One question that I receive often from my students is “should I change my course into a membership?”… and there is no correct answer, only some things you will need to consider.
If you have asked this question, or are deciding whether to create a course or membership first, tune in to this episode for all of my suggestions and recommendations!
Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of the Marketing Chaos Podcast! If this podcast has contributed to you in some way, it will likely help others, too. The way we can reach more people is by you heading over to iTunes, subscribing to the show, and leaving us an honest review. Your reviews and feedback will help us to continue delivering amazing content tailored for exactly what you need.
You’re listening to marketing chaos episode 113.
Well, hello and welcome back to the show. I hope you all are doing well. Those of you who have children know how it is when they are sick or hurt. And I’ve been dealing with a child with a broken arm, and she’s a trooper man, and I know she’s gonna be just fine. We went to get her second cast yesterday and doctor said, everything’s healing and looking fine, and she’ll be out of it in five weeks. But of course it’s just up, up sets and up roots, the whole, the whole program, the whole schedule, everything got thrown off by a few days. And, uh, you know, sitting, sitting in hospital, waiting rooms and dealing with, uh, upset, hurt child is, is not fun. It’s not fun. It’s not easy. Um, I’m so grateful that she, you know, she wasn’t more hurt and she was super brave and she gets to show off and have her hot pink cast signed by all of her friends.
We dropped her off today. She was, she’s excited to show her friend who didn’t know, so that’s good. Um, but you know, gosh, so much easier when your kids have, you know, both hands to be able to do stuff, isn’t it. But it’s Easter. They’re excited to go Easter egg hunting. She’s already got a plan for me to carry around her basket for her. Of course she does. Well, she picks up all the candy and eggs and everything and uh, yeah. Anyway, she’ll be just fine. I know it’s one of those things you kind of have to go through sometimes as a parent and nobody gives you a manual when they’re born. What what’s up with that? Whereas the manual is like, this will probably happen. Prepare anyway, today we’re talking about courses and memberships, and this is one thing I think that, uh, is a weird thing that people kind of obsess about, or they get very worked up around like, oh, I should change my course into a membership.
Or maybe my membership should be a course or I’m doing the wrong thing. And it’s like, first of all, breathe, relax. They’re both good. They’re both fine. And it’s not as cut and dry as it seems. Or maybe it, you used to be, I feel like there’s all the shades of gray there’s programs, there’s courses with live support there’s things that are called memberships, but they’re really not like they’re kind of more like six month programs or, I mean, there’s just all different things. So first of all, some of it is sort of like, doesn’t matter really. Uh, and some of it really does depend on what you wanna deliver and the big promise of what that is and the results that you’re getting people and really building the format around. What’s gonna support them and what’s gonna work best for your business. Uh, not the other way around.
So it’s not like you should decide first, I’m going to create a course or I’m going to create a membership and then you build it. It’s like the other way. So you look at what it is that you wanna achieve with people, and then what’s the format that’s gonna get you there. That’s how I would look at it. And then considering your business and also like your personality and what you like to do, because this is, this is something you’re gonna be committing to like a membership for me is, uh, it’s a commitment like on your part and on their part. And it’s not, it’s just not the same as purchasing a, a course from someone that I don’t know is, is just like six weeks. And it’s over like a membership. I think the, one of the superpowers of a membership is that it can be ongoing and, and in infinite, like, meaning it doesn’t have an in date, of course you can end it whenever you choose, but you don’t go into it with that sort of frame of mind.
It’s like a membership could be open ended where you’re like, come join me for however long that you want the support and you keep it open. So it’s, uh, it’s ongoing that way. So if you are, let’s look at what you’re to achieve with people, what the results are. And if it’s something very specific, like they have a specific goal or target or achievement that they want to learn or change a course can be perfect for that. Right. Whereas a membership would be better suited if they’re looking for some sort of ongoing change and trans information where there’s no foreseeable end, like they could always get better or greater at this thing. And also they would be really, uh, benefit. They would benefit a lot from having some sort of community or live support with that thing that you’re trying to do with them. So here’s some reasons why you might consider changing your course into a membership, because this is a question I get, like someone has created a course and they’re like, you know, I really AMM thinking about turning this into a membership.
