5 must-know tips for running a coaching membership community
If you’re a coach who wants to grow your practice and expand your impact, get these five key tips on how to build a thriving coaching membership community.
You have a coaching business, but you want to take it to the next level.
As in, make more money.
But, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin selling one-on-one coaching programs.
Good news: there’s a way to sell a coaching program that allows you to service more people while avoiding burnout .
Enter… the membership community model.
Today, we share tips on how to run a successful membership community, so your coaching business (and your personal life) can soar.
Let’s dive right in.
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5 tips for running a successful coaching membership community
#1. Clearly spell out the benefits of joining your membership community
First things first. It’s important to clearly outline the purpose of your membership community, and the value and benefits your paying members gain after joining.
After all, communicating the value and benefits of your membership community is the single biggest internal challenge to growing a membership.
If you’re a business owner who sells individual coaching sessions, highlight the added value that new members can enjoy beyond coaching sessions.
Why? Moving from one-on-one coaching to a group coaching environment — where you serve a larger community — might be a concern for someone who values personal attention.
But, with your marketer hat on, this is a great chance to explain that your membership community is a safe space, where members have the advantage of learning from other like-minded people going through similar experiences.
Check out how Emily Mills' Sketchnote Academy Community focuses on the benefits of a community environment and offers a place for sketchnoters to connect, collaborate, request and offer feedback, and interact with Emily.
One very potent detail I want to include here is to build a community environment that highlights trust.
Trust is such a lacking thing these days that, sadly, there’s not a single institution that people believe is both competent and ethical. That’s the story according to the latest Edelman Trust Barometer study , anyway.
As a life coach myself, I totally agree that there’s nothing more important than building trust and creating a safe space for your clients to be real and authentic.
Building trust is the way to allow people to open up.
And without that “opening up,” it’s way more difficult to help people.
Although, this is only the first half of building trust. The other half is listening.
If people trust you enough to help them, you need to bolster that trust by listening, paying attention, and catering to their specific needs.
One powerful way to help your members feel heard is to offer a clear, open line of communication.
Whether it’s easy email access, a help desk, live chat channels, or social media, make sure you respond to each and every message that comes your way.
And when you respond, here are a couple tips to help you reassure your members that they’re being taken seriously:
Respond back to them using their own language, so they feel heard.
Ask clarifying questions, so they feel understood.
Take it a step further and actually consider their feedback by acting on it.
A whopping 53% of shoppers don’t think their feedback goes to anyone who actually acts on it, so you may as well do your part in improving that less-than-ideal stat.
The main gist is:
Clearly outline the benefits of joining your membership community, and highlight ways that your community offers a safe, trusting place for like-minded people to lift each other up, solve their problems, and reach their goals.
Once the benefits are outlined, you can put a number to it.
#2. Set an attractive membership pricing point (or points)
While the beauty in running a successful membership community is you get to make money on a recurring basis, it’s important to charge a monthly fee that aligns with your members’ perceived value.
More specifically, use value-based pricing , where you charge a membership fee that’s well above both your cost and markup, as long as your membership community program is stacked with perceived value.
This is why clearly outlining each membership community benefit is important. Once you have a defined list of value-based benefits that your customers gain access to, you can more easily add them up for a dollar total.
And if you’re looking for a pricing benchmark, the bulk of membership owners collect a monthly payment that lands between $25 and $49 .
As for how this translates to revenue, 31.58% of membership business owners earn below $50,000 annually, 19.3% between $51,000 and $99,000, and an impressive 28.07% between $100,000 and $249,000.
That’s not to say you’re confined to averages, though.
Take Casey Cole Corbin's Good to Great coaching membership community, for instance, which goes for $197 per month.
The goodness inside of Casey's membership community is invaluable including individual coaching sessions, live training, community discussions, and mastermind groups.
So, it makes sense his members pay above-average monthly payments.
High or low, the main takeaway here is to list your membership community pricing at an attractive rate that’s comparable to the perceived value (just remember that it’s your audience’s perception that matters, and not your own).
And once your members are in, the value needs to keep on giving. Head to our next tip for more.
#3. Engage your members with new content (consistently)
Whether it’s recording new podcast episodes or blogging your heart out, it’s important to deliver fresh new content to your members on an ongoing basis.
And not just any new content — but exclusive new content.
