Pros and Cons of Offering Lifetime Memberships
Lifetime memberships divide the membership owner community.
In fact only 10% of memberships offer a lifetime option.
Most are madly against the idea and think offering lifetime access is insane.
Others utilize the lifetime membership well and use it to support their business.
There are definite pros and cons to lifetime memberships and we’re going to get into that so you can decide what’s right for your membership.
Pro: Short-Term Cash Influx
This is why a lot of people go for lifetime memberships.
When the lifetime option is a no-brainer, you’ll motivate people to sign up and get a great cash flow injection.
When you’re selling a course for $500, that cash flow can be a very good thing.
It’s easy to see why people are attracted to that type of promotion.
Memberships with monthly revenue, on the other hand, is more of a slow burn.
This recurring revenue is a stronger business base.
While a limited lifetime offer can result in massive revenue, it has to be weighed against the consequences of less recurring revenue.
Con: Recurring Revenue Drops
When 50% of your members sign up for lifetime membership, you’re going to have a hungry beast of active members and less recurring revenue.
In the first two years, that won’t be a huge issue, but in ten years, you’ll have 800 something members who you get nothing from.
You’ll be expected to create new content for members who haven’t paid anything in years.
If you decide to create different products or courses, your members will expect to get that automatically.
Membership owners often come to resent the fact that there are people in their membership who expect all this content and paid far less.
Pro: Skin in the Game
Members will be really vested in your membership when they’ve put more into the game.
This can work two ways. If someone is paying monthly, they have more motivation to actually use what they’re paying for.
Lifetime members aren’t in any rush.
But lifetime members often become the biggest advocates of the community.
They want the site to be successful and get the biggest bang for their buck.
Consider where your customers would lean on this aspect of lifetime memberships.
Will they be motivated to use your offering?
Will they offer you their support?
Con: Business Model Change
When lifetime members become a large part of your member base, you’ll start to focus more on acquisition and bringing more lifetime members in instead of pleasing the members you already have.
With a one-off payment, your business model changes to rely more on sales than retention.
But the membership model is geared toward retention and it works better that way.
It’s a fundamental change in the way your business operates.
Pro: Counteract Churn
If you’ve done everything you can to have an awesome on-boarding strategy and you’re still finding people are leaving after a few months, offering a lifetime option is a great way to combat this.
Some markets are just more likely to churn.
If you’ve hit the ceiling with your site, offer a lifetime option to earn more money per member and increase member engagement.
You can actually use a lifetime membership as an upsell.
Before your members drop out, give them the lifetime option.
It’s a no-lose situation.
If people are already starting to distance themselves you won’t have a huge conversion rate, but if you’re going to lose them, offer it anyway.
When should you offer a lifetime membership?
If you’re mainly producing static content like a one signature course dripped out over time, lifetime access could be an attractive way to sell.
It could also be an upgrade option for your annual payment plan.
Hopefully, this has been a good overview of the pros and cons of a lifetime membership.
It can be very easy to be seduced by this idea.
But while a massive cash influx is attractive, you might want to give it some thought to see if it’s right for your membership site long term.