So here’s some reasons why you might consider that. Number one you’re looking at for your business model have recurring revenue versus one time sales. And I think that although you can do this with courses as well, where you are just, you know, essentially selling them, uh, on an ongoing basis, you’re still having to work every time for that one time sale because you’re selling a course. Now it could be a higher price point than a member membership. So maybe it pays off that way. So even if you are just getting a one time sale, it’s equivalent to say, you know, a full year membership and that can definitely work, but having recurring revenue in your business is like a different benefit because you can sort of trust and know and plan around this amount, coming to you every single month, which allows you as a business owner to make different decisions that can be really, uh, beneficial.
Now that alone may not be a good enough reason to change your course into a membership. So let’s have a look at some other reasons. Number two, people are wanting more at the end of the course. So I talked to somebody the other day and she’s, you know, she was exactly in this place. She’s like, I’m considering whether I wanna change my course into a me it. And one of the questions I asked her is, okay, when people are finished with the course, are they done or do they want more or need more support? And she said, absolutely like, what we do now is we have sort of a reunion, you know, a month or two later. She’s like, I don’t charge for it, but I get everybody back that has taking the course, cuz she’s doing it sort of in a cohort style where they go through like six or eight weeks of, uh, this course and then it ends and then she’ll have like a follow up, you know, a month later.
And I said, okay. So when you’re following up with them, is there more that they’re looking for? Like, are they just kind of coming back to say Hey to my friends? Or is there also like things have come up in that time that they need more support around and that both like wanting to say hi to your friends, cuz that’s a community aspect that can work really well on a membership and needing more support on an ongoing basis are clues that yes, absolutely this course could be well suited in a membership or to lead to a membership. Right? So the course could turn into a membership at the end of the course. And that’s exactly how I have our membership launch academy right now. Essentially you get the course and then also you get at live support with that and you get that for 90 days and then it rolls into a month to month option for people which is essentially a membership that you can stay in it definitely.
So as long as you want and need the support, you’ve got it on a month to month basis. So number two is if they want more at the end of the course, great clue that you wanna consider either changing it into a membership or rolling it into a membership. Number three, is that what you’re working with people on is more of an evolution or ongoing change than a specific desired goal or targeted, uh, achievement. So if it’s something that you always get better at always go deeper on, always improve on that might be a clue that you wanna have a look at a membership. So let’s say here’s an example of a course. Um, I, I Googled this so I didn’t create this course, but it exists. It’s uh, called food as medicine. Can we really use foods as medicines? And this is a free online course.
And this course is for basically anyone who’s interested in food and nutrition, but is particular interest for healthcare professionals looking to and learn more about evidence based, uh, information to assist them, providing food based recommendations to their patients. So that is a course. So I imagine in this course you have a set curriculum, a set, you know, lesson plan, maybe there’s materials you get to download or videos, you get to watch a about food and which foods, uh, do what and how to use them in a medicinal manner. That’s what I’m guessing based on the title and description. In this example, there’s no community aspect, it’s just a lesson plan and lessons that you would learn, stuff like you would go to school and you would sit in classroom and they would you. So this is what a course is. Now an example, how this could work would be at the end of learning about food as medicine.
And let’s say you are a practitioner and you’re looking at, uh, how to, which foods to recommend and what, you know, medical conditions they treat and how do they work and all of that, this isn’t something you will ever, you would just be done with like, you’re gonna go and you’re gonna have a patient come in with something you’ve never heard of before. And you’re gonna wanna maybe bounce some ideas off of the community, or you’re gonna wanna ask the, uh, health expert. Have you ever worked with this? And they’re gonna say, oh yeah, I did this with this person center that with that person. So there’s going to be a need for ongoing support as you, as you work with your, your patients or your clients. Right? So also new discoveries are made in science, like new properties of food or combinations of food or that sort of thing.
So as things change, you wanna keep up to date on that, or maybe there’s Contra indications for certain, uh, medical conditions or with medicines or et cetera. So it’s like, you know, food allergies are discovered like all these things that change in, in the world of food and nutrition and health and you wanna stay up to date. So that be a reason to have a membership because it’s always current. Like you’re not having to do, uh, update for the course. It’s like that month’s training could be very topical on, you know, the new findings or maybe it’s a case study of a new application of something. So it’s a way to keep up to date and also have a forum for whatever is happening in your world with your clients that are coming in, as you’re in the weeds, like working with them as stuff comes up that can work really well.
