How to Create a Membership Site and Generate Recurring Revenue5 minute read
Have you ever wondered what a membership site is and how to create your own? Then you are in the right place.
Membership sites are a great way for entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their knowledge, generate recurring income for their business and create an engaged online community.
If you are an expert in your niche, you can share and monetize your knowledge through a membership website.
Keep reading below to learn all about membership sites, their benefits and the right way to run a membership site for your online business.
What is a Membership Site?
A membership is a site or program that offers gated, exclusive content to its members.
You can charge your members a monthly or annual subscription as the creator. In exchange, they get access to your content and collection of products.
The content delivered inside a membership site can vary depending on the nature of your business: from online courses to digital products, live events, community space and so on...
If you have a hard time understanding a membership site, think about Netflix, where users pay a monthly fee to access the content. That example is a bit different from online courses, but the concept is the same.
Benefits of Membership Sites
There are many reasons why a membership site can benefit both you, the creator and your customers. Let's see them below:
- Recurring revenue: Since students pay a monthly or annual fee to access the content inside the membership, this means that you can secure a contestant stream of recurring revenue for your business.
- Increased Member Engagement: Membership sites are all about building relationships with people interested in the content you have to offer, which means that they are more likely to become engaged with your membership and interact with you more.
- Strong Online Community: Especially if you decide to treat your membership as a private online community, members get to interact with you and with others, share ideas, discuss your content and more.
- Higher Customer Loyalty: People who join a membership site actively interact with the content are the biggest fans of your business, and therefore are more likely to be your most loyal customers. Loyal customers are the greatest asset in your online business!
- Authority Within Your Niche: building a thriving membership site or online community is a great way to gain authority in your niche and be recognized as an expert in your particular topic.
What are the Different Membership Sites Models?
Now that you learned the definition of a membership site and all about its benefits for you and your members, let's see the different types of membership sites you can choose to create.
Keep in mind that membership sites are an extremely flexible way of organizing your content online and selling it, so you could mix and match the models below and create a structure that fits your needs.
Online Course Membership Sites
This is the most popular membership type model in the online learning industry. With this membership site, students pay a monthly or annual fee to access educational content structured similarly to an online course.
So what is the difference between an online course and this type of membership site? First of all, the payment structure: most online courses are sold for a one-time fee, while on the membership site, members are charged a subscription.
The content type and structure are also different: in an online course, students are guided from point A to B in the fastest and most effective way possible. Since students get continuous access to the course on the membership site, its content should be different.
Related Article: Find the Right Business Model to Start Selling Online Courses
Fitness, cooking, language learning or any topic that requires continuous learning and effort from the students are a great fit for membership sites. This doesn't mean that you can not create an online fitness course. However, the approach to the lessons and content should be different.
For example, an online fitness course should guide students toward achieving a specific result (ex: "Lose 10 pounds in 30 days"), while a fitness membership site should help students maintain their results (ex: "Weekly Meditation Sessions for Peace of Mind").
So depending on the topic and end goal of your online course, you might decide to structure it according to a membership site model or keep it with the traditional course format.
The picture above is taken from the website of Rustico Cooking, an online membership site built with Heights Platform that teaches Italian cooking to hundreds of students.
Once a client signs up to the Rustico Cooking membership site, they have access to different courses (at the time we are writing this article, they have 12 courses and more than 100 lessons and they keep adding new content).Read Their Success Story
Private Community Membership Sites
Another popular use case scenario for membership sites is to offer access to a private community. In this model, members pay a monthly or annual fee to be part of a community and connect with other people from the space.
What is an online community?
An online community is composed of a group of people who share common interests and gather in a virtual space to share ideas, learn, and interact with each other.
Many creators offer a private community (either free or paid) as an extra product in the online learning business. So for example, if you sell online courses, you could also offer access to your private community, where students can share and discuss what they learned in your online course.
Private communities are a fantastic way to boost engagement between your customers. Learn all about the benefits of online communities: Why You Should Build an Online Community of Engaged Customers and How to Do it
Heights Platform makes it easy for you to sell access to your community membership or offer a community as an additional complimentary product in your online course.
Collection of Products Membership Sites
You might want to offer new, fresh content every week or give access to a collection of digital products on your membership site.
If you are using Heights Platform to sell your membership site, you get full flexibility on how to structure your content, what kind of products to offer and when.
This approach is also very popular with physical products. There are many companies that sell product subscriptions, where you pay a monthly fee and receive a package from them every week or month. This model works well with physical products such as groceries, beauty products, recipes, baby products and so on... Anything that a consumer needs on a continuous basis can be adapted to this business model.
The same can be done with digital products on a membership site!
Instead of shipping out boxes to your subscribers, you can add new digital products to your membership every day, week or month to keep them engaged.
Coaching Membership Site
Whether your focus is 100% on offering coaching services, or you just want to add coaching sessions to your online course, a membership structure can be a solution for you.
With this approach, students pay a monthly or annual fee to access a certain number of coaching sessions or calls.
You can mix and match your product offerings as well, and offer a hybrid of coaching, online courses and digital products all inside your membership site.
This is how Pam Obasa decided to structure her online program, built using Heights Platform:
Pam Obases uses Heights Platform to host the Lucrative Business Academy (picture above), a collection of online courses, coaching programs and memberships where she coaches women to kickstart their businesses with storytelling and sales.Read Her Success Story
The Best Platform to Create Your Membership Site
A great membership site needs a great platform behind it: enters Heights Platform.
With Heights, you get full flexibility to create and sell membership sites that fit your business. You can sell membership site access to your online courses, including digital products, coaching sessions and more.
Set a monthly or annual subscription amount for members to access your program and keep all your revenue. Heights Platform does not take a commission from your earnings and does not charge any transaction fees!Create Your Online Course Today