Internet Marketing Membership Site Failure and the 3 Month Rule!
October 10, 2009 by admin
Filed under Failure and Internet Marketing, Internet Marketing, Internet Marketing and Your Own Product, Internet Marketing Membership Site Failure, Internet Marketing Membership Sites, Membership Site Support, Membership Sites, Online business, The Internet Marketing Quest Revealed
I grappled, a great Ari Galper term, with my decision to post this article at all, it isn’t exactly a positive one and not my usual style, but I finally decided in favor of doing so. My main reason? I received an email claiming to be able to help me build an Internet marketing membership site in 6 minutes! It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. You’ll see why below. So, here it is!
I recently heard a statistic about Internet marketing membership sites and it has been in my head for several days, weeks actually. The statistic surprised me, at least at first, and I wanted to know more. What puzzled me most, it actually still puzzles me a bit, is that business people using this model, in this case fellow Internet marketers, would have such a difficult time holding onto clients. This is particularly perplexing in light of the fact that I was, and actually still am to a certain degree, although I recently joined a very high-end one, eager to find a membership program I can use to build my business, long-term. It just seemed logical to me that if I felt this way, there must be others who wanted the same sort of long term attachment and quality.
I am well aware of the fact that people seek out like-minded individuals to share a common bond and build a community. Interestingly, this need for connection and community is one of the primary reasons why social media is so popular. If you add to the desire for community, a desire to build an income, whether a supplemental income to help with expenses and/or build for the future, or as a primary online business, in the Internet marketing niche or in some other aspect of the online business setting, you have a powerful draw and a very appealing marketing opportunity.
Interestingly, as I started exploring the various Internet marketing communities, with an eye toward joining an Internet marketing business building membership site, I had trouble finding one without major flaws. I was looking for an Internet marketing membership site that would fill my immediate need for community and masterminding; and, would supply my long-term requirements, providing the necessary tools to build my business. Sadly, I really didn’t find anything that came close to my expectations, some were fairly decent in the nuts a bolts but severely lacking in support and community or vice versa.
I started doing even more research, particularly focusing on the longevity of membership sites. Interestingly, many of the membership sites weren’t faring much better than the average membership site membership. Well, perhaps a bit better…but many sites came and went almost as fast as their members! After joining a few, some I can only refer to as marginal, and others half-way decent, membership sites I was beginning to get a real sense of why many membership sites fail and why many people don’t stick around any longer that a few months, if that.
Overall, the membership sites I looked at were confirming my initial observation, that no one offered a total package. Far too many membership sites seemed to be get ‘em in, upsell ‘em, down sell ‘em if you have to, and then move ‘em on kind of opportunities. The opportunities seemed more focused on the immediate income machination for the individual site owners than on servicing his or her clientele. Perhaps this is a bit harsh…but only a bit for some.
There are some very ethical, dedicated Internet marketers out there who are doing their best to deliver a high value product at a fair price, they are doing their best in a highly competitive arena and I applaud them. I will be doing an article featuring some of them in the weeks to come. Unfortunately, there are far too many who are just not cutting it…and they are giving the others a black eye!
Interestingly, many of the membership and continuity site failures I’ve looked at seem to be the result of slip-shod planning, combined with throwing a site up before a product is even created. Many of the failures are not very well-though out endeavors, and the mentoring here leaves something to be desired.
Imagine Henry Ford saying to people, “Here’s a gas pedal, I will send you the steering wheel next, and in 52 weeks you will have the whole car. Or how about Andrew Carnegie sending some iron, next week the coal, and so on. You get the idea? Take it a step further, many out there don’t even have the steering wheel or the coal in their possession…but they are already promising it and taking money for it! This is borderline behavior and at the very least patently unethical and to me seemingly unscrupulous.
I have also listened to a few recordings where gurus of some note have admitted they have allowed a few of their membership sites to close down…because they were “hard work” and “too expensive!” My gut reaction to this statement was, “Life’s hard!” Followed almost immediately by, “What about your members, the people who had joined you in your endeavor and invested time and money believing your membership site was a good thing and would be around a while…so they could grow their businesses?”
Anyway, back to the membership sites that do exist and why they fail to hold members for more than a couple of months. I began my research by joining a few of the more popular membership programs, trying to apply them to build my business. Once a member of a few of the better known Internet marketing sites, the reason why they fail to keep their members became glaringly apparent. The main failure, the issue plaguing the majority of the Internet marketing membership sites, is in the area of service and support. Failure in the area of service and support has killed many businesses. In a business selling information and service, failure to serve leads to disenchantment and disaffection…meaning people quit!