And I can see this course turning into a membership, like having a membership off the backend, or it could actually be a membership, not a course, but have course materials or content inside of it. So here are some considerations if you’re doing it that way, if let’s say you don’t have a course and people are just joining your membership, but you wanna give them some information inside the membership. What you might wanna consider is that you charge an enrollment or initiation fee when they first join, that sort of covers that bulk of material so that if they do can, until after one month, it’s not like they get, they got a whole course for a load ticket amount. So if you are giving them essentially a course inside the membership, I would definitely recommend you either charge for that. Um, sort of as a requirement to join the membership or have that be like the one to time joint fee of whatever amount and then the ongoing fee of a lower amount as they have already paid for that. And then you have to consider, okay, if someone leaves and comes back, do they pay for that again? Or do they just jump back in at the monthly rate or how is that gonna work? So, so things to consider,
And I wouldn’t necessarily make this decision like hugely significant and important. Basically I would look at if you have already created a course, okay, is it working well on its own? Or is there a reason why you’re cons centering changing it into a membership? And I’ve given you three reasons why you might consider that you don’t have to, you could also keep it just as it is and add a membership as a month to month option for just for people who have taken the course. Now, in that case, your growth of your membership is really dependent on how many people come into the course. So the course needs to be your focus as far as your promotions, right? Because the more people into the course equals more people into the membership and not all of them will join the membership. So you have to factor that in, but all of that is really, uh, common and in workable, like you just look at, okay, how do I raise attendance to my course?
And how do I also raise the conversion rate into the membership? Or if you want to change your course into a membership, have a look at the content and is that going to work for them to get it, you know, essentially all at once when they join the membership, do you wanna drip it out to them like over a couple of weeks or maybe the first month they get it sort of drip fed to them. So they don’t just get like overwhelmed with a ton of stuff. How’s that gonna work when people are in for six months or eight months, and then somebody new joins and they’re just getting access to that. Like, how are you going to handle, uh, new people questions and, uh, and more advanced questions? Is that gonna be fine? Or do you need some sort of like S extra support for the new people to get like onboarded so that they don’t kind of disrupt the momentum of the rest of the group.
These are just things to consider and, and think about also when they cancel or leave, what do they retain to, and you just wanna be clear about that when they join either, they’re going to get to keep what they’ve paid for, meaning the core content and whatever months that they paid for, or do they lose access to everything? Um, do they basically like get removed? So they only have access if they’re in, on, uh, go basis paying or do they get to download and keep stuff? I mean, all of these things are workable and depending on the platform you’re using, there’s different ways of working around that. But you just wanna make sure you think about what do you want to have happen here and what makes sense for what it is that you’re doing. Does it make sense that they, you know, lose access to everything when they leave or have they paid what you feel like is, uh, worthy of them keeping that material.
So downloading the downloading, the videos, the PDFs, the, uh, additional stuff. Um, also you might wanna consider, like, if you, you are providing a community aspect or coaching or buddy system or whatever, how does that work when they go, uh, sometimes you can control that or moderate that sometimes you kind of don’t have control over that. Um, you can be more or less hands on with people forming their own groups. You can obviously can’t control if people connect and become friends and then they, you know, meet up outside of your group. You have no control over that. And maybe that’s a great thing. Um, but you wanna think about these things in terms of community? I know that in our last, uh, membership, we had something called pods, right? And so people would meet up and we had pod leaders, et cetera. And then if someone would cancel or their payment would fail or whatever, or they’d leave, we had to let the pods know they have to take them out of their pods because they’re no longer paying.
And it’s just something else to consider as far as running a membership. Right? So whether or not you are changing a course into membership or keeping your membership as a standalone or your course as a standalone or one goes into the other, all of these things are I think, great ways to work with people and things to consider for your business. What is it that you like to do? How do you like to work with people? What format works best for you and is most fun, and what’s gonna get them the desired results that they’re looking for. I hope this gave you some different things to think about and consider and clear up some of the big decisions that people get kind of wrapped up around like, oh my gosh, course membership. It’s like, it’s all, it’s all changeable. It’s all fine. Like if you find that the format you’ve chosen, isn’t working change it. No one says you couldn’t change it. So have the freedom to change your mind. Thanks for listening. I’ll see you next time.