I know that some poker training and poker coaching sites offer membership options, but I think this is another under-served niche in the poker website world. It’s also a potentially lucrative business model that doesn’t rely on poker affiliate commissions in order to be profitable. If you can build a community of 500 subscribers willing to pay $100 a month for a membership to your site, then you can make $50,000 a month. That’s not a bad revenue stream at all.
If I were running a paid poker membership site, I would definitely offer a blog or some other source of free content. You need to give people who can’t afford your content now a reason to come back in the future when they CAN afford your paid content. A free email newsletter advising people when the site is updated with the free content is a good idea too. AND free content is what keeps the search engines coming back for more too.
The next thing I would offer on a poker membership site is a product or two at a really low price point. Maybe a special report about how to make money playing poker for $10-$30. The trick is to offer something really fabulous and tremendous at this price point, so that people will say, “Wow!” Get them impressed by what they receive for their money, and they’ll be more likely to spend more money with you.
Then offer the $100 a month membership option. Include tons of content and value at this price point. You should have a private message board full of super bright and intelligent people. In fact, you should probably offer free memberships or even pay some really high quality people to moderate and participate in your forums, so as to provide your paying subscribers with a ton of value.
You should also offer member-only articles and tutorials on various subjects, and this content needs to be updated on a regular basis. You should make this content available in multiple formats. Some people love to read, but others would rather watch a video tutorial. By offering different content on different media, you’re increasing the perceived value of your service. Hosting teleconferences and teleclasses is also a way to provide valuable content in exchange for a membership fee.
If you want to have a price point above the $100 a month general membership, you could consider offering a $500/mo. or $1000/mo. individual coaching or tutoring package. There are various ways of packaging coaching, but in business coaching, it’s typical to be available by email or instant messenger anytime, and then to also have 3 scheduled phone calls a month that last 30-60 minutes or so. Occasional 5 minute calls are sometimes included too, at no extra charge.
A paid poker membership site isn’t a business model for everyone. I’ve never done it. But I can see how it would be profitable, and I have some specific ideas about how I would do it. Maybe some of these ideas will help you. If you do launch a poker membership site, drop me a line, and I’ll link to it from the blog here.