While repurposing content is generally a good idea, when you distribute new content to your members, it needs to make paying members feel like they’re part of an exclusive online community that has access to insider information.
Even if your type of membership community is project-oriented, make sure the templates, tools, roadmaps, and worksheets you offer are specific and exclusive to your members.
Just like Signature Edits’ Photography Marketing Membership , which offers exclusive presets, marketing tools, online courses, and templates.
Another great way to provide your members with exclusive content is to offer live group coaching sessions or webinars.
This is what Scott and Tawnya Landis offer in their Awakened Life Academy membership community, where they facilitate a live class for members only each month.
Pretty sweet, right?
If you do go the live group sessions and webinars route, keep tabs on your timeframes and stick to your promised schedule.
It goes without saying that people are busy these days. And what’s more, 66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing your brand can do to provide a good online customer experience.
Beyond engaging your members with exclusive valuable content, another key factor is to keep it up consistently.
Given that 60% of content marketers say they have trouble producing content consistently and another 65% find it challenging to produce engaging content, this third tip is no easy feat.
But, like all challenging obstacles, after you put in the work, it’s well worth the achievement.
One way to find fresh content ideas for engaging your members is to conduct customer research .
Just ask your members about their progress, what they need more of, and what they want to learn. Then, cater your content to meet their needs.
Your audience is, after all, at the center of your business, so this source of content inspiration never disappoints.
Another classic way to keep your members happy is to make sure their overall community experience meets or exceeds their expectations — our next tip today.
#4. Create a seamless user experience
A big part of creating a successful membership community is to present a positive user experience.
The lesson here is to make sure your membership community's functionality is easy to use, easy to navigate, and pleasant to look at.
Wondering how you can achieve all the above? For one, there’s a technical aspect to it that’s pretty foundational.
It’s important to make sure your community platform is a cinch to use from both an external member’s and internal manager’s perspective.
Whether you take the do-it-yourself (DIY) route and install a membership community plugin into your WordPress site, or the done-for-you (DFY) route with an all-in-one like Podia, smooth functionality on your site is a must.
Check out the clean and crisp design of Tiny Shiny Home's membership community, for instance. There’s no question about where existing members go to log in and where new members go to join.
And in case you’re curious, yes, Tiny Shiny Home built its membership community using Podia.
Podia is a one-stop shop for selling a wide range of profitable digital products beyond just your online community, whether it’s an online course, webinar, or digital download. Sign up for a free Podia account and build your membership community today.
Beyond the logistics of your members’ user experience, there’s also the support side — customer service, which brings us to our final topic.
#5. Focus on providing top-notch customer service
A key driving force behind any thriving business is providing excellent customer service.
Considering the fact that excellent customer service is the number one factor that impacts consumers’ level of trust in a company, I’d say it’s pretty significant.
On top of that, a staggering 96% of global consumers claim that customer service is an important factor in their choice of brand loyalty.
So, how can you deliver top-notch customer service?
Besides opening a clear line of support and communication that makes your members feel heard, you can also find ways to make your members feel special and appreciated.
If you run out of ideas for delighting and retaining your members, it doesn’t hurt to look toward a few shining membership community examples.
Like Adrian Dalsus' Despegue Musical membership community, which delivers his members over $2,500 in value for only $49 per month.
Or Marie Forleo, who sends encouraging emails like this one that I received after joining her Everything Is Figureoutable online course membership based on her book.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to delight your paying members.
The purpose of delighting your customers is to deliver customer service that’s so excellent that it not only makes them feel warm and fuzzy, but also convinces them to renew and become a loyal lifetime member.
However you choose to please your members, continue to strive for a stellar customer service level over the long-haul. This is a great way to nurture raving fans and members for life.
Here’s to running a thriving coaching membership community
If you leverage membership communities the right way, you can build a flourishing coaching business and help more people, without having to spread yourself too thin.
Just keep our five coaching membership community tips in mind:
#1. Explicitly outline the benefits of joining your membership community and clearly communicate these benefits to your audience.
#2. Use value-based pricing and set a membership price that’s based on your members’ perceived value, in addition to your cost and markup.
#3. Consistently deliver valuable and exclusive content that engages your audience over the long-run.
#4. Focus on delivering a seamless user experience to avoid any hiccups in your membership community's functionality.
#5. Prioritize excellent customer service as a way to build rapport among your lifetime members.
From one coach to another, I’m rooting for you.