Your membership site developer should be more than just a technological jester, they should be your sherpa.
If you’re a publisher, or are selling a subscription-based information product, it’s likely that at some point you’ll be looking for a new membership site developer. We know this because most of our clients have come to us after years of trying to build a Mequoda System themselves, using a developer unfamiliar with our System. They end up spending money twice to build a website, not knowing that the Systems we build are turn-key and tend to be cheaper than trying to hire a stranger to build one from scratch.
How often have you found yourself with a new developer who asks you what you want, and how you want it done. Isn’t that something you hired them to help you with? When you hire a membership site developer, they should be your partner, and they should guide you, not the other way around.
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We suggest hiring a membership site developer that won’t just build a site for you. Anyone can do that. Hire one that understands how membership websites operate mechanically and sociologically, from top to bottom.
1. If this is a new product for you (you’ve never sold digital subscriptions before), your membership website development firm should assist in compiling research for your new online audience
Being in the business of publishing, you already know your target audience. Or you think you do, anyway. Your membership website development firm will create an audience profile through the use of search data, and build a business plan around that information. Your business plan should factor in content, audience, revenue goals, technology needs, and even your organizational structure.
2. Your membership website development firm will train your organization for success
To attain digital publishing success, there needs to be a transparent relationship between you and the firm. In a perfect situation, they will offer a comprehensive training program covering the foundational changes necessary for a successful transition. This may include organizational changes and restructuring to accommodate an online publishing business model.
Generally, for most membership site developers, this is where the services stop. Many will set you up for success, and then send you on your merry way. And sometimes that merry way isn’t so merry.
3. Your membership website development firm will help you plan for the content you already have
One of the key steps to becoming a multiplatform publisher is understanding the process and benefits of recycling content that already exists. All those back issues you’ve piled in the stockroom for years? Those old PDFs that were only sent to a printer? A savvy website development firm knows that every past issue can be put to good use. They will create an in-depth content plan that includes publishing recycled and new content over various platforms, like newsletters, blog posts, videos, etc. and will create an embargo plan for your web library.
4. Your membership website development firm will help you organize your efforts under one roof
When some magazines transition into multiplatform, they make the crucial mistake of hiring too many service providers. Keeping track of each one is stressful, time-consuming, and costly. A smart membership website development firm will advise you on the hiring of email, CMS, analytics, and social system providers. A good membership website development partner will also outline a system that will ensure proper communication and integration between each.
5. Your membership website development firm will help you choose the best system management technology
As you’ve probably noticed, there are many moving parts to multiplatform publishing. You need an advanced content management system (CMS) to manage these tasks and keep everything in working order.
I can’t help but throw a soft pitch in here. At Mequoda, we’ve customized our own Haven CMS, a central database that informs your marketing decisions and helps maximize the lifetime value of each subscriber. No matter what system provider you choose, they should be managing all the infrastructure, including those tech providers listed above, so you can focus on other tasks. Here at Mequoda, we also offer live events to teach the strategies and techniques that our system supports.
6.Your membership website development firm will oversee implementation and maintenance
Creating an effective website portal, CMS, and setting up marketing automation can be overwhelming for a business in transition. When it comes to executing the steps above, a good membership website development company will oversee the implementation, train your staff for continued success, and offer suggestions to continually improve. At Mequoda we also develop strategic membership marketing content for our publishing partners and oversee the deployment so that it’s implemented correctly.
As you can see, we expect a lot from membership website development firms because that’s our passion. And we can also back up the reasons with years of proven success from our clients. At Mequoda, our goal is to diversify your media portfolio so that a membership or subscription website isn’t your sole source of online revenue, but we do start here first. Get this right, and all of your other assets and revenue streams will fall into place.
While most membership website development firms may support the technical building of your site, we offer options from training and support, to complete outsourcing solutions that will dramatically increase your membership footprint and revenue.
Over the past two decades, we’ve guided more than 300 niche publishers through the process of transforming themselves from legacy print publishers into multiplatform operations that often dominate their industry niche and generate operating margins that surpass those created by their legacy print business. Learn more about how we can help you apply these strategies to your publishing business by scheduling a FREE consultation today.