Today we’re going to look another component of starting a membership site: Models and Choices. This is where you’re going to take a look at your business goals and your topic in order to decide the best membership model to fit your needs. If you haven’t read my previous post on Creating a Unique Membership Site, take a look at it after you go through this one.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the best and most popular models…
Model #1: The Drip-Feed (Ongoing) Membership Site
This is one of the most popular types of membership sites. It works like this: your members pay a regular fee (usually monthly), and in exchange you deliver new content to them on a weekly or monthly basis.
Because this membership site goes on indefinitely, it works particularly well for two types of content:
- Big, sprawling topics. For example, a site teaching people how to make money online is such a big topic that you could produce new material every month for years.
- PLR/resell rights sites. Here’s where you produce products with resell rights or private label rights for your members to use and resell. You can run this sort of site indefinitely.
…. Or any other site where you have the capacity to deliver fresh content each and every month.
One big advantage of this style of membership site is that you have a lot of backend sales opportunities (as long as the person remains a member). In other words, you get an opportunity to promote another related offer every time you deliver new content to your members.
However, the churn or attrition rate (the number of people dropping out) can be high with an ongoing membership site. There are ways to reduce the churn rate, which we’ll talk about later in this course. Another way to improve retention/reduce churn is to select a different membership model, especially the fixed-term model. Which brings us to the next point…
Model #2: The Fixed-Term Membership Site
The premise behind this site is that you deliver new content (and members pay their monthly fee) for a set amount of time, such as three months, six months, one year or more. This works great for sites where you’re delivering a set amount of content, such as a training site.
For example, you might set up a six-month training site that offers 24 lessons (one per week) on the topic of generating web traffic.
The advantage of doing a fixed-term membership site over an ongoing site is that the retention rate tends to be higher. That’s because people see an end in sight, so they want to finish what they start. (And that means more membership fee profits in your pocket, as well as opportunities to sell related offers on the backend.)
For example, if you set up a marketing site that goes on indefinitely, you’d probably have people dropping out after an average of three months. If you set up a fixed-term site that goes for six months, you’d have more people sticking around and paying their membership fee for the full six months (which doubles your money in this example, not including backend opportunities).
And here’s one more advantage: you can run your entire membership site through your autoresponder (I recommend you get started with the free version of AWeber). Just upload your content to a hidden place on your website, and then use your autoresponder to deliver links to this content on a weekly basis. Super easy .
It’s a true “set it and forget it” model. Once you setup the series of content pieces, you have no more ongoing content creation commitments. You can focus on member acquisition so new members are continually joining.
EXAMPLE: The membership site at Earncome is a 12-month “fixed-term” membership site (FTM) consisting of 12 monthly modules of 10 lessons each (120 lessons total throughout the year and over 1,000 pages of content) plus other resources (checklists, cheat sheets, worksheets, templates, etc.).
Model #3: The Vault Membership Site
Here’s where you collect a large amount of content and deliver it all at once to members.
Depending on your topic, members may like this because they get instant gratification.
For example, you may deliver a complete course and all the bonuses at once (which impresses members when they see all the content of the offer).
The downside of this style of membership is that since you’re not delivering new content weekly or monthly via email, your members may stop reading your emails. And that means you could potentially miss out on backend opportunities. Plus, you only get paid one time.
However, you can get around this by being sure to create an onboarding sequence, and then continue sending good content regularly in order to train your members to continue to open your emails.
For example: You might send new tips, tools and other valuable content every week, which keeps members happy and keeps them opening your emails every single week.
Model #4: The SaaS Membership Site
The software as a service membership site gives people ongoing access to software in exchange for a monthly fee. An example of this is your autoresponder, where you pay a monthly fee in exchange for access to the platform that helps you manage your list, capture new leads, segment them, send them emails, etc.
This works well for any type of software that people are likely to use on a regular basis (especially weekly), as then they’ll remain members because they feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
For example, you might sell access to a meal planning and exercise-tracking platform. You can even set it up so that if people stop paying the fee, they’ll not only lose access to the software, but also all the data the software collected (e.g., their past meals, fitness routines, goals, etc.). In fact, a “tracking progress” platform in just about all markets (especially in conjunction with content) is a good option for a membership site as it helps customers work towards an outcome and visualize their journey.
Model #5: The Coaching/Community Site
Here’s where you offer access to a community in exchange for a monthly fee. You might set up a private forum or Facebook group where members can get support and ask questions from their peers as well as from you (via group coaching).
For example, you might sell access to a weight-loss support group for people who are trying to lose weight. Another example is if you offer group-coaching to people who are setting up their own businesses.
The advantage of this sort of membership site is that people who drop out don’t just lose access to valuable information, they lose access to personal support and a community. And that means you tend to have a higher retention rate. You can also sell backend offers directly in the group (as well as via email).
Membership Site Models: Your Turn
Now it’s time for you to choose your model, while thinking about the membership site models that are of interest to you. Think about your audience and the type of content you’d like to deliver to this audience. Also consider your goals for the membership site (e.g., are you focusing on backend opportunities?). Then ask yourself, which membership site models are the best fit for your content, audience and goals?
I use Wishlist Member for more than 60 membership sites, and have been with them since they began in 2007!
I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and my goal is to connect with you if you have more than just a passing interest in getting started with an online business. I most recently released Really Simple SEO Tips and Keywords for Beginners and this is an excellent place to begin. Please take a look while it’s still at its introductory pricing.