I have an idea for a membership based site and think it could be competitive in the market.
There would be two levels of membership, standard and premium.
Before I launch the site I would hope to attract people to sign up with the offer of free/discounted membership.
If I go live with a minmal amount of members the site is likely to be unsuccessful as there may be a perceived lact of activity.
Has anyone any ideas on how best to attract people to sign up prior to the launch.
Maybe twitter, facebook, offline marketing are things I should be looking at.
Any help would be great.
Use social media marketing before your launch and offer free membership to users there. Especially facebook, twitter, digg, stumbleupon etc....
give time to this technique and it will work even after the launch of your site.
To be frank, Seannie, you're going to have a tough time getting people to sign up for anything before they can actually see the end product. If you've got superb powers of persuation, and your copy-writing skills are nop-notch, you might get a few, but I wouldn't bet on it.
I think your best bet would be to go ahead and launch the site, with all the membership options in place. If you need a critical number of members before the site has any value, you're going have to offer free membership, at least for a limited period.
You could always launch it as a "beta" version - get people to sign up free of charge to help with testing. In general, people love to be asked for their opinions, so they might be more likely to sign up if they can give some feedback and feel they're contributing something. That way you get some valuable user-testing thrown in.
Great question, Seannie..this is one of my current questions too!
I agree with Mike that you will probably need an amazing sales letter (or video salesletter, which are converting well!). So get some awesome copywriting and take them through the entire signup...And then when payment page comes you can maybe say something like "We are currently working to make this site even better. We will advise you when it is up and running..And offer you a beta member discount"... I think I might do something like that.
How are you creating the content?
I have a question, Seannie. What is it exactly that you're trying to provide? I'd give pretty much the same answer as TechnoBear if it was some sort of a game, or maybe an online tool. I don't know if you're the type who plays online games, but there are MMORPGs out there that give closed beta invites to a number of people then let them play to get some feedback. After that, they proceed with the open beta. Even if you say that you're going to have a premium (I assume it's paid) membership, you can still go through the beta tests just so you know what you need to improve once you go live with version 1.0 of whatever it is that you're trying to sell to people.
There is nothing to be gained by resurrecting a thread six months old.