer: I haven’t built the pathway yet, but I have the course created and I’ve moved it from Thinkific to a membership site platform. I’ve been working to also upgrade guides, I did 20 Facebook lives last year and based on Amy Porterfield’s advice, I did a bunch of downloads which I’ve polished up and uploaded.
Question: How would you recommend others do this if they are thinking about starting a membership community?
Answer: Do a bit of research to get advice on how to start a community. Look at the different platforms and what you want, how this fits into your lifestyle and what commitments you can make because running a membership site is a lot of work. Where a course is one and done, you have to show up every day, every week, every month, plan out things, ask questions and encourage people to engage in a paid community. Make sure you have time and you’ve zeroed in on what your audience is looking for.
Question: Were you worried that you would have fewer people in your group if you focused on one niche job type?
Answer: Smaller is better and it’s why I went for a paid model in a smaller community. I saw huge names making millions on their products, shutting down their free Facebook groups. I wanted a learning focus, so I didn’t want a Facebook support group. I wanted something that people came to learn something. I didn’t think Facebook was the right place for that and I didn’t think free was going to get people to invest their time.
Question: You have a monthly and annual price point. How did you choose those price points?
Answer: I struggled with the price points. It was the biggest decision I had to make. I’d love for it to be more, but I also wanted it to be affordable and I didn’t feel confident that I had enough content to make it be worth a premium price point. It was stopping me from going live, so I just had to get something out there that was affordable knowing I could increase the price as the value or the community evolves. Don’t sweat it too much, particularly if you’ve never done it before. Think about what your minimum is that you need that you think you can get from your audience and start there.
Question: How did you launch the group? What were the most successful parts of the launch?
Answer: I tried to work backwards, giving myself a deadline. I did a ten day email sequence of about 5 emails. The first was announcing it. Then I did a webinar and did some ads on Facebook. I did a behind the scenes video where I showed them inside the membership site. I did another email that asked if they wanted to chat and I installed an instant chat bot. I sent a couple reminders and that was about it. I got about 25 people in the first ten days. In hindsight, I wish I had done a little more lead up. Something else that worked well was a trigger I set up for anyone who didn’t open the first email that resent it with a different subject line and then they fell into the rest of the sequence after that.
Question: Is there a Facebook component to the platform your community is built on?
Answer: Within my own community, anyone can post like a forum, there’s articles, events, group chat, Zoom events, the course and user guides. Having a Facebook group just to put people in a paid group feels like more work. I give a lot of free content, but I have to have some way of getting some money back because it takes time to put this stuff out. I feel like this is a fair exchange. There needs to be a piece of the internet that me and my community can go that pays because that’s where you’re going to get the most of me and the best of me and more access to me in that space.
Question: What are 3 tips you would give for people looking to launch a paid community?
Answer: I recommend you pay very close attention to your existing audience. Take advantage of the opportunity to engage and get super clear on what your spin is and what you’re going to deliver. You need to look to other people in that space, do your research, listen to the Communities That Convert Podcast and seek out how to launch a membership site from others doing it. In terms of price point and getting it out there, start with something you’re comfortable with and just pull the trigger. It’s a two way door. What’s the worst that can happen? Just pull the trigger.
If you’re interested in starting an online paid community, do the research. Who are you going to serve and what is it that they want? Listen to what people say and keep notes of struggles people are having. Listen to episode 87, the Five Power Questions to Find Out What Your Audience Really Wants, to get started. Then share your results in our private Facebook community. The secret word to get in is ACTION!
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