Is your membership program stuck in low revenue mode? Just because you're not charging membership fees for a free program doesn't mean you can't monetize it.
What if you are charging for membership but the fees aren't delivering the profit you want? The good news is that there are lots of ethical ways to boost revenues.
These extra revenue stream ideas are not about "soaking" your members for more money. Because these revenue streams give your members more of what they want, and only if they want it. Maybe they want more access to you and your personal attention, guidance and support. Maybe they are looking for more to information, tools, and community.
These ideas are about offering cost-effective ways for your members to customize their experience. So that they get exactly what they want from their membership and relationship with you.
The most obvious way to monetize a membership program is with dues. Recurring payments can happen weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. And some membership programs even use a single-payment lifetime option.
But dues are not the only (or even sometimes the best) way to produce profit and revenue for your membership program.
Here are 11 ideas for generating revenue, even from a "free" membership model:
Fair warning: Keep in mind that not all these may be appropriate for your membership. But before you reject any of these ideas, look at the whole list, and ask yourself this question: How could this look in my membership program?
#1. Introduce a premium paid level that offers additional privileges & content &/or experiences. Because not everybody is satisfied with just the basics.
#2. Offer related services that done for you, done with you, done by you.
#3: Provide advice, coaching, mentorship programs, either individually or in groups.
#4: Offer classes, workshops, trainings, virtually or on-site.
#5: Host experiences (events) such as meetings, conferences, concerts, demos.
#6: Sell branded merchandise for fans/users of your brand, such as totes, hats, apparel, mugs, etc.
#7: Sell products such as workbooks, and tools that support member experience. Or offer products with your inspirational words, phrases, ideas, or art.
#8: Package information as products or kits (virtual or tangible) include videos, audios, images, tools, checklists, graphics, tutorials, etc.
#9: Earn commissions or affiliate fees by recommending others' products and services. Or sell white-labelled versions of your favorite products and services.
#10: Accept appropriate third-party advertising &/or sponsorships on your membership platform, in email offers, newsletters, direct mailings, or other media.
#11: Develop a franchise or licensing program to allow others to duplicate your success. Potential revenue streams include a license, training, usage and other fees, or even a simple "business in a box" program.
Of course, there are many more ways to monetize your membership program. But no matter which you choose, keep in mind that the monetization format must add value to your members. Choose only monetization ideas that support your members. Or you risk alienating the people you wish to serve.
Wondering how any of these models might look in your membership program? Bring your questions to our Live Marketing Q&A on Monday!
Not an Insider+Plus member? Start a conversation in our Facebook group to get feedback and ideas from me and your peers.