Basically, you take modules from your social zen review and sell them individually as a separate product. For me, this has been really, really killer. If you’ve had a membership site for six months and you’ve got like eight or nine different modules, then you can pull out one of those modules and sell it as its own standalone product. That’s the a la carte method. I actually give them different product names and make them look like a separate, standalone product. This method kills a couple of birds with one stone. It makes it so that anybody who doesn’t want to pay your monthly membership fee (or who just wants to learn this one specific concept) will still have a product to buy from you. You’re selling them just the individual content that they want. But it also adds perceived value to the members inside your membership site. They see that this module that you’re giving them there is for sale on another site. So, in their minds, they’re seeing, “Hey, he’s giving me this entire product by being a member.” So, it really increases the perceived value. A third benefit is that you get people in there that pay for the training and they go, “Wow! This is really cool training. I want to see more of this guy’s stuff.” Then they go sign up for the membership anyway. So, since I’ve launched some of these little a la carte products, I’ve seen a huge spike in sales for my membership site. MEMBERSHIP SITE TOOLS WishList Member Personally, I use a membership script called WishList Member. It’s a great tool and it basically does everything for you. It can set up different membership levels. For instance, you could have pro-member levels, platinum, gold, and silver member levels. WishList Member allows you to give different content among the different member levels. It also takes care of the integration with auto-responder services like AWeber. It integrates with your payment processors, like PayPal, ClickBank, or Infusionsoft, as well. So, it pretty much is an all-in-one solution to lock down the content and set the different membership levels that people get access to. I use that on most of my sites. Themes Most of my themes that I have for my membership sites are custom-built themes. All of the sites that I’ve been running for a while have custom built themes. But for the newer stuff I’ve been setting up, I’ve been using something called Optimize Press. Optimize Press creates really great-looking membership sites. It also lets you do squeeze pages, sales pages, and that sort of thing. I also offer a course on a boot-strap method of creating membership sites, without buying expensive plugins. It’s for people who don’t want to buy expensive plug-ins like WishList Member or Optimize Press. I teach you basically how to tweak some of the code and then find a few free plugins out there to make something into a makeshiftsocial zen review. I’ve recently sold that a la carte training course and over the course of a week it did like $40,000 in sales. Auto-Responders I use AWeber pretty much exclusively. I do have an iContact account and a Infusionsoft account, but I don’t really use them as much as AWeber. AWeber is my main solution. Accepting Payments Right now, it’s pretty much all through ClickBank. For me, ClickBank is great. They basically take care of affiliates for you. So, if an affiliate promotes your membership site and they make a sale, ClickBank just pays out that affiliate for you. You don’t have to get the money into your bank account and then turn around and pay out the affiliate. So, that’s a huge thing for me. It also takes care of taxes for you. In the US, certain states have sales tax on digital products and certain states don’t. If you’re selling everything yourself, then it’s your responsibility to figure out who you’re supposed to charge sales tax to and who you don’t have to charge sales tax to. That’s just another thing that ClickBank takes care of for you. Every Wednesday, ClickBank sends me a check. They’re just really easy to work with. I have been working with them since the beginning and I’ve just kind of stuck with them. Forums It’s a plugin called Simple:Press and it’s actually free. It will create a forum and it’s fully compatible with WishList Member. It’s also fully compatible with the free membership plugins that are available around the web. CREATING CONTENT FOR A MEMBERSHIP SITE Planning the Content Basically, I’ll sit there and write a list of seven or eight modules that I think would be good for the topic. Let’s say you’re in a tomato-growing niche and you want to start a membership on how to grow tomatoes. You have to sit there and come up with modules. Module 1 may be the different types of tomatoes that are out there and the difficulty of how to grow each one. Module 2 may be different types of fertilizers and the benefits of those different fertilizers. And so on and so on. You have to sit there and list out the exact modules that you can make. Usually before I start, I’ll come up with seven or eight. Then, as we get going and I have members through there, I’ll make more modules based on the feedback that I’m getting from the people going through the site. Borrow from Books I go to Amazon.com and I look for books on the topic I’m going to be teaching in my membership site. So if I’m teaching on tomato-growing, I’ll go to Amazon.com and look up the best-sellers in that niche. In Amazon, they have this ‘look-inside’ feature, where you can look inside all of the different books in Amazon. So I’ll go into each of the books, I’ll open up an Excel spreadsheet and start writing down the chapters from the books. After you do it for five or six books, you’ll start to notice some patterns. You’ll see some topics that are explained over and over again in each of the different books. That gives you a good idea of the more important topics. Listen to Your Users We’re basically just monitoring the forum all the time. We’re watching what people are talking about and what questions they’re asking. We’re basing our next modules around that. So we always know we’re staying relevant to what our current members are looking for. Different Media I do pretty much everything. The WordPress Classroom is mostly video content. But then I also have my blog, my podcast, and my YouTube channel. Video For the actual membership sites, I recommend video. People can find written content everywhere. Videos are a little bit harder to find. I recommend going with videos because you can actually do ‘over-the-shoulder’ demonstrations, where you’re showing people how to do something while you’re explaining it. How to Make Videos I use ScreenFlow to record my screen and just show people what I’m doing. That’s for Mac. If you’re on a PC, Camtasia works great. If you’re in a niche where you can’t just show people how to do stuff on your screen, then go out and grab a Kodak Zi8 or a Flipcam. Set social zen reviewup on a tripod and show people how to do stuff that way. What to Say Personally, I just dive in. If I’m setting up a hosting account, I’ll simply hit record on my screen and start: “Okay, so today we’re setting up hosting, so follow along.” I’ll just start doing it and explain what I’m doing as I do it. I know some people who will go off on tangents that are really unnecessary. For them, it may be better to kind of script it. Try not to overthink it. Keep it Short Sometimes I’ll joke around in my videos, but for the most part I don’t. I like to keep training videos really precise and to-the-point. People don’t like long training videos. If they want to learn how to do something, they want it to be quick. They want it to be five or six minutes, max. “Here’s how you do it. Boom, boom, boom, boom, done.” If you make a joke because you mess up while you’re doing the process or something, that’s fine. But for the most part, people want direct, to-the-point training videos. Outsourcing Video Once you’ve got your site up for a while, you could start outsourcing the videos. I’ve actually done that with The WordPress Classroom. I found somebody else who was doing training on WordPress with their site and who had been a member of The WordPress Classroom. I contacted them and said, “Hey, instead of doing the training on your site, why don’t I pay you to come over and do the training on my site?” It has been a win-win for both of us, because he knows that he’s getting paid every single month and I know that I’m getting content. Transcription I just hired a transcriber who’s on staff with me. I send her my videos and getting transcriptions back. That’s been pretty cool. People have been liking that. The only problem with that is that if I am showing stuff on my screen about how to do stuff, it doesn’t always come across in the transcription. So I’ve been trying to give a little bit more description in my videos. Instead of saying, “Click this button right here,” I’ll say, “You’re going to click this button up in the top-left corner that says ‘home’. It’s right next to the little icon with the picture of your face on it.” Hosting Video To privately host my videos, I use Amazon S3 and software called Easy Video Player. Amazon S3 allows you to take your videos and put them on Amazon’s servers. The type of hosting accounts that most people have aren’t really designed to handle a high volume of video. With Amazon S3, you basically get to host your videos on Amazon’s huge infrastructure. Easy Video Player basically fetches your video from Amazon S3 and then presents it on your website for you. It makes it so that Amazon S3 video file is embedded in your site and people can watch it.
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