Should You Start a Membership Site? Ideas for Membership Sites…

If you’re looking for ideas for membership sites and trying to decide if you should start one this post is for you.

In 2010 I created my first membership site. 

It was simple. You could call it a “subscription” site, even. 

I showed up once a month and taught a class via live webinar. 

I used this same strategy for about 12 years successfully! It was simple, effective, fast and cost me no extra money on a team or any complicated setup.

Over the years I’ve tested various membership site models and worked with many people running sites, plus signed up for plenty as a member.

Here’s me around that time acting like Vanna White with my laptop lol!

Here are my favorite ideas for membership sites that are working online now:

Self Serve Content Memberships

I’ve just today as I update this joined a membership that has courses available on self-serve format. I log in and I go through the courses. It also includes a community element and monthly live calls with the host. The topic of this membership is therapy (self healing) but it can be in any area such as crochet, horse riding, online marketing or anything that can have courses or online training!

Live Training or Class Memberships

I’m part of another membership where there is a weekly live training. This is a high commitment type of membership as you’ll need to show up. During the pandemic we certainly saw a fair share of yoga class and workout memberships popping up or promoting themselves. This isn’t the only time or the only topic to thrive with his membership type. There are so many ideas for membership sites where you can offer a live teaching – crafts, art, exercise, nutrition, cooking and more!

Community Style Membership

In this membership the focus is mostly or possibly entirely on the community. Members pay to be part of an exclusive community that is likely in some way more dedicated than a big free space. Membership site examples for this kind of offer could be any type of niche where people want to connect with others. More specifically in online marketing, video creation for business owners, designers (home or web) and more.

Coaching Memberships

Another type of membership site is one that puts coaching at the front of the offering. This could be a group coaching where people show up on a weekly or monthly basis to a live zoom meeting. It could also include some sort of one on one coaching with the founder or the team. This fits a huge range of niches from life coaching to weight training to creative ventures and more.

Template Memberships

Templates for resumes, press releases, email newsletters, salespages and anything you can think of that will help people do what they want to faster. This is a great membership because people love to collect things they can use later. If it’s the type of template they may use later or over and over they’re likely to stay in your membership for a while.

Digital Asset Memberships

There are memberships where you can download digital assets like audios, videos, images and more. There are clipart sites or sites with “stickers” for digital calendars and more. People need these for so many reasons for business or personal. I signed up for a site called Creative Fabrica on a one year recurring membership last year when we bought our Cricut cutting tool.

Subscription Memberships

If you sell products, digital or even physical, you could offer a membership to those products. This is obviously a very popular type of membership with subscription boxes being everywhere. It’s also very easy to set up with digital products as well. Nothing additional to create or offer – just one product per month for a monthly discount.

PLR Memberships

Website owners use PLR, also known as Private Label Rights, to provide content in many ways. This could be for their blog content, email marketing, creating free downloads or paid reports, courses and more. Sites who create this kind of content can offer memberships where members get access to new content every month.

Why Start a Membership Site

In 2010 I was running a course on how to create websites in WordPress. The course ran every three months and it was selling great! I would have five figure launches of the course but in-between those sales… nothing!

I felt like I was on a big ol income roller coaster (see graphic below)… and it was NO FUN!

So I set to working trying to figure out how to stabilize that income.

The first thought I had was to start a membership site. I was working with a business coach at the time and I asked her what she thought. She suggested I come up with at least one year worth of content and if I could that I should go for it.

The rest, as they say, is history!

Ideas for membership sites and why start one!

From the graphic above you can see how a baseline income of a few thousand a month can help you avoid doing those great big income dips… it helps stabilize your income and your lifestyle.

This was the reason I started my membership site.

It’s not the only reason, though.

In 2005 I was a single mom trying to figure out how to earn a living online and I joined a membership that helped me change my life. It just seemed so natural to me to want to create something like that an potentially impact the lives of others in this big, beautiful way.

Membership sites gather your most loyal customers and keep them close… it’s just a great business model!

Ideas for Membership Sites – How to Start:

  • Come up with a monthly recurring offer that you can deliver. Something your people will be excited to buy month after month. This can be a simple offer at first.
  • Choose the tech to get it started. I use ThriveCartMailerliteZoomVimeo and Canva Pro for my membership site.
  • START your membership or subscription offer. Don’t delay. Don’t overthink. I thought of my first membership and launched it within a few days. I wrote out about 24 months of topics and just got to it! What that means is you’ll want to get specific on your first offer, set up a sign up page and start marketing (I like emails). 
  • START marketing – As I said I like email and if you want help learning how to write emails fast so you can do them EVERY day to build the relationship and consistent sales then check out my training this Thursday called Write Emails Faster OR join Email Practice Club for only $25 and get that training FREE. 

Membership Sites Can Be Easy to Manage

When people think of starting a membership site they often think it needs to be this huge undertaking that has to take months and months to plan. 

It doesn’t have to be. 

Once I got the idea for Email Practice Club I got going very quickly and started get new members right away. My community knows me as a prolific email marketing and it was such a natural fit membership for me. 

Think of how your community knows you and something you’d like to create for YEARS to come. I have been doing email marketing for over 15 years now so I am quite positive I’m not going to get sick of it anytime soon! 

People have a lot of things holding them back when it comes to launching a membership site. Here are my answers to these biggest roadblocks:

FAQs on Membership Websites & Ideas

Will starting a membership website take up too much of my time?

It doesn’t have to! You can run a membership on only a few hours a month or it could be a full-time job. My membership, Email Practice Club, runs on only about 10 hours of my own work every month. That’s about 2 hours to create a training, 30 mins to create monthly prompts, 1 hour to record weekly pep talks and a few other hours to answer members in the group or add other resources/updates to the membership.

Think it through and how much time it may realistically take and see if that makes sense for you!  

Do I need a ton of content to launch a membership?

No! I started with one monthly workshop and that was it. Simple. Effective. Members loved it. 

Do I need complicated tech?

NO, not at all. I am running my membership site in one course module in ThriveCart and sending membership emails via MailerLite. Then, I get on zoom to host my training and upload it to Vimeo which I then post into the membership area. I create my monthly presentations (when I do those) in Canva Pro, graphics in Canva Pro and the PDF monthly swipes in Canva Pro. Easy tech compared to some of the solutions out there! No need to have a custom or complicated system. 

Do I need to commit long-term? 

Well, maybe. It takes work to build a membership site and if you’re only it in for six months it’s not going to be worth it. I would say you need to be willing to run a membership site for 3-5 years or so in order for it to be worth the effort you put in in the first year or two.

I hope that helps you decide if a membership or subscription offer is for you. If you have any questions at all just let me know! 

Want to Start Your Own Membership Site?

As a busy mom I needed a way to run a membership that didn’t take up too much time. I created the quick, class-based membership so I could take less than 10-15 hours a month to run my membership. It was so successful that I’ve been using this method since 2010 to stabilize my income! I can teach you how. Click the button for more info on that!

Have a great day! 

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