Your Membership Site Doesn’t Have to Protect Content

We've talked about Memberships & Subscriptions

I've written about memberships and subscriptions before. In that post I told you about the difference between belonging and recurring payments. They're not remotely the same thing! But when we talk about memberships, most people – especially in the WordPress space – think only about content protection. So today I want to talk about memberships and subscriptions again, but this time in the context of what your membership site does. And the good news is that your membership site doesn't have to protect content (or rather, only protect content).

If you're like most membership site owners, you're scratching your head. I know the look. Today, at the conference I'm speaking at, I met with one of the guys who had just finished building an online course.

That led us to talk about on-ramp products. More on that in a second…

Most Membership Sites Protect Content

When I wrote my last post on comparing membership plugins, I highlighted that one key thing you had to do was protect content. But if you remember my comparison grid, I also had a lot of other things in there. Content protection is a staple of membership plugins in the WordPress space.

But what if you're doing something else? What if you're creating online courses? What if you're using the content you create to bring you more traffic and authority? You might think about the role of that membership site differently.

Want to know the right membership plugin for you?

I recently compared the 13 best membership plugins for WordPress. If you know which criteria is important to you, you can determine which plugin will serve you best. Plus find out which has the fullest set of features.

What if You Didn't Only Protect Content?

In the end, membership site plugins are great at protecting content, so we use them to do that job. And there's nothing wrong with that. But it can also protect information (not content). And that information can be Zoom hangout information. Or the link to your ZipMessage channel. Or anything else that helps you connect with your customers (or helps them connect with each other).

Today I spoke with an attendee at R3 and he just finished his new course. He was thinking about using this product as what I call an on-ramp product. It helps get new customers up to speed with who he is, what his expertise is, and allows him to then upsell his consulting.

After all, that's the only thing he could do, right? There's no way his consulting could lead to this course? Right?

That's when I told him he had choices. Most of us do. You could totally make your course the destination instead of the on-ramp. Or you could make it the on-ramp and make your consulting the destination. It's completely up to you.

An Interesting Thought Experiment

Most of us are in the same spot. We build eBooks, courses, specialized content and we then think of all of that as lead magnets and items in our funnel to bring customers forward to our main offering which costs more.

But what if we didn't think like that? What if we thought of the course or specialized content as the destination? Something worth thousands of dollars…

You're likely thinking I'm crazy. But what makes that kind of content worth that much? Surely not the words or the video.

In my mind, what makes it worth the big dollars is the community you put with it.

What I told my friend was that he could take his course, make it something that has live connections on specific dates, and put that information in a protected membership site. Then sell it as the destination – where his audience could connect with people just like themselves.

And the membership site would be protecting the connection info, more than it was protecting content. My friend Jennifer does something very similar with her products for freelancers – where she puts the connection info into her LearnDash course so that people can gather together for Q&A and more.

It's an interesting idea. I recommend you think about it.

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