how to promote a membership site

8 Proven Ways to Successfully Promote Your Membership Site

So your membership site is up and running, but you have no luck raking in signups? 

You’re not alone. More than seven out of ten membership sites find it hard to get new members, too. 

That’s why knowing how to promote a membership site is key. Only when people know about its existence can they become members in the first place. By consistently promoting your membership site, you also create a pipeline of new and existing members to retarget and ensure recurring revenues.   

That said, below are eight ways to successfully promote your membership site:

1. Invest in Blog Content

Whether you have an established business or a new startup, creating awareness for your membership site is essential. Content marketing is an effective way to do that. With quality content, you can get your target audience’s attention and make them want to learn more about your site.

One of the best platforms to publish your quality content is your website. After all, this is one of the primary digital representations of your brand. Plus, if you get people to read your blog posts, the chances of them signing up to be a member are higher. They’re already on your membership site, after all.

For the best results, identify the kinds of articles that resonate with your target audience and create them regularly. You can determine what your audience wants by asking them directly or looking at your historical data (if you have this). Just make sure the topics align with what your membership site offers. For instance, if you’re offering marketing courses, then some of your blog posts could be about the basics of email marketing.

promote membership site

But don’t just create content people want. Create content they need as well. Research your target audience to discover their pain points. Then, produce articles recommending your membership site as a solution. This will help you achieve steady and sustainable membership growth.

When creating your content, make sure you also do some keyword analysis and create a list of valuable keywords people search for. This is the cornerstone of a solid SEO strategy and would make it easier for people to find your blog content online. You can use tools like Google Trends and Ahrefs for this.

As a final tip, engage with your audience when they leave remarks in the comments section of your site. When you humanize your brand, you can promote your membership site effectively. A staggering 64% of consumers, after all, want brands to connect with them. It's also a great opportunity to gather ideas on which blog posts to write. 

2. Optimize your Site for Search Engines

Don’t just optimize your content. Optimize your site as well. A properly optimized site will improve your membership program's visibility on search engine result pages and increase organic traffic – bringing in a new flow of potential members.  

Start by enhancing your site’s user experience. Why? Because search engines may consider metrics like time on site, pages per session, and bounce rate when ranking websites. If your site has a great user experience, you’ll improve your metrics above, which may, in turn, positively impact your Google ranking. 

Reducing image, HTML, CSS, and Javascript file sizes will also increase your site speed significantly, contributing to a better user experience. You can check your site’s loading speed using Google’s Page Speed Insights. Just input your URL and the tool will tell you the issues that are slowing down your loading speed. Then, just implement the tool’s recommendations.

Your website design also needs to be user-friendly across all devices to ensure easy accessibility to your content. So, use a responsive site template.

membership site seo

High-quality backlinks are an important Google ranking factor. Google sees backlinks as a trust signal. When authority sites link to another, Google takes it to mean these authority sites are vouching for that other website’s content. Sites with a strong backlink profile rank higher in SERPs than those that don’t have one.

So, as part of your site optimization, build a strong backlink profile as well. 

Remember when I said you should invest in blog posts? That’s also because blog posts have a role in link-building. When you have quality content on your site, authority sites can easily link to it and help improve your SEO.

Just follow tip number 1 to create website content they’ll likely link to. Plus, encourage your site’s visitors to share this content on other platforms. With increased exposure come higher chances of other authority sites linking to you.

Also, you can contact authority sites to ask for guest post opportunities. This is a great way to build high-quality backlinks since you can include links to your own content published on that authority site. Just use an email lookup tool to find the correct email addresses of these site administrators. When you make your pitch, point out how they can benefit from the guest post collaboration. You may say, for instance, that your quality guest post can drive more traffic to their site.

3. Create and Maintain Active Profiles on Social Platforms

Maintaining a social media presence is crucial to building your reputation as an expert in your niche while creating awareness about your membership site. There are approximately 4.89 billion social media users. No wonder a whopping 81% of organizations use social media to increase brand awareness.

So, find out where your target audience spends their time and join those social platforms. For example, if you target professionals, LinkedIn and Twitter (now X) are a great place to start.

To ensure your social platforms remain active, you’ll need to invest in content marketing. Follow the tips in number 1 to determine the types of social content to create. You can create everything from relevant how-to videos to infographics.

Another option is to just post snippets of your valuable advice then include a link to the full content on your membership site.

Take your cue from Wild Lily Organics:

social media for membership sites

As part of your social media marketing, you may also run giveaways and contests. They’re a great way to engage your audience. 

Dribbble, a membership platform for digital designers, for instance, ran a contest on Twitter (now X). It urged members to design a matching phone case and Apple Watch for the chance to win an iPhone 15 Pro:

membership site contest

Offering a desirable prize like Dribbble did above could make your social media marketing campaign more successful.

4. Build an Email List and Send Regular Newsletters

Anyone who knows how to promote a membership site will tell you email marketing should be one of your strategies. It’s so effective that over 60% of companies say they use email marketing to increase brand awareness.

Use lead magnets like free ebooks, cheat sheets, coupons, or free trials to encourage people to sign up to your email list. You can use pop-up email subscription forms on your site to offer these.  

You can also run relevant quizzes on your site to get your website visitor’s mail address for your email marketing campaigns. 16 Personalities, a test membership site, for instance, has a personality quiz visitors can take on its website.

The quiz takers give their email addresses so they can receive their quiz results.

