If you decide to start successful online business you should consider running membership site. Membership site is a type of service which mainly earns on subscription plans.
There are three main types of Membership sites divided by the driver:
- Product & Personality
Such a division was done due to the fact that business model applied depends on the core of membership site.
If it is community – then owner has to concentrate on engagement of new users.
For content-driven membership site it is important to make the content that will attract new subscribers.
For product&personality membership site everything depends on product and personality this site is built around.
Membership site built around community operates due to fact there is a field or a subject that unites people involved to membership site. It can be either a place where professionals discuss specific job-oriented subjects or enthusiasts hold conversations on specific themes.
The thing is such a membership site is all about giving its members an opportunity to express and communicate. Usually, in such a membership site unique and target-oriented content is supplied by users. Everything membership site holder has to do is to provide conditions and smooth service.
Community-driven membership sites are descendants of forums and chats, so you have to provide user-ranking system. there are always authoritative members – users that provide most of traffic and activity.
So let’s consider examples of two types of community-driven membership sites – those for enthusiasts and professionals.
Community-driven sites for Enthusiasts
There can be a subject of a way of life that unites people. And you can build membership site around that subject.
One of the most successful examples of such a site is Geeks Life resource.
This is tech-oriented site dedicated to discussions of tech news, IT-related topics and etc. Target audience of this website are all of those who are connected or feel enthusiastic about hi-tech and IT.
This website is the place where advanced users publish content and its value cannot be overestimated as it is provided by users that bring much efforts to create it and they are usually good at subject they write/ create a content about.
The business model is simple – users purchase subscription plan for membership monthly in order to get an access to website’s content. The thing is the cheapest plan costs $3. However, you can pay more if you want and set your own price for subscription which leads to serious increase of profit as most of the users are grateful for what they get on Geeks Life.
Such a site is good idea – all you have to do is to attract as many enthusiasts as you can in a certain moment and give a start to discussions that call emotional response from your audience. Once you get a core of active users you will need to limit an access to the site which can be done by starting subscription that lets you to earn and for your users necessity to pay will become a filter that leaves behind those who do not estimate the subject or community enough.
Community-driven sites for Professionals
Membership site for professionals is the place where people that work or are going to work in a certain industry unite to discuss problems, issues and prospectives.
This kind of site provides a vast of useful information both for beginners and professionals. That’s why being a member of such a community values so high. Just imagine that you have a place where there are many people that work in your industry. Any question can be resolved and any problem can be solved as users of this community may share experience.
As an example of successful membership site you can consider YouPreneur – resource for entrepreneurs. All questions related to running business and startups, legislative issues are discussed there. How to attract clients, how to optimize costs and earn more on the same product – all the questions are discussed.
There are many entrepreneurs ready to help – not for a fee – just because this community was developed to unite such people.
So if you are going to run membership site for professionals’ community the niche is still open as there are many professions and people that would like to be members of professional communities no matter how high fees is.
What you have to do to start such a membership site is to attract good speakers proficient in the industry you are building site around and then you just have to invest in new followers that will make a core of your resource.
Content is a king – an expression you usually read in articles related to website running. This phrase must become your principle if you are going to run content-driven membership website.
Membership sites built around content differ from community-driven membership sites by the fact that content has to be delivered by the site holder – not by the community members. Value of the content must be unquestionable – that’s why content creation for such a website must be delegated only to expert who can express in a simple and smart way.
There are two types of content-driven membership sites divided by the type of content:
- Expert’s advice
These are two types of content that can have enough value for users to build around a membership site with paid subscription.
Educational Membership Site
A question may arise – how can there be an educational membership site? Isn’t it easier to subscribe to online course where you only pay for the education period, where you have a mentor proficient enough to lead you through educational process?
Well, the thing is some of the potential students have no time for this kind of courses and they prefer to pay for videos, articles and other content that allows them to study subject when they want to.
Another reason for educational membership sites to be successful is the fact usually along with base course there is always up-to-date content on practical methods and cases. For example, membership site is dedicated to e-marketing and there is new trend that has just appeared – desktop/browser notifications about updates. If you have just finished paid base course of e-marketing you cannot get any valuable info from your mentors about notification tools.
However, if you are signed up to e-marketing education membership site it is likely that soon after tool appears there will be a bunch of articles and other media content on it describing successful cases and the best ways to use it.
This is what makes educational membership sites so valuable for users and such a good asset for webmaster. If you are an expert in your field and you are ought to provide sustainable amount of content continuously – your membership site will be successful.
To be specific let’s consider onlinemarketinginstitute.com – a membership education site designed to provide education for future online marketers. From the beginning it was a website ran by couple of dedicated online marketers willing to provide valuable content and now it is a very popular and profitable membership site with paid subscription plan.
The secret of success is obvious – they provided users with really valuable content.
Expert’s Membership Site
However, educational content is not the only one people are ready to purchase paid subscribe on a membership site for. Expert’s advice can also be valuable enough to get a financial reward.
Just imagine that you have a hobby or you are interested in a certain field and there is a resource where expert can answer on all of your questions in a simple manner. That’s what membership sites driven by experts are built around.
People get subscribed because an authoritative and proficient person gives advices and guides worth to adhere to. The difference between googling subject and subscribing to membership site related to subject is obvious – you get more specific answer and you are guaranteed that an answer is given by expert – not a dilettante.
There is a good example of such a membership website – reflexionyoga.com. This resource is dedicated to disclose all secrets of yoga and give practical guides and advices on techniques and the best ways of using those techniques.
There are two reasons this website became so popular – yoga is a trend and site holders provide content of high-quality valuable for users. That’s why number of website subscribers keeps growing although there are thousands of resources with free access containing content of a similar subject.
Product & Person
There are products and celebrities meaningful so much that a huge informational wave and public interest are arisen around them. It can be any kind of product that is valuable enough to manage keeping sustainable interest or a person that is capable to keep providing viral content.
For example, let’s consider Lord of the Rings universe. Book was written many years ago, but it remains to be one of the most popular books ever published and there are millions of fans that read books, play games or are involved to roleplaying related to Lord of the Rings universe.
There are many online and offline communities built around LOTR universe and that’s the example future membership owner should consider to make a successful website. Your goal as a website runner is to collaborate people that are interested in product or person in one community and apart from community-driven site the core must be not the community but the product/person.
It is defined by the fact that community’s activity fully relies on product – whether there are updates to it or events taking place. So your membership site’s success fully relies on product awareness and ability to provide appropriate services and conditions.
If membership website is dedicated to a person it really has to be ran by such a person – otherwise it becomes another fan site which cannot be made with paid membership. The only condition membership site built around a person with paid subscription can be successful is a fact the members of community have an exclusive to that person in online or offline.
So as an example of a paid membership site built around a product we can take Quiet Speculation – membership site dedicated to card game Magic to Gathering. It doesn’t matter what are the rules of the game – the main catch of the website is the fact there are many fans of the game concentrated here and there is provided all information about events like tournaments etc. This is a membership site with limited access and exclusive content about the subject of website – that is the secret of success.
Let’s summarize. At first you should to deside what type of Membership site do you need and after this start to create it. But for all types of Membership websites which were described in this post – you can use Membership by Supsystic plugin. Our membership solution will help you to build an ideal community for your business!