Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How I got my own membership started - despite nightmares and angst.

The show-and-tell of a relatively painless process, even though the wild dreams didn't help as I fretted over it...

Building Your Home Business Membership Nightmares: Maybe it was that drink I had before sleeping..

Maybe it was something I drank before bed...

It turned out to be much simpler than I thought. But perhaps not so straightforward as I liked.

The goal was simple - get a page up I could start converting my existing list over to a free membership.

The problem is that you can do so many various things with this plug-in - where to even start isn't obvious.

I actually had to back-track and follow their setup guide. (Duh.)

From their Insta-Member Quick Guide:

A. Configure Insta-Member for the first time.

1. Get into Insta-Member (should be last on the bottom left) and then click on Setup/Configuration:

Insta-member set up and confituration menu - home business membership

2. You'll get to a page which has all the basic configuration options. I've collapsed them so you can see the main areas, plus the additional tabs. You can see that the back end to Insta-member is quite powerful: 

3. On the Membership Configuration, select the country currancy you want to use (default is USD, but is lists about 20.)

4. You next want to verify that it's created a Membership Handler page, as a placeholder for registration.

5. Set your membership home page. This I set to the Sample Page which Wordpress creates on install. (I'll certainly change it later - this is really just to get familiar and test the scene.)

B. Payment Integration Setup 

Second menu button on the upper right is Payments.

1. While there are two types of payment - direct (PayPal, Payza, 2Checkout, etc.) and 3rd Party payments (Clickbank, JVZoo, DigiResults, WSO Pro, etc.) only direct payments integrate with the internal affiliate program.  Payments via external sites will have to be tracked there.

2. I followed the instructions to set up PayPal - or tried to. PayPal has changed its interface recently, so even the PayPal's online PDF's don't tell you how to find this. Your looking for Instant Payment Notification. (It's at https://www.paypal.com/webapps/customerprofile/summary.view) Once you turn it on, then you copy the address Insta-Member gives you into the IPN settings (click on "Edit settings" button.)

3. On this page is also the Third Party Payments section, which expands to show the 10 major outlets. (Worth investigating whether to enable your product on one, or several, or all of them in order to get maximal distribution and reach for your membership...) For now, we're sticking with PayPal.

Note: Obvious perhaps, but be sure to click the "Update Settings" button before you leave any given page.

Note2: I checked into email settings.  Insta-Members built-in emails use the local server's resources. Their limit is default at 200 per hour. One rabbit-hole I got into at this point was configuring the auto-emails from my Insta-Member plug-in to use Gmail's SMTP server - so I don't use my domain-server for emails, but Gmail instead. It turns out you can only send 99 emails in a 24-hour period. No details of what happens to the emails if you exceed the limit - undoubtedly they'd be rejected, but I don't see what would happen - or if you would even be notified if they didn't go. Checked out Amazon's SES email service and found their initial limit is 200 per day (although this can be raised) with all emails held until the 24-hour limit cleared for each item. Underlying suggestion? Keep it as default.

Back on the Integration page, I went ahead and integrated Amazon web services, reCaptcha and Facebook, as these are free with little time to set up. The Amazon S3 service is a way to protect your downloads and are reportedly very low cost. Again, this is not your bandwidth, so would help on the backend and security.

C. Create A Product.

Of course, you can simply set up a test which uses your Sample page that WP set up as part of its installation. But what you see here are the key points which Mike Dillard went over in Video 10. For every product you sell on line, you are going to need:

  • A landing page/sales page.
  • A download page
  • A redirect page for One-Time-Offers (OTO) - or send them to the main page to skip this.

On this page, you can also integrate the product directly with a particular list from your autoresponder. (While I don't know how this works yet, I'm sure it will be coming to me.)

Another point is to be able to register subscribers to your webinars with GoToWebinar - up to 7 different Webinars. So you could actually sell training webinar access with this. Once you ramp up, it might be an affordable part of a launch process - http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/webinar/pricing

Next after this for paid products would be setting up the Affiliate plans, with either or both internal affiliate sales and external through 3rd party hosts. (Free doesn't need this - so to grow this rapidly, it's a good idea to figure out something valuable that affiliates can share for you.)

Drip Content

This was a burning question I had - how to drip content. I found it under the Products -> Protect Contents:

(click to enlarge)
You can protect content under posts, pages, categories, local files, and Amazon S3 files. Which gives you tremendous capability to enable content of all sorts.


This is another fascinating one. While PayPal and Payza only allow you a single OTO/cross-sell offers, with other providers you can go into 4 levels, with both up- and down-sell offers. This function can tell you a lot about your pricing while also generating additional revenue. Hit them when they are in a buying mood while their wallet/purse is already open...

Wrap Up

Well, now that our feet are soaking wet, you know know what it takes to get a free membership up and running on your own inexpensive-but-powerful membership site.

Not that bad, eh? And it holds true that you can be up and running in minutes, and open for business on your first day if you already have the content ready. Like books and stuff you've already written. 

Key work coming in will be to generate sales pages - at least one.

Which brings up the point of split-tests. This was highly emphasized by Mike Dillard in a couple of the videos. You need to be constantly testing everything. 

Unfortunately, I didn't find this to be possible with Insta-Member. However, their earlier product, Insta-Builder does. And you get some great graphics to build your sales/landing pages quickly. It integrates right into Insta-Member on your edit page, so can speed your starting. 

At least that was my logic when I bought it for myself. 

Yes, it adds a little to my learning curve for this subject. But I think that it will save me time in the long run. The justification for it's low $47 price is that you've already saved that much with your Insta-Member purchase. Most of the other solutions start at $97 and don't have all these features. (In fact, one review I found only recommended one other membership program as useful - and it starts at $197...)

- - - - 

This post wraps up the series. You don't need me to tell you any more. Now you have to get to work and build your own. 

There's some other details which will show up from time to time (like your ability to send an email directly to members: all, those who have or haven't bought, or affiliates only. Sure, it's not as great as your autoresponder, but perfect for a quick text-only post out of the blue.) And I'm sure there are more easter eggs to find. But that goes beyond this blog purpose, and anything vital that you need to know. 

You already have access to all of the Insta-member PDFs (OK, there's the link again) so you can check it all out for yourself. I've got other pans on the stove and have to finish cooking this one.

What's left for me is to collate this into a book so I can tell the world - and give everyone a link to my new free membership. That's the opt-in form on the upper right - go ahead and fill it out, OK? Lots of great valuable stuff like free review copies of books, plus discounts on ereader-ready and printed versions. Not to mention discounts on upcoming launches...

See you up the line.


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