Not all business models are created equally. There all kinds of ways to build a business depending on your goals. Do you want to scale your business or are you comfortable with the small business lifestyle? Are you looking for a small enhancement to your income or are you looking for something more lucrative? Are you building up one of many ventures in your portfolio or are you looking for something that you can focus on exclusively?
Depending on the type of lifestyle you look to lead, the type of business you will want to start will differ. Affiliate marketing and membership sites are two of these models – they’re both excellent ventures but we think one of these is significantly better.
Affiliate marketing is the art of selling somebody else’s product for a commission. You can do this with ecommerce, information products, etc. There are all kinds of offers that you can promote as an affiliate, but the catch is that they’re somebody else’s, not yours.
A membership site is a website with perks hidden in the paid members area, where users pay a subscription to get access to these perks. As a product, these can range from information, videos, training, software, services, access to courses, etc.
If you’re trying to choose between the two for your next venture, we think that membership sites are the way to go with 4 important reasons:
1. It’s All Yours
With a membership site, you’re not promoting other people’s products – you’re promoting your own. This gives you a level of control and flexibility that just cannot be matched with affiliate marketing.
When you promote your membership site, you can create the offer, you create the product, and you’re in control of the unit economics.
Affiliate marketing presents the challenge of attempting to find a product to promote that’s in alignment with your goals.
Is the product quality? Do you see yourself using the product? Is the commission worth the effort? Is this a product your audience will want?
With a membership site, you’re given the control to answer these questions rather than searching for deals from somebody else, trying to see if they’re in alignment with your strategy. In just 21 days we can get you setup with your own membership website, where you’re in total control of the brand.
2. Evergreen Revenue
The subscription revenue model of the membership site gives you a recurring, round the clock series of revenue that an affiliate marketing venture just won’t have.
You can technically create an affiliate marketing campaign that will work without your attention at all times, but these days ad creatives get stale quicker than ever, requiring your frequent upkeep and maintenance to keep the funnel alive.
With a membership site, the subscription revenue model means that you maintain a customer for multiple payment periods, boosting customer lifetime value and making the venture less high maintenance than an affiliate marketing project.
While not as high-intensity as an affiliate marketing business, membership sites do have the caveat of attrition rates, bringing in the problem of maintaining your userbase.
3. Potential for Acquisition
The acquisition event is something that many entrepreneurs neglect to think about.
I’ve spoken to a lot of business owners who have never even thought about selling their business – but that’s where you can get the most out of a business.
Recurring revenue information products drive very high valuations in today’s market, something that you take advantage of by building a membership site.
While you can build up and sell a content site with affiliate offers, a membership site with a quality product and a thriving community of users will find much more value on the marketplace.
4. Your Personal Brand
Membership sites can be used as powerful personal assets for your brand.
When you create a membership site, you’re creating:
a. An interactive community
b. A treasure trove of user generated content
c. A recurring revenue subscription business with an exit that will look very impressive
The community of users that comes with the creation of your membership site gives you access to the benefit of network intelligence – AKA the combined expertise and knowledge of a whole network of individuals.
The community that you create (assuming you work directly with it to foster connections and remain memorable) will give you access to a network of people that you can consult for information, look to for unique outlooks on problems, or even contact for deals or business opportunities.
Everyone knows that your net worth equals your network – a membership site enables you to build out that network.
A thriving community of people in your niche also gives you the added benefit of free content creation. Users join not just for access to your content, but for the content of those in the community.
I can’t tell you how many social media groups I have joined just to ask niche-specific questions that get highly articulate, useful answers from those in the community.
People love to give their two cents and people love to see those two cents. Create a space for the dissemination and reception of specific information and people will flock.
Are there any caveats to the membership site model versus the affiliate marketing model?
Yes – the startup costs are higher (your tech stack will likely be more demanding), the workload will be more demanding if you intend to scale (after all, you’re building a community), and the creation of a membership website requires more knowledge than an affiliate marketing site, which doesn’t require as much experience (it’s more suitable for a novice).
But the returns on a membership site are significantly higher. When it comes to building a sustainable, scalable digital empire, the membership site is the way to go.
And we can help you.
We have all you need to get there – hosting, email automation, hands on support, world class training, and more. All of the moving parts of a brand new business can be overwhelming, but with the enormous toolbox that is Profit Platform we can remove the element of confusion and put you on the path to prosperity.
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