Whether you have an existing store or are thinking about starting one, memberships are a powerful way to generate revenue, share what you’re passionate about, and build an online community of loyal customers.
But they don’t all have to look the same. From online communities, fitness plans, and reward programs, let’s take a look at a few creative ways to sell memberships.
Restaurants and food creators
Membership sites aren’t just for content creators. If you’re a restaurant, they’re a great way to generate extra revenue online, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You could charge monthly for your membership, encouraging your best patrons to support your business. In exchange, they might receive discounts, access to a library of recipes or cooking classes, or a free jar of your famous barbecue sauce every month.
Stores that sell packaged foods or drinks can do something similar. Include a subscription box of your most popular products, access to a library of recipes using those products, and 20% off additional purchases.
The Craft Can Directory, for example, has a craft beer club for its most loyal customers. For €19.80 per month, members get craft beer delivered to their door, free shipping, access to exclusive flavors, and the ability to earn “beer points” to redeem towards future purchases.
If you run a charity or other type of nonprofit, memberships can help you increase recurring donations. Reward subscription donors with access to exclusive stories about the difference their money makes or freebies like stickers, T-shirts, or address labels.
You could also create a volunteer directory to help you be more organized. Anyone who wants to volunteer could sign up for free, then interact with one another via forums or sign up for time slots.
Health and exercise companies
Gyms, meal subscription boxes, and other health-focused companies can incorporate digital memberships into existing offerings. Create a library of workout videos or healthy recipes. Offer one-on-one training or consultations.
A gym or physical product isn’t required to make money with your passion for fitness. You can offer memberships completely on their own. There are a variety of ways to do this, but here are two examples:
Speed Shred sells a 12-week training program focused on building lean muscle. It includes 12 weeks of workout routines, easy meals, and shopping lists.
Go Detox! offers a 28-day program for eliminating sugar and processed foods from your diet. Members get a food swap guide, shopping lists, meal plans, and recipes to help along the way.
The term “content creator” can be a lot of different things — a musician, a crafter, a baker, a gamer — but they all create content around something they’re passionate about. And memberships are a clever method of monetizing the blog posts, tutorials, recipes, or songs that your readers love.
If you’re a crafter, offer members a library of sewing patterns or video tutorials. If you’re a food blogger, offer exclusive access to downloadable cookbooks or online classes. If you’re a musician, create a membership program similar to Patreon, with exclusive videos, early music streaming, live Q&As, and behind-the-scenes videos. Get creative!
Artists and designers
You may already sell your paintings, patterns, or designs online. But have you considered also sharing your knowledge and templates with others in your industry?
You can do this with a membership program. Include software tutorials, photography presets, or project walkthroughs — whatever your audience will find most helpful. Want some examples?
While PHLearn has a lot of free online content, they also offer a Pro membership with tutorials, Photoshop actions and brushes, Lightroom presets, and more. Customers can choose between a monthly and annual membership and the Pro library is updated with new content regularly.
Brush and Pencil teaches artists how to become masters of colored pencil with a six-month membership program. Members can access color match and compare tools, a library of video and article tutorials, step-by-step instructions, and projects that build upon learned skills.
Yep, clothing stores can offer memberships, too — it just takes a little bit of creativity. Start your membership off with a subscription box, sending customers a T-shirt or accessory every month. Then add on additional content like exclusive discounts, Q&A sessions, or outfit ideas based on the contents of the box.
If you’re an expert on a particular subject, share that knowledge in the form of a membership. Write about bookkeeping, science, writing, tech, or whatever you’re an expert in, and make that content available to members. You could also include online classes, videos, or consultations.
CashFlowDepot sells a lifetime membership to their real estate investment training. Rather than pay monthly or quarterly, members pay upfront and get access to more than 300 video and audio tutorials that teach them how to invest. You could do something similar with whatever topic you’re passionate about.
If you publish a magazine or newspaper, memberships give your loyal readers online access. You may choose to include a membership with the purchase of your physical publication. Or, if you’re digital only, sell your subscription as-is.
