How to Sell More Memberships and Subscriptions, Without Spending More on Advertising

Video Tutorial Part 1

 
Video Tutorial Part 2

 

In this brief tutorial, we’ll cover how to sell more memberships and subscriptions without spending more on advertising. I generally recommend some sort of recurring program for stability, such as subscriptions and memberships (which I’ve been doing for the past few years with my own businesses). By the end of this video blog, you’ll walk away with the most common sales strategy to be implemented first in an email, and then a database marketing strategy to sell more subscription programs.

Yes, you can sell more memberships by driving more traffic to an existing, converting membership program, but it’s sometimes difficult to scale paid advertising, and sometimes affiliate traffic building is also a challenge. I always suggest that you keep front-end traffic coming, but you should also build up the ability and resources to be able to sell yourself week over week.

There are four main steps to pulling this off, and to illustrate I like to use the analogy of Sports Illustrated, which happens to be a billion-dollar subscription business. The bulk of this revenue comes from advertising, and hundreds of millions are being funneled through the creation of different, unique front-end offers.

What do I mean by unique front-end offers?

If want to go to Sports Illustrated and buy a subscription, I can. A lot of the time, however, Sports Illustrated is going to vary up its outreach efforts by coming up with offers and bundles to accompany its subscription. A hat with the stitched logo of a favorite team for $25 might also get me 3 months of a free subscription. Other offers might be a fancy a plaque with the the super bowl winner for $99 along with 3 months of a free subscriptions, or a football-shaped phone with 1 month of a free subscription. These are all unique offers that will undoubtedly appeal to different crowds.

Very few Internet marketers leverage this type of offer, yet part of the success behind our Science of Skill business was using this billion-dollar model from the very beginning.

How can you start apply this billion-dollar model to your business today?

Say you teach online courses about paid advertising, and you want to sell more subscriptions. As part of the offer, you might have a membership site where customers can learn from other experts, or a paid monthly interview that accompanies an online course. The very first step, however, is to poll your list to determine your prospects most important goals and/or obstacles.

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There is very little as powerful to know about people than what they are here to learn. In turn, the very important answer is what you can teach them. When you poll, the question about goals and/or obstacles should be an open-ended one; there is no room multiple choice in this section, prospects should be able to type in their own question.

If you then take your list of 5,000 people interested in learning paid advertising, in general 85% (out of 80 responses) will fit into one of three goals buckets – direct sales via paid ads; building an online presence (likes, followers, etc.); and native advertising

The second step is to then use these forms to segment your list into the most relevant/common groups.

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Once you’ve determined those groups, it’s time to roll out the multiple choice poll. You can do this before purchase when the prospect is opting in on your site; prompt them to enter their email and then pick one of three of the established bucket choices. This response is an important data point about how to sell them; it tells you what they came to learn, and how you can benefit their life. The ability to sell customers well is correlated to your ability to provide value to them.

Using the poll before purchase often does not drop the opt in rate, but it scrape a small percentage; however, the pay off on the backend is big when you know customer conversion goals. If you’re more comfortable with only requesting the email up front, make the thank you page for opting in (the post opt-in) be the poll. If you this option, you can get as many as 90% of opt-ins to reply.

A third, softer option is to give the poll in the post-purchase web form. As part of the buying process, direct customers to your website and have them fill out a customer intake form before they are able to access or download their purchase; this form might ask all kinds of questions, but I would argue one of the most important is the customer’s main business goal.

Post poll, you can then segment all buyers in the system by goal (I recommend rolling these into two to four buckets, but don’t recommend more than four). For more ideas on sending out customer service polls after purchase, read this article on ResponseWise.

The third step is then to create products or offers that appeal to your most common segments.

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If you sell courses about paid advertising, you might create a $27 course that is basically a tutorial on direct-selling using paid advertising. You could also create a course on how to build a social following i.e. how to use ads to solicit folks to follow you. A third option could be a native ads 101-type course. In all case, you’re creating unique offerings; these don’t have to be big or overly innovative, but they relate to what the customer wants, providing them something of tangible worth.

The fourth and final step is to offer bundled product offerings with your membership or subscription, plus new front-end products, to your list with segmented weekly email campaigns.

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Instead of having one big list, you’re developing a segmented list where you know which groups are interested in which goals. This is the backbone of real database marketing. With these groups, you can then determine two to three email campaigns that you will kick out with each of your groups. A planned, segmented weekly email campaign schedule might look something like this:

  • Week 1:  On Wednesday and Thursday, churn out two emails to the direct sales group, pushing them toward the offer for a direct sales tutorial plus a membership
  • Week 2: On Wednesday and Thursday, kick out a series of emails to the online presence group, directing them toward the offer for a building a social media presence plus a membership
  • Weeks 3: SAME idea for the Native Ads list
  • Weeks 4, 5, and 6: Continue your rotation

It’s important to note that you’re not sending out to the whole list in one week, but rotating through from one week to the next (wondering what to sell a customer once they click and buy? Read this article on pull-up automation campaigns).

Wrap Up

The above four steps provide a simplified, mapped process for leveraging internal database marketing to drive ongoing recurring monthly income, without depending on outside advertising. Using this strategy doesn’t mean you should stop the latter i.e. using external advertising and affiliate traffic, but building a strong internal presence helps add additional revenue, as well as the security of knowing that you can sell on your own when it comes down to the line.

If you have questions about how to use this strategy, feel to reach out to us at clvboost.com, or leave a comment in the comments section.

-Daniel Faggella
CLVboost Founder

About The Author

Daniel Faggella

I grow businesses with marketing automation, email marketing, and conversion-rate optimization. I've spoken on business and emerging technologies internationally and at some of America's finest schools (Yale, Stanford, Cornell, etc...). My marketing strategies have been featured in the Boston Business Journal, MarketingProfs, Direct Marketing News, and much more. CLVboost is where I share marketing strategies, TechEmergence.com is my major pursuit.