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6 easy steps to monetize your Facebook Group

Creating your own membership site is a savvy and profitable way to monetize a free Facebook group. Find out how in this guide.

July 24, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

You’ve got an engaged Facebook Group.

It’s popping with activity.

And you’re not making a dime off of it.

Not yet, anyway.

If you’re looking for a way to monetize your Facebook group, you’re in the right place.

Today, we bring you actionable tips for turning your Facebook group into a profitable membership, including three key ways to market and migrate people into your paid membership site.

But first, let’s cover why using Facebook to host your membership program isn't the best idea.

Why shouldn’t you use Facebook to host your paid membership site?

While there are several ways to successfully use Facebook for your small business, Facebook subscription groups are not the best option for monetizing your Facebook group. 

For one, Facebook is limiting. Not only does the platform limit subscription fees to between $4.99 and $29.99 per month, but not every group is even allowed to create a paid Facebook group. 

And if you are permitted to create a paid Facebook group, you lose 30% of your subscription earnings for the first year to iOS or Android since those systems manage payments.  

Then, after the first year, the percentage decreases to 15%. 

Plus, Facebook can be a distracting environment for hosting your membership, considering the numerous other ads, posts, and businesses that are fighting for your members’ attention. 

The number of Facebook ads and other distractions are among the top reasons why successful entrepreneur, David Risley, stopped hosting his program, The LAB, on Facebook. 

Yet another limitation to using Facebook groups for running your membership is that members have to have a Facebook account to access it. 

Sure, while it may seem like everyone is using Facebook -- with over 400 million group members using the platform -- Facebook daily usage declined to an average of 38 minutes from 41 minutes in 2017. 

And that’s (mostly) ignoring the more recent scandals and privacy concerns that have wracked the platform.

Even alternatives to Facebook groups -- such as Slack teams, Telegram groups, and Discord servers -- come with their own set of issues, from hidden fees to limited capabilities. 

So, what’s the golden ticket?

In our opinion, creating a membership site. If you want more creative freedom and no limitations on your earnings, anyway.

Here’s how to do it.

6 steps to create a membership site from your Facebook group

Step #1. Test your membership idea

The first step for creating a membership site your audience will love is to first validate your product idea by giving it a test drive with live members.

You can test your idea by pre-selling membership openings to your Facebook audience and then building a basic version of your membership website. 

To launch initial interest and sales, invite your most active Facebook group members to test your new membership program in a beta setting. 

To sweeten the deal, offer them a discounted rate or another special perk for being the first to join your paid membership. This should garner some interest considering a staggering 94% of Americans claim to take advantage of exclusive offers.

The perk to selling a scaled-down beta version of your membership site is you can get feedback from your first members, and then add more pertinent content and iterate as your membership grows.  

Then, once you’ve tested your membership with live beta members, it’s time to solidify the benefits inside your official membership program.

Step #2. Figure out what your membership program will include 

Your next step is to determine the benefits your members will have access to after joining your membership.

As far as formats go, you have options. 

If you’re wondering where to start, a solid choice is video. 86% of people want more videos from businesses in 2020. What’s more, consumers watch an average of 16 hours of video per week, so it’s definitely a widely preferred format. 

If producing a polished video sounds overwhelming at the moment, consider doing live videos or live events, where no editing is required. This is another upward trending format, with the live video streaming market anticipated to reach a staggering $184.3 billion by 2027.

Still, if you want to avoid video altogether for now, another solid option is to provide visual content to your members, like infographics or illustrated digital downloads for your members. 

After all, 40% of marketers say original graphics like infographics perform the best with their audiences, making it the visual format that drives the most engagement. 

While we’ve laid out a few options for you, the list of content types to provide your paying members goes on. 

Ebooks, printables, planners, special events, challenges, coaching sessions, and mastermind groups are all effective ways to deliver value to your members, too. 

The main takeaway here isn’t as much about the formats you choose for delivering your member benefits, as it is about delivering value that’s best suited for your members. 

In other words, every membership will offer different benefits.

For example, Freelance Writers Den offers contract templates, pitch examples, and monthly live events as part of their membership program.

