You know what the hardest part of setting up a membership site is? It's getting those first few subscribers to sign up. Your membership program needs enough momentum. You can't sustain it with just 10 customers. You need to atleast a 100 customers to know you're on the right track with your subscription sevice.
But it isn't easy to get those first 100 customers. That's the hardest part of your starting a membership program. It's hard work but it pays off if you get it right. Here are some things you can do to get those first 100 customers.
There's one order of business you've first got to take care of. Make sure you have a secure website. Check out these fantastic security plugins for Wordpress to secure your site before you start selling anything.
Do you have the right membership plugin? Get the easiest membership plugin for Wordpress.
1) Get it touch with a small network of businesses
- Don't pitch. Just establish contact with businesses or customer who require products like yours.
- Remember this process starts when you've just formulated the idea of a subscription product in your mind. Contact businesses and ask them how they're using products similar to yours.
For eg. If you're planning to create and sell valuable marketing advice, ask them what current tools they are using. Are they being advised well by their marketing advisors and if they think of any particular struggles they are coming across.
Be polite and don't force info out of them. Always say “ You don't have to share anything you don't want to. But a little gist on how effective you find your marketing is right now would be helpful”
- At no point during this phase are you supposed to even mention that you're looking to get into the marketing advice business.
2) Tap into an audience using your competitor's products.
- This is still a step to be taken before you actually start creating your product. Reach out to businesses who are using your customer's products, and ask them if they like what they're using now.
- Get them to talk about what they love about the product as where as where they feel the competitor's product can be improved. Again don't try to sell your customers on your product right now.
3) Start digging through social media
- Your contacts would have given you information on the problems they're having with the competitor's product. Dig a little deeper and find out what other problems customers might be facing with these products.
- Social media platforms house a lot of complaints and posts of appreciation for your competitor's products. A little resarch will tell you exactly what customers will be looking for and where you can improve upon the product to gain an advantage.
After this, you can start working on your product. Once it's ready you can start pitching to potential clients. You can ask some business to connect you with potential customers in your network. If you've priced your subscription product low you can connect with local startups. Startup normally look for new technology that goes easy on the purse.
What you can try too: Try to get online publications to mention you in their social posts. We are not listing this as an important step because the chances that online publications will list you is a little less. It's pretty tough toget mentioned by them. But it's definitely something worth giving a try. If you get mentioned, it's a great start for your PR strategy.
4) Building up your content marketing
- Okay so this is probably the most important step you take once you've got a minimum viable product that you feel will work now for customers. Focus on creating a content strategy that drives traffic.
- Your content creation process needs to constantly revolve around the needs of your customers. Begin by creating a customer persona. Trust me customer personas are the best way to really understand your customer, and create content accordingly.
- A common mistake a lot of new blogs have made is by not understanding exactly who they were writing for. They sometimes write content that's actually required by their competitors not their customers!
- Once you've figured out who to write for and what topics will help them, get busy writing and promoting them on social media. You can also try and offer to write guest posts to other magazines.
Before we go further you should read this list of things you might be doing wrong with your membership service.
5) Reach out to bloggers and ask them to review your product
Testimonies are a great way to get new customers to give your products a chance.
- Reach out to popular bloggers in your industry. Ask them to try out your product and review them. Bloggers give pretty honest reviews on whether your product is worth investing in. So make sure that when you reach out you give them enough info about your product.
- Some bloggers just go ahead and publicize exactly what's on your website. While this may not seem very original, you should still go in for it, because it's free publicity you shouldn't deny yourself.
6) Do everything you can for the first member
- The first member that gives you business should be put on a pedestal. You can't afford to lose him. Go out of the way to please him. Give him the best support and keep reaching out to see if he needs any help with your product.
- The way you treat your first customer determines how successfully you acquire other customers. So give him the best experience so he can really talk about the service you offer to others. This trust me is the best publicity you can get yourself.
These strategies have been known to help businesses reach their first 100 customers. However, customer acquisition tactics vary from business to business and there's no formula to stick to. But these strategies should work for you if you implement them correctly.
Be sure to tell us if they worked for you. Something that we'd love for you to try is our open source membership plugin to help you manage subscriptions. They're free and you can try them out to create different membership plans and manage your subscriptions.