Setting up a members only site and selling a monthly subscription is one of the top recurring revenue generating ideas that just about anyone can do.
Most often the membership charges are monthly, quarterly, or annually.
How does a Membership Site Work?
A membership site functions by restricting access to the premium content most desired by your customers. Admittance is allowed to paying members only. The content is higher level or have a superior value. The justifications for charging a monthly premium include the addition of fresh and useful content each month.
In some circumstances a monthly fee may be user driven and only be charged for the duration of desired access. For example, a training site with finite lessons. This setup would allow the user to cancel once they have completed the training.
In other cases a membership site is set up to restrict access but there is only the one time fee, or there is a cap on the number of months to be charged. After that the individual still has access to the membership area but there will be no more fees applied.
Membership websites are an excellent way to deliver value and content, and still restrict access to your material. This can help boost the retention on a course that has a three or six time payment plan. It is also a good way to “drip-feed” content over a specified training period.
*Side Note* – Drip-feeding content is an accepted way to receive and deliver training course materials. Because of this you can actually sell memberships to a site that the
This way, you might find there isn’t as much demand for the idea you had and save yourself a boat-load of work. OR. You might find your buyers are really great and you build out your membership bigger than anticipated. If the second one happens you can start
A membership site can be completely exclusive content, or a mix of free and premium. Membership sites don’t need to be paid. They can be structured to authorise access in exchange for an email. If a person who was granted admittance unsubscribes from your list, you just remove their privilege.
Membership Site Benefits
If you set it up for monthly payments then you have an excellent passive income project. Continuity income from automatic monthly payments using a merchant account specifically set up to automatically take the money. This can be from your users credit card, PayPal account, or whatever system you choose to set up.
The drawback to this set-up is it does require some babysitting. Your clients will have questions in the forum or Q&A section. People will lose passwords, forget payments, and want their money back when they forget to cancel.
You have to be very wary of how and with whom you set up your merchant account. Be sure you are using a company familiar with online sales. You will experience times of unusually high volume sales (like during a big JV launch). You will get chargebacks from people who change their minds. Because of this you must choose your merchant carefully and ensure they are familiar with the extremes you could face with online digital sales.
Handling High Volumes of Members
One way to manage this is to have a centralized help desk and/or appoint “moderators”. Moderators will often keep an eye on things for a small piece of the income or for a few free courses.
As the site continues to gain in popularity your membership grow and so will your monthly passive income.
Membership sites are also good for having a captive audience. You can promote within your site for additional products or services. People already your paying customers will be more likely to buy other products – provided they are happy with you.
How Much to Charge?
You can also have different levels of memberships with each having their own benefits and exclusiveness. Each one costs a little more than the other. If you do set this up make sure the “teaser” content and course titles are available to all the other levels.
The average “stick” rate of a member is about three months. This way you can closely estimate monthly revenue.
Membership sites are fairly simple to set up. There is a little more involved than setting up a blog and different choices for access but most platforms have good training resource. You can get free membership plugins or even go as simply as just setting passwords on blog posts or in your root files.
To see what it looks like – here is a restricted post, just enter this password: $LetMeIn$
Increasing Membership Sales
After you know what your average stick rate is (how long people stay in your membership program as a paying client) you may want to offer a “deal” to pay for it all at once. You can offer different payments so you can appeal to a broader spectrum of people and turn it into more profit.
For example, if your usual monthly fee is $27 and the average person stays for 2 months or $54. Try offering packages like: $27 monthly or $67 quarterly or $197 annually
It shows BIG savings to your customer and chances are you can turn the $54 into $67 in many cases. You will also see conversions on the annual purchases.
If you are drip feeding content you need to be entertaining and informative in your fresh content to encourage people to stay longer. You can add weekly or monthly live coaching as well to help people consume the information, answer questions, and engage with your followers..
You could also try $1 trial and first payment in 7 days to boost signups and paying customers.
Increase the VALUE to make the membership site look like more of a bargain, put bundles of other products inside the portal being offered as sign-up bonuses. Bundle in products that have already sold and established their value previously.
These products could still be for sale separately at higher prices.
How to Build Your Membership Site
There are several types of membership plugin’s or portals you can choose from. Some free, some really expensive.
To profit from a membership site you need to get people to sign up in the first place. To get the ball rolling on a new site, you can have contests where the winners are encouraged to ask questions, get in on live webinars etc. This way you can “pad” your content with an active group as you transition to a paid model.