There are numerous membership site ideas that with the correct implementation, can each be successful. The types of membership sites that suit you best mostly depends upon what your content is (writing, audio, videos, forums) and how it is going to be delivered (all at once, piecemeal etc.)
Below are the most popular examples of membership sites:
- Online course membership programs
- Drip feed membership sites
- Live event membership sites
- Private forums and social networks for membership sites
- Educational or e-learning membership sites
Software for each of these membership site ideas can be found here.
1. Online course membership programs
Online courses are the most common type of membership website. They are usually set up by experts that are teaching a particular skill to their customers.
A top membership site example would be a site for vegans. After users have paid for this membership site they'd then gain access to their online course. This online course might include several video modules, articles, checklists, pdf documents etc. For example, a vegan course might teach: where to shop for vegan food, how to check you food doesn't contain animal products, recipes/meal plans, understanding the benefits of a vegan lifestyle etc.
If you're just starting out, then is the most common and easiest method of setting up a membership website.
2. Drip feed membership sites
This is similar to the online course membership site example listed above, except the content is staggered so that a new module or class gets released over time.
An example would be a 10 week weight loss program that releases new modules and content at the start of each week for the customer to follow. This can be useful is you want to increase the retention period for customers so they keep their membership. It also prevents the customer from being overwhelmed with information overload if they are given the full course.
Alternatively, you might have a membership site that regularly releases new content. A good example of this would be for a stock market website where every week you provide analysis of the market, investing tips and what you predict will happen over the coming week. These types of membership sites work well when integrated with mailing list providers such as Mailchimp (use this link to get $30 free in MonkeyRewards PLUS free sign up) or Aweber (use this link to get a free 30 day trial).
3. Live event membership sites
The live event membership site works well with people looking to host events such as webinars or performances.
Webinars work well if you want to provide a Q&A session whereby customers can ask you specific questions about a subject they might be learning. This provides lots of live in person access and interactivity that normally is not available. It also works well if you're setting up special one-off events such as "how to avoid taxes on your investment in the new year of 2017/2018".
Alternatively, the live streaming of events via video can be very valuable for your members as well. For example, a band might have a special fan membership site and every so often the do a performance that is only available to their online members.
The content from these live events can also then be saved and reused later as part of a product offering.
4. Private forums and social networks for membership sites
Private forums & messageboards
These types of membership sites are where private discussions around a particular topic take place. For example, a private members forum that discusses internet marketing secrets and techniques. These types of forums are often lead by their owners who create, moderate and encourage the sharing of tips and information about their subject. They work because people sometimes are willing to share information on a private forum that they wouldn't be willing to share on a public forum. Mastermind groups, challenges and training materials are often also hosted within these forums.
Social networking membership sites
Social networks are for when you want to take your community website beyond the forum. They include extra features on top of forums that allow users to create their own blogs, find and message other users, live chats, join specific groups etc. They're harder to setup and manage but they provide more value to your community.
5. Educational or e-learning membership sites
As opposed to a single expert teaching a course, these types of membership sites are more aimed at schools, universities and organisations. This is useful for companies that want to train and test their staff. The extra functionality involved in these types of sites usually allows you to test and track a student as they make their way through the course. These sites tend to not just use membership software but also learning management systems as well.
Take Action Now
- Look through the above list of membership site ideas, choose an idea or combination of ideas that you plan on using for your membership site.
Unsure which to choose? Choose the 1st idea as this is the most common and easiest to set up. You can always add additional parts to your membership site later.
Once you've decided which type of membership site idea suits you best, you're now ready to look at how you're going to structure your website and online course. Also, there is the previous lesson on web positioning to read up on if you have not already done so.