Membership Geeks

Which membership model should you use?

Your membership model is the backbone of your site and dictates the type of membership that you are actually running.

Whilst you’ll find lots of variations of membership models – in fact we wrote a post a couple of years ago on 7 different membership models that you could use – in the Membership Academy we approach membership models slightly differently.

Why? Well membership technology now provides us with a lot of different options, and a lot of the traditional membership models are no longer the ‘norm'.

Instead we are seeing an increasing number of people wanting to break away from more traditional models and rather than just call this a hybrid model as we have previously, we decided that what was actually needed was a new approach to membership models.

We affectionately call this the ‘Membership Trifecta'.

In this way of looking at membership models we actually split your membership into 3 key elements that you can combine as you need to create the membership of your dreams. This approach also gives you a more fine-tuned model to build on in the future.

So, what are the 3 key elements of your membership model?

  • Content – the main type of content you will be offering
  • Delivery – the way your content will be delivered
  • Access – the type of access someone is given to your content

modelsEssentially you need to pick one option from each of these key elements, and combined they will create your central membership model. This gives you quite a lot of flexibility, rather than tying you to a model that isn’t quite the right fit.

Let's look at each element in a little more depth.

The Content Element:

The content element can be broken down into 6 core types:

  • Course – a structured course with an a-z path, broken into modules/lessons (or similar) and with a particular goal.
  • Premium content – providing in-depth content but not necessarily in a specific order or with a specific result as with a course.
  • Library – a content hub comprising of lots of different courses or content types, usually with a ‘pic’n’mix’ approach.
  • Community – a forum or other group brought together to discuss a particular topic.
  • Service – accompanies a service such as coaching, design or web fixes (e.g monthly design graphics).
  • Product – a digital product or resource – usually downloadable.

Your content should be based on the main focus of your membership. So, you may plan on having a community element, but if your main offering is actually a 6 month course then your content model is the course.  The content aspect is where traditional membership models are drawn from.

The Delivery Element:

This element looks at how you will deliver you content to members. There’s just 3 options to choose from here:

  • Instant – everything is available immediately. No new content to be added except perhaps updates or bonuses.
  • Ongoing – new content released on an ongoing basis – often monthly and usually without a fixed end date.
  • Dripped – content released at scheduled intervals relative to when the member joins. Often for a set amount of time.

The Access Element:

Your access model is linked to the payment structure you will have, as typically with a membership site it is payment that dictates whether someone has access. There are 4 main options to choose from here.

  • Recurring – access tied to regular payments, usually monthly. When payment stops access is removed.
  • Lifetime – access for as long as the content is available.
  • Fixed Term – access for a set amount of time, i.e. 12 months.
  • Pay As You Go – access as needed.

Lifetime and fixed term options could be either one-off or recurring/instalment payments. If using instalments, then be aware that the access can still be revoked if someone fails to make one of their payments.

The Pay As You Go Model is lesser known but think of sites like Udemy or Skillshare – you become a member and then pay for access to specific courses as you need them. This model is also common in the fitness world for access to workout videos.

You may offer a combination of payment methods, such as recurring and lifetime, but your access model will depend on the predominant one – usually the recurring option if this is offered.

So, that's our new approach to membership models. What do you think? What does your own membership trifecta look like?

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