JULY 14, 2022

By Onder Hassan

6 Proven Strategies To Determine Your Membership Site Pricing

So you've built your course/membership site, spent hours of blood, sweat and tears making it the best it can be and are excited to launch it to paying customers.

But you're feeling nervous or unsure about how to price it. With so many options to choose from, you're left with some key questions:

Will people pay to access my course/membership?

Which pricing model should I choose?

Should I consider selling as a subscription or one-time payment?

Selling courses and membership sites are great ways to generate revenue from your audience. They allow you to create either one-time or recurring income streams and provide a steady source of passive income.

We will get into different pricing structures a bit later in this article. But as a general rule, if you're not creating courses or running a membership site of some kind in your business, you're leaving a lot of revenue on the table that you can potentially use to grow your business.

But even if you have a general idea of what to price it, you still might be undervaluing yourself.

So in this article, we will cover the mindset barriers that might stop you from seeing your products and services as valuable.

We will then look at the different income models you can use that are right for your niche to maximise the revenue you can generate in your membership site that best fits your niche and industry.

The Mindset Of Selling

If you’re a new business or have never launched a course or membership site before, then the concept of selling one might be daunting… I get it.

It’s like venturing into the unknown and not knowing what you will be faced with. Your primal instincts go into fight or flight mode, looking for ways to protect you and avoid harm. 

Sure launching a membership site isn’t as dangerous as being attacked by a Sabretooth Tiger, but our instincts can’t really tell the difference.

Doing something for the first time is scary. It’s the reason why many entrepreneurs fail or don’t even try in the first place.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Selling for the first time does get easier after you’ve taken that leap, and it’s not until you begin to see the impact you make on your customers that your confidence in your value begins to increase.

But this does create a dilemma… Do you have to be experienced before you can command confidence from your members or course students?

Of course not.

Here are some false beliefs that may be holding you back:

Myth #1 - You can’t begin to have the confidence to sell unless you have evidence that someone has bought from you before.

This is a common myth that is part true and part false. Yes, you will naturally gain confidence the more you sell and get results. 

But ultimately, you have to begin selling first in order to get confident at selling. There really is no easier way around it. 

The difficulty is in getting out of our own way and giving ourselves permission to sell in the first place. 

If you have a great product that you know can change someone’s life who’s in need of your course or membership site, then allow this to motivate you and give you the drive to sell. You owe it to your future customers and they will thank you for it. 

Myth #2 - You can’t sell a course or membership at a premium you’re not an expert at.

Your knowledge and experience are unique to everyone else who may have similar knowledge as you. 

You will have a perspective and approach that will be unique to you and will be able to present the information in a way that no one else can. 

There’s a good phrase in the marketing world that “People come for the content, but stay for the character” and this can be true in any field or endeavour.

Your customer is likely supporting your brand not just because of the information you provide, but also because of your personality and your ability to connect with them. 

You likely have qualities that they’re able to resonate with that is unlike other brands and are a reason in itself to want to buy from you.

In addition to this, you only need to know 1% more than the person you’re helping in order to teach them what you know.

Your knowledge and who you are has value. The sooner you begin to believe it, the easier it will be when it comes to selling to your devoted customers who like and trust you.

Myth #3 - You won’t be able to sell your content when it’s so easily available for free elsewhere.

While it’s true that information can easily be found on the Internet. Books are still being sold in book stores and on Amazon. Premium online learning services are still generating revenue.

Customers pay for convenience and not just the information being sold. If you can package up a course that contains everything they need to begin changing their life or learn further on a topic that in itself has tremendous value. 

After all, no one wants to spend hours digging through unverified information before finding something that could work.

Have a think about any limiting belief that you might currently have that is stopping you from getting started and take a step back and ask, “Is this really true or am I simply making excuses?”

You have everything you need to put your course or membership live for sale and your customers will appreciate you for it.

Pricing Models

Pricing a membership site is a fairly straightforward process with many membership site owners using one of 6 of the most common pricing models.

We will briefly go over all 6 of them to help you decide on the best one to use for your business with the aim of getting you to make sales quickly.

As a quick side note, try not to overthink this part of the process. The best way to know if something will work is to test it and adjust according to the feedback you receive from your customers.

If your offer is good, you will make sales and be well on the way to having a recurring revenue stream that will continue to grow.

One-Time

The simplest and most popular pricing model, which is also the easiest to set up is a one-time pricing structure. 

One time course pricing example

If you have a fixed premium course that doesn’t have any added content on a monthly basis, then offering it at a fixed price is a great way to sell it to your customers.

Depending on the price, you can also offer this as a monthly instalment for customers who might not have the budget to invest fully into your offer.

Real-World Examples:

An NLP trainer selling an NLP Master Practitioners course, where they offer a fixed syllabus and training schedule for a fixed one-time price.
A Guitar coach offering one-time pricing for their high-ticket guitar course.
A Golf instructor offering a course on how to master your golf putt.

Recurring (Monthly/Yearly)

The second most popular pricing model is a recurring subscription, which you can typically charge monthly, quarterly or annually.

The benefit of including a yearly plan is it allows you to collect revenue upfront, which you can re-invest back into the business in the form of advertising and other promotional activities.

Bossbabe Monthly and yearly pricing

The great thing about this model is you can increase the price as your membership fills with more and more content.

You can also offer existing members the opportunity to be grandfathered into the original price as a thank you for their loyalty, which will increase retention and reduce churn, which we will discuss shortly.