Service and support can either make or break a company; and, some of the best known Internet marketing membership sites are notorious for their terrible service and support. The lack of quality service and support is in large part, in my opinion, due to outsourcing and a lack of true accountability from the top down and the bottom up.
Combine a lack of service and support with overcommitting and/or overselling…not to mention plain old bait and switch…and you leave a bad taste in people’s mouths right from the get-go. The same tactics that ruined the American car industry and got established companies like Sears, Roebuck, and Company into hot water are now practiced on a daily basis, throughout the day, and in all areas of the Internet. It is only a matter of time before the government cracks down, just as they did in the automobile and in the big ticket retailing businesses. And, when they do, the businesses built on bait and switch, upsell/downsell tactics will collapse under the weight of government scrutiny and consumer awareness.
The combination of quality and service combined with cleanliness (QSC), made Ray Kroc a wealthy man and McDonalds a household world; that, and an efficient system. Failure in the area of quality and service destroyed the American automobile industry for more than 2 decades, from the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s…and some would argue permanently. Attention to quality in the 1950s, through to present day, took Japan from being known for making “cheap” products, cheap in the sense that they were the joke of the world, to being known for quality around the globe.
This same failure of quality and service (read: support) is witnessed today throughout the world, the slip-shod manner of doing business fast and loose, combined with greed…profit before product, responsible for the Enron debacle, our current financial catastrophes and, in microcosm, the current state of buyer distrust and lack of staying power on the Internet; and, staying power of Internet marketing membership sites, as a whole!
Internet marketing membership sites fail due to lack of service and support, yes, but they also fail, and this is the big one, because they fail to integrate what Tony Robbins calls CANI! Consistent and never-ending improvement! To quote a goobledygook term, “Baby steps!” The concept has been around for a long time. Marc Joyner has a program called Kaizen, a Japanese term for gradual and consistent change (improvement) over time.
Basically, the same thing Tony Robbins has called CANI!
I like CANI!
Although CANI reminds me a little bit of the sweet wine we used to buy for the ladies years ago…not that long ago!
Significantly, others have talked about constant and never-ending improvement over the years (CANI!). People like Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich, Earl Nightingale in The Strangest Secret, Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, and many others have all spoken of it in books, radio broadcasts, and in a variety of seminars, books, tapes, CDs and DVDS.
Regardless of what you call it, Kaizen or CANI, the idea of constant and never ending improvement has been somewhat lost on the Internet marketing membership site model.
The fact is, most sites get slapped up and that’s that. The problem is there is such an intense learning curve and people learn differently, basically A through Z, with stops along the way for A- and B+, that unless all the areas are covered and quality service and support is implemented and maintained, people get lost…and it is usually the new person, the “newbie” (and I hate that designation almost as much as “guru”) that gets lost.
When teaching a new skill, in this case teaching a person to build an online business, you are taking the person’s money and if you don’t deliver, costing them money. That is not a place you want to be, delivering marginal to inadequate service and support and costing people money in two ways. Yet, it is precisely here that most Internet marketing membership sites fail. The nature of the site demands attention to detail and quality support!
Some of these Internet marketing membership sites are making millions, servicing thousands, and yet have inadequate support staff. That’s kind of like selling 500 cars a month out of a new Chevrolet dealership and having one mechanic on staff and two part-timers, neither of whom “speakie-d-English!” It is a recipe for disaster…and yet it is a business model used for memberships sold every day!
By whatever name you call it, a combination of consistent and never ending improvement and a dedicated support team focused on quality service above all else. It may cost a bit more initially but the return in terms of membership continuity, real continuity, should return the investment one hundred fold in little or no time at all. People beginning a new business or simply seeking to supplement their income are looking for a quality program at an affordable price, one offering top-notch support and first class service in a product they can understand and implement without a doctorate in Internet marketing. There are programs that come close to fitting that bill, the best one I have found so far I am still in the process of evaluating…more to follow!
In the meantime, if you are considering a membership site model…make service and support job one! You will never regret it, and your bank account will reflect your members’ reaction to a happy affiliation, one that will definitely last more than 3 months! And finally, whatever you do, don’t get sucked into one of these “Set up a Membership Site in 6 Minutes” deals! If you do, you will only end up damaging your credibility and the credibility of the entire industry. If you take the time to set up your site properly, making sure you have quality content and the right business model, you will be a hit and you will develop raving fans and not simply “satisfied” clients who leave you in a matter of a couple of months with a bad taste in their mouths and nothing nice to say about the experience.
Build it and they will come…build it properly and they will stay!