(By Scott Carson) We all know the top two questions that podcasters ask. “How do I grow my audience” is always number one with “How do I monetize my podcast” coming in a close second.
We all know the top two questions that podcasters ask. “How do I grow my audience” is always number one with “How do I monetize my podcast” coming in a close second. And there are numerous ways to monetize your podcast with running ads, adding sponsors, and having affiliate relationships with vendors and other experts. But what I believe is the best and easiest way to start adding dollar signs to your podcasts bottom line is by starting a membership for your listeners.
We’ve all got memberships that we pay for monthly. Some that we use and some that we’ve forgotten to cancel (like the gym membership that we use the first week of January but then forget to go back to). But the memberships that I’m talking about for podcasters is something that can add a lot to your show and give you and your faithful listeners a way to connect and help them become raving fans and cheerleaders while helping you to cover expenses and put a few extra bucks in your pocket.
When starting a membership for your raving fans, you want to add some motivation to get them to take action in signing up for your membership. One way is to limit the initial number of spots available. This number will depend on the number of subscribers that you have but I would start somewhere between 50 and 100 openings. You might also want to offer this initial group a lower price for taking action ($49 now versus $99 later). Another important item is to only allow new members to sign up at specific times throughout the year as a way to entice listeners to take action. This way you can forecast and budget for special events or product purchases if your membership includes podcast swag.
- All You Can Eat Buffet
Another popular way of monetizing your membership is to offer up different levels of access or bonus material to add value to your biggest cheerleaders. Having different levels of access in your membership is something that works well for many podcasters and entrepreneurs out there who monetize with memberships. Most will start with a basic level, then add a mid-level. But often what really does the job to gain members is to offer up a VIP, all you can eat level where your raving fans gain access to all of your amazing stuff (for a monthly fee of course). Some podcasters offer up member-only episodes, trainings, webinars, or swag to their VIP members. You can use Patreon, Clickfunnels, or Leadpages relatively easy to create different levels of membership and access to your members only sections.
The average membership subscriber hangs around for three months, so its important that you do an amazing job of delivering valuable content on the front end. Building out an annual content or bonus schedule can help you maintain that relationship beyond the normal time frame. Affiliates and vendors are often willing to help add value to your members if they are their ideal clients. Many are willing to offer bigger discounts than what they may normally offer as your members might be their ideal clients. So, look ahead to events and conferences that might fit into your audience’s interests or needs and plan that as a future bonus to your members. When people hit the six month or one-year mark, celebrate their tenure by giving them a shout out or sending them a special bonus or gift. Thank you notes go a long way and if someone has invested twelve months in your membership, its worth doing something extra to show that you appreciate them.
There are so many ways to add value to your loyal listeners. The best thing you can do is put something together and offer it up to your audience. Check out what some of your favorite shows, bands, or companies might be offering up in their memberships and apply it to yours. You can always tweak and adjust your membership if you don’t get the desired response on the first go. Your membership will change as your show grows, but the important thing to keep in mind is that your time and effort is valuable. And if your audience values what you have to say and share, then they will often be glad to pay for more access to you on a regular basis.