Published On: Thu, Apr 16th, 2020

4 Tips for Running a Successful Membership Site

There are lots of ways to make money online. There are thousands of unique strategies and dozens of successful business models. But if you want to generate a predictable, recurring revenue with low overhead expenses, a membership site is one great option. 

photo/ OpenClipart-Vectors

What is a Membership Site?

A membership site is basically a premium website – or a gated portion of a website – where users can pay a subscription fee for the right to access whatever is behind the gate. Membership sites typically sell online courses and education, digital resources, webinars, eBooks, consulting, and other similar items.

4 Tips to Help You be Successful

There are membership sites in every niche – finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, health and beauty, fitness, fashion, design, education, etc. And if you study the top performing sites in each of these niches, you’ll discover that they all keep things simple. 

Here are some principles you can apply in your own pursuit of membership site success:


  • Get Personal


Generic doesn’t cut it. People can get generic content and resources anywhere on the web. They join membership websites because they want something specific and personal. 

According to one study, 79 percent of members say they look for targeted and valuable content from the organizations they pay to be a part of.

“However, people have different reasons for joining membership organizations,” MembershipWorks explains. “So before you can even begin to offer personalized and targeted content, you need to know your members well. Collect member data through surveys and feedback forms, and tweak your engagement strategy based on the results.”

When customers feel like you understand them at a micro level, they’ll be much more loyal over time. Don’t miss this!


  • Create Multiple Tiers


Membership tiers are attractive to members and lucrative for you.

The best strategy is to come up with three different tiers – the low tier, mid tier, and high tier. This three-tiered approach taps into the power of anchoring. Your goal is to get most people to pay for the mid tier. So if you really want to charge $19 per month, you’d set your low tier at $16, the mid tier at $19, and the high tier at $27 per month. Most people are going to see the $19 option as being the most affordable (it’s only $3 more). And if you happen to get some high tier members, great!

The tiered approach also tells you something about your members. It tells you who is the most serious and/or has the willingness to pay top dollar for your products and services. This gives you an idea of the type of members to focus on when you have new offers and upsells. 


  • Interact and Engage


Engagement has to be high on a membership site. It’s not enough to publish an occasional blog post or PDF and expect your members to be satisfied. You have to get in front of them and interact. Video is the best medium, but you can also use things like podcasts, conference calls, screen-sharing webinars, etc.


  • Bring Your Community Together


Anyone can buy a one-off product and go on their merry way. People join membership groups for a number of reasons, but community is a big part. They want to feel like they’re part of something big and collective. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to feed this desire.

Find ways to bring your community together so they can engage with one another (and not just you). This might look like live events, group message boards, or social media groups.

Just Do It!

“For years, I knew that I wanted to run a membership site,” entrepreneur Ali Luke writes. “I loved the idea of regular monthly income and a dedicated group of writers to work with. But I kept putting it off. I didn’t think I was good enough. I didn’t think I had enough to offer. But I could’ve gotten it going much earlier than I did.”

If you talk to any entrepreneur behind a successful membership site, they’ll tell you to dive in. You’ll never be completely ready, but you should start anyway. 

Stat with an extremely low price (or maybe even a free offer to some charter members) and focus on developing a minimum viable product (MVP). Your first version doesn’t have to be perfect. The important thing is that you begin gathering insights, iterating, and improving. You’ll learn so much more by doing than you ever will by sitting on the sidelines planning. 

Author: Anna Johansson

7 Ways to Make More Money in Property Management

How to Kickstart Your Career in Sports


On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter

* indicates required

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.


Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter



At the Movies

Pin It