There are many different types of membership websites. Some might be based around a searchable directory of businesses or individuals. Others may be providing courses or educational material that require a subscription. Despite the many variations of membership websites available, there is one uniting factor.
Despite their differences, membership websites are all focussed on giving users the option to pay for additional content or features. To give your membesrhip website the best chance of success, you will need to choose the membership model that works best for your niche and target audience.
Let’s look at 7 different membership models you can utilize…
In this first option, users will pay for the ability to get access to a section of your website that is reserved for members. Once there, they will be given new exclusive content on a regular basis (for example, once per week). In this drip-feed model, there is a structure for the release of content, which means that all users will get the same information in their first week of membership – regardless of when they sign up. The following week they will get access to new content.
The drip-feed model is perfect for online courses or rapidly changing industries where news and regularly updated information would be useful.
Unlike the drip-feed model, which allows you to restrict which users have access to specific, regularly scheduled content, the all-in model gives everyone access to everything that your website has to offer. Members get access immediately after registering. You could be providing them access to your searchable directory, published content, downloadable resources and more.
The all-in model can function off of a one-time upfront payment or a monthly subscription. However, in order for the monthly payments to remain stable and retain members, you will probably want to offer something additional, such as bonus material each month. This ensures your members continue to receive exclusive content and should entice them to keep paying for their monthly membership rather than immediately cancelling once the get the initial information they were looking for.
3. The Online Course
Online courses are becoming an increasingly popular way of learning new information. It’s also an excellent idea for a membership site.
There are several options for you to explore when managing an online course. For example, you might want to use a drip-feed model to guide members through the course slowly. Alternatively, you might want to release everything at once, and let people work through it at their own pace. Lastly, some courses are always available, requiring no interaction with the creator, while others are only available at certain times of the year.
In most cases, though, people pay a fixed price to gain access to the course or a monthly subscription for access to multiple courses.
4. The Online Community
Next to a business search directory website such as Yelp, online communities are the most popular type of membership website. In this case, members will pay to gain access to an exclusive membership group. Online communities can include things like forums, messaging groups, alumni and business associations or other forms of online communities.
Members will pay to have access to the group as long as they are enjoying themselves and gaining useful information. In most cases, these communities are built around a particular topic or niche, to make sure that everyone shares a common interest. The key to creating this kind of membership site is to make sure that you build an welcoming online group with a true sense of community.
5. Fixed Term
In this type of membership site model, people will pay for information for a limited period of time. For example, they might pay for 12 weeks. After this period, the membership will expire. Whether or not they will still have access to that information will depend on the type of site that you are running.
Though this model is often tied to online courses, this doesn’t have to be the case. For example, you might have a four-week diet plan or exercise regimen. Users only pay for the four weeks that they will need to access the information you’re offering related to the diet plan or exercise regimen. Depending on the timeframe of the offering, this can be either paid each month or paid upfront.
One of the most significant benefits of the fixed term model is that your members will know precisely how long they will need to commit and won’t be left wondering how much money or time they will need to invest.
6. Product Model
Another popular type of membership model is the ability to offer your customers a digital product download. They will pay a one-time fee to access this product, which is often made available by a secure download. Once they pay for the product, the customer will receive an email containing information about how they can access the product. Typically, it will be stored behind the membership portal.
When creating this type of business model, it’s common to have multiple products available for purchase related to a specific niche or industry.
7. Service Model
This option involves the delivery of a service, which members pay monthly to access. For example, as part of a coaching business, people might pay to get access to a set amount of coaching sessions each month. While you don’t need a membership area to run this type of website, it’s recommended that you put exclusive materials in a private area. In this way, people can get more information about the topic at hand.
Alternatively, your service could be connecting consumers with business that are registered in your business directory. The businesses would pay you per lead or pay a flat membership fee for unlimited leads so that they can be connected with consumers searching your website for professionals. This model is essentially what the largest business directories, like Yelp, use.
As you’ve seen, there are many different membership models that you may want to explore or implement on your own membership website. However, in some cases, you may want to consider using a hybrid model. This type of model will allow you to combine multiple membership models.
For example, you might have a drip feed model for an online course, and a product model to sell stand-alone products, like e-books or videos. Therefore, the options listed above aren’t set in stone. You should feel free to customize your approach to create the best membership site for your niche and target audience.
If you aren’t sure about the type of model that would work best for your target industry, consider looking at what similar websites are doing. Doing so will allow you to identify which approaches work and which don’t.
We’ve introduced you to seven different membership options to add to your membership website to help you be more successful. So, consider adding a membership aspect to your website or start a new membership site today!
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