ICON14: 6 Steps to Launching a Profitable Membership Site

(Notes from a presentation by Casey Graham, CEO of The Rocket Company)

6 Steps to Launching a Profitable Membership Site

The Rocket Company went from $0 to over $8000 in monthly revenue in 90 days through launching membership sites.

For greater detail, check out their book Get Paid Daily. Also, they have a 8-week Get Paid Daily course.

Launch don’t Leak. Don’t just kinda put it on your website up and expect everyone to come.  Have a groundswell of momentum prior to the launch. Don’t treat your launch as a pet fish. Put all eggs in one basket for the launch.


The 6 Steps to Launch are Target, Build, Protect, Work, Promote, Launch (Maximize and Grow are the final two steps found in the book)



What are we doing? Ask yourself the question. Example, “We are selling 500 Giving rocket memberships at $99/month.” Have clarity on the membership site.

When are we doing it by? “By December 31, 2011” Don’t do anything else until this is reached. This is the foundation. You don’t need sequences, you need strategy and a clear timeline to relieve stress.

Who are we doing it for? “Evangelical churches in North America trying to grow their annual income without a capital campaign.” “Niches are where the Riches are” -Casey Graham  Take your target customer level down by at least 4-5 levels.  Don’t say your target is men; your target is middle-aged men, who like to play pool, wear Polo, drive Mustangs, and recently gave up cigarettes.   This is what makes up the Target: (What, When, and Who)



Turn their PAIN into a payment for you. You need to keep an urgency for people to stay and keep them coming back like they are addicted. Listen to them!  On a webform, put the fields for First Name, Email, and a text area box for “What are the top 2 questions you need right now in your churches finances?” This gives you their pain and in their words. They will tell you exactly how you can solve their problems. Stop assuming you know what the pain is, ask them and they will tell you. Before you build out some amazing content, just ask what they want. Content people don’t use is too valuable. Give them less value that they use more often. That is where the value is at. Survey Your Tribe. It is very important to create step-by-step content that keeps users engaged & paying you monthly.



Protect your profits and protect your customers. The three key 3 ways to Protect are Stick, Stay, Pay.

Stick Campaign  Convert free trials into paying customers. 14 day free trials work best for the Rocket Company. Take credit card at the free trial. Tell them very clearly from the beginning that in 14 days the card will be charged. Do not use forced continuity campaigns. Be crystal clear so your customers will like you. They will stay and pay with people they like. Cast the vision down the road by telling them they will get some special thing in 6 months. Allow people to pay up front for the year for those who want to speed up the content delivery process.

Stay Campaign 12 months of content is written before the launch. Every month have 5 emails with an Action and an upsell in them. Every email. The first email is a Big Idea that sets the large plan. The Action is taking something from the membership site and make it a link to see that specific thing. The first upsell is a fast pay so they can fast forward. Open ended memberships even for the best sites only last 3-6 months. Set a clear closed end. In a 12 month program, have an upsell for another year in 9 months. Create a free trial on the front end. The Business Rocket does a no cancellation policy for 12 months with a guarantee at the end of the program (in 12 months) an email will be sent asking if it was worth it and offering a FULL REFUND if you are not happy. This addresses churning.

How to handle Credit Card declines:

1st decline email campaign

2nd decline email campaign to notify team

3rd decline notify team and suspend membership. Don’t let them have access anymore

Build everything out before Launch. Because then you can focus on Selling.



This is the secret sauce. Passive Income Requires Aggressive Work.

Build your relational and digital networks and do it fast. There is a reason the word work is in the word network. You have to want something FOR you network instead of FROM your network.  {I want my network to get as much out of ICON14 as possible} Find your key influences, and ask ‘how can I push your stuff?’  ***Write a personal handwritten thank you note for people you wish would do a endorsement for you.***  Are you trying to sell something or serve somebody?

Find ONE well networked partner and ADD value. These are people with a big email list that can market for you in the future. Care about human beings. The biggest launches come from relationship networking.

When you create your 90-Day Launch Plan, you will 1. Build your List, 2. Have some kind of Event to get people to Sign up, and 3. Launch!


Promote – Your launch means everything to you and nothing to your customers. You need to get on their radar. You’re looking for Sign ups, Show ups, and Pre-Sales. Have a date on the calendar for the Launch, Buy cold traffic to go to a Landing page, send them to a thank you page and upsell page. Take an entire month to promote. Get your referrals to promote.  If you push, people will reserve a spot. You can get reservations even before the Launch is completely ready to go. People don’t care about your Launch as much as you do, so you must keep constantly reminding them about the Event.

If people aren’t buying on the charter membership, they aren’t buying on the Launch. Do bullet, bullet, bullet, cannonball. Keep testing the different offers so that when you finally get to the Launch, you know what works.


The Pre-Sale offer should be:

Lowest Price

Limited in number

Offer a Free Trial


It takes a hard core sales person to sell directly into a paid membership. Instead, it is so much easier to sell into a free trial. Let them try it first.  Some business owners like a 14 day length for a trial plan.  Left Foot Coaching 2014 Finalist Christian Isquierdo said that his “Trial to Membership” plan is the key to his success.  Develop your plan.


Launch – Say how many people you want at your launch event and have that number on a piece of paper in front of you. All The Time.  Put it on your mirror, back of the bathroom door, refrigerator door, and a post-it note on your monitor.  If you can’t/don’t want to have a physical Event for Launch, create a Launch Webinar. 80% of the webinar should be strong content, 20%  should be sales.

Try using this sequence:

  1. Title
  2. Story
  3. Connection
  4. Inspiration
  5. Overview
  6. Content
  7. Offer

This can all be done in about a 50 minute webinar using Camtasia reading over slides.  That’s right, you can’t even claim you’re too camera shy to make it.

A strong clear Title weeds people out who would not really be interested, and also draws people in that are intrigued.  Be very specific so you only have people there that should be there. Call it out and say the benefit.

Do Stories. People keep asking Casey about the Red Truck because it is a story that sticks. {I think I’d ask about the guy in the Philippines trying to kill him} Be a human being so you can share.

Make a Connection. Tell them about good things you’ve done AND tell them about bad things you’ve done. Tell them about the ‘dumb tax’ that you’ve paid. Don’t be slick because no one believes it.  Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s what ties us together.  Have a point early in the webinar to make a connection. Have success stories from other people. If you don’t have success stories, offer free consulting to get successes/testimonials.

Overview. Tell them what will happen in the webinar. Be extra clear to tell them you are going to pitch at the end.

Content – Give away “in depth” on one topic.

Offer – 10 step offer in their offer.  If you want to know what the 10 step offer entails, watch their webinar. 😉

Tip:  20% of people who signup for a subscription plan with delayed content release want the content now (in their experience). Let these people binge out because they will actually pay more. Offer the Full Course all at once and at a Premium.  Give them that fast forward button from the beginning.


These notes are from Casey Graham’s presentation at ICON14.  Nearly all of the content are in his words or paraphrased.  I’ve added only minor bits for clarification or example.  For more notes from ICON14, please check out my InfusionCon Notes category of posts.

If you liked this presentation about launching a Profitable Membership Site, you also might like to read about how they became the Ultimate Marketer for 2013.

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