top of page
< Back

Choosing the Right Membership Site Model

Choosing the Right Membership Site Model

The first thing to consider is what type of membership site to set up. Let’s talk about a few of the common models, as well as the pros and cons of each one.


The first membership site model is the “vault” model.


This is where your customers pay their entire membership fee upfront, and in exchange they get lifetime access to the membership materials.


That’s easy enough in terms of membership site management since you don’t really need to do, well, anything. And you get a chunk of money upfront rather than having it streaming in month after month.


However, you may find that it’s not as profitable as other membership sites. And that’s because you’re not sending your members new content every month, which gives you an opportunity to recommend related offers.


When members expect you to email them every week or so with a link to download the new content that they’ve already paid for, they’re going to open EVERY email you send. And that’s a good thing, because every email you send and every fresh piece of content you upload to your membership site gives you a chance to recommend a related offer.


Can you email your members every week even they’re a member of a vault site and NOT a monthly membership site? Of course you can – and you definitely SHOULD do that. But generally, your members have already received all the content they paid for, so they’re not paying as much attention to the content you’re sending them via email, they’re not opening those emails as often, and they’re not seeing your offers as often either.


Of course, you can send these members new tips and other how-to content to keep them opening their emails. But if you’re sending fresh tips, reports, videos and other content on a weekly or monthly basis anyway, then you might just consider running a monthly membership site since you’re basically doing the work already anyway.


Which brings us to the next model to consider…


The second model is the ongoing monthly membership site.


This is where your members pay a monthly fee, and in exchange they get continued access to the site.


If you’re running a SaaS site – which is software as a service – then your members get continued access to the software in exchange for paying their monthly fee. For example, maybe you’re offering access to a meal-planning software for $10 a month. As long as people keep paying their fee, they’ll continue to enjoy access.


This of course is one of the easiest monthly sites to run, since you don’t need to provide anything new every month. You just need to be sure your software is running smoothly for all your members.


The other type of common monthly membership is where you provide new content every month, such as providing new training materials every month.


For example, if you’re running a cooking membership, then you might provide new videos every month teaching your members different cooking techniques.


Another common membership is a licensing membership. Here you provide new content to members every month, along with the license to that content. Typically, you’d offer a private label rights license or a resell rights license to the content.


The advantage of running this type of membership site is that you get a fresh set of membership fees flowing into your bank account month after month. The disadvantage is that unless you’re running a SaaS-type membership or similar, then you need to be sending your members new content month after month after month… seemingly forever.


If your site is profitable, that’s not a problem. Indeed, in just moments you’ll learn about ways to run this sort of membership site in as hands-free way as possible.


But first, let’s talk about another common model…


The third model is the fixed-term membership site.


This is where you provide new content to your members for a specified period of time, and your members pay their monthly membership fee for that same period of time.  That time period might be three months, six months, nine months, a year or perhaps even more.


For example, you might create a training site where you deliver 24 lessons – one each week for six months – to your members. In order to keep receiving the training, your members need to pay their monthly fee. Once the six months is up, the recurring billing stops, and you’re no longer required to keep sending new content.


The advantage of this type of membership site is you only need to create the content once – and once you’ve created it, you have no need to keep creating and uploading content every week. As such, once you’ve created the content, this membership site is very easy to run—indeed, it’s practically hands free.


The second advantage is that this style of site is oftentimes more profitable than a monthly membership site. And that’s because your members see a clear end in sight, so they stick around for the duration.


Compare that to a monthly membership site, where members might drop out around the three-month mark. A good onboarding sequence can help boost that retention rate… but nonetheless, you may see members of a fixed-term membership site stick around for the duration, which is often longer than they would stick around for an ongoing site.


So, the point here is that there are pros and cons to all of these membership models. However, if you’re looking for something profitable yet doesn’t require you to provide new content every month, then you’ll want to consider a fixed-term membership site.


Whichever model you choose, you’re still going to want to look for ways to make its management as easy as possible.

bottom of page