Paddock Magazine, focused on Formula 1 racing, has the best of both worlds, letting customers choose between print and digital subscriptions. Their online subscription includes twelve new issues, all back issues, an archive with eight years of premium content and videos, and 35% off the price of the print version.
Social and professional groups
Memberships can also bring people together around a common goal or passion. Create a local buy/sell group for high-end children’s clothes. Build a forum for fans of a particular TV show. Or have an auction site for antique car parts.
But they can also be used for professionals in specific industries. VerifyWP is a skill testing site for clients looking to hire WordPress developers. Members can post a job, invite all of their applicants, then test those applicants’ skills to make sure they’re qualified. This keeps them from having to interview every single person that applies and helps them hire the best fit.
AGD is an online community of freelancers in the design industry. Members benefit from professional answers to legal and tax questions, networking opportunities, and a library of seminars, lectures, and workshops on a wide range of topics.
Sell memberships with WooCommerce
WooCommerce offers the tools you need to create the perfect membership solution for your business. With the WooCommerce Memberships extension, you can build a site-wide program or add on to your existing products. Restrict content, display perks in a special “member area,” and easily communicate with customers. Add on WooCommerce Subscriptions for even more functionality, like recurring payments and free trials.
Creative Ways to Offer Memberships with a WooCommerce website
WooCommerce is an adaptable platform that allows website owners to implement creative membership strategies. Here are some inventive ways to offer memberships with a WooCommerce website:
1. Tiered Memberships
- Offer multiple levels of memberships, each with its benefits. For example: Basic, Premium, and Platinum. Differentiate each level by content access, discounts, or other perks.
2. Content Dripping
- Release content progressively over time instead of all at once. This can help retain members by providing a constant stream of value.
3. Bundled Products
- Offer memberships as part of a bundle. For instance, if someone purchases a course or a specific product, give them a 3-month free membership.
4. Trial Memberships
- Allow users to try a membership for a limited time, enticing them to experience the benefits firsthand before committing.
5. Loyalty Programs
- Integrate a points system where members earn points for purchases, reviews, or referrals. They can redeem points for discounts or exclusive content.
6. Community Features
- Add a members-only forum or community where members can discuss topics, network, or get exclusive advice. This fosters a sense of belonging.
7. Exclusive Events
- Host webinars, live Q&A sessions, or virtual meet-ups that are exclusive to members. They can be one-off events or recurring ones.
8. Gifting Memberships
- Allow your customers to gift memberships to friends or family. This not only increases your memberships but also introduces new audiences to your content.
9. Affiliate Programs
- Encourage members to promote your membership program by offering them a commission for every new member they refer.
10. Hybrid Memberships
- Combine elements of both subscription and one-time payment models. For example, members can access basic content with a one-time payment and premium content with a subscription.
11. Seasonal or Limited-Time Memberships
- Offer memberships that cater to specific times of the year, like a “Summer Learning Membership” for educational sites.
12. Personalized Content
- Curate content based on members’ preferences or past behavior. For instance, if a member frequently purchases art supplies, offer them exclusive art tutorials.
13. Collaborative Memberships
- Collaborate with other brands or experts to offer combined memberships. This could include complementary services or products.
14. Upgrade Offers
- Periodically offer current members the chance to upgrade to a higher tier at a discounted rate.
- Integrate challenges or quizzes that, when completed, grant access to exclusive content or discounts. This makes the membership experience more interactive and engaging.
Tools for Implementation:
- WooCommerce Memberships: An official extension that allows you to create a membership-based site.
- WooCommerce Subscriptions: Useful for setting up and managing recurring payments.
- BuddyPress: A plugin to add community features to your WordPress site.
- GamiPress: Adds gamification elements to your WooCommerce site.
In conclusion, offering memberships creatively can differentiate your WooCommerce site and provide unique value to your audience. Think about what your target audience values most and structure your membership offerings around those insights.