A membership site is a gated area of your website. Members pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to gain access to exclusive and premium content. If you want to know if a membership is right for your business check part 1 of this series.
Membership sites come in all sizes and shapes. Some are online forums where members share a common goal. Others offer people training material, online courses, or access to exclusive products.
Finding the perfect membership site model for you your business can be a challenging task. Particularly with the massive number of options available. With this in mind, in this guide, we’ll look at the most popular types of membership sites. I bring is the pros, and cons of each, things to consider with each, and the best ways to use each model to scale your business. Let’s get started!
Updated Style Membership Type
Using updated style as your option is perfect for building engagement with your audience. Members pay a monthly or yearly fee to get access to your latest-and-greatest content.
This model is suitable for new creators who don’t have an extensive library to provide yet. Also, this model is ideal for those who want the social part of membership without having to be the moderator. Updated style is great for anyone trying to grow their industry authority.
This option is powerful for making sales. If you offer content that is informative and valuable, members are 131% more likely to buy from you after reading your content. Building up an audience and keeping them in the loop helps you to offer a better customer experience.
Over 40% of customers have moved to a competitor because of customer service. It’s super important to invest in this area. With updated content style, your competitors should be wary.
What are the benefits if updated content?
Membership sites owners using this model create a schedule for delivering content to their audience. This way members don’t get all the content at once: instead, the content is delivered at specific intervals.
The primary benefit of this model is that members receive content in smaller chunks. It gives them enough time to digest the content without feeling overwhelmed. This boosts member engagement, and it helps to boost retention rates.
How does it work?
With this model, you can have memberships open all year-round. And whenever a new member signs up, their start date can begin. Let say that you pre-scheduled content to deliver every 20 days (about 3 weeks). Members can access Batch 1 immediately after payment. Then, Batch 2 is delivered 20 days later, and Batch 3 is delivered 20 days, and so on.
If you’re new to content creation , this model is good for you. It offers more hands-off model that prompts members to buy your other digital products,
In community memberships, members often pay a recurring fee to keep access to a private online community. They rely on the proposition that the whole is stronger than one. Community memberships need a lot of hands-on management, more than a content library, to make sure members stay safe and engaged.
Facebook Groups and other social media groups are a common choice to use. Anyone can start a group. So, how does this way work as an extension of a business?
Customers pay more for convenience. Even more after Covid, they’ll pay more for a human touch in their experiences. Plus, a community membership site can fulfill an emotional connection in business. 27.3% of consumers use an online community dedicated to a product or service to search before making a purchase.
So, a community-based model can not only help sell memberships, but it can help you sell digital downloads and online courses, too. Many online community memberships offer email updates and organize annual events for member meetups.
How to create the community?
You can pick a specific topic or niche to build your community around. Because community sites work well when focused on a specific topic or niche that unites the community. For example, you can build a community membership where members talk about gaming, digital marketing, or personal finance.
Community memberships are just as versatile as content libraries. However, community-based memberships tend to require more management via a community administrator to keep engagement. But if you want a community with minimal work, try the updated style membership.
Evergreen Membership Sites
This model of membership sites is perhaps the most common. It’s called evergreen because the content stays relevant for a long time. Evergreen memberships can typically use a drip-feed method of delivering specific content to members. A drip feature allows you to pre-schedule content at specific intervals.
An evergreen site is ideal if you supply information that doesn’t change. It’s per example library of How-to videos. It’s perfect with niche topics. You can upload and schedule all your member content and have it sends automatically. This is often done using membership software like aMember or in email applications.
The evergreen model is great for:
- Traditional memberships with monthly subscription fees and new content being regularly released.
- Sites where people can immediately buy a product, and get involved with fellow members in the social group.
- Online, self-study materials based on common problems, subjects, or needs.
One of the top benefits of this model is that you save time and work more efficiently. This enables you to produce new materials, rather than updating older items to make them accurate and relevant again.
Evergreen site is ideal for customers who want ‘instant’ answers, instructions, ideas, or solutions related to the niche topics. Plus, happy members are more likely to recommend and refer others to you and the site.
It’s easier to run on a technical level because once the site is up, you are done. An evergreen site caters more to the growing expectation for the content to be on-demand. This is the reason sites like Netflix are so popular; this relates to changes in how people want to get content.
Software Based Membership
This membership model is also called SAAS or software as a service. It is a model where the software is available for download or something the buyer can install in their device and the software is located on the web server, but it’s controlled by the software vendor. Buyers who pay a membership fee can access the software through browsers.
