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Is A Membership Program Right For You?

Have you been considering adding a membership program to your business? It can be a great way to create recurring revenue, for sure. But, how do you know if a membership is the right choice for you?

stormlily marketing how to market your horse business

Welcome to the show notes! Remember, this is a brief summary from the How to Market Your Horse Business podcast. You'll want to listen to the entire episode for all the good stuff!

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve likely seen the explosion in online program offerings over the past few years.

If you just look at subscriptions to streaming programs, you have Hulu, Paramount Plus, Netflix, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, just to name a few.

Looking at the tech space and tools for business owners, you have software as a service. They often have free versions and then also have a subscription model where you pay in order to access additional features. Canva – my favorite online design platform – and Mailerlite —my go-to email marketing platform — are both great examples of that model.

Ever since the early days of Netflix, the general public has become more and more accustomed to paying a monthly or annual fee for access.

And the horse industry is no different.

Platforms such as Patreon have made it easy and accessible for almost anyone to create a subscription where their audience can pay a monthly fee in order to have access to their content. For the most part, those are set up as subscriptions.

Subscription models are very similar to membership models in that you pay a fee for access, but they aren’t exactly the same.

How is a membership different from a subscription?

A subscription is typically just access to content. Memberships are more robust, often including one-on-one access to you or your business, a community that allows members to build connections with other members, member-only pricing or discounts, and even a hub or a platform just for members.

So, why the recent growth in memberships?

Memberships and online programs were already gaining popularity, but the pandemic was a catalyst for growth. Online programs became one of the only ways many businesses could bring in income.

The other reason for the growth is a response to what people are asking for. There’s only so much of you to go around. If you have a lot of people asking for more of you from a variety of places, then a membership is a way for you to meet the demand of your growing audience.

Listening to my audience is exactly how I created Social Stride, my monthly coaching program. (Yep, it’s essentially a membership!)

Through my free five-day marketing challenge, I heard horse business owners who either didn’t want to or weren’t able to hire someone to handle their social media asking for help. They wanted access to education, tools, and templates that would help them market their business online. So, I created Social Stride to help meet that need.

Whether you’ve been watching other people grow their membership and you wonder if it is right for your business or you first had the idea because people have been asking you for more, I’m glad you’re here!

Just as with a blog and a podcast, the answer to the membership question is not black and white. To help you make your choice, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of creating a membership program in your horse business.

4 Pros of A Membership Program

  1. Recurring Revenue A membership is regular monthly income versus having to rely solely on one-on-one client work, sales or promotions.

  2. Scalability The investment of time in content creation is the same for 10 members as it is for 100 members.

  3. Larger Reach The beauty of online memberships is that it essentially removes borders and opens up the opportunity to connect with and serve people world-wide.

  4. Residual Impact As members learn from you or hear from you on a regular basis, that know, like and trust factor gets even stronger which means they’re more likely to buy your other products and services.

3 Cons (AKA Considerations) of A Membership Program

  1. Time Investment Content creation will take time. Whether you decide it’s a monthly video, a quarterly publication, a live training, etc. – educational content is a must for your membership.

  2. Marketing It’s not a “build it and they will come” scenario. To make it work for you, you’ll need to put some marketing effort behind your membership. You need to be able to communicate the value, what they get, why they need it, and how it will help them.

  3. Admin Tasks Having a membership means you may have people coming to you for answers to their questions. Either plan to spend some time doing that or plan to get someone to help you answer questions, look into billing inquiries, or “how do I find this?” questions.

Of course, you'll want to listen to the full episode to dig into each of the pros and cons to discover if a membership is right for your horse business!

Links Mentioned In This Episode

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