If you decide to use quizzes as your lead magnet, use the quiz results to personalize your email content as well. 16Personalities, for instance, subsequently offers subscribers email content tailored to the subscriber’s personality:

membership site quiz results

In your emails, you can also offer free or discounted content and links to articles about your unique membership service. Share anecdotes, too, so they can get a feel for your members’ day-to-day events. 

When creating email content, just remember that your goal is to give subscribers a taste of the benefits they can receive if they become a member. AI tools can offer convenience in creating content on a large scale. Leveraging AI templates to create subject lines or email copy can help boost engagement. 

5. Utilize Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC advertising is one of the quickest and most effective ways to promote your membership site. Targeted campaigns on various digital marketing platforms can help you get leads you can convert more easily. These are people, after all, who may already be interested in what you have to offer. 

You can use popular platforms like Google ads and Facebook ads for your advertising campaigns. 

With Google ads, in particular, you can reach people according to:

  • Who they are
  • Their interests and habits
  • What they’re actively researching
  • People who have already interacted with your brand via your site, app, etc..

Follow these instructions by Google to set up audience targeting for your ad campaigns.

On Facebook, you can promote your membership site to:

  • New customers with specific interests or in a specific location
  • People who have already shown an interest in what you have to offer (they visited your app, site..)
  • People who share interests with your current customers

Just go to Ads Manager to set up your ad and targeting criteria. You’ll need to have a Facebook Business page for this.

Regardless of the platform you use, you want to create different ad variations for your campaign. For instance, why not create an ad that promotes your membership site directly? Then create another that showcases one of your members’ events? Compare and contrast how these ads do so you can determine which ad content to go for.

A/B test different ad copies and visuals as well. In all your ad variations, though, keep the language simple. Ensure your headlines portray the value you offer and your call to action conveys your desired action. Your visuals should also complement the copy.

6. Partner with Affiliates

Don’t know how to promote a membership site on your own? Leverage your own affiliate network. Affiliate partners–often bloggers or other types of content creators—can help you promote your site to their own target audiences. For every successful conversion, you just pay them a commission.

Using a WordPress plugin like Easy Affiliate, you can set up your own affiliate program right on your site without having to pay a transaction fee to a third party network.

membermouse and easy affiliate integration

When setting up your affiliate program, consider who you want your affiliates to be.

If you want your affiliates to be only members of your site, that probably gives you higher chances of attracting new members. That’s because your members have experienced your site themselves. So, when promoting it to others, they’ll know exactly what best features to highlight.

If you decide to make the program open to the public, you have a larger pool of affiliates to draw from. Just have an affiliate ‘sales page’ on your site telling them what they’d be promoting and the benefits of your program. You can also promote your affiliate program on your social media platforms to get more partners. 

You don’t have to promote your site directly on social media. Heather Palsons of The Landing World, an activewear and home decor business (it’s not a membership site but I just want to prove a point), for instance, promoted their affiliate program by announcing the additional incentives to affiliate partners:

membership site affiliates giveaway

Whichever strategy you choose to promote your affiliate program, just make sure your commission rates are attractive enough to affiliates but not too high you’ll end up without any profit.

7. Set Up a Referral Program

Don’t mistake referrals for affiliate programs. 

An affiliate program targets bloggers, publishers, marketers, and influencers with the skills to market products in exchange for a commission.

A referral program, on the other hand, rewards existing customers for each new customer they bring. These rewards can be in the form of coupons, discounts, or free subscriptions. For the best results, you may offer the referred customer a reward as well.

Referral programs leverage the power of word-of-mouth marketing. A whopping 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family. That’s why referral programs are so powerful. 

Announce your referral programs on all your marketing channels, including your site. Be specific. Make sure you outline at the very least:

  • The reward or offer
  • Steps people need to follow to refer friends and family. The simpler the steps, the better. 

Then use referral marketing software to track referrals made by your happy members via a code or a link.

Remember, your goal in setting up a referral program is to mobilize your brand advocates to help you in your membership site promotion. These people have been with you for a long time. They are more likely to spread the good word about you.

But to ensure they do tell potential customers the right things, you can teach them how to promote a membership site the way you want to. For instance, you can give them a checklist with the following questions:

  • Why did you join this program?
  • Why do you enjoy being a member?
  • Do you think others should join? If so, why?

They can highlight the answers to these questions when talking to their friends and family for referrals.

8. Display Positive Reviews and Testimonials

Want to know how to promote a membership site effectively? Learn how to get people to overcome reservations they may have about what you have to offer.

Testimonials and reviews can help you here. More than 70% of consumers say reviews and testimonials help them trust a business more. If you display these positive reviews and testimonials in the right places, you can promote your site effectively and easily generate conversions.

But what are those “right places”?

Your website is a great place to start. Peak Freelance, for instance, shows this positive review from a satisfied member on its homepage:

membership site reviews

Your social channels and emails are also other good options.

To get these positive reviews and testimonials, you can ask your members themselves about their experience with your site. You may send them an email asking for the feedback, for example, a week after they sign in. This way, they have ample time to explore your site and its offerings.

Consider giving incentives like discounts and coupons to get them to drop a review or testimonial. 

In Closing

You may have built the best membership site but that won’t matter if people don’t know about it. How can people sign up to be members if they’re not aware your site exists in the first place?

That’s why knowing how to promote a membership site effectively is key. You learned how to do this with this article:

  • Invest in blog content
  • Optimize your site for SEO
  • Leverage social media
  • Use email marketing
  • Utilize PPC advertising
  • Partner with affiliates
  • Set up a referral program
  • Display positive reviews and testimonials

Implement one or more of these strategies and more people will know about you. That potentially means more members for you!

Owen Baker

Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.

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