Join pages are the checkout counters of the paysite world. The join page is the last stop a customer makes on their journey from sales prospect to paying member. When things go wrong for someone at this point in the process, it’s highly unlikely that they will ever attempt to join the site again. In contrast, a well-designed, well-functioning join page can be a major sales tool for any paid membership site regardless of its niche or industry.
The importance of the join page is easily overlooked but in truth, it’s one of the most critical parts of the sales process. Great deals of otherwise amazing sites miss out on sales every day due to bad join pages.
The less unanswered questions a potential customer has, the easier it will be for them to remove objections in their mind and go through with the purchase.
Getting the customer to the join page in an honest fashion (no blind links or trickery) is more or less the primary goal of any paysite tour. A lot of site owners and marketers assume that once a person is there, the job is done. The instinct is to focus heavily on stats like first and second page unique visits and the ratio of these numbers to join page clicks but join page access and exit stats are of equal or greater importance. As the age-old sales mantra says — “ABC: Always be closing.”
The join page should be seen for what it truly is: a multi-purpose tool. It’s where we close the sale and accept payment. It’s the final opportunity we have to convey important information to a customer that will give them confidence to complete their purchase. The join page also offers us one last shot at swaying a customer who may be on the fence about their buying decision. Perhaps the person really liked the tour but is hesitant to sign up based on the membership price. Perhaps this is their first membership purchase and they have some anxiety over their privacy and the safety of their information. Perhaps they’ve visited more than one site and are deciding which one to join. Regardless of the scenario, join page real-estate must always be used wisely.
A well-designed join page is fast loading and slim on content. The page should only contain information required for the purchase process. This often means a smaller more condensed header and little or no site navigation. The join form and the most important information should be visible without any scrolling from the moment the page loads. The join page should also be light on text and not contain large blocks or paragraphs but instead show important text in short blurbs, phrases and bullet formats.
There are just a handful of key elements that make up a good join page:
The Join Form Works
You’d think this would be a given but it’s not. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a site (including some of the biggest online), tried to join and was literally unable to signup even after a dozen attempts. During Brad Gosse’s seminar at this year’s XBIZ 360 show he showed slides of a very large brand’s flagship site and its join page errors. Anytime a site has a dip in sales it’s a good practice to test the join page. When tour changes are made, CMS software or servers are updated, it’s wise to run a test transaction and make sure the signup process is working as intended.
It Makes People Feel Secure
With all online purchase and especially adult material related purchases, security of personal information is of the utmost importance to every customer. A prominent statement assuring a customer that all data is secure is a crucial element that should be present on every join page. This can be as simple as stating that all transactions are completely secure, that data is encrypted and can also include a brief statement that joining the site is anonymous. To convey trust even more, some sites will include a badge icon or button from a security script provider or a known company (GoDaddy, Thawte, etc.) showing that the site offers encryption provided by a reputable third party.
It Reinforces Selling Points
Alongside the join form is the ideal place for a short list of bullet points that highlights a site’s main features, benefits of joining and its strongest selling points. If a site offers live shows, this is the place to say so and also to say how often. Short phrases and sentence fragments work great e.g. “Live Cam and Chat Show Daily at 8 p.m. EST.” It’s also good to share important details such as how often the site is updated, whether the videos are downloadable and what kind of photo and video quality is offered.
If content is exclusive or the site has any special interactive features that set it apart from others, this page is the place to reiterate that. A brief list of five to seven items is plenty. Although it’s not a requirement, I’ve always found that showing some photo content on the join page helps sales. Some sites show one image or a small rotation of them and others show a block of small thumbnails or a combination.
Continue to tease the customer even on the sign up page.
It Conveys Trust
Going a step beyond making people feel secure is important. The more someone feels at ease during the payment process, the more likely they are to become a paying member. An easy way to convey trust is to add a couple of short phrases toward the top of the payment form or just below the submit button letting people know who provides the billing and how the charge will appear on their credit card statement.
When a site has been online a while or if it’s an established brand it’s also a good idea to mention this on the join page in a simple way, e.g. “Keeping members happy since 2003.”
It Answers Questions
For every site there are common questions a potential member might have prior to joining. Sometimes these are concerns or objections to purchasing such as price and other times they’re honest, curious questions such as how to cancel. Some examples of text to include that addresses common questions are “Discreet billing”, “100 Percent Anonymous”, “Cancel Anytime”, “24/7 Customer Support”, “PC, MAC, iPad and Mobile Compatible”, “No Download Limits”, “No Hidden Charges” and so on. Like the selling points, a brief list of five to seven items is plenty. These questions are best answered in short fragments so people are less likely to miss them. The less unanswered questions a potential customer has, the easier it will be for them to remove objections in their mind and go through with the purchase.
AJ Hall is a 12-year adult industry veteran and the co-founder and CEO of Elevated X Inc., a provider of popular adult CMS software for the online adult entertainment industry. Elevated X powers more than 2,000 leading adult sites, has been nominated for industry awards 11 times and won the 2012 XBIZ Award for Software Company of the Year.