We’ve got a lot planned this year. At the moment we’re finishing up our platform road map for 2024 — we’re looking at new themes, AI integrations, add-on updates and more. We’ll keep you posted.
We’re also creating new content and promotions for you … stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter (X), LinkedIn and our new Instagram for the latest, and don’t forget to sign up for our Dispatch list if you haven’t already so you don’t miss anything.
Platform Update Version 184.108.40.206
We released a minor update in December: 220.127.116.11. It included several RainMail changes; we’ve found a few things in our own use of the tool that we thought needed tweaking.
We’re working on another release to come soon; we’ll keep you in the loop when that’s getting ready to drop. Keep an eye on your inbox.
Tip of the Month: Use Memberships Effectively
We talk about how to do things with the Rainmaker Platform a lot in the State of the Platform, and that’s good — we want to make sure you know how everything works.
But without the “why,” the “how” won’t get done.
I was struck by this in a conversation with one of my acquaintances, Jason Duncan — a local entrepreneur who runs my favorite coffee shop. Jason’s amazingly good at marketing for someone who runs an unrelated business; he went to school for it. But even he had a hard time doing the marketing for Cafe Evoke when he was working 80-hour weeks trying to get the business off the ground.
The only reason he still did it? He knew what that marketing effort could do for his business. And as a result, it’s thrived.
It’s no secret that a lot of businesses are going through a tough time right now — and when you’re doing financial triage, marketing’s usually the first thing to go.
In times like this, it’s even more important to use the tools at your disposal to put your brand in front of the right people with the right message at the right time. And you have those tools in the palm of your hand with your Rainmaker Platform subscription.
My New Year’s Resolution for State of the Platform is this: I want to make sure that every time we reach out to you about the platform, you understand not just how to use the tools we’ve given you, but what they can do for your business.
We want you to succeed.
So in this State of the Platform, our tip of the month is about using memberships effectively.
Memberships let you build connections with your audience, create community, get more touch points for sales and conversions and pass on unique offerings for your audience to engage with (we have a Dispatch on the subject if you’re trying to figure out how to use them).
Rainmaker Platform mainly uses MemberPress for memberships. You can turn it on at Settings > Features > Add-ons > MemberPress; there are also other Add-ons you can use with it that are available through the Features menu, including integrations with WooCommerce and bbPress. Check our Knowledge Base or drop a line to our Client Services staff if you need more details, or see our article “Getting Started with MemberPress.”
We’ve done several State of the Platform articles on MemberPress, but if you’re trying to figure out why you should use memberships, here’s where to get started.
1: Exclusive Content
Memberships create the perception of insider status.
Use a membership to show value to your audience — if you give everything away without asking for anything in return, no one thinks it has any value. When your audience gives something of personal value for exclusive content, it makes that content more meaningful to them.
That personal value could be as little as an email address or phone number. Or it could be a paid membership (think of Nebula or Dropout, which offer a lot of their content free on YouTube but charge for memberships to their streaming services). Some brands will tier their memberships to ease people in. You can do free/paid, free/free with sign up, paid/higher paid … there are a lot of ways to approach tiered memberships.
Of course, for anyone to sign up the benefit has to be strong. There’s benefit in the exclusivity of being in the “in group” — earlier/better access, more content, knowing things other people don’t know. That could be whitepapers, blogs, videos or courses … anything knowledge-based.
There’s also the benefit of community access. That could be access to experts or shared experiences with other members of the community. Here’s an example from Dropout’s private Discord server — the community experience is watching the new episode together:
There’s also the social benefit of badges and status. Here’s an example from my Destiny 2 game clan’s private server. The clan assigns roles based on what you have experience in in the game, the community and the Discord server itself:
These examples are both tied to Discord, but they don’t have to be. You have access to community tools in MemberPress and bbPress that let you create exclusive content or roles and use that exclusivity for your brand.
And you can make just about any content fit this template. Courses (LearnDash and Rainmaker LMS), posts, podcasts … you name it. Just make sure you’re providing value.
To learn more about how to gate your content and make it exclusive, check out our State of the Platform on MemberPress Rules.
2: Members-Only Promotions
Memberships are great for offering promotions that are exclusive to the inner circle.
Because that promotion is a membership-only deal, you can highlight it in a way that you can’t when you’re offering it to your audience at large. Loyalty programs are a good example of this. Look at fast food or fast casual chains like McDonalds or Qdoba; they use exclusive membership programs to create brand loyalty and offer a lot of deals that are only available through their app. You don’t have to be a restaurant to follow their example.
Collaborations with other brands can be worth putting behind a membership too. Huckberry, for example, has a tiered membership system, and their collabs are behind an email-based signup.
You can handle this in a number of different ways. You could do what Huckberry is doing here with the product itself being behind a membership. Or you could offer a discount code or affiliate link behind the membership wall, where there are extra benefits for being in the inner circle.
Some brands like Beauty Pie, Italic and Character have explored membership-only models where you must be a member to buy. This doesn’t work for every brand, but it may work for yours if you have strong brand equity and awareness with your customer base.
Rainmaker Platform makes it easy to set up any of these options. For more on how to create your own members-only products, coupons or affiliate links, check out our articles on how to build your own members-only store and how to set up MemberPress rules.
3: Premium Services
Not long ago, my grandmother bought a Costco membership specifically for the insurance they offer to members. Amazon’s Prime Video (which comes with an Amazon Prime membership) is the main video service I use. These memberships have the benefit of access to premium services.
When you have membership revenue coming in, it gives you the flexibility to offer better margins on premium services — so you can afford to cut your pricing and lower the barrier to adoption.
A membership can help you create community, build loyalty and make experiences that your audience will appreciate. Use MemberPress and the other tools included with Rainmaker Platform to build memberships that work for your customer base. Need a hand? We’re here to help. We build memberships for clients like you all the time; reach out to sign up for services.
Rainmaker Digital Services