One of the most popular offers in the online space right now is a membership. It seems like every Harry, Ron & Hermione is creating + launching a membership. And I get it – it’s a great entry point for your clients and customers. But what actually goes into creating and launching a successful membership? A membership with a community filled with raving fans, that grows and evolves with you AND that makes you consistent cash?
In this episode of the How I Do Content Podcast, my guest has a magical membership that’s been running for nearly 6 years, has supported thousands of business owners and generated over a million dollars in sales.
She’s also your all-time favourite guest on the podcast!
Let me officially introduce you to Brooke Vulinovich
Get ready for an inspiring podcast interview with Brooke Vulinovich, the Instagram Sales Coach who transformed her passion for social media into a life of freedom and adventure! From turning her FIFO husband into a househusband to embarking on an unforgettable
European summer holiday, Brooke’s expertise in maximising Instagram sales has reshaped her business and life.
With a deep understanding of Instagram’s power as a sales and marketing platform, Brooke has unlocked the secrets to success. She shares innovative strategies and proven techniques that have helped thousands of entrepreneurs harness Instagram’s true potential.
Discover how to create an irresistible Instagram presence, attract your ideal audience, and skyrocket your sales. Brooke’s personalised coaching and step-by-step guidance will empower you to optimise your content, craft compelling captions, leverage influential partnerships, and utilise cutting-edge sales techniques.
Having worked with global brands including American Express, Mazda, Dermalogica and F45, Brooke’s remarkable journey has inspired countless individuals to achieve their dreams. She’s committed to sharing her knowledge, helping you revolutionise your business, and attain the freedom you deserve.
I’ve been a member of the Social Club Community since before my business even existed, and I learnt how to use Instagram for my business from Brooke! If you’ve been thinking about creating and launching a membership in your business – you’re going to love this episode!
Things You’ll Learn in This Episode of How I Do Content
- What goes into running a million-dollar membership
- How the Social Club Community has evolved over the past 6 years
- The biggest misconceptions about creating + launching a membership
- What you need to know if you’re thinking of including a membership as part of your business model
The beginning of the Social Club Membership
The Social Club membership was borne from Brooke’s desire to help solve a problem she was seeing time and time again in the entrepreneurial space. People were wanting to learn how to use Instagram to help market and grow their small businesses but didn’t know how. The Social Club membership started as in-person workshops with a fortnightly newsletter sharing a simple tip for how to use Instagram to grow your business. Brooke had so much interest in her newsletters, as well as enquiries and demand from overseas and interstate and this led to the inception of the online membership model. An online membership meant she could have a wider impact as well as reach business owners overseas who couldn’t attend her in-person workshops.
The 2 biggest myths of the online membership business model
1. Scaling a membership requires a lot of time and money
Brooke is quick to bust the myth that memberships are a low-cost option for businesses. If you have goals to build your own million-dollar membership, please do not think that it’s going to be ‘cheap’.
2. Memberships are passive income
Memberships are not all they’re cracked up to be if you’re looking for passive income streams. In fact, online courses are a far better option for passive income over memberships.
Although there’s an element of passive income with membership business models – it requires an ongoing commitment and ongoing work. Whereas an online course requires an initial chunk of hard work but then after this point, sales will continue to happen even when you’re sipping margaritas by the pool. With zero extra input required (generally speaking).
Sometimes you just won’t have enough content to service a membership
Before jumping into a membership, explore whether your area of expertise/focus topic will have enough content for you to continue teaching to infinity and beyond. If you can’t think of perpetual content ideas, Brooke urges you to consider an online course option instead for the reasons mentioned above. She’s even gone on to create online courses that she sells alongside her ongoing subscription service to create different layers and offerings in her own business.
The platforms that make up a profitable membership business
Brooke concedes that if she had to start her membership from scratch again today, it would look very different to her current business structure. Being a leader in her field and building her business organically means she’s collected different programs, apps and tools along the way (with more than 13 subscriptions!) to help bring all her membership content together. If you were building a membership today – you could probably do it all on one platform or program.
For her to migrate her entire membership and business over to a new (maybe all-inclusive) platform would incur a lot of risk and so for now, they make do with the different moving parts of their business model.
Ways to grow and sustain an online membership business
1. In-person events
The small in-person workshops that Brooke hosted to teach other business owners how to use Instagram were the first touch point for a lot of customers. Often the people who would attend her workshops would then sign up to the membership, as well as tell their family and friends (word of mouth marketing for the win!).
When the online membership started growing, one of the social clubbers actually suggested she host a member party to celebrate her first 100 members. This started a tradition of milestone parties exclusive to Social Club members where they could get together in person to celebrate with Brooke, get to know each other and strengthen their community.
These milestone events were then transformed into the Social Club Spotlight events. Brooke created these as an opportunity to showcase 5 Social Club memberinos and give them a platform to share their stories. Not only were these again valuable in enhancing the community of the membership, but they were also a fantastic marketing tool. Non-members could come along, enjoy the festivities and see what the Social Club was all about- which would then convert to more membership signups
2. Facebook Ads
Paid ads are another way to boost sign-ups and are something Brooke used for quite some time (until inflation negatively affected the return on investment).
