Branding and Online Membership Marketing

It won't always be this way on the Internet, you know. There's so much free-range access here, but that's really starting to change. I predict a tsunami of PRIVATE EXCLUSIVE MEMBERSHIPS are the future of this space, the world wide web.

I'm not the first to discover this mouth-watering branding trend, but it deserves a fresh nod nonetheless. It could be my imagination, but I suspect a premium website access system will become pervasive online. We'll be paying for access to quality content online with the same religiosity that we pay Showtime.

There'll be extremely little access to quality content. The only free sites available to the masses may be those so basic and vanilla that you won't derive much knowledge from them.

A few of the exclusive private membership-related mentions I've heard or read in the last few weeks:

  • eVelvetRope! Those of us not living the glamorous aren't the target. Still, this is one ubiquitously publicized puppy. Only open to those who pass a social status test, eVelvetRope may be quite indicative of where the Internet is heading, at least in terms of lifestyle marketing. Pay the cost to join or be left in the social dust. Social networking at its finest!? Regardless, it's a great example of uber-brand marketing.

  • In a recent phone chat, online marketing consultant Robert Moment imparted many pearls of wisdom. One that's really stayed with me was Robert's insistence that I make my online PR practice "For Members Only."

  • Through the Yahoo! Groups, I stumbled on Kenetra Ahlaam, a make money online guru with an impressive business rhythm. I sat in on one of Kenetra's webinar phone conferences. She runs an exclusive online wealth club. She publishes a private newsletter, hosts members-only conference calls and lends strategic marketing support and advice in other ways -- but for paid members only.

  • I'm also intrigued by a "secrets to copy writing ebook" sales landing page. It sells the ebook of "Million-Dollar Copywriter" Michael Fortin. I bought Fortin's sales pitch hook, line and sinker. Except I didn't buy a membership. Still, I was so excited by the copy at TheCopyDoctor, I squirmed in my seat. This is one of the best online marketing sales letters I've seen. If my reaction's any indication, Michael Fortin may make good money online selling his copy writing secrets to a members-only audience.
It happened to television, and it'll happen to the Internet: Branding on steroids. Now, I love my MTV, HBO, Showtime and all the rest in the exclusive premium cable club. But wouldn't it be something if the Internet were kept this free? Accessible to all people for all time.

The moral of this story? Start thinking now about how a private membership requirement could be implemented for your small business, entrepreneurial or creative venture.

Someday, the greens fees for doing business online will be of a vastly different business model than we know now. Going beyond paying online for information products and ebooks, will we also have to pay here, there and everywhere to enter just about every other site we like?

Visit for details about innovative marketing services for small business, artists, and Internet entrepreneurs.

1 comment:

legbamel said...

I'm surprised that you seem to be in favor of such strategies. While having a "members only" area for customers to get extra bonus content makes sense, limiting access on a business site to only members keeps potential customers from finding out why they should become subscribers. Outside of your own hype, that is.

I hope very much that you are mistaken about the direction in which quality content on the Internet is travelling. One of the best things about this medium is that it acts as an equalizer, with anyone able to visit the public library having access to most of the same things that wealthy people see and do. I'd prefer that things be more free, not less.