In an message marked, "VTribes Opens it's doors today. . . (it's Official)" Mike Filsaime continues to roll on with his NetWeb Marketing exploitation. When I say exploitation, I don't mean it in the sense of something vulgar. I mean it in the sense of taking full advantage of something - and VTribes is another example of Mike's ability to capitalize on the whims and fancies of the Internet.
In a previous article, I mentioned how Mike had launched the NetWeb Marketing Community with no content at all. I mentioned that VTribes is the software platform running the community. What I failed to mention is that Mike Filsaime bought VisionGate and re-vamped it to create VTribes.
It gets better. Remember the email I got from Mike? In it he writes that VTribes is “new CMS (Content Management System) Combined with Membership site Software powered by the original 1.0 version of VisionGate Portal". He then goes on to suggest that building online communities is the hottest money making trend on the Internet today. Mind you this is a great sales pitch, and if I wasn't on his personal mailing list, I wouldn't know about this. But here's the kicker. Mike then went on to say that he “used the software to launch a membership community that will bring in over $175,000 per year with this program. And this happened on just our first launch day. " And what membership community would that be? You got it. NetWeb Marketing.
The forums were buzzing with this news, and some of the Charter Members are hopeful that VTribes is the long-awaited software program that was promised when they signed up in Mid-December. There's a special conference call coming up in early January to reveal some training and ‘exciting news’ The same day I got Mike's email, I got another email from Ellie Drake's office announcing a conference call and webinar for Charter Members only.
Let's make sure you're up to speed on this launch so far. Mike Filsaime's not only created a nice residual income with the membership community, he's also created a software platform that he can re-sell to others looking to duplicate this process. It's actually a very clever way to have and run a company store. And the best part? VTribes is a hosted solution, so Filsaime's crew stands to earn another residual monthly income on top of that. At around $200, VTribes is not as inexpensive as, say joomla, but free has never been Mike's watch word.
But Mike's not tipping his hand completely. You see, he's not yet shared this new VTribes information with his NetWeb Marketing Customers. And he didn't share the marketing secrets of NetWeb's success with the people to whom he's selling the Hosting Platform. Without BOTH elements, you'd be hard pressed to have the same success Mike's had with this program. Fortunately, I've been on BOTH sides of this Marketing Juggernaut, and I can tell you, it is a dazzling piece of work - but with a few glitches.
So let me lift the veil for you:
Create a membership site. Create an insane amount of buzz for it by releasing a free report. Pay people to refer traffic to the site where they can register for another free, buzz building report. Release the second report along with a series of bonuses (in this case recycled content) - but only allow access to a portion of the bonuses. In order to get the remaining bonuses you have to refer a few more friends. Once you've built a large list, “pre-launch" your membership site with a paid conference call, that essentially acts as paid advertising, to a “select group of serious entrepreneurs. " Then even after the conference call, continue to market Charter Membership to your personal list for a little extra goodwill - and potential subscribers. The rest is unwritten. . . yet.
Here's where you can learn from Mike's mistakes:
First, make sure there's some valuable content in the membership site. Many members complained that there was nothing new at the site when the doors opened. In fact, the very same reports that were once limited to the few that referred friends were now readily available to everyone - whether they referred friends or not. Later, when the Butterfly Marketing Manual was added to the download area, users complained that it was already available elsewhere in a firesale, rendering the value of the product negligible.
Second, when you say you're limiting membership, do it. When you reach 500 subscribers (or whatever limit you set for yourself) CLOSE THE DOORS. You lose credibility when you don't. Even Mike Filsaime teaches that in his Butterfly Marketing Manual, but this time something seems to have been forgotten. Well over 500 users registered - many who didn't listen pay for the conference call.
Lastly, test, test, test your membership center. VTribes was not fully functional when NetWeb Marketing Launched. Even the Admins didn't know what all the functions were about, making it difficult for users to navigate the beta launch themselves. Billing and access problems pervaded the site in the first couple of weeks.
If you're heading down the path of membership marketing, it pays to see how the big dogs do it, and what makes a successful launch versus a mediocre one. Keep an eye on Mike Filsaime and Ellie Drake as NetWebMarketing still promises to be one of the biggest launches of 2008 - even with all the bugs in the system. And keep your eye on this series to see how it all pans out.
Lisa Young researches marketing trends and tactics for the home party plan industry, particularly internet-based marketing strategies. Lisa has nearly 10 years in the Direct Sales field both as an independent consultant and trainer. Her FREE business boosting newsletter, “PartyOn!" is filled with tips, tricks and tactics for increasing booking and recruit leads. You can sign up or learn more at http://www.homepartysolution.com