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How to name your membership…like a boss!

In the past month I have helped 3 entrepreneurial badassess create awesome names for their online memberships; that capture their community vibe like a boss, and I'd love to help you too!

When it comes to naming a membership {community, program, system, retreat etc} I recommend focusing on 2 thing:

1. Choose a PLACE that evokes the imagery and feel that you want your members to experience as they imagine themselves with you and fellow members.

2. Name your PEEPS.  Who are the members that you are bringing together in this safe space?

Let's look at the naming magic that unfolded for my 3 clients and see how you can do the same (when naming your paid membership community).

First up, Primoz Bozic.  

We were jamming on a 1on1 call {at the end of the Community Catalysts beta program} and we were working on naming his membership community.  

In Primoz's case we went with a place.  

He was creating a membership for writers and I've always had this image in my head of a cozy cabin where all you have is your laptop, cups of hot bevys, blankets and a forest silently hugging the cabin all around.  A writer's dream.

The Cabin was on the right track, but it also made me think of summers at the cabin, summer camp, kids...not to mention cabin fever. 

Not the vibe he was going for.

Primoz, being the European he is, suggested The Chalet.  And for my Canadian brain it was kind of meh.  

Chalet made me think of skiing and hitting the slopes...not knuckling down and writing. 

We went to Google and searched for "different types of houses" which is a great idea.  

Chalet, Cabin, Beach house...so many different PLACES for people to gather, and they all created totally different imagery and FEEL.  

Just look at the images below.  How would you feel staying there for a weekend?

That's when I saw it.  THE LODGE.

Well fuck me, THAT right there is the MONEY SHOT of community names for Primoz's membership.  

It's absolutely PERFECT for what Primoz is doing, on so many levels.

**Cue day-dreaming about Primoz's future live event**.

When I think of "The Lodge", I imagine a big beautiful lodge nestled in the woods somewhere in Europe.  It's snowing outside...or maybe it's summer with green trees and Disney animals prancing around from time to time. 

There are big brown leather couches and arm chairs...that you sink into.  There's a big stone fire place with a fire crackling. There's an open concept kitchen and a dining-room with a massive table to fit all of us.

There are other rooms too...welcoming you to curl up with your laptop to create and pour your heart out onto the page.  A sun room, a library, a games room and more.

When we're not writing, we're going for a morning run on a dirt path, going kayaking on a nearby lake or staying inside and grabbing a drink from the mini-bar.  Cozying up with fuzzy blankets and comfy clothes and shooting the breeze.  There are silly games, laughs and people who understand the ups and downs of writing.  

Meal times are another opportunity for us to connect too.  Different members team up to prepare meals and we get to break bread together, discuss writing, entrepreneurship and business with people that ACTUALLY want to listen {not roll their eyes like your husband or family do}.

THAT is the feel of the lodge in real life, and THAT is the exact feel and vibe Primoz can aim to recreate online...in his online membership community.

  • He'll be creating little rooms and spaces to chat with others, to share "war" stories and insights.
  • He'll be stoking the fire and gathering people around it to get warm and shoot the breeze with a Whiskey in hand.
  • He'll be helping people connect, learn from one another and have an amazing time while they are at it.
Side note:  Hosting a LIVE retreat in a REAL lodge is going to be a MASSIVE win for him and his membership.  Not only will it allow him to bring together his most active, supportive and amazing members {being invited to join this event would be a privilege to people showing up in the community}, but he can hire a photographer/videographer and capture the moments I described above, so that ALL the visuals of his online community will  ALL whisper the same thing..."you're at the lodge here".

Man...just writing about it makes me want to pack my bags and go!

Next up is Sew Heidi.  

We worked together 1on1 for 2 months to get her community ducks in a row BEFORE she launched {and she then joined Community Catalysts for support during the emotional rollercoaster that is launching, evicting "red flag" members, on-boarding strategy and more!}.

On one of our calls, we got to the age old question...

What the hell should I call the community?

For Heidi, I got her to talk about her target audience and why they were joining her membership.  As she spoke I took notes on what jumped out at me.

TOP TIP:  If you're doing this alone, grab your phone and record yourself talking about your audience and what they are getting from the membership.  What their problems are, what they worry about and what they are dreaming about and aspiring to.  Then you can listen back to the recording with fresh ears and pull out the interesting bits.

Something I've noticed about these naming sessions though, is that my mind moves quickly between issues.  It looks at it from so many directions at the same time.  

  • The members's experience, 
  • What they want to have happen there, 
  • The feelings and emotions involved, 
  • And different places that match those feelings.

I recommend starting with PLACES, and if nothing really grabs you, then switch to identifying WHO they are.

In Sew Heidi's case, they just want friends from the industry.  She kept saying friends over and over when she was speaking, so we got simple.  

I asked her, "What kind of friends?" and she said, "friends from the Fashion Industry".

With a quick switch up of the word order, we had it...

