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Real time Trial and Error running a Profitable Membership site!

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by bingading, Apr 5, 2012.

  1. bingading

    bingading Registered Member

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    Occupation:
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    Where to start.

    Many of you on here know me... And know i already have a membership site that make decent income already. ($500-1000) depending on the day.

    I kind of got lucky with this whole IM business because I knew nothing about it, and paid someone to build the site for me.(overpriced dude). And got an email list signed up for a mass mailer(800/month) and away i went.

    I actually found BHW researching Mass Mailing and i found the section here on email marketing (RIP). and started reading and learning from some genius people.

    Well for about a year now, I have been dabbling in IM trying lots of different things just because i was curious to see how the different ways to rake in the money... I even tried e-whoring :D. Some things made money some things didnt. But my bread and butter has always been with my membership site.

    ANYWHO!

    The Goal of this Thread!


    During the past year i hit google and this site on how to build websites. I taught myself how to be the shitty web developer that i am... Thank Goodness for Wordpress Templates!

    I want to start from scratch another membership site that I can build from the ground up, using the techniques I have learned here along the way... So i guess we could categorize this as a journey.

    What i want is to share some things that i have learned as well as pick the brains of the experts here of things that i can implement to get more members of my site...

    This will be a testing trial and error of things on this site. I will Do my best to give who ever i got the idea from the credit...

    Also if you see a thread that you would like implemented please post in a reply here and i will try it, and report on the results.

    I DO:

    • want to share results
    • answer questions on things i've tried
    • Take advice
    • Give advice(where i can)
    • Try new methods on this site for traffic to my site.
    • show google analytics and subscription updates.
    • GROW MY MEMBERSHIP SITE
    I Don't:

    • Want to share my URLS
    • My Niche
    So please be a doll and don't ask. Plenty of niches to go around. Think of your own and implement some of these ideas.


    Lets get started!


    I have already started about 2 weeks ago and already have 5 members to my site. So the next couple posts will be updates to catch us up to this point.

    I will go through some steps to get to the point of where I am. I hope to make this site bigger and better than my other one... We shall see, only way to find out is try.

    Why do this?


    Well one thing I have learned outside of IM is that keeping a business journal helps you be able to track and measure your progress and learn from the past. I am doing this already, so I decided to share it online at BHW.

    and

    I get bored easily.

    Wish us all luck!
     
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  2. bingading

    bingading Registered Member

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    Update #1

    In this first update we will cover 3 things:


    1. Niche
    2. Domain/hosting
    3. Content/fulfillment
    *Please if you have something valuable to add to these please post. So I and other readers can learn. Thanks


    Niche research can be done several ways I have learned. There really is not a best way for me. What I am ask my self (for a membership site).

    Why OURS?

    O: our

    U:users
    R:return
    S:steadily


    I just made that up... But it is a question you must figure out. What kind of site will make your member want/need/desire/depend on the return to your site. After you figure that out you can justify a recurring membership fee, whether it be monthly, daily, or yearly.

    Without OURS you don't give them a reason to stick around.

    When building a membership site this may be the hardest part of the whole thing. Get creative it could be anything from. Dog training to how to be a Guido. Get a pen and paper and start brain storming!

    Domain/Hosting is the easiest part I think. Here are the steps:

    1. Go to namecheap- buy a domain that fits your niche.
    2. Go to hostgator- buy there smallest plan if your are looking for a bargain
    3. Go back to namecheap and point nameservers to your hostgator.
    there are plenty of tutorials and ways to do this. Use google. I keep my domain and hosting separate in case i every want to change hosting!

    Here is a tutorial http://www.thesitewizard.com/domain/point-domain-name-website.shtml


    Content and fulfillment- choosing how you want to deliver is again a personal preference. I personally host live webinars, tutorials and newsletters.

    When thinking about fulfillment, think how often do you want to do an update and how well do you want to deliver your content. This will help you decide how much to charge and how often.

    If you only fullfill once a week then you cant charge as much as someone that fulfills 1 a day. You get the point...


    Also what is your fulfillment the more someone wants it the more they are willing to pay. Example someone taking online classes to learn how to sew isnt going to pay $300 a month. But someone that is learning something valuable like they are actually making money with your info or it is helping them in there career or something, they will!


