Insights

How to choose and validate your membership idea

Meal planning memberships are a great way to earn recurring revenue but what does your audience want and will it be worth your time?

Use this step-by-step guide to remove the guesswork, generate winning ideas, and test them BEFORE you launch.

Step 1: Get to know your audience

What problems are your audience struggling with that you can solve?

Maybe you already know this.

But if not, ask them!

Reach out to your email list and social media followers. Ask them about their pain points and how you can help.

Here are four questions I use regularly:

  • How do you do [topic] today? Who else is involved?
  • What are your biggest challenges with [topic]?
  • What would you like to change about [topic]?
  • What does success look like to you? How can I help?

Try a tool like SurveyMonkey to collect responses, if useful.

Step 2: Draft your membership offer

Outline the main elements of your membership to address your audience's problems.

Here's some inspiration based on what we see working well:

  • A recipe catalog – a selection of recipes for people to browse, cook from, and create meal plans. Updated regularly to keep it fresh.
  • Weekly or seasonal meal plans that people can customize to suit their needs – or the ability to create their own from scratch.
  • Grocery lists – to make it easy for people to go shopping. These should automatically update when people make changes to their meal plans.
  • Community – this way people can share recommendations, ask questions, and interact with each other, without relying solely on you.

Step 3: Create a 'coming soon' page

A coming soon page can help you gauge interest, build a waitlist for launch, and find beta testers for your membership.

Most email providers like ConvertKit have templates that you can use to make a page in minutes. Use your notes from step one to draft the text.

I created the example above in five minutes using ChatGPT to write the text.

Step 4: Promote your waitlist

Share your coming soon page with your email list and on social media.

Here’s an example email I created using ChatGPT based on the coming soon page text above (feel free to steal it):

Step 5: Build a 'minimum viable' program

Once you have sign-ups, it’s time to build a simplified version of your membership program to iron out any kinks before launch.

Create an account with MealPro App, then:

  • Add your logo and branding.
  • Add recipes. 25 to 50 recipes is enough for a beta launch in our experience. You can add your full catalog later.
  • Create at least one meal plan.
  • Manually add your beta testers (you can automate this part later).

Step 6: Create a private community

An optional but recommended step is to create a private group with Facebook. This is helpful to interact with members, answer questions, and get feedback.

Step 7: Ask (and act on) feedback

Run your meal planning membership for at least four weeks.

Interact with your members and ask for feedback (good and bad). Where helpful, invite people to a Google Meet to discuss further.

This is the perfect time to ask for testimonials for your website too.

Based on all of this, make tweaks to your membership offer (step two).

Bonus: Pre-sell your membership

You could go a step further and try pre-selling your membership.

For example, at MealPro App, we offered an early-bird price to people who signed-up before we launched (a half-price annual subscription).

To do this, create a one-time payment link in Stripe and send it to your waitlist.

Summary

To recap, here are the seven steps you've taken to choose and validate your meal planning membership idea:

  1. Get to know your audience
  2. Draft your membership offer
  3. Create a 'coming soon' page
  4. Share your waitlist
  5. Build a 'minimum viable' program
  6. Create a private community
  7. Ask (and act on) feedback

Now, you’ve done the hard work – it’s time to launch!

Check out part two: How to start a meal planning membership site (free toolkit)