For those of you that feel like you could try to monetise off of your creative hustle, the ‘how’ can seem intimidating. You could pack in more ads, or try getting sponsors, but that might adversely affect your artistic capabilities. Due to the unpredictability of income in the interests you pursue, you might even be forced to take up a job to sustain yourself and your art.
There is a solution for the above questions, and that is the membership model. This model is a highly efficient and has worked for many creators that rely on their audience to fund their creative pursuits. The advantages of applying this model for your business is huge – you would have a lot more free time, more artistic freedom, financial security and many more.
Read the article to get a practical guide on how to implement the model and generate sustainable revenue.
How to Earn Money Using Membership Model
Let’s go over the following questions in order to see if this business model will work for you or not.
1. Are you and your fans ready to take the plunge and invest?
Membership model requires a lot of commitment from you and your fans. You are not asking for hand-outs or charity from your fans. If that were the case, only a miniscule number of people would pitch in for something they can view for free from someone else. And if the market that your content caters to is saturated, that decreases your chances for earning money by a huge margin.
In the membership model, you are providing your fans with some valuable incentives that will provoke them to support you on a regular basis. For that to happen, you would have to put some amount of additional effort to engage with them and to provide them with rewards. It could involve you hosting regular Ask Me Anything sessions (AMAs), live hangouts, or even meeting them face to face. Any of the above examples that have been mentioned would require you to be at the forefront.
2. What is success for you?
You would need to decide on the projects you spend your time on, as you may have to continue with them for an extended period of time. So if you are not passionate about the work you are currently busy with, it is time to take stock of the situation and decide on the direction that you need to take.
When you do plan on introducing the membership scheme to your fans, assess your monetary goals. You will need to clearly spell out what success means for you (amount earned or the number of fans you increase by per month), and how you can leverage it against the extra effort that you give to the rewards system. Depending on your objectives, try pricing your tiers accordingly.
For instance, if you have set a low benchmark, rewarding your fans with access to the community or other benefits that don’t take away your time would be best. On the other hand, if you have aimed for a higher goal, offering exceptional rewards would be ideal.
3. Build up on your goals
You would need to prepare a well-planned roadmap to gauge what would constitute monetary accomplishments for you. If you hit your targets for the first month, what do you hope to achieve in the coming months? As your followers increase, plan for a series of targets that you pragmatically hope to achieve.
For you to complete your goals you might need to offer incentives. It could be in the form of an extra show, giving out tutoring sessions, or anything that you feel would be of value to your fans. Tell your audience what you are hoping to do after achieving your goals. This would motivate a few of your fans to pledge support for your cause.
4.Design your reward system
The rewards can be classified into four subsets.
(i) Granting Access: This is one of the least time consuming methods that can be used for the lower tier supporters. It could either be in the form of community access or behind the scenes footage. Fans relish looking at the process that goes into your work.
(ii) Physical and Digital Goods: If you have physical merch or design digital content, it would be a wonderful gift for your fans. For example, an illustrator could give away one of their drawings to the higher paying supporters.
(iii) Interact with Fans: Engaging with your fans is a fun way to socialize and understand your audience better. It could be in the form of live chats, hangouts, Q&A sessions and much more. This does require you to commit some of your time, but the rewards are enormous.
(iv) Follower Appreciation: Your fans have backed you through thick and thin, and recognising and appreciating that would go a long way in cementing your relationship. It could be something as simple as having their names mentioned in the end credits, a tag or shout out on social media, anything that doesn’t take too much commitment. For the superstars amongst your supporters, inviting them on your show or brainstorming for the next video or podcast will truly make them feel special.
Get the combinations of your rewards right, and try to have those rewards that aren’t too straining for you but yield huge results. Implement at least three types of rewards and price them appropriately.
5. What’s your marketing strategy?
Before launching the business model to your fans, you would have to inform them through multiple means. You could create a website clarifying details about the membership plan, or create a heartfelt video. Talk about your goals, what your supporters would get, and how it is beneficial system for both you and them.
Start giving out teasers and trailers of the benefits and content that would be offered to members. This sort of hype amongst fans normally results in a higher number of people becoming paid supporters. You might also need to take out time to explain the process to those fans who have pledged support.
After the launch, you would need to consider how to increase your supporters. That could include more conversations about your membership plan, engage with your supporters and increase loyalty and managing your obligations to your fans. If planned and executed correctly, you can go on to achieve great things!