Justin Jackson’s MegaMaker membership, on the other hand, includes access to videos, downloads, a forum, and a Slack chat. 

Compare these to Tiffany WilliamsRich Girl Academy membership, where she shares expert interviews and monthly trainings as part of her member benefits. 

You get the gist. 

What your membership will include should be unique to it and your audience. Just figure out your benefits early, so you don’t have to compromise on the third step -- finding a home for those benefits.

Step #3. Choose a membership platform

Your next step is to choose a membership platform to host your member site.

Creators have their pick when it comes to picking membership site platforms, like Memberful, MemberMouse, Mighty Networks, and Patreon, to name a few. 

While it’s worth perusing the best membership management options as you shop for your ideal platform, most come with limitations, from transaction fees to limited support for products that go beyond memberships. 

Admittedly, I may be biased here, but if you want a platform that gives you free rein to unlimited members, membership tiers, hosting, and digital products to sell alongside your membership, look to an all-in-one platform like Podia.

A major perk to using an all-inclusive platform is streamlining your entire online business. 

For instance, among some of Podia’s unique benefits are its built-in email marketing tool, live chat messaging, product page builder, landing page builder, and sales page builder, which let you replace at least nine different tools.

So, if you’re a busy creator looking to reclaim your time without sacrificing product quality, using an all-in-one platform to create and sell your membership and other digital products from one place is an ideal option.

After all, 25% of entrepreneurs work more than 40 hours a week and an overwhelming 91% work weekends, so avoiding the too-typical entrepreneurial burnout may be (should be) among your list of priorities.

Of course, don’t take my word for it. You can see how seamless it is to build a membership site using an all-in-one tool with this 14-day no-obligation trial.

Now, regardless of what you choose, once you’ve picked a membership platform to build your program, you’re ready for our next step -- setting your membership price.

Step #4. Set a price for your membership site

Though setting a price for your membership site will take some trial and error, you have a few options for charging a higher price that matches the quality of your membership. 

The first is to connect with your customers on a deeper level, which will turn your members into loyal lifetime customers if you do it right. 

36.5% of consumers say they would spend more on products if they were loyal to a company. 

And a separate study found that 57% of people increase their spending if they feel connected to a brand. 

What’s more, 76% say they pick a brand they feel connected to over a competitor.  

So, as you test different price points for your membership, focus on connecting to your audience and nurturing a bonded relationship. The right pricing will naturally fall into place.  

It goes without saying that, like your members’ benefits, your price point will be unique to your membership offering.

For instance, Fraser McCulloch’s SEO membership tiers are priced at €67 and €99 per month.

Whereas Elizabeth Tollis’ Full Focus Entrepreneur membership tiers range from free to $5,000 per year.

So, if you have a loyal audience already, feel free to set your price on the higher-end -- if you continue providing the products and content that made them loyal in the first place, they’ll likely be willing to buy.

While if you’re reaching out to an audience that doesn’t yet know you -- say, they’re searchers from a Google dive -- try out lower price points. As you develop a keener understanding and relationship with them, you can then build new tiers at higher price tags.

Speaking of an audience of searchers, our next step deals with how to attract them, and every other kind of lead.

Step #5. Market your membership program

We’ve got three marketing tactics for you to consider to start funneling people into your paid membership. 

The first is to send special invitations to enthusiasts within your Facebook group. The key here is to treat them like VIP and offer them a personalized invitation or special discount to your membership.

Why? Personalized special treatment sells. 

84% of consumers say being treated like an individual is important to earning their business. 

On top of that, 68% of consumers choose a site that offers personalized promotions and discounts over one that doesn’t. Plus, 72% of people only engage with marketing messages that are personalized and cater to their interests. 

But if not that, or in combination with, another way to market to your target audience is to invest in Facebook ads.

36% of consumers prefer Facebook advertising, which makes your free group members more receptive to receiving marketing messages through a Facebook ad than through another medium. 

Besides that, Facebook ads can offer considerable ROI at a reasonable cost, considering the cost per click (CPC) by campaign objective for conversions decreased from $1.09 in the first quarter of 2019 to $0.89 in the fourth quarter of 2019

For targeting, use Facebook Core Audiences and Custom Audiences to target specific types of Facebook users. While you’re at it, use Custom Audiences to build a robust sales funnel to capture and convert more customers. 

