One of the best learning experiences of the year, for me, was attending the Financial Blogger Conference. There were a number of  helpful sessions about improving your ability to make money online. It’s likely that, in the future, I will share more information learned at FinCon.

Among the more interesting sessions was the one offered by Ben Edwards from Money Smart Life. He talked about building a membership site that people are willing to pay to access, which I’ve seen the benefits of with Wholesale Action. I got 5 key takeaways from his session:

1. Market Yourself

There are a number of tools out there that can help you market yourself. Use the tools at your disposal to improve your reach. Social media can be a great way to market your site, and your brand. Go where your potential customers are, and speak to them as they are. This will help you find the right approach, and market yourself more effectively.

2. Offer Something for Free

If you want to attract new members, you need to offer something free. No matter your membership site, you can attract new readers and members by providing additional value. Offer free reports, content teasers, and opt-ins. “These are good ideas anyway, for building traffic,” Ben pointed out. When you offer something for free, and the information is valuable and useful, you can encourage visitors to test whether or not the paid content is even more valuable.

3. Cultivate Exclusivity

Remember that visitors want to feel as though they are getting something “extra” by joining your membership site. They want to feel as though they are getting good value for their money. As a result, you need to make sure that you are providing items that go above and beyond your free content. Offer special promotions and content for members. Make them feel as though they are part of something exclusive and special. They will be more likely to continue to find value in your site if they know they are getting “insider” content.

4. Use Testimonials

One of the best ways to showcase your membership site is to use testimonials to illustrate how helpful the information is. Look for the “real people” who have put the information you provide to good use. There is something very powerful about being able to point to someone who has had real-world results.

5. Engage Your Members

Find ways to engage your members. It can’t just be one way. Encourage your members to actively participate and build a community. There are a number of ways to engage your members, including adding video and audio, hosting forums and chats, and getting them involved with contests and giveaways. It’s also possible to reward members for referring people they know, and bringing in more members.

With a little creativity, it’s possible to increase the amount of money you make from a membership site. Create a plan to provide true value to your members, and give them a place to interact with you and each other, and you will be able to build a loyal following, and you could be making money from a membership site too.