There are several benefits for both the customer and the software vendor when the software is sold using this model:
- It limits software piracy.
- The buyer doesn’t have large upfront costs.
- Fast and easy updates.
- The ongoing costs are lower than buying expensive enterprise software.
- It’s easier to offer support because there’s only one version of the software. There are no compatibility issues and other issues are standardized.
- The software is scalable because once you have built it for a few people; you can easily scale it to be used by several users. And you can easily absorb several users within a short time.
Membership prices depend on many factors. A few of the most important things include:
- The features you want to include.
- The number of users.
- The amount of storage space needed.
- The amount of bandwidth used.
My favorite software is Funnel Gorgeous Funnels. I use it everyday. What make their offer better than their competitors? its their remarquable customer service, and all the bonuses that members receive at no extra cost.
Before the internet, businesses and organizations used printed newsletters to keep in touch with prospects and customers. As more businesses and organizations developed an online presence, digital newsletters continued to inform current members, and customers. But also attract new followers, community members, and customers. So, you see, newsletters have always played a significant role in bringing people together and communicating effectively with like-minded people.
Bring it together with class!
This is done through newsletters, which have a specific purpose, topics, and elements. The messages focus on a main subject or niche that interests subscribers. Part of the success of newsletters is due to their predictable, consistent delivery which builds long-term relationships.
Paid newsletters have content that subscribers pay to get access to:
- Like the analysis of stock or products
- Investment advice
- News articles about a specific topic
- Marketing tips
- Business advice on any topic.
People paying to read newsletters may sound strange, but it’s a great option for a subscription model. Email newsletters are like a magazine. They get right in front of people and don’t compete for attention in a social news feed.
How does it adding for your business?
Newsletters are seeing a revitalization because algorithmic timelines have become saturated with advertising, click-bait, and irrelevant information. This has made newsletters the best way to reach people where they are, and you can almost guarantee they’ll read.
Paid monthly newsletters are like a subscription to a newspaper; you love reading, and you’ll happily pay to read the best news of the day. This membership model offers convenience to you and your audience, and it helps you move from a click-driven writing model.
For example, Ben Thompson’s Stratechery newsletter is delivered three times a week. Subscribers pay $12 per month to subscribe, or $120 a year.
With 1,000 subscribers, this means Ben makes over $10,000 per month and over $100,000 per year. That’s good money! Ben has sent over 1,000 newsletters and he is one of the most trusted sources in the technology industry. There’s a space for paid newsletters.
But remember the more unique you make your newsletters, the easier it becomes to put it out there. This is about creating value for customers in a new format. You can deal with a broad or narrow topic, but to be more successful, cover a specific industry or niche. Choose a niche with enough content to keep writing long-term.
Price your newsletter based on your niche, the audience receiving it, and how often you’ll be sending updates. A monthly newsletter will allow you to build a sustainable business. It brings you closer to clients who value your content. This makes paid newsletter powerful.
What’s better than getting one-on-one time with your audience, empowering them, and earning money as a personal coach? Coaching a group of people through a membership. You can teach and guide multiple people using your self-created, professional materials that meet your member’s needs.
One of the best examples of this model is The B.E.AC.H with Naima. She offers her audience weekly calls, content updates and a monthly training. And if you are patient, you will be able to join my coaching membership soon!
You can have a limited of new member per month. Then, you use a waiting list and open/close cart to keep control.
Defining coaching services as a membership isn’t as straight forward as earlier models. However, with regular updates, it can be used as a recurring service in a membership.
This model is best combined with additional add-on options which enhance the product/service for an additional fee. Depending on your audience and needs, you may prefer to keep the offer separate offer from your core membership.
Why coaching today?
If you’re ready to offer coaching services, you can tap into the personal coaching industry. It’s expected to hit over $1.34 billion (about $4 per person in the US) by 2022.
So, if you have the skills, the time, and an audience, you can open your business up for one-on-one interaction with the coaching memberships.
You can also create a membership group around it and offer exclusive training sessions for them. The benefits are the same, but you’ll reap more profits. Coaching services aren’t a traditional membership model and they’re not for everyone. However, if you have the means, it’s a potentially powerful source of recurring revenue.
Curated Content Memberships
Do you have a ton of content or are you giving away free content? Well, a content cache or content library option is ideal for you. But if you’re new to content-creation and are still building your content inventory, this model might not be for you.
