Subscriber List versus Membership Site
When it comes to building loyal customers who would you rather build, a responsive email list or a 1,000+-membership site?
If you are talking about a paid membership site than the members are motivated to be there because of having to pay for the privilege. They are therefore going to be motivated to participate in what you have going on in your site including any products or services that you have for purchase. Most email subscriber lists do not require payment to be on them, do not necessarily result in someone actually opening up the email, and they may not be motivated to be on your list only motivated to put their name and email addy into the boxes provided in order to get some free ebook or report.
One neat benefit of a membership site with an affiliate program over a email subscriber list is that you can attract some decent SEO traffic from all of the member affiliate who post banner and links on their sites or blogs back to your membership site.
If you offer a free subscription email versus a free membership site the individuals signing up for the free membership site will have a higher perceived value than the free subscription.
One big plus that a membership site has over the opt-in email list is that with a membership site when members visit the site there is no question as to whether or not your offer gets in front of the members, it does. You don't have the same assurance with the opt-in email list because as stated earlier in the article, there is no guarantee that your emails get opened and read, especially if you built your list on giving away something for free unless you have given them a really good reason to read your emails they grab the freebie and run after subscribing to your list.
A real kicker would be if you used your subscriber list to entice list members to become membership site members. That is of course if you have a responsive list.
A paid membership site has a built-in recurring income and the possibility of selling backend products or services to the site members, where your email list is where you don't earn anything unless someone takes you up on an offer that you have emailed to them. If you happen to be promoting someone else's product to your email list than you are just getting a commission and probably not as much as you would make with that same member on your membership site list.
Now, to discussing the work involved in email lists versus the membership site:
The email list requires that you load posts into your email autoresponder that ultimately sends out the emails to your list. If you load up all your emails at the beginning of the month, your work is essentially done as any other work such as handling unsubscribers is done automatically by the autoresponder software. You do have to answer the occasional question from a subscriber especially if you have an email list that you have encourage active participation and feedback with. The membership site on the other hand involves a lot of work. If you have a service-based membership site you will need to be sure that you constantly provide a quality service and upgrade or increase your service offerings to keep your members happy and paying every month, quarterly or yearly. If you have a content-based membership site, you have to delivery fresh, new content every month in order to keep them happy about the value of the membership site.
There are many ways to get email subscribers and how you built your list can determine how responsive the list members are to offers you make. You can build a list by participating in JV giveaways, article marketing, or Pay-Per-Click (PPC). As discussed earlier those who join your list through JV giveaways are just as likely to grab the gift and not open any of your emails unless you have made sure that they understand the value in doing so right from the start. Subscribers that have been harvested by using article marketing or PPC are much more motivated to open your emails because they opted into your list out of a need or because you motivated them and they have seen value in becoming a list member.
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