Recurring Revenue with a Meal Planning Membership Site

Generate a reliable source of recurring revenue, attract new clients, and increase client retention with a meal planning membership site.

Written by
Abigail Keeso, RN Abigail Keeso, RN
Published on

In this episode of Nutrition for Your Business, we discuss how to generate recurring revenue with a meal planning membership site.

In Episode 7, we talked about how to scale your business to serve hundreds of clients, and one of the methods we discussed was a meal planning membership site where people can subscribe to receive continuous content from you.

We know you want to learn more about this revenue stream, so we’ll explore it in more depth today.

Health professionals are in a great position to create a super valuable and profitable membership site because after clients are done working with you, they are often looking for a way to maintain their progress, and a meal planning membership site will help them do that. They might not need one-on-one support anymore, but they would still love access to your guidance and expertise. Putting together a membership site that gives them access to meal plans and recipes allows them to continue working with you more informally. Also, it gives them new helpful content month-over-month so they can continue to reach their health goals.

Also, some clients might go straight to your meal planning membership site without working with you one-on-one or before they commit to working with you one-on-one. It is a great, low-cost way for potential clients to get to know you.

Another cool thing about a meal planning membership site is that it generates recurring revenue. Your members will subscribe, meaning they automatically pay a fee every month. Unlike one-off consultations that might fill your calendar one month and lack the next, recurring revenue is more predictable and locked in.

So, having a membership site that generates recurring revenue sounds like the dream, right? But, you must consider some critical things before diving headfirst into it.

First, your membership site must solve a problem your ideal client is experiencing. People can get free meal plans and recipes online with a simple Google search. Creating a membership site that offers something people can get anywhere and that doesn’t address a problem won't be successful. You can trust us on that.

You must create a membership site that offers a solution to a problem that your ideal client has. For example, let’s say you are a nutritionist specializing in helping women lose weight through the keto diet, and you have recognized that many of them struggle with crunching their macros to stay in ketosis. You could create a membership site that offers weekly keto meal plans with recipes, grocery lists, and balanced macros that take the guesswork out of living a keto lifestyle and make it simple and fun.

Or maybe you work with Autoimmune clients who need help to stay compliant after their coaching package ends because they get bored. You could create a membership site that gives them access to monthly AIP-compliant recipe books to stay inspired and on plan.

See how these membership sites would solve a problem for a specific group of people and save them time and money. They offer a solution that they would be willing to pay for.

Have you built a big enough audience to support a meal planning membership site?

Another thing you must consider is if you have built up a big-enough audience to support a membership site. A membership site isn’t one of those things where if you build it, they will come. Health professionals who have launched successful membership sites have spent time building an audience so that when they launch it, they have a community of people who already know, like, and trust them and are primed to join.

Running a membership site is only profitable if you have enough members to support it. You need to consider the costs associated with creating the site, maintaining it, growing it, and giving tech support. You need to make sure your business is at a point to support a revenue stream like this and that you will be able to attract enough members to not only cover your time and expenses but also make a profit.

To put this into perspective, let’s say your meal planning membership costs $40 for the month to join. The tech associated with your membership site costs $240 per month, and it requires about 30 hours of your time every month to create the content, engage with your members, and market your membership site. When we do some simple math, you can see that to cover your expenses and earn $60/hour, you’d need to have at least 51 members every month.

To attract 51 paying members, you better have a large audience built up to market to!

We want to be real with you. Once it is built, a membership site is something you are in for the long haul. You must consistently create amazing content to make your members happy, engage with them, and market the membership site to attract new members. It’s a lot of ongoing work, but when done right, a meal planning membership site can help your nutrition business scale, and the return on investment can be massive.

So, going back to our example, if you attracted 51 members, that is $2,040 in revenue per month. But imagine you grew that to 250 members. That would be $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue for that same time investment.