It will work down the line after you built your content. It’s perfect if you are looking to build a lifetime membership site with tiers.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve already given some or all your free content because you can still charge for giving access to it. Remember, the biggest driver for great customer experience isn’t about delighting customers. It’s more about reducing the efforts they take to achieve their goals.
Consumers will always pay for convenience. Time is short and everyone wants to save it. If your offer explains how, it will save members’ valuable time, you’ll be more likely to grow your membership when you share that valuable benefit.
You have the content stores to offer members convenience and easy access to a library that will better their lives. So, if you’ve got a ton of content readily available, this model can work for you.
A course membership site is a terrific way to run an online course, keeping all your information restricted in a private membership wall. These courses can be monthly dripped content or upfront by having all the content available immediately to work through at your own pace.
This can be an evergreen course that people join any time; this is good for standalone courses with no interaction with the creator. Also, you can run the course at certain times to allow everyone to work through things together. Plus, you can adopt an activity-based content delivery approach where members should complete certain activities or tests before moving to the next module or lesson. You can sell course memberships at a fixed price, and/or have your members pay everything at once or in installments.
Courses usually include a mix of different content such as audio lectures, training videos, articles, quizzes, or downloadable resources. This membership model gives you the option to set up a discussion board or a forum for members to discuss and help each other throughout the course.
This model is extraordinarily successful because it gives course-creators flexibility in delivering engaging and valuable membership experiences. And for members with access to a private, members-only area; this is enough incentive to continue paying for their membership even after they’ve completed the course material.
Tips, Tools, Resources, and Memberships
This membership model offers members huge savings, since it cuts time-consuming work. It offers tools and resources that can be used as-is or with minimal tweaks. With a done-for-you monthly or annual subscription program, it’s easier to bundle your work and drip-feed the content to your members.
For example, if a blogger, a teacher, or a freelance writer needs added content every week, they can take your work and tweak it. This will help them stay on board, save time, and they’ll keep getting your added content.
This model is an ideal option for the right audience. If you’re interested in this model, it’s probably because you’ve have experienced this need in your own life. Since you tend to have a lot in common with your ideal customer, this may be your intuition kicking in to guide you.
However, for this type of membership, you must create materials often to meet their needs. So, it’s good for you to think about how you can organize the content perfectly from day one.
Expert Interview Style
One of the best ways to add continuity to your product or service offer is by creating an interview series where you can interview an expert in your field monthly and release the audio/video recording of the interview to your paying members.
It’s that simple… but simple works! For example, the dating advice guru David DeAngelo sells a monthly interview series as an upsell to his leading products. The interview series is called “Interviews with Dating Gurus” and it features a new expert each month who comes to the call to discuss various sides of women and dating.
When interviewing an expert in your niche you can share a fresh perspective with your members. This also gives you an opportunity to offer additional value to your audience and charge them monthly or yearly. You can also offer this option free through a podcast. By doing this, you’ll be able to build your audience, offer value to listeners, and give your guests a platform to gain more exposure while having a great chat with a fellow entrepreneur. This is a win-win-win!
Webinar or Video Training Memberships
If you’re looking to raise awareness and grow a membership site, a webinar is a golden ticket to a stream of recurring income. Although running a webinar membership site is daunting, if you execute it properly, the rewards are worth the effort.
This model is a fantastic way to gain exposure. By running and promoting a webinar, you can grow your mailing list, increase social followers and it can help drive traffic to your website.
It’s the Netflix time!
If you have an existing audience, a webinar is a powerful way to sell your membership site. You can display your pages, sell the valuable content, and explain how your webinar attendees will receive help from signing up.
You can offer a webinar or video training as premium content for your site. Regular, recurring webinars will make your members feel like they’re getting value for their money. This keeps people interested and encourages them to continue subscribing.
When you think of a membership site, you think of training inside a restricted members’ only area. The training could be in the form of video, audio, a webinar, PDFs, or articles.
In video training membership, the content may be available once, or it may “drip” revealing the new content over time. This model lacks the community element meant to foster discussion and accountability for members.
PLR Membership Model
This is another great membership model. For instance, you can create a PLR site that releases content for the dating niche. Let us say you release 30 new, high-quality articles on how to be charming and persuasive. Then your members, who have their sites or list in this niche, can use the content in any way they want, for instance, they can post the content on their blog, they can make an e-book out of the content, or they can use the content for email copy.
