It’s the ultimate leverage for conversion in sales.
Seeing stuff that you absolutely need (and is certain to kick-off your successes), but it sits behind the shop window.
You can see it, but you can’t have it – unless you pay the right price.
And worse still, you can see a whole crowd of folks inside – lapping up the value.
You feel like you’re missing out.
This is the draw of the online gated community.
For many, the jury is out on gated content online.
And as a novice, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that “to gate, or not to gate” is a matter of start-up strategy selection – rather than taking a developmental turning.
But like many things in business and life, it’s only when you see it done right that you have respect for the value of a thing.
The idea of subscriber or members only content is neither new to business nor online marketing.
Printed and digital publications have done this for ages.
However, as online tools break more barriers of independence for various sectors of productive people out there, methods and means of gating your content are starting to rocket in popularity.
Tools like Substack and other subscription enabling platforms are helping indies get into the member’s only gig in just a matter of clicks.
They’re all at it.
And many making serious salaries doing it.
How it works…
The concept is simple.
You own a website that attracts an audience through published content discovered via search engines, social or other promotional channels.
You give free and/or open access to some content.
And you charge for some content that you place behind the gate.
To enter behind the gate you need 2 things:
Permission is usually granted by the 1st step which is to submit an email address. This 1st step usually comes with some low-bar benefits.
Payment is on a subscription basis on a recurring cycle e.g. $5 per month, £360 per year…(you get the idea).
Once in, members get either full or limited access to content that is not available anywhere else than behind that gate.
In other words, exclusive.
On the face of it, it seems quite a simple and rewarding business model.
You make content – some is free, some premium – and those that want it so much they’d pay…pay. And those who want a trial, can sample for free.
The difficulty for the publisher comes in a few guises:
- Selecting which content should be free vs. premium
- Persuading enough free subscribers on a regular basis to upgrade to pay the bills
Many get stuck here and find it nigh impossible to get out.
Inability to answer those two questions has left many a subscription only web project derelict.
However, those who happen upon the right balance really hit things off.
And if you are considering a subscription based model for your online business, then it’s worth finding an example or better yet interview from someone who is willing to share their trade secrets.
…and to save you the time, here’s one I prepared earlier:
Founder Pat Walls discussed how he automated his process so that the site now operates as a sort of flywheel.
I won’t duplicate Simon’s efforts nor deceive you of taking the journey through the source material 1st hand…
…so, if you are keen to hear from someone who has cracked the gated community site strategy (whilst holding down a full-time day job – although he’s now full time on his business)…
…then visit Simon’s interview of Pat Walls by clicking here.
P.S. Look out for my take down analysis of Pat’s lead gen and sales strategy in future posts.