3. Email marketing
Originally Brooke would send her fortnightly Instagram-tip emails without any further automation on the email front. Getting strategic and developing an email marketing funnel with a 5-part nurture sequence noticeably and consistently boosted membership subscription numbers. The emails helped introduce Brooke to her audience, how she can help business owners and the results her customers were seeing.
Podcasts were a bit of a surprise in that Brooke wasn’t intentionally pitching to podcasts to be a guest speaker, she was just stoked people wanted to interview her! She noticed though, that when she appeared on a podcast it would lead to more signups to her subscription.
5. Social Media (of course!)
We needed to throw this one in here although, seeing as the Social Club Membership is all about how to use Instagram to grow your business – it’s a bit of a given! (And if you need tips for ways Instagram can help you boost your membership numbers – we know a gal…) Also Facebook groups – not used as much anymore, but initially, Brooke saw a lot of growth from posting in specific FB groups.
If you stop learning you stop growing
All the ways we’ve mentioned here aren’t an exhaustive list of all the things Brooke currently uses to grow the Social Club membership but they’ve worked in various forms over the years. Technology, society and the online landscape are constantly evolving and changing and it’s so important to keep educating yourself on different ways to launch, grow and sustain an online membership. The way business owners like to consume information in itself has changed so much over the past 6 years. Being open to adapting your services, to meet the new needs of your changing market is key.
Mindset tips to deal with copycat businesses
You’ve probably all heard the saying ‘imitation is the most sincere form of flattery’ and this stands true, even though it stings to see someone rip off your work.
Butttt when you look at some of the bigger players in even the online world – they are all using their competitors as ‘inspiration’ for their next product launch (Instagram Threads, anyone?)
So, if you’re being copied, you’re still leading the pack. When people stop copying you, that’s when your brand is no longer as influential or as in-demand. And that should probably be more concerning in all honesty.
Being first to market is irreplicable
Being the first to launch her membership was part of the magic of the Social Club business model. Other people can copy every single element of your business from your branding, to pricing, to delivery (and Brooke has experienced this time and time again!) but they can not copy being the first, or your reputation.
The secret to consistent sales on Instagram
Set your account up properly and make it easy for your customers
Having the right keywords in your bio, adding links to your products or services pages and making it clear how you can help your ideal customer will make it easier for your audience to find you, take action and buy from you!
Show up consistently
After doing the Instagram thing for 8 years it’s pretty fair to say Brooke knows what works when it comes to selling on socials and if you don’t show up consistently, you won’t sell. Simples.
In saying that, yes, there are times when you don’t want to be online or need a little hiatus, so take some time off! It’s not the end of the world if you haven’t been on Instagram for a week (or a month) and in the scheme of things, no one will notice.
Share content in your zone of genius
Sharing personal content is important for building your brand but if you don’t share information about your zone of genius it will no longer become the thing that people know and remember you for. If Brooke had a dollar for every time the word hashtag came out of her mouth, she’d be a billionaire!
Don’t be afraid to change things up
Constantly being curious about what your customers are struggling with and surveying your audience will help you create content that serves them. Use a poll on Instagram or a survey in your email marketing to get feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask what’s working and what isn’t and tweak things accordingly. Sometimes you’ve gotta kill your darlings, as they say, and give up the good to get to the great!
One of the best parts of a small business is the flexibility that being a business owner can create. If your business begins to feel like a job that isn’t enjoyable, then maybe it’s time to shake things up so you can love it again.
The COVID effect
For online businesses, there was no greater time for changing things up and pivoting than during COVID. With dual income streams comprising keynote speaking and membership, both of these suffered significantly with COVID lockdowns. Flying to deliver keynote speeches was off the table and Brooke experienced a mass exodus of her members who were having to cut costs in their own businesses. Alongside this, her husband lost his job, she experienced a family tragedy, and had a mortgage to pay. Luckily she had made a connection with another speaker at a conference in Dubai earlier in the year who fortunately helped her rebuild and turn things around. The greatest lesson during this time was not to have all her business eggs in one basket and affirmed the need to diversify her services. Fast forward to 2021 which then became Brooke’s biggest year in business, what a turnaround!
How to feel less overwhelmed with Instagram marketing
Overwhelm sucks but if you don’t do anything to help it disappear, it will only get worse! Below are 2 of Brooke’s top tips for reducing overwhelm when it comes to marketing your business on the ‘gram.
Know your ideal client
When you know who you’re talking to, you know what to say, how to communicate and what content to post. When you know your ideal client you know what’s important to them and what will stop them in their scroll and listen to you.
Create a strategy that aligns with your life and business
Do your homework, look at your insights and see what kinds of content to post and when. With this information, you can sit down and plan out your posts for the next 4 weeks.
Creating a strategy around your life and business so you aren’t just whipping out your phone and spending time stuck in analysis paralysis. Use a scheduling app like Planoly and then you can set and forget – leaving you more time to engage and connect with your community.
Connect with Brooke Vulinovich
- Follow Brooke on Instagram at @brookevulinovich
- Check out the Social Club on Instagram at @socialclubcommunity
- Download Brooke’s new FREEBIE “Maximise Your ‘Gram Sales Cheat Sheet” at https://socialclubcommunity.com/maximise-your-sales-ebook/
- Join the Social Club Membership at https://www.brookevulinovich.com/membership