As far as formats go, while there are 11 main Facebook ads to choose from, image and video ads, like this simple video ad from Airbnb, are ideal if you want to produce an ad quickly.

Alternatively, you can create ads with specific goals, like this ad from Wimbledon, which has a lead generation goal.

If you have several membership benefits you want to feature in your ads, consider using carousel ads, like this ad from HelloFresh, which shares multiple images and details.

Regardless of the format you go with, test different Facebook ad angles and audiences to find the match that resonates the most with your audience at the lowest cost to you.

But if you aren’t quite ready to pay for Facebook ads, consider our third marketing tactic to grow your membership, which is to post promotional content.

By sharing content that educates your audience about the value of your membership, you can attract more paying members. 

One particularly convincing type of content to include in your posts is user-generated content (UGC), like videos and photos from people who are already active members. 

UGC is so powerful that 56% of people say UGC photos and videos are the content they most want to see from brands. 

That figure isn’t surprising considering customers find UGC to be 9.8 times more impactful than influencer content when making buying decisions. Plus, 79% of people agree that UGC affects their buying decisions.  

Customer testimonials and stories are two other effective options to post. 

These days, shoppers, especially younger consumers, expect to see anywhere from over 100 to over 200 reviews when looking at a product online. 

What’s more, 19% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and another 18% trust reviews if they believe them to be authentic. 

All this to say, consider posting videos, testimonials, and stories about real customers in your promotional posts. 

Just like Abbey Ashley does in her compelling customer video about how her program helped a client find a new career. 

Or Marie Forleo, who shared this video detailing how her B-School program helped an entrepreneur significantly increase her earnings. 

So, to recap our marketing strategies:

Send personalized invitations to your audience members, run Facebook ads, and/or post promotional content that features UGC and authentic customers’ stories.

After marketing to your Facebook group and convincing them to join your membership, you may be wondering if it’s necessary to maintain both, which is where our final step comes in.

Step #6: Decide if you will keep your Facebook group

While your free Facebook group may help generate leads and build your reputation, it may not make sense to maintain it once your paid membership takes off. 

So, how should you decide whether or not to keep your Facebook group?

If your Facebook group still generates new members for your paid membership, it’s likely worth keeping. 

If that’s the case, but you’re struggling to maintain both groups, consider hiring a virtual assistant to help with managing your Facebook group and/or membership. 

On the other hand, if you’re managing your business solo -- or simply want to focus your attention on building a stellar membership site -- it’s probably better to part ways with your free group. 

Ultimately, to point you in the right direction, you can look at whether the ROI from maintaining your free site outweighs the costs of taking time away from growing your paid membership. 

If you’re reluctant to delete your free Facebook group, look to successful entrepreneur, Elena Mutonono, who deleted her Facebook group after her paid program started thriving. 

Among other things, Elena found it difficult to manage both the beginner-level members in her free group and more advanced members in her paid group. 

Becky Mollenkamp is another successful creator and entrepreneur who closed her Facebook group. 

Although she had an active Facebook group, she noticed it wasn’t helping her brand. Becky found that her voice was being muted by the activity in her growing Facebook group and that people didn’t join the group to find out more about her business offerings.

All in all, deciding to close your Facebook group isn’t an easy choice, but if you look at the hard ROI, it can be a simple one.

See why Podia is the best platform for selling memberships

Join a live demo to see how Podia's all-in-one platform can help you grow your business. Every Tuesday at 4PM ET.

Turn your free Facebook group into a paid membership in 6 steps

To go from an active Facebook group of free members to a thriving paid membership program, follow our six straightforward steps.

In sum:

  • #1. Validate your membership idea and run a beta program first.
  • #2. Determine what content you want to share in your membership.
  • #3. Find a membership hosting platform that will help your program grow and thrive.
  • #4. Pick a price for your membership program. 
  • #5. Market your membership using our three tactics.
  • #6. Determine if you want to maintain your free Facebook group by taking a look at your ROI.

Ready to pack your membership full of value and ship it off to your audience? 

Great, it’s time to transform your free Facebook group into a thriving paid membership.

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