One of my coaching clients recently asked me this question…
“Are membership sites trending up or down?”
And my answer to that was simple…
As long as businesses have been selling goods/services to people – “memberships” have been around, just in different formats.
How many of you remember the days when the milk man would come by on a regular basis and drop of your milk? Or when you would check your mail and Columbia House had sent you 12 tapes or CD’s for the price of 1 if you subscribed to their annual membership.
Fast forward to today…
Do you have an Amazon Prime account? As of September 2017, over 90 million of us have one. That is up from 63 million the previous year. This is one example of what a membership looks like today.
Memberships come in all different shapes and sizes. From Netflix to Weight Watchers to SaaS apps and everything in between.
The newest trend in membership sites is in NICHE-related membership sites. The growth of these narrowly focused membership sites is explosive. Literally ANY niche you can imagine.
You can create your own Membership site on your own website, or on one of many of the membership platforms now available like Teachable or Udemy. People are sharing their expertise and knowledge and in many cases, generating monthly/annual revenue from hundreds or thousands of members.
Membership sites typically fall into one of four models or structures. When considering creating a membership site, one of the early important decisions you need to make at the beginning, in the planning process, is what model or combination of models you’ll use.
Buffet or All-In-One Model
This is a very simple model where the member signs up and then has access to a wealth of content and resources. While content may be regularly added or updated, it’s not drip-fed to the member, a little bit at a time on a pre-determined schedule. It is all there and listed for members to come and use as they need. They typically pay once and receive lifetime access, or pay at recurring intervals, typically monthly or annually.
This model is called drip-feed because the content is made available to its members gradually, on a pre-determined schedule. They join the membership and then receive specific content on a regular basis. This content might be the latest industry news, or it frequently is a training course that releases a new lesson every week. Most commonly, members pay a recurring fee and they receive content until their payments stop, or the training course ends. Often this is how Associations train and certify their members on topics important to them.
Fixed-Term Membership Site
A fixed-term membership gives the member access for a specific length of time and they acknowledge this when the sign-up. For example, it might be a three-week membership course for a new employee hire. During those three weeks, they will have access to all the content on the site. Of course, the member can renew their membership or sign up again if they want to use the site in the future.
This is a common model for courses since the course has a fixed period of time. Another common use of this model is to offer a “trial membership” for a week or two, allowing the member to sample the content, and then at the end of the trial period, decide if they want to continue with a full membership subscription.
Hybrid Membership Site
Many membership sites employ a hybrid model that combines drip-feed, all-in-one, and/or fixed term. This could be a site that has a content archive and also sends a weekly newsletter with news and tips. You can offer a fixed-term option for members who only need access for a specific or limited time.
Keep in mind that many successful membership sites are created for internal employees only, and there is no charge for membership. This provides a protected, secure environment to share company information, industry updates, employee training and certification programs, and to collect suggestions and create a community of comments and feedback on any topic relevant to the employees and the company. This also allows access to be given or taken away based on the status of an employee.
If a membership site is of interest to you, grab a copy of the free eBook below and you will receive additional information on creating membership sites and the tools to help you do so.