Not so long ago, my coach raised the question of ‘perfectionism.’ That got me to thinking about that same topic in relation to online membership. When you are planning a programme it would be very easy to strive for a perfect solution.
‘Perfect’ isn’t possible, however, and if you wait until your outputs are perfect, you’ll never publish anything.
So, when it comes to making compromises in order to get your brilliance out there, what needs to be as close to perfect as possible and what can you allow to be ‘good enough?’
It is fine to compromise on:
Graphic Design: It is very tempting to spend a fortune on a top designer to create really polished documents. Actually it isn’t necessary. When I worked on my first job, the worksheets I created were done in MS Word. Did they look super polished and exciting? No. Could they be used and allow the members to gain what they needed to from them? Yes. They were good enough to make a start, test the concept and see what worked.
Most of the membership platforms will allow you to create some level of branding so it is unique to you but, just like the content itself, having a web designer creating reams of HTML and CSS for you won’t be needed to get you started.
Quantity: I’ve written a whole blog on the subject of ‘how much?’ so I won’t dwell on it again here, but if you’ve got enough to make a start, then start!
Software features: If you are looking for the perfect platform which meets all your needs, you will be disappointed. None of them is perfect and you are going to have to compromise on something. So take the time to consider what is most important to you, based on your member journey and find the best fit. And make use of any free introductory period and purchase the lowest cost scheme. Even if you are expecting 50,000 members at launch, upgrading the package takes seconds so it is safer to get that first 100 on board and then pay extra.
Structure of the site: I’m going to be very specific here about what I mean about ‘compromise.’ It does not mean ‘stick your content any old place, members will find it’ (!!!). It means start with a structure which it is clear and simple and has a logic to it. It will be a good place to start. Over time you may come up with something that works better (I do all the time). If you do, then you can make a change at a suitable time.
It is worth investing in:
Good camera and good sound: You don’t need to fork out an arm and a leg to get a camera and microphone of reasonable quality. Bitter experience has shown me that poor quality images and buzzy sound are real turn-offs for your members. A wired microphone is a good deal better than a radio mic or built in sound. If you can afford a professional cameraman, so much the better – they’ll do the editing for you as well.
Quality of content: Even if you don’t publish very much content at a time, make sure it looks like you care. Show that you valued your members enough to invest in quality. That includes the basics such as spelling and clear and simple language (I’ll be blogging on this soon). It also means ensuring that your content delivers on your promises. And speaking of which….
Your overall outcome for the course: Let’s say you have set an aim of showing your members how to bake the perfect wedding cake, in six easy classes. Make sure that is what you deliver. Getting half way though and then deciding that baking a fruit cake is good enough is going to irritate members waiting to learn how to make royal icing. So, once you have set that outcome, invest in making it happen.
Software stability: I said that there is no perfect software and that is true. Even if you compromise on the features available to you, however, do not (ever, ever, ever) invest in a software platform which doesn’t work. That means, sometimes, voting with your feet. It may be a hassle to get all your members transferred to the new platform but they will thank you for it.
Adapt, adapt, adapt
You are always going to be learning when you first publish your membership service. You may find that you will want to change and adjust what you are doing to make things better. That, in the end, is the best reason not to make it perfect at the beginning. If you do, you’ll never want to move away from your idea of ‘perfect’. But if your members don’t agree, you’ve got to be willing to change.
Here’s to imperfection!