How to Price Your Membership Site
When it comes to profiting from a membership site, one of the most obvious and important decisions you’ll have to make is how much you’re going to charge your members for full access. This is a crucial decision because it will ultimately decide how much your visitors are spending for the privilege of gaining access to your premium content. That in turn defines the type of readers you will have and whether you are aiming to earn lots of money from a few visitors, or a small amount from a large number.
But there are some important caveats that will help you make the decision a bit easier.
How Much is it Worth?
This should be your number one question: how much is the membership you’re offering worth in real terms? What can you offer your readers to increase the value? Would you pay for this membership, considering everything that it has to offer? Can you add anything to increase the actual value or perceived value, such as exclusive interviews, premium graphics, limited access, or via high-end premium products? What is your competition doing? Is anyone offering anything similar to your offering? Can you bundle it with other products and services to make it more valuable and to differentiate it from your competition?
If you have very little to offer your visitors at this point then you can start out charging just $1 a quarter or just putting out free content until you build up enough interest and then begin offering more premium content to your free subscribers. If you have a huge package and tons of content then you might choose to charge a bit more – perhaps $30 for the same amount of time.
Likewise, think about how exclusive and rare the content is, how much it will benefit the readers and how highly you rate your expertise and that of any contributors. Certain markets are going to command a higher premium. Professional fields like medicine and law or technical fields can command a greater premium on the content.
The Importance of Valuing Yours Membership
Something important to consider here though is that you need to make sure your membership site isn’t priced too low. The problem with pricing low is that it suggests that being a member isn’t that special. One of the big selling points of any membership site is the chance to feel like a member of something important and treated like a VIP. People love exclusivity and privilege, and this is one reason they’ll often pay for membership. This type of membership is typically useful when there is a social component to your membership like a group or a conference and a way to display the cache of being a part of the group such as logos or emblems. Otherwise, joining a content group in and by itself doesn’t levy the same exclusivity, unless the information is “insider information” only available to select few and highly valuable. Many stock market analysts are able to charge a premium on their analysis if it is substantive enough and profitable enough for their members.
Price membership a little higher and you make it seem more exclusive, rare and more important – and surprisingly this can actually make it more desirable!
Note as well that you have more options for your pricing than just ‘high or low’. One example is that you can charge different amounts for basic and premium membership. This way you can encourage someone to upgrade their membership and thereby pay more than they otherwise would have. Creating levels has the added benefit of different price points for different customers, which can often garner a greater number of overall customers. The different levels again should be a mix of real and perceived value.
Another option is to run special deals and discounts to attract the lower paying members – and this will also have the advantage of introducing ‘scarcity’ and ‘urgency’ to your offer, driving more sales!