The potential is huge. So let’s say you are ready for this. You have been building up your nutrition business, graduated tons of successful clients, and are feeling ready and committed to taking your business to the next level with a meal planning membership site. Here's how to get started:

Step 1: Get Clear on the Problem Your Meal Planning Membership Site Solves

Who are your ideal members? And what type of meal plans will you create that will make their lives better? Determining this is so important. If your meal planning membership site doesn’t solve a problem for your ideal client, they won't join. We’ve seen health professionals build out entire membership sites only to have no one buy because they aren’t catering to a real need.

You know your clients best and what they struggle with when it comes to nutrition. Spend time ensuring your membership site provides meal plans that solve a problem.

Step 2: Decide What Content Your Members Will Have Access To

Now that you know what problem your membership site solves, decide what content your members will have access to to help them solve it.

Remember. We’re talking about a meal planning membership site here. So, how will you design these meal plans to solve their problems? Will they save them time? Money Help them feel awesome? All of the above?

How many meal plans will they receive every month with their membership? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?

Then, in addition to meal plans, you may want to offer your members other perks that will help them reach their goals, like recipe books, coaching calls, a private Facebook group, or at-home workouts.

You need to ensure your content constantly engages your members so they will stick around for more and not cancel their membership.

While dreaming up this content is great, you must also ensure it is realistic for you to create on an ongoing basis. If your members pay a monthly fee to join, they will expect to be getting more value every month. Now is the time to determine how you will deliver that to them.

Step 3: Decide How You Will Deliver the Content

This is the step that often totally derails most health professionals when it comes to their membership site. We see it all the time. You have a vision of the content you will create and the problem it solves, but the tech aspect of setting it all up is overwhelming.

Using practice management software to run your membership site will streamline your processes with a custom registration flow, payment collection, delivering content, and more.

Learn how to set up a subscription or membership option in Practice Better.

Step 4: Decide What to Charge

Pricing your meal planning membership site isn’t easy. You need to consider several things to ensure your price is fair and will allow you to be profitable.

A great place to start is to look at what similar services are charging and consider how your offer compares. However, you must also consider what running and marketing your meal planning membership site will cost and what profit margin you want to make. The price will also depend on what is included and the time it takes you to deliver it. The more support you offer, the more you can charge.

We have analyzed the pricing of over 8,000+ health professionals to save you time with your market research and help you confidently set your prices.

Download the Pricing Handbook now to optimize your pricing strategy.

Step 5: Launch & Market Your Meal Planning Membership Site

While your meal planning membership site will likely grow slowly over time, a solid launch strategy can give you momentum with an influx of early members so you can start off on the right foot.

A few weeks before you launch, start creating as much buzz as possible about your meal planning membership site by giving sneak peeks at the content members receive, talking about the value, and sending teasers. Countdown the days until your launch to create anticipation.

While attracting members is awesome, what happens after a member joins matters more than the sale itself. So once the doors to your membership site open, your focus needs to shift to making your members’ experience as amazing as possible.

Retaining your members is critical to the long-term success of your membership site. Invest as much into getting them to stay as you do in getting them to join. You must provide an amazing experience if you want your members to stay subscribed month after month.

Ensure they get up and running with your membership site as quickly as possible by staying in close contact. You’ll also want to ensure you deliver the value you promised.

Creating a community around your membership site will keep your members engaged. You can do this by adding a group chat in your practice management software so clients can speak with other program members to share their progress and help motivate one another. 

You also need to have a strategy in place for continuous marketing of your membership site to continue to grow the number of members and increase your recurring revenue. Consider what you will do on an ongoing basis to consistently attract new members, whether content marketing, social media, testimonials, paid advertising, or referrals.

We recommend mapping out a launch and marketing strategy to stay organized and on track and ensure you are ready to grow.

Learn 10 effective ways to market your meal planning services.

A meal planning membership site can be a lot of work. But when you have the right tools and resources, it's easy and rewarding. Watch the replay of our class on how to create and run a fun and profitable meal planning subscription service. We shared the ins and outs of planning and executing your vision with ease.