Your business success online depends on forging long-lasting connections with your audience.
Today, people are virtually inundated with an ocean of content and offerings from competing businesses. There’s little inducement to staying loyal to any one brand.
Great products and powerful messages are effective, but you need to do more to win customers over.
You can stand out by connecting with people at a deeper level. A powerful way to connect with people and build brand loyalty is to build a sense of belonging.
Brand loyalty stems from leveraging people’s need to belong to a group. You can leverage this psychological need to belong in a positive way for your business.
People desire to belong in a group with like-minded people who have shared interests. By building a group or community around your brand, you can help people feel like they belong. You’ll get an emotional response from them and get them to identify with your brand.
There are a few practical ways you can build a group and foster belongingness in your audience. You can build a following on social media, you can start writing on a blog platform, and even create a video channel.
For businesses, the best thing you can do is to create a membership site as it offers several benefits.
Why a Membership Site?
A membership site is an online platform for your business where content is restricted to members only. Generally speaking, it’s vital to have publicly visible content for SEO and traffic.
But a membership site isn’t about winning over a large number of people. It’s a way to develop a meaningful connection with a sizeable number who will support your business. Let’s look at how a membership site can build loyalty and help your brand develop a relationship with people.
Provide Exclusive Content
Restricting your content visibility to members can make your content appear more valuable. It also imparts a sense of importance to your members due to the exclusive nature of a membership site.
It’s important that you create good content that’s not easily available elsewhere. You can create an online course and provide helpful resources such as white papers, articles, and videos. It’s also a place to share webinar recordings, podcast transcripts and other content as a bonus for your members.
Create a Forum for Discussions
Building an online platform for discussions and other communication creates a sense of belonging. A membership site is more suitable for business over social media because you’ll have fine control over user activities and content. You can also leverage the site to carry out other marketing activities.
By creating a forum or discussion platform, you encourage peer interactions. Greater interactivity will help people feel more connected to your brand and to each other.
This is also an effective way to get user-generated content. With enough questions and answers and other discussions, you’ll get a resource-base of helpful information. Such a content-rich platform can provide a compelling reason for more people to sign up, growing your site.
Get Ideas and Innovate
Just as you can create a space for communication, you can also build a site that welcomes ideas and innovation. Starbucks’s Ideas site is a great example of a brand inviting and making use of people’s innovative ideas.
Your audience will feel more connected to your brand when they know that they can play a role in shaping it. Giving them a platform where they are heard gives you a source for great ideas and boosts engagement. You can use a forms plugin on your membership site to make it easy for people to submit their ideas.
Build Social Proof
Another reason why membership sites are a good idea is that you can create social proof. Having an active membership site shows people that their peers already trust you.
Your audience is more likely to trust your site sooner and will be willing to buy from you with a little convincing.
Membership sites and content are a way to provide peer recommendations. People seldom make purchases without researching a brand. Part of their research includes recommendations from family and friends.
An active membership site shows social proof and peer recommendations that get more conversions.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
You can spend a lot of time and manual effort sharing the same content and emails with every new lead. You have no way to scale up or help the customers you already have.
A membership site will improve your connection with people by creating more time for other activities. You can automate things like user registrations, drip email campaigns, and content access on a membership platform.
This ensures that you maintain a standard across all your members. You’ll also find more time to find more customers and offer better customer support. When you can dedicate yourself to looking after customers and building leads, you’ll create stronger relationships.
People respond to personalized content more than they do to mass-marketed content.
Membership platforms make it possible to segment your members. You can then provide each segment with content that for that specific tier or customer avatar.
A membership site will let you launch drip emails based on member activities. Actions such as completing a content section or adding a product to a cart and leaving the site can trigger drip emails. These emails will be more engaging and personalized and can lead to actions that support your business.
Connect With a Membership Site
Trends come and go and very often customers move along with them. It’s a challenge for businesses to keep an engaged and loyal customer base.
You need to find ways to connect with people over the long-term to survive and grow. Social media marketing, creating fresh and helpful content and other tactics can help.
However, a membership site is an all-encompassing platform that helps you nurture your audience and leverage them in many ways.
People thrive on being part of a group. The need to belong and achieve can be powerful drivers that can help you create brand loyalty.
You can easily build a membership site to connect with people. All you need is a WordPress plugin and you’ll have a membership platform to help you meet your business goals.
Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPBeginner, MonsterInsights, and WPForms.