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If you’re managing a small business or working as a “solopreneur,” then odds are you’re always on the lookout for ways to grow your brand — without running yourself into the ground. One of the most popular ways to accomplish both goals among SMB operators is to start a membership site; in other words, a “gated” website (or section of a website) that is only open to paid subscribers.

While the idea of developing a membership site from scratch may seem daunting, help is available. And there are several benefits that you could receive from making the leap to subscription-based content. Here are 5 great reasons why you should consider a membership site for your business.

1. It’s a great source of revenue.

Most business owners are going to ask about the effect on their bottom line before launching into any new initiative. The good news is that a membership site can give a great boost to your company’s profit margin. Even better, membership sites usually mean recurring revenue. That’s right: you’ll be creating a wholly unique revenue stream that can complement your core business.

Granted, you don’t have to set up your membership site to be completely “pay for play” based. In fact, it’s often a good idea to offer free content and features to consumers in order to draw more people in. Then, once they’re hooked, you can charge them a reasonable rate to access your more in-depth content. (For sports fans, ESPN+ is a great example of this strategy in action.)

Some sites use a monthly subscription fee for their content; others charge on a yearly basis. Still others implement a hybrid model. Whatever you decide to do, your membership site may become an effective avenue for generating more revenue on a regular basis.

2. You can build a stronger relationship with your subscribers.

There’s an old saying that goes: “The more you pay, the more it’s worth.” Paying a few extra dollars for premium content won’t scare away your hardcore fans and devoted followers. If anything, a price tag may enhance their appreciation for the value you deliver.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with offering your insights to the general public without asking for any compensation in return. It’s a great way to build goodwill among your consumer base, and position your brand as a “subject-matter expert.” However, there are definite advantages to charging a subscription fee for your highest-value pieces of content, both in terms of profitability and customer retention.

For example, 76% of businesses in one survey claimed that a subscription-based model boosts customer retention rates and helps to forge long-term relationships with customers. And here’s something else to consider: when all of your premium content is organized within one centralized location, it becomes much easier to deliver high-value content that builds on previous articles or course materials. It’s like wrapping up your gift to your customers in an attractive package!

3. It will help the buzz around your company to gain momentum.

It doesn’t really matter what industry you’re in, or where your business is located — odds are, there is going to be a community of people on social media talking about your sector in general, and/or your business in particular. Of course, you want to leverage that conversation into positive publicity for your brand.

That’s where a membership site comes into the picture. As your subscribers reap the benefits that come with access to your pieces of premium content, they’ll be more likely to share their experience on social media platforms. That can have a domino effect on your consumer base as a whole, and win you a lot more admirers (and ultimately, subscribers).

4. It will help your messaging to be more impactful.

It’s a simple fact of human nature: the more effort we expend to get something, the more likely we are to appreciate it. The same principle holds true for gated content. If you really believe that your materials are valuable, and can help your consumers, then it shouldn’t be an issue to charge a reasonable subscription fee for access. If you do, the consumers who pay that price are going to place a higher value on your content themselves.

What’s the ultimate result? Your content will be more impactful because your consumers will pay more attention. When you make a user pay for access, you give him or her a good reason to concentrate on the material once it’s made available to them.

5. Once it’s set up, it’s basically passive income.

It’s true that setting up a membership site requires some work and planning. After all, you have to develop the content that it will house; identify, implement, and even A/B test ideas for the site; and then finalize all of the site’s technical elements.

But what happens after your membership site has been set up? That’s when automation comes into the picture. From that point on — with the right tools — you can basically automate the entire subscription/purchase/refund process.

In other words: your membership site will become a great source of passive income.

Membership sites on WordPress are a great example of the automated process. With the right plugins and add-ons, you can integrate your site with the email marketing platform of your choice, and keep the ball rolling when it comes to newsletters, promotions, subscription fees, purchases of premium content (if your site is based on a “pay for play” model), and so on. It’s no wonder that WordPress is responsible for powering nearly one-third of all websites today… and approximately one-fifth of the top 1 million sites.

There you have it: 5 great reasons why you should set up your own membership site. Of course, it may be easier said than done, especially if web development isn’t one of your core competencies. But never fear: professional assistance is readily available! Reach out to our team of web design and development experts at Phi Web Studio today for a free consultation. We’d be happy to discuss how to grow your business with a new membership site, and answer any questions you may have.