You’re Ready to Start a Membership Site—What Now?

You’re an expert in your field and you’ve got something people want and need. If you’ve heard it would be a great business opportunity to start a membership site so you can get the word out, you’ve heard right. So, what exactly is a membership site? If you need a bit more insight on it, check out our post on what a membership site is, then come back here for more great information!

Up to speed? Great. Now you know that in order to run a successful membership site, you need to offer something no one else is offering—or at least in a unique way. You need to establish yourself as an expert, one whose expertise people are willing to pay for.

Though there are several types of membership sites you can build for your business, you know your business best, so only you can decide which model will best serve your needs. Even if you don’t have a Ph.D. in computer science, you can create your own site. You’re welcome to come up with your own model, but if you’d like a few ideas, we’ve done some research for you.

Content-Drip Sites

Many membership site models available today work well using the “drip” method. These are sites where members pay a monthly fee (think subscription) to access content. Content is released on a schedule, or “dripped,” to members in intervals where they can access the information immediately, and then new content is released thirty days later. And the cycle is repeated, giving members fresh content every month. Additionally, if you use evergreen content (content that is relevant for long periods of time), you won’t find yourself continuously scrambling for new ideas.

One thing to keep in mind is that because you’ll have members joining at different times, they’ll be receiving your content in different stages. You can limit your site membership registration period to certain times of the month, but you’ll still have groups of members receiving their content in different phases. Either way, your members will be coming to your site on a regular basis to access content, giving you more opportunities to offer new products and services.

All-In or “Buffet” Membership Sites

Who doesn’t love a good buffet? You pay a set price up front and are given access to all sorts of goodies. That’s the idea behind this model: it allows members to access all content and all of your products as soon as they join. You don’t actually have to charge an up-front fee—you can choose to charge monthly—but keep in mind that with this model, where members instantly receive access to all you have to offer (as opposed to the drip-schedule sites), you risk them cancelling their membership as soon as they’ve feasted at your buffet and are feeling full. However, if you promise, then deliver new and exclusive content, like interactive quizzes, checklists, videos, etc., only available to members, they’re likely to be hungry for more and keep their membership active.

Online Courses

The online courses and seminars model is a great way to build your business. For example, if you run a photography business and you get asked about the basics behind shutter speed, you can create an online course using presentations, videos, and lectures. You can set this up as drip-content, where each lesson or module is released on a schedule, or you can offer the material up-front, buffet-style and let members work at their own pace. You can also release specific content—such as a fun activity, game, video, bonus content, etc.—to members who complete a certain number of lessons.

Digital-Product Sites

A product membership site offers digital products to its members. For example, it’s like what we do here at MemberPress. Digital product sites may also offer technical support, provide informative blogs, and allow access to other products and upgrades on a regular basis to incentivize members to keep their membership active. You can offer them monthly, yearly, or lifetime subscriptions as long as you’re providing new products, enhancements, and awesome support.

Service Membership Sites

A service membership site offers services such as coaching, training, and support. For example, a web-design company could provide design services, site-maintenance coaching, and technical support. So what’s the best strategy for encouraging members to remain active with a service site? It’s providing exclusive additional content, such as worksheets, activities, videos, and presentations.

Some Tips

Regardless of the type of membership site you create, it’s important to keep these things in mind:

  • Draw members in by offering free resources and/or trial memberships. Show them what you can provide!
  • Create clear policies and procedures for your members, letting them know about membership benefits and expectations, as well as refund and cancellation policies.
  • Create communities where your customers and fans (turned members, of course!) can gather in a protected forum and discuss your product, provide learning experiences, and share tips and success stories.
  • Be present on your site. Let your members know there’s a real person behind the screen. Provide them a customer service and support email address so they can contact you or your team if they are having issues with the products or sites.
  • Remember, successful memberships sites offer something unique, so find your niche and show off the new things you’re bringing to the world.

Are you feeling more confident about starting your membership site now? Be sure to take a tour of MemberPress to get even more ideas on building your site. Or maybe you’re a veteran at membership sites and have additional tips or examples. Please share them with our members by commenting below!

About Lindsay Flanagan

Lindsay Flanagan is a senior editor and project and social media manager at Eschler Editing. She earned her Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and spent over a decade working in higher education before joining the Eschler team. She and her husband are the proud parents of two brilliant daughters and make their home in Heber, Utah.