There are different types of membership sites divided by payment model. In order to choose right type of membership site to launch one you may need to choose from existent types.
So below is the description of various payment models you can use.
- Lifetime Payment
- Monthly Payment
- Time-Limited Access Payment
- Annual Payment
Some membership sites take payment only once and offer lifetime access to website. That means that once you made a payment you get unlimited access and support from service. Such a payment model is usually used by services that are dedicated on user-generated content. You often can see commercials on these sites and payment fee is usually used as a barrier to separate one kind of users from others – especially when it is about forums or clubs.
In order to keep site profitable life-time fee is usually rather high. High price has a significant impact on the number of new sign-ups. The fact site offers life-time subscription is usually goes along with content policy which considers high involvement of users in content creating. Really, no matter how high fee is – due to the fact the service is obligated to provide life-time services – it is impossible to earn on website that takes payment only once from the user if it is not driven by community’s content mainly. If choosing this payment model you need to provide sustainable flow of sign-ups or seek for additional ways of earning from site.
Some websites demand several hundreds of dollars to subscribe -which allows to gather funds for development and service. Those who managed to become members are usually showing high loyalty to website which is not surprising due to the amount of funds paid for membership.
One more disadvantage you face when implementing one-time payment is the fact that it is harder to sell membership. And not only the price is the reason. The thing is when user signs-up for membership site with monthly fees implemented he can be sure that it is possible to get refund any time and exit the plan when value service brings becomes dissatisfying. On the contrary, for one-time fee you pay once a huge sum and you are not guaranteed that all of the money are spend on high-quality service. So it is hard to make users sure they will use site for a life-time. Moreover, if you ought to sell the website there is no cash flow you can guarantee – as income is generated only by new sign-ups not by existing subscribers.
So you have to hold this website forever and keep service level as high as possible as any reputation loss for a website with expensive lifetime subscription will lead to dramatic damage and decrease of new sign-ups. On the contrary, you will get more funds from each sign-up for development and more income as a result.
One more option available to choose as a payment model is implementing annual fees for membership. Such a model is usually divided to 3,6 months as well as for some businesses annual model is too tough. To be clear member has to renew subscription and make payments in the beginning of new period of membership. This model allows you to collect more funds per client and considers the fact he cannot leave if the long-term period of membership is not finished yet.
Just like for a life-time access annual access consider rather high price for subscription. This is of course a disadvantage for client as the higher is the entrance price the harder it is to ground it and prove value of service. In order to become more specific service has to show why annual subscription is better than monthly. Usually in marketing there is used one kind of trick. For example, you plan to take 400$ for annual access to service content. Well, then to show this offer as the most attractive you can place another plan right beneath – monthly plan. However, the price of the monthly plan should make at least 50-60$ – then anyone who can make a simple calculation will find out that 12*60= 720$ which is much more than 400$. That’s how you can sell annual plans best or take more margin if user has chosen monthly plan.
Actually annually payment demands high level of loyalty from your client which makes it harder to sell it. Just consider is there a service you are using for more than a year? If you hold such a service – this is the main condition to be followed to launch annual subscription plan.
Moreover, let’s consider annual fee makes 400$. User will have much more expectations from service he paid 400$ even if you know 400$ is only like 34$ a month. He will have less expectations from service he is paying 40$ monthly to.
Which means that you need to have even stricter standards to satisfy your client that in the end of year must think service worthed the fee. In this case you will face high bounce rate and client that is dealing with for more than one year is not only the most demanding one but is also the most loyal one. To say more, it is hard to sell or provide changes in a service with annual subscription. Why? Because users that have paid for the service are expecting for table and common service and updates or changes are usually met negatively.
If your website runs successfully and your clients remain satisfied you have very large prospectives with annual plan as you already have loyal client base that accumulates new clients and provides sustainable cash flow.
Time-Limited Access Payment
Some membership websites are dedicated to education and learning. And for those it is usually fit time-limited access payment. This kind of subscription considers free access to content for a certain amount of time. The more is the access period the more is the fee. The plus of such an approach is in the fact that when user exactly knows how much time he needs to pay for to take the subject in he is more likely to choose your service. Let’s take as an example learning course on web-design. If you just write that student has to pay 50$ per month to learn web-design you will get a result worse than if you say that course takes 3 months (even if he has to pay for three months course more). Why? Because in the first case student is paying for time, while in the second he thinks that he pays for result.
Such an approach for learning membership sites is common and you can see one more advantage from it – student pays for package – a single program that can be copied and remain not outdated for thousands of students. that means that bringing less effort you gain more profit which is easier to get.
It depends on your subject – what is the period of time needed to learn it. However, you can make it take as long as you want. It depends on students whether your program becomes successful or not.
Okay, so when the learning period ends you lose current student. For this program. This is a disadvantage as if you run site that is based on community content or expertise monthly access is actual as there is always some new content for user. While if you have a time limited access implemented and the course is passed there is no reason for a member to retain. Unless you provide modified or specialized courses to improve skills or bring more practice.
Monthly Payment business model is the best option for a web-site driven by a content produced by community or expert. This is the most common type of payment model implemented. User pay each month for an access to the website to prolong membership and this kind of business model gives you less cashflow in the beginning of membership period, however it is the most stable and easy sold model. Due to this business model client refuse membership any time and stop being your client. However, due comparably low entry fee and availability to analyze feedbacks you can minimize negative effects from such kinds of disadvantages.
Usually, payment is made automatically each month from the credit card. That means that in order to cancel subscription user has to do it manually. However, if your clients are satisfied leaving rate will make a minimum and high client satisfaction always leads to sustainable growth of client base. Ad this is where you can get resources for further development.
So, at first you should to deside what type of payment model you need for Membership site and after this start to create it. But don’t forget – for all types of Membership Subscription Plans which were described in this post – you can use our Membership solution. Choose your Payment Model and build an ideal WordPress Membership Website with Supsystic!