You can cap the membership capacity for this model at a fixed number of people to keep the content from being overused and losing its value. Apart from niche-specific PLR sites, you can run general PLR stores that cater to broad niches and offer a la carte PLR packs.
High Ticket Membership Site Model
Creating and selling high ticket memberships is one of the keyways to earn income and create a deeper impact on your clients’ lives. Do you bring deep and transformative impact to your clients, but you don’t earn the income you want? Do you trade your valuable time for money and still feeling exhausted?
If you feel like you’ve been undercharging, and you want a formula to attract the ideal client, for whom you can offer your powerful content, then high-ticket membership is for you!
Why choosing this model?
Premium or high-ticket membership is an evolutionary way to serve your clients. With this model, you can earn more money than you have, and you’ll be able to bring all your skills and talents to working with your clients. Plus, you can travel or do other things that you love while still being supportive and transformative to your ideal audience.
High ticket membership model allows you to create a deeper impact on your customer’s lives because you get to work with the best, most dedicated, and highly motivated clients.
How can you proceed?
Start by transitioning from the “hours-for-dollars” trap. This will help you learn how to sell the value of your services and offer life-changing results. With the premium or high-ticket packages, it doesn’t matter how profitable a niche is. What counts is your ability to help your clients’ better lives and solve their problems.
There will always be a need to better and improve someone’s life. And there will always be a market for helping people to solve their problems. So, the goal is to stop looking for the next “profitable niche.” Instead, specialize in solving that one problem you’re good at solving. The best high ticket membership offer comes from looking at yourself and not out there in the market.
Which industry benefit the most of the high ticket model?
With that said, health/fitness, finance, personal development, and relationships are four niches where high-ticket memberships thrive. Thus, if you can solve a major problem in any of these niches, then you can charge between $5,000 and $10,000 to help people ease their pain or solve their problem.
If your customers are always telling you, they like your product or service, but it’s too expensive, then you haven’t sufficiently communicated the value of your offer. Show them the value of what you’re offering, and you’ll have people competing to buy your premium packages no matter how expensive they’re.
Product Bundle Membership Sites
If you have Netflix, then you’re already familiar with this membership model. This model can help your sales significantly, and it makes it easier and cheaper for your clients to have access to your products.
This model is ideal for you if you have a ton of related products to offer. Instead of selling a product individually, you charge members a flat monthly fee to access several or all the products for a certain period. Because media subscribers account for over 46% of US consumers, this option is popular among several demographics.
Over 15% of all online shoppers have signed up for an e-commerce subscription, thus there’s a potential audience to reach if you bundle your products as a monthly package. To succeed with this model, you must know your customers and offer a bundle that appeals to them.
Do you have products to bundle together? Do you understand your audience? If so, you can join the subscription economy and use this model to your advantage.
This is a mix of different membership options, which you set up to suit you and your clients or members. These memberships are based on an individualized model created by combining the additional options you like and need.
For example, you can combine an online course with a community-based membership plus core information combined with new content each month and some products scattered in there to boost your success.
I’m not saying you over complicate things and try to do a bit of everything, maybe the above models aren’t right for what you want to achieve. That’s fine because they aren’t set in stone; they’re just a guide to what’s possible.
So, mix and match to your heart’s desire and create a membership site that perfect for you and your audience. If properly implemented, this hybrid model can help your business increase audience engagement, attract new members, and improve revenue.
You Can Make It Happen
Remember, a membership site isn’t for the faint of heart–success won’t come overnight, but if you’re committed to creating one, it can offer recurring income for you and it can help you build a strong online tribe to support your business.
Think about your expertise and see which of these models makes the most sense. These models have been tried and tested but adding your unique voice to one of them could turn your expertise into a solid business for you!
If the models don’t feel like the “perfect fit” for you and your audience, you can always mix and match to come up with the right balance of materials that’ll keep your audience engaged and bring in a stream of recurring income.
If you are still wrangling if a membership is right for your business, check the whole mini-series: Profitables Membership Blueprint.
- One: Is A Membership Right For You And Your Business?
- Two: What Type Of Membership Should You Consider To Create?
- Three: Content Creation: The lifeblood Of Your Membership Site
- Four: Membership Pricing Models and Delivery Methods
I can help you decide which type of membership site is best for you, map it out, and create for you or with you. Wanna chat? Book a free call today!