How to Choose a Membership Model: 7 Concepts to Consider

Updated: May 8

Choosing the best type of membership site for your business can be a challenge but taking the time to pick the right one will pay dividends in the long run.

We've put together a list of membership site concepts that are easy to implement and can provide a sustainable source of income.

The Freemium Site - Provide free content to attract the right prospects and convert them into paying customers. This type of membership site is ideal for businesses who need to create a lot of value before the buying decision is made. The freemium site can be used by offering basic functionality that then requires a member to upgrade to get additional features or it can be based on access to a higher level of content.

The Micro Fan Site - These are simple memberships that are priced low and provide simple yet desirable value. Think Dollar Shave Club, $1 a month for a new razor. You can also use it for content, for example, what if you could provide a short piece of daily content and only charge $3 a month but can serve 10,000 people? The benefit of this membership is that it's easy and low cost to start and maintain, and you can serve a lot of customers so it can be a really nice life-style business.

The Hyper Niche Site - This type of site will depend a lot on your current existing business or your access to a deep knowledge base. One of the best examples of this is from Ryan Levesque (Author of the book ASK) and his Orchids Made Easy membership site. Ryan took a very niche market, orchid care, and turned it into a membership site that made him up to $25K a month. No matter how focused your offering is, there is a market for it.

The Whole Enchilada - This type of site grants people access to a large amount of content that they can easily browse through and use what serve them in the moment. Usually this content is helpful in small bit size portions that are easily consumed and don't require a specific track or curriculum to achieve optimal outcome. Digital Marketer has several versions of this going right now with their Lab Plus product.

The Drip Model - This type of site is exactly how it sounds. You provide members access to content but it is delivered to them over time in small increments. This is most valuable when your content builds on itself to help members receive the optimal outcome.

The Community - Getting access to a community is a huge part of why people join membership sites, so much so that some membership sites are based on offering community only. Whether the community is on a form, through comments on content or on a Facebook group, building a membership site based on community offers a lot of advantages that content based sites done but there are also drawbacks. For example, you don't need nearly the amount of content but there is a lot of management involved in keeping a community safe and engaged.

Service Based Membership - This is a new membership model that a lot of service businesses are relying on to generate reliable monthly revenue.This type of membership occurs when service providers offer their service in an ongoing way for a monthly fee. A great example of this is when a carpet cleaner signs a customer up for ongoing services and is paid a monthly fee in exchange, the carpet cleaner agrees to come clean the home every 6 months and to be available for clearly defined emergency cleanings. The carpet cleaner sets up a simple membership site for customers to access or modify billing information or make an adjustment to a scheduled cleaning. This is a great way for a service provider to upgrade the service to their customers and great a more predictable revenue stream.

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