"Fashion Industry Friends"!

I remember when I first said it, Heidi's face lit up like National Lampoons Christmas tree!  Moments like THAT are why I LOVE the work that I do. 😍

YUP.  We nailed it.  The name started rolling off her tongue {or rather flowing from her typing fingers} without her even realising it.

She sent me an email days later, giving me an update and reading it made me SO freaking happy.  

Check it out below:

I know I've done my job well when someone emails me and drops F bombs left, right and center.  🙂

THAT is what you want your community name to feel like.  

You want your community name to flow in your copy, to be a natural fit, for you to say proudly, to share WHO your peeps are or WHERE you're going to take them.

It's funny, because I haven't had that magic moment with my own membership {YET}.  

I kept calling it "The Community Beta", initially, which doesn't do the program justice.

The program {foundational coaching/training} is called Community Catalyst and that could be the name, but in the singular it feels off too. This isn't just ONE catalyst (me), it's many.  It's a group of Community Catalysts who are kicking-ass and taking names.  Hmm...

Community Catalysts might work.  It is the closest I've come to my "name eureka" moment, but I'll get there.

The last example is from Neil Welsh.  

He doesn't have a community per-say, he has a coaching platform (Slack), though many people confuse the two.

Neil isn't connecting his members together, he's answering their questions on his video course material, in a group setting...aka coaching platform.

He created a 12 week nutrition course and did a beta to test it with a group of around 10 people.  Now that the beta is finished, he wanted to name his program AND he also had a visual model that he wanted to name too.

I recommended we name the program first, and then the model...as naming the program would making naming the model easier.

Again, I got him to talk about his program, what it does {results it delivers} and who it helps.  I also got him to share the course outline so I could see the titles of his videos and materials.

Here's a secret weapon as well...we were not alone.  We were on a call with 4 other people and they were sharing ideas at the same time.  I highly recommend that you do not try to name your community alone.  

Getting on a call with someone or a group of people is so much better.  

In Neil's case, one person opened their mic and said something.

The New Normal.  The feel was spot on, and once we named the model as well, it subtly established the ideal market (family) and it was catchy. {share that in a min}.

Then we moved to the "system" or model he wanted to name.  It was an image of 3 overlapping circles that had the main goal in the center...health.

We talked about it for a while, going in circles when it hit us: the heart of the matter, the heart of health!  

The Heart of Health Model.

The New Normal:  A family focused approach to getting to the heart of health.

It felt like a great fit, but the only way he'll REALLY know is to ask his audience.  

Again...it's ok to rename a program or community...you don't have to get it right on day one.

Sometimes you'll just KNOW, like Heidi and Primoz.  Those names are SOLID, but if you're not sure if the name works then just ask your members.  You can talk to them via email, or hop on a quick call and get their feedback on the name, and ask them how they feel about it.

Still staring at a blank page wondering: what the hell should I name my community?

  1. Don't do it alone.  Jam with a couple friends, or with an expert/creative mind to put the pieces together and help you see what's already there.
  2. Focus on a PLACE or the PEOPLE you're bringing together in your community.  
  3. If it's a beta...and you're super blocked. Don't sweat it.  You can always change the name down the line.  Name it something for now and move on (like me).
Also note that if you're building on Mighty Networks that you can change the name/ULR of your community at any time.  The only issue is that it will break links that you have put into your articles (to other places in the community). So in that case, it is better to make a final decision on your community name SOONER rather than later. 

OR just name it your name and leave it at that.  The URL for my community uses my name because I'll never be changing my name so it works for life. 🙂

YOUR TURN!

I'd love to know what your experience has been with naming your membership community, and how you approached the process.

Big D.

  • Anne-Laure says:

    I love it! I already have a name for my community and the feedback I have received about it is fantastic but it really follows your advice: it is called (I am translating from French, it normally sounds catchier) “The Montessori mice burrow” (my brand is Montessouricettes, with a pun between Montessori education and small love, so it fits perfectly). I focused on how I wanted my people to feel and I thought of the burrow, where you can retreat and rest before taking care of the kids. It seems that other moms really loved it too! But I never could have deconstructed my process the way you just did, it is great to be able to reproduce it now if I need it)

    • Diana Tower says:

      Hey Anne-Laure! Not only is is so good to hear from you, I LOVE the name you chose for your community! Translating from another language aside, it’s yet another great example of how to name a community so that it makes your members FEEL a certain way every-time they visit, share or even think about the community.

      I love the location/place of a mouse burrow. It makes me think of Beatriz Potter stories and her illustrations. All warm and cozy with little lights, soft felt or other misc burrow decor.

      I’m curious if you have fully tapped that imagery in your copy and images? Do you tell stories to get your members to imagine themselves in the mouse burrow…or have images that showcase the idea? It could be something you could turn the volume up on for sure.

      So happy to deconstruct your process, so you can replicate it any time you name anything in the future (community, course, product, retreat, system etc).

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