by Masterall Team

5 Steps to Predictable, Monthly Income for Any Creator with an Audience

Step One: Determine Your Ability To Invest in Membership
The membership model requires significant investment from both creators and patrons. Not every creator is ready to pursue the membership model, and not every audience is engaged enough to convert right away. Let’s help you decide if you’re ready to move forward.
What does membership mean?
When you offer membership to your most passionate fans and followers, you’re not asking for donations. In fact, you’re not “asking for money” at all.
Asking for donations only goes so far. Approximately 1% of your audience would be willing to make monthly donations to support what you already provide for free. That’s a small number because you have a lot of competition. The more talented artists like you in the world, the more directions a consumer’s pocketbook is pulled. As a result, you have to find a way to justify a small (or even better, large) expenditure out of your fan’s monthly entertainment budgets.
As it turns out, you can turn that 1% of your audience into 10%-15% if they receive something extra in return. If you’re willing to engage your fans more regularly and commit to a benefit-driven system, you have a good shot at converting that 15% of your audience into active subscribers.
But first, you have to determine if your audience is ready for the change.

Step Two: Define What Success Looks Like
Establishing a membership-based revenue model to support your art takes time away from what you’re doing now and may dictate what you do in the future. In other words: if you’re going to pour time, energy, and emotion into this project, make sure it’s worthwhile to you. As you consider membership, decide what your success criteria are; doing so will guide the rest of your decision-making.
Define the target—monetary or otherwise—that justifies your efforts
How much do you need to make per month to make the extra work worthwhile? How many fans do you want to engage with you? No matter what motivates you, it’s important to know what needs to happen for you to consider it a success. For an independent creator, that could be €1,000/mo. If you’re a team of actors who produce comedy videos every week, that number can (and should) be higher, maybe something more like €5,000/mo.
Alternatively, you could define a number of fans—say, 200—whom you want to be active post-launch. Maybe you want to convert 10% of the readers who visit your comic every week. Picking a number will help you decide what to offer your fans in exchange for the membership and select pricing tiers accordingly.
If your goal is low, then you can stick with low cost entry and benefits that don’t suck all your time. If your goal is high, you either need a sizable fan base or you need to offer premium benefits at a premium price. The better you know your audience, the easier it will be to set up a realistic target.
Take action: Decide what level of participation or income would make offering membership to your fans worthwhile for you.

Step Three: Establish Your Goals
Note: When we mention “goals” we are referring to your personal success criteria, not the optional goals feature on your My luck Here page).
If you meet your first financial target, what happens next? Think in concrete terms linked to financial success. If you hit €1,000/mo, what would that allow you to do? What about €10,000/mo? Many creators find it helpful to set a series of goals they’d like to accomplish; small at first, then bigger with greater audience participation.
If you are a podcaster, that might mean doing an extra show per week.
If you’re a musician, it might mean leaving your label for independence.
If you’re a comic artist, it might mean hiring a colorist so you can produce more pages.
Hit enough targets and you could even leave your “day job” behind to pursue your passion, supported by happy fans.

Step Four: Set Up a Benefit Structure
Most benefits fall under five categories: access/insight, engagement, fan recognition, digital benefits, physical benefits. Successful membership models typically combine several of these benefit types. Focus on benefits that will best engage your audience and their interests.

Step Five: Create a Marketing Strategy
At this point, you should know what you and your fans will get out of optional membership. Next, you should decide how to communicate those benefits to your audience. Think about your social media presence and how you currently engage with fans. How will that change when you transition them toward a membership model?

Do you need to adjust how frequently you communicate? Will you need to change the content you share?

Educate your fanbase
If you have a website, you could change the copy on your site to promote your membership benefits. One of the most successful ways to explain a new membership option is to film yourself explaining the change. You can talk about things like benefits, goals, and what the project means to you. Help your fans understand how the membership will benefit both them and you.

Generate excitement for launch
Drum up anticipation across social media channels before the big launch. Fans who are hyped for the ‘big reveal’ are more likely to sign up. Drop hints that something exciting is coming, and then start teasing what could happen in you meet your goals. However you decide to approach it, it’s critical that you have a marketing plan. You’ll need to prepare your platform, produce new marketing content, and decide what activities you want to do for launch.

In addition, it’s not a bad idea to have some material prepped and ready to go. That way, you know you’ll meet initial deadlines for benefit fulfillment. Finally, carve out some time in your schedule to communicate with fans as they adjust. Being there to answer questions and troubleshoot problems will only strengthen their commitment in the long run.

Take action: Make a list of changes you need to implement to announce membership and benefits to your fans.
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