As a WishList Member Certified Developer (and yes this is an affiliate link and I do get $$ if you use it to purchase the product), I just love introducing my clients to the world of membership sites. Over the past couple of years, Membership sites have been popping up here there and everywhere, and have quickly become the next best method for getting known as an expert in your field, building a community or developing your next product! For those of you who have been thinking about jumping into the world of membership sites but just don’t know where to start, I’ll be covering the top 10 membership site models over the next couple of weeks to give you an idea of the possibilities, and hopefully get your creative juices flowing. Part 1 will cover the first 5 top membership models, and we’ll finish up with Part 2 next week.
1. Publisher Model: This is probably one of the most common membership models, as it is one of the easiest ones to set up. With the publisher model, fresh content is delivered on a regular, ongoing basis – typically daily or weekly. With this type of membership, it doesn’t matter when someone becomes a member … because they will automatically gain access to the current content as well as all of the content that has been published in the past, which can be delivered in a variety of ways … as articles, audio files, video, PDFs, etc. A good example of this model is http://www.money-guy.com/. Content is delivered as an audio interview on a weekly basis with both a free and paid level of membership. The free level gives members access to the 15 latest shows and show notes as well as receive an email update every time a new show is posted. The paid level (Premium), however, gains instant access to a variety of other benfits and features.
2. UPS Model: This model gets its name from the method of delivery … a new package of content is delivered to the members each and every month. Each month (as long as they remain a member) members are directed to a new download area where they can download a new product or new content for that month. The content might be an interview of the month, product of the month, ebook of the month, software download, etc. Unlike the Publisher model where members join and have access to all of the content that has been added up to that point, with the UPS model, each new member starts with package #1. If someone joins in January they get package #1. If they join in February they get package #1 … and so on. No matter when someone joins, they start with package #1 and then get package #2 the next month, then package #3 the next month and so on. No matter when someone joins the membership, they start with package #1, and the longer you remain a member, the more content and/or products you will get. One of the benefits of using this model is that you can create as many packages of content as you want ahead of time, and automate the delivery so you don’t have to worry about adding new content each month. An excellent example of the UPS model is http://monthlyproducts.com, a membership site created by Armand Morin and Mike Stewart.
3. Micro-Continuity: Micro-Continuity is a fixed term membership. These are memberships that are not ongoing, but have a definite end; whether it has a specific end date, or lasts for a specific number of weeks or months. Before someone signs up for the membership, they know that it will end after a certain period of time. A membership model of this type could be used to deliver content over a period of days or weeks, with the content of each day or week or month building on the previous content. One nice thing about the micro-continuity membership is that you pre-load all of your content into the system and it runs on its own just like a crock pot – set it and forget about it. The Micro-Continuity model is perfect for a mini-course. Everyone starts at the beginning – no matter when they join, and continue until the course is over. This type of membership typically has a monthly membership fee, and continues until you either complete the term of the membership or cancel the membership.
4. Modular Course: Similar to the Micro-Continuity model, a Modular course is suitable for a training course that is broken down into modules that are delivered on a weekly or monthly basis. Instead of paying a membership fee, the person taking the course would commit to paying for the entire course (either all at once or in monthly payments). In contrast to the Micro-continuity model, the member is committed to paying the entire course fee, even if they are on a monthly payment plan. This type of membership is set up so that content is delivered to each person one step at a time, each step building on the next. The content is set up to be delivered sequentially so members can get the information, consume it and then move on to the next module. Example: if someone is in module 1, they see only module 1. If they are in module 5, they see modules 1-5. You can set up a modular course so members can join at any time and progress through the modules each month, or have everyone start at the same time and progress through the course together. A great example of a module course (with great content!) is the Self-Study course at http://www.wealthyspeakeru.com.
5. Protected download: Protected download sites are great if you are selling a one-time product … like a software program or another type of digital download. After someone purchases your product they are directed to a download page. But … instead of using a web page or an autoresponder message as your download page, you put the links in a protected download area (a page within the membership site), so that after they pay for the product they are required to set up a user ID and password to access the content. In this case, you might give customers a limited number of days to download the product … maybe 3 or 4 … before it expires. Then very similar to what you see on many of the big software websites, you can create an upsell and say “would you like to add an additional 1 year of download insurance for $10?” You would be surprised how many people will think this is a great value and are more than willing to pay an additional $10 to have continued access to the download in case something happens and they lose the product. You could also create additional upsells by promoting other products on the download page.
Stay tuned next week for Part 2 of the article where I cover 6-10 of the top 10 membership models. You won’t want to miss it!
But in the meantime, if you are considering a membership site for your business, just let me know – I’d be more than happy to give you a call to discuss how incorporating a membership site into your existing business or as a stand-alone business can be of value and benefit! Or … if you already know a membership site is in your future and need help setting one up, we’ve got you covered!