A membership program is where your customers sign up, either for free or for a fee, to be part of a community or elite club. As an incentive to sign up they often receive special discounts, invites to product launches, early access and other rewards. The benefit to you is that by offering incentives and rewarding customers’ loyalty, you encourage them to keep coming back to you and buying from your business. You also have the benefit of beginning to build a list of clients that you can regularly market to and offer deals to.
For example, if you have an online store and sell health food products, you could create a VIP membership program for customers, where one of the main benefits is free shipping. You could also offer special deals, such as a free gift (perhaps a sample of a new product you want to promote) with each purchase over $30. The free shipping encourages people to join your VIP Membership Program, now allowing you to continue to regularly market to them, and the free gift with purchase offer incentivizes them to purchase from you.
For another example, if you sell a weight loss course online, you could have a free or paid upsell Facebook group page where they can more easily reach you, interact with others, ask questions pertaining to their own weight loss journey, etc.. This has two main benefits: 1) It can increase the chance that they’ll see future messages / marketing from you (like via Facebook) and 2) It can be a super easy upsell that you can add without any extra real work on your part to initially make it! For instance, you can sell access and include the ability to ask you any question and get a response from an expert, which in the eyes of a lot of prospects can be a huge value. However, to you, it might be something super easy that you might do anyway (answering your customers) but now you can get paid for it!
So consider creating a membership program, where your customers become part of a community, and receive special benefits, (for example, free shipping, early access to sales, special deals, free gifts with purchase). This allows you to start to build a list of leads and customers to market to and also encourages customers to continue to purchase from you.
For other strategies on how to build a customer database and other great marketing tips, check out this book here 50 Marketing Tips & Tricks Learned After $100 Million in Sales Over 20 Years!