    A word on fulfillment. Decide how involved you wanna be. I am outsourcing 99% of this content because I found a niche that I A) dont know anything about. 2) Doesnt have time to do this also. 3) whatever else you can come up with to not fulfill.


    That's what I did. I found someone very knowledgeable in my niche and offered him payment to fulfill so i can focus on growth and marketing, while also knowing my members are well taken care of... Just something to think about for your site.


    Next thread will be how to actually set up a platform for the ability to content protect, manage users, distribute user name and passwords and COLLECT MONEY!


    Basic info most already know this shiz... post if you have any questions. or just tell me that im wasting my time and Ill quit posting. Just whatever is on your mind.

    Ima call it a day and go snowboarding before all the snow is gone!

    Thanks guys.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  3. bingading

    bingading Registered Member

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    Update #2

    The goal of this update:

    Catch you guys up to speed with my site... I have gotten another sign up yesterday so I am trying to update this fast as possible.

    Goals:

    1. Set up website
    2. wet up membership functions
    3. set up merchant!


    Choose a theme that meets your needs.... How will you deliver your content? how many different pages etc do you need... want it simple or do you want it complex... that is up to you...

    Here is what I chose:

    Theme: Admirable. It is a premium theme but i got around the footer locker.... so i got it for free... if you want to know how to do that just let me know!

    My plugins:

    • CMS tree page view
    • Easy Columns
    • Google xml Sitemaps
    • PHP execution
    • POP up domination
    • tpg get posts
    • wp-table reloaded
    And last but not least S2Member Pro. I think this is a great plugin and it seems to work really well for me... If i can figure out how to use it than ANYONE can... Just buy the 1 time license fee. you can upgrade to unlimited site later for only $60.


    here is a snap shot of my site!


    [​IMG]

    Here is my Sign up page!

    [​IMG]

    There is alot more Content pages but you guys get the gist...

    Important factors before you go live... Set up s2member with your Paypal account... I upgraded to paypal pro... that takes about 24-48 hours to approve... really easy.

    s2member has all of the tutorials on how to sync them... it is really an easy process!.

    That is really all that I think you need.

    Next posts will be the part that i wanted to do this thread for... the testing phase. That will be the learning experience for me...

    thank guys!
     
  4. FasionBoy

    FasionBoy Newbie

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    Hey bingading, I find your thread very interesting. Can you please help get the s2Member Pro for free?

    Also, how many subscribers do you get with this site, if you don`t mind me asking? Are you getting any traffic at the moment? from where, how? By the way, do you deal with refunds/chargeback, if any?

    I would like to start something similar, and I really hope you share more great stuff.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  5. bingading

    bingading Registered Member

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    I dont have a nulled version of S2member. I purchased mine... but you can use there free version you just have to keep merchant with paypal and you cannot collect payment straight from your site... you have to send them to paypal.

    I only have 5 so far... i ran a small email blast just to get things going... i currently dont have any seo done or consistent forms of traffic coming in yet...

    as far as refunds, I give them when they ask. Chargebacks... well your kinda stuck with them... I dont fight them...

    Will be updating soon!
     
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  6. maxok

    maxok Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    great thread, at the moment I'm working in a membership site but I don't know if I have to do a private forum or in the same website a membership zone
     
  7. hellohellosharp

    hellohellosharp Power Member

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    What other methods do you use to get trraffic/members. Just SEO or have you ever bought traffic...?
     
  8. darkmonk

    darkmonk Regular Member

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    Do you offer forums/messageboards or anything like that for the members to interact amongst themselves, or just straight content delivery? I guess it depends on the niche as to how necessary/effective it is, but I've wondered which way is better. On the one hand I've thought offering forums would foster more engagement/keep people subscribed longer, but on the other I wonder if it is asking for trouble. If you don't offer that sort of the thing, then there is no way for anyone to figure out if you have 1 or 5000 subscribers, you don't have to worry about rioting amongst the members and managing it etc. I have something I was working on which will be a e-product with an upfront cost and with a lower cost ongoing membership rebill, but been debating this. I'm thinking if your content is good enough there's no need for the forum/"community". On the other hand, user generated content has its benefits. What's worked for you?
     
