Membership Sites
It's What We Do for You!

Keap Consultant Opinion – Should Your Membership Content Be Free?

As a Keap consultant with 12 years working the platform, I talk to a lot of small business. I hear from many business owners struggling with how to price their membership programs and online courses. They reach out to me as a Keap consultant with questions about when to offer course for free, when to offer a free trial and how much content to include for free.

Some lean towards offering too much content for free. Others won’t offer anything for free. Others are somewhere in between and few are convinced what they have is right.

Free is a good approach for you when you have little content and/or few visitors. You are just starting out possibly and you are concentrated increasing the content on your site.  It’s likely you’re your membership site or online course needs some work before it’s ready to make you some money. You are kind of in a blogging mode looking to attract visitors. You are looking for feedback on the kind of content they respond to will help with that.

Note: Our Breakthrough Course Selling System is designed to take course builders looking to launch their course concept from idea to initial launch in six weeks. Check it out.

Another reason for providing content for free is when you have tons of competition.  Think of subjects like weight loss, nutrition or better eating. There are many options for your buyer to consider and there is a lot of free content available to them. Offering them a trial so they can check out what you have can be a good approach. What’s important in those situations is to discover what makes you different. What makes you remarkable? How do you get yourself to stand out?

Note: My Purple Cow article is a good one to review if you are looking to stand out. It covers how to make yourself remarkable and references a book I highly recommend to help you there.

Note: My Breakthrough Course Selling System is a good resource as well for asking potential customers to tell you what being remarkable means to them. Then you can sell to that audience using what they say makes you attractive to them. Good program.

What allows you to charge for access to your membership site is having a lot of content. This could mean starting out with a large amount or steadily increasing the volume after starting with very little. Here's a warning. Most people taking your course are looking to solve a specific problem. The aren't looking for an encyclopedia of everything you know on the subject. They want you to tell them how to solve the problem using this expertise you have. I've seen too many business owners build huge libraries of content that is too big and overwhelming because it don't get their audience what they need.

If you do have a lot of content from the get-go, you could charge members for a subscription, with a large content library and the convenience of it all being in one place a key selling point. If you began with a small amount of content and increased it over time, you can justify making the change from a free membership to a paid one.

One idea I, as a Keap consultant, recommend is to give away the what and why information and you charge for the how. You offer the concepts, ideas and approach for free. Then when it gets to explaining the details and implementation you go with paid.

The why is the reason for prospective enrollees signing up for the course. It get them to the benefits they will get from your program. This could be something as powerful as wanting to significantly improve their job prospects and earning potential, to something as simple as satisfying their intellectual curiosity. The how is the course content itself, which they have to pay for.

If you’ve built up a following while your site was free, informing your existing members can yield positive results, as they may be interested in your new offering.

Think about this approach from a selling perspective. You provide the first several sections of a course in a free trial.  You explain why taking this approach is so important and you tell the what  they need to do. Then you offer the remainder of the course for a price where all the how information gets provided.

If in addition to your course, you provide consulting services, this is a great way to sell consulting services. The how part of the course gives all the details and shows the person taking the course how involved and time consuming doing it yourself is. They pay for the course and may reach the conclusion that hiring you to do it for them is a better approach.

Let me know what you think of this.