Real-World Examples:

An arts & crafts business owner offering a monthly membership on exclusive designs and tutorials delivered each month to their subscribers.
A comic book artist offering a paid subscription delivering behind-the-scenes sketches and tutorials on how to draw comic book style figures.
A gardener offering a monthly newsletter showing the best gardening tips and strategies for garden enthusiasts.

Here at OptimizePress, we believe so firmly in the recurring revenue business model that we wrote a detailed guide on it; breaking down the key information you need to know to run a successful subscription business and listing some of the best industry examples we found that you can use as inspiration.

Tiered Membership Levels

Tiered membership levels are a great pricing format to help appeal to a range of customer budgets.

The more options you theoretically provide, the more customers you can potentially serve as not all customers will have an equal budget.

Learnstash membership levels

This also provides further promotion opportunities by providing exclusive features on higher tiers; encouraging existing subscribers to upgrade their membership.

If you have a lot of content on your membership site, think of ways how you can split it up into different tiers and offer multiple pricing structures for your customers.

Real-World Examples:

A fitness coach who offers tiered pricing for their personal training, split into exercise routines, diet plans and exclusive after-coaching support.
An email service provider providing pricing tiers based on usage allowances and additional premium features.
An SEO consultant who offers premium link-building services that are split into pricing tiers based on the number of backlinks built.

Free-Trials

Do you have a software business and would like a way to demonstrate value to your customers?

Offering a free trial is a great way of allowing customers to take a test drive of your monthly service. 

Digitalmarketer lab free trial pricing

It is a great way of building trust as it demonstrates your confidence in allowing them to try your product before making the leap into a full-paying customer.

Even if you’re not a software business, this can also be implemented in other offers. 

Perhaps you have a premium community, a forum or a private blog that offers exclusive content to paying members.

Real-World Examples:

A fitness influencer who offers a free trial to their fitness app that upgrades customers to a paid subscription when the trial ends.
A cooking expert offering a free trial to their cooking recipes app.
A premium social media tool offering a free trial to their full paid service.

Freemium

In addition to free trials, you can also provide a free tier that has limited features to the paid tiers.

This is a great way to onboard new customers into your offering, which will make upgrading them a lot easier rather than someone who has yet to experience using your service.

DevDojo Freemium Pricing

Perhaps this could be a free monthly newsletter offering exclusive deals, with a paid option that offers further deals that only paying members can have access to.


Real-World Examples:

A music blogger who provides a free tier for blog content for all subscribers to their email list.
A music streaming service providing a free tier that includes ads and promotions from third-party vendors.
A keyword research tool offering a free tier with limited keyword research usage for customers.

Lifetime Memberships

Calm Lifetime membership

Lifetime memberships may be an option if your membership site does not have further content. 

If you have a premium course for example that contains multiple modules, you may decide to split up the course into monthly access that is drip-fed to the customer.

You may decide to also include an option that offers all of the content from day 1 with full lifetime access.

Real-World Examples:

A Private Label Rights (PLR) service that offers lifetime membership at a premium price for their PLR material.
A new marketing business offering lifetime memberships to early adopters of their monthly recurring membership site.
An IT Consultancy service that offers a limited lifetime subscription to their monthly recurring paid newsletter as a bonus for investing in their high-ticket consultancy program.

How Pricing Can Impact Retention

While believing in the value of your products is important, there are also other factors that can affect the success or failure of your course or membership site.

Having confidence in our prices is a great way of not underselling ourselves, but we do have to also be realistic by looking at our market and seeing what’s currently working. 

A healthy balance will be required in order to find the perfect setup that both you the membership site author and your customer can be happy with.

Here are some things to consider…

Value-Based Pricing

One of the best ways to get clear on the value of what it is you’re selling is to look at the time and energy required in order to gain the knowledge in the first place.

Most membership site creators make the common mistake of judging value based on the time it took to put it together. But overlook the hours of time and energy put into studying, purchasing books, attending seminars and the hundreds of dollars in investment on coaching and personal development.

Something to think about and a great way of selling to customers when it comes to later writing your sales letter.

Affordability Of Your Niche

Every niche market will have its own pricing ‘sweet spot’, which is generally based on the customer’s overall budget.

While it's true that not everyone will have the same budget, looking at the market as a whole is the best way in determining its overall market value. 

Going over that limit could potentially hurt your sales, which would otherwise deem it a success had you priced it reasonably in accordance with what your customers find acceptable.

Spend the time researching competitor prices to get an overall feel for how much to potentially charge your membership site and testing different price points for your customers.

Member Churn

One of the most important metrics to look at is seeing how long a customer stays a member before they decide to cancel their subscription. 

The key objective is to increase retention in order to improve the lifetime value of your customer, which is vital for making sure that your business is operating at a profit and not a loss.

If you’ve read our Ultimate Guide To Subscriptions post, we broke down how to calculate this metric so you can better understand what your churn rates are. 

But the key thing to understand is that the higher the price you set your membership site, the higher the likelihood your customer can potentially unsubscribe from your membership. Which will then require looking at ways to keep the customer on board inside the member’s area.

Pricing Based On Income Targets

How much do you want to make at the end of the annual year? Putting everything together, by the end of it all, what we really want is a business that makes enough sales that will allow us to live the life we want.

By taking on board the factors above, you will be able to backwards engineer the perfect pricing for your membership site and give you a clear goal to work towards in order to build your business in a way that allows you to achieve it successfully.

Ready To review your pricing?

As you can see, setting up a pricing structure for your membership site isn’t that difficult. With careful planning and most importantly, getting something in front of your customers. 

You will quickly have a recurring income that you’ve always wanted, allowing you the freedom to grow your business and start living the life you’ve always wanted.

Please ask your questions and share your thoughts in the comments below…

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