  9. FasionBoy

    FasionBoy Newbie

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    Can you give us some example of the content that you provide to ur subscribers? Maybe post a screenshot? Do you provide the same content to all your subs. or different content for each subscriber? I was thinking using 2Checkout instead of PP, do you think that`s a good ideea?

    Any email blast service recommendations from you? thanks
     
  10. bingading

    bingading Registered Member

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    You could do either... i dont offer a forum

    Currently i have only emailed... but that is why i started this thread to test a bunch of different ways and show results... no seo yet nor payed traffic yet...

    No i dont offer forums or message boards.... YET.... I am debating whether it would be a good thing or not... right now it would be bad because nobody wants to be a part of something nobody else is... I agree with you about lower ongoing cost... That is much better for you and client... Read the book "science of getting rich" he agrees also...

    I have no experience with a forum yet, but i will sure test it once i get 100 or so plus subscribers and let you know

    I provide webinars educating them about my niche... so that is hard to show examples of that... but i also do daily newsletter see below

    [​IMG]

    As far as papal goes, i think they are great. there really isnt a reason not to use them if you arent scamming people lol

    I will work on how i emailed on next post.

    Thanks
     
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  11. bingading

    bingading Registered Member

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    Update # 3

    Goal of this thread:

    1. Initial traffic flow (email)
    2. Next game plan (adwords)


    Ok, lets look at some stats up to date...

    To get things started I have mailed out about 1000 emails. Since Email marketing is taken off BHW I will be vague (RIP), it was one of the most valuable threads.

    Now how not to spend alot of money and not worry about having Dedicated servers, rotate ip's etc. Just keep it simple and start small. I just used a standard email sending provider. Icontact, vertical response, etc. Now the trick to use this is without getting shut down... BECAUSE THEY WILL! Its not if, it is more of WHEN. This is what I did.

    Start small. Take your clean list, (clean= scrubbed from bounces and spam traps). I started with a list that had low unsubscribes. In this step you want to start slow to build trust with the company and stay under the radar.

    Upload multiple lists, not just one big one. About 50 in each. start with 3 list, (approx. 150 email addresses).

    Keep sending to those every other or every third day, and keep adding small lists. Keep doing this until you get a fancy letter saying "your are unable to send a campaign, because we need to review your list" or whatever they say. DON'T SWEAT. All you need to do is provide them with a realistic idea of how you got your list... PPC, SEO, etc (make something up). and show them a legitimate website that you created that has a valid op-tin process... and NEVER say your list is older than 3 months.

    say something like:

    "Thank you for your concern with my list. I am glad that you shut me down cause it shows me you guys are worried about quality senders. I have been running (BLAH BLAH this is where you insert your method) campaign for the past 2 or 3 months. This is the website that they sign up www.yourexamplesite.com.

    It has been working better than I have expected, and I needed to find a good company to mail to them and a friend referred me to you guys. Now here we are. Thank you for your time and please let me know if you need any more info from me... thank you"


    Yata yata yata. thats kinda what i said and they took 2 days to approve. Now when they do that you can start being a little less cautious and load more like 200 a list... but they key is be slow until you get that noticed... you still must slowly grow over time... (if you are a master emailer, then you don't need to worry about this lol)

    Now the email I send is pretty straight forward. I dont design a colorful picture full email... just text and a catchy header, then send to a landing page.

    Use your imagination and do be spammy...

    Here is my results of a efforts so far:

    This is people that signed up for just newsletter

    [​IMG]

    People signed up for week trial.(they had to put in CC info or Paypal) auto bill 7 days later!

    [​IMG]

    Paying members. (people that i have charged my monthly fee)


    [​IMG]

    thats that so far.

    AD-WORDS

    I have never done ad-words before but i came accross this thread http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/making-money/425899-easiest-100-day-i-know.html THIS METHOD CREDIT GOES TO expertSEO.

    Read thread and you will know what I am trying:

    I purchased 6x$100 ad-word credits off fiverr.... PROOF:

    [​IMG]

    I set up a google adwords account, they approved it, i am just waiting for them to approve my ad... we shall see... anyone know how i can just track these sign ups? thanks...

    More Updates coming soon!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Current Stats:

    Free Members: 9
    People on trial: 5
    People on recurring billing:3

    Total billed to date: 3
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012