What Is a Membership Plan?At its core, a membership plan is a structured offering that outlines the access and benefits provided to members of your website. It acts as a roadmap for your members, guiding them through the available features and services based on their chosen subscriptions. Most often, these plans are provided as month-by-month subscriptions, but this is not mandatory. Each plan typically comes with a corresponding price, duration, and level of exclusivity. Once someone creates an account and buys a membership from you, they get access to specific pages (as promised in the features displayed under each plan.) Most memberships are purchased for one month (but quarterly and yearly subscriptions are also an option.) Usually, an automatic renewal is set in place so active members don’t have to perform any manual actions to continue to enjoy the benefits of their chosen plan (as per the description on your pricing page.) Sometimes, membership site owners let members know by email when their plan will renew — but more often than not, they will not send an email unless the member’s payment method is about to expire.
How Do I Create a Membership Plan?Creating pricing plans for your membership sites is usually very easy (especially if you have the right membership plugin). In essence, you have to:
Choose the right membership pluginResearch and select a membership plugin that suits your needs. Look for plugins that offer pricing plan features and integrations with payment gateways. For example, Ultimate Membership Pro has all that (plus integrations with email marketing tools and 40+ other addons, all for a very affordable price.)
Install and activate the membership pluginInstall your chosen plugin on your website and activate it. This is usually very straightforward as you just have to click a couple of buttons.
Set up your payment gatewayConfigure the payment gateway integration by entering your payment gateway credentials. This allows your users to make payments for the membership levels. Remember you should use a payment gateway accessible to most of your customers (such as Stripe or PayPal, for example.)
Create membership levelsDefine different membership levels or tiers based on the features and access you want to provide. For example, you might have a basic, premium, and VIP membership level.
Customize pricing plansSet the pricing and duration for each membership level. Specify whether the memberships are billed monthly, annually, or any other recurring time frame. Consider providing discounts for longer subscription commitments.
Configure access restrictionsDetermine which content or features are available to each membership level. Use the membership plugin’s settings to restrict access to specific pages, posts, downloads, or any other elements on your site.
Design membership signup pagesCreate visually appealing signup pages for each membership plan. Use the plugin’s built-in page builder or customize the pages using your website’s theme.
Test the membership signup processBefore launching your pricing plans, thoroughly test the signup process to ensure everything is functioning correctly. Check if members are correctly assigned to the selected membership levels and if the payment gateway integration is working smoothly.
Launch and promote your pricing plansOnce you are confident everything is working well, publish your pricing plans on your website and start promoting them. Use marketing tactics like email campaigns, social media outreach, or paid ads to attract potential members.
Monitor and optimizeRegularly monitor your membership site’s performance and member feedback. Analyze the metrics like conversion rates, retention rates, and churn rates to optimize your pricing plans and make necessary adjustments. Remember, every membership site is unique, so choose a plugin that fits your specific requirements.
Do You Need Membership Plans?Yes, membership pricing plans are a great option for pretty much every membership site. However, they are not mandatory. It all depends on the type of membership site you want to create, the content you put forward, and your overarching business model. Overall, having different pricing plan options comes with plenty of advantages, some of the most important ones including:
- Making it easier for customers to find the perfect fit
- Increasing overall membership sales as users can easily move up the ladder in terms of added features
- Providing better value for money to customers through exclusive access and discounts
- Making it easier to market your site by segmenting your offer into different plans
- Creating a sense of loyalty among customers, as they will feel like part of an exclusive club
- News websites or blogs where users can access most of the content for free
- Educational websites that provide courses to individual users
- Websites with a single tier of membership
Types of Membership PlansThere are various types of pricing tiers for membership sites. The following options are quite common:
Basic vs. PremiumThis type of plan structure comes two levels of access and benefits: a basic one and a more premium one. The basic one can include:
- Limited access to features and content
- Basic customer support
- Just the entry levels in a course
- Access to fewer meetings/ courses on any given timespan
Gold/Silver/Bronze TiersThe Gold/ Silver Bronze tiered membership plan approach is better when you want to diversify your offers and reward your members for their loyalty. It’s typically used when you have different levels of access to content, features, and services. Usually, the Gold tier is the most expensive and includes a higher number of features while at the same time offering discounts or exclusive content. The Silver tier includes fewer features but is still competitively priced, and the Bronze tier is usually the lowest-priced plan with fewer perks.
Free Trial Plan/ FreemiumA time-limited free trial tier can attract potential members to explore your site’s offerings before committing to spending money. This type of approach is best when you want to build an audience, gather their reviews and feedback, and encourage them to recommend your membership site to others. Once you have earned your members’ loyalty and trust, you can monetize your website by adding a new, paid tier — or by selling products, such as:
- Digital products (eBooks, videos, apps)
- Branded physical products (t-shirts, mugs, accessories)
- Accessories related to your specific membership site niche
Lifetime Access vs. Limited-Time PlanThe lifetime access plan is perfect for those who want to provide their members unlimited access to all of the content and features on their website. This is typically done with a one-time payment. On the other hand, the limited-time pricing tier provides users access to all of the content and features on your website for a specific time. After that, they will need to renew their plans or switch to an alternate one if they want to continue using the site. This type of pricing level is ideal for those who want to provide different levels of access and reward loyal customers with discounts or exclusive access.
How to Structure Your Membership PlansWhen structuring your membership site pricing plan options, consider the following elements:
Define Access TypeDecide on the type of access you want to provide for each plan – lifetime, limited duration, date range, or recurring periods.
Think of Benefits and FeaturesMake sure to include features and benefits that cater to the different needs of your members. These can include discounts,
Billing OptionsDetermine whether each plan will be accessible for free (as a trial) or as a paid option. For paid plans, set the level price, billing recurrences, and trial periods if applicable. Remember to make recurring billing easy for customers, but also to enable them to cancel at any time (as this will build trust with them and help you retain members over time).
Set Payment PlatformsChoose which payment platforms you want to provide for each plan, such as PayPal or Stripe. As a general rule, you want to use a payment platform that makes it easy for members to make recurring subscription payments regardless of their chosen plan.
Create Different LevelsProvide multiple access levels to cater to diverse member needs, ranging from basic to premium. Try to keep things as simple as possible here — too many membership tiers can be confusing and may steer potential buyers away from signing up.
Unique Plan NamesAssign unique and easily recognizable membership plan names to tier for clarity and branding purposes. Keep in mind that if you want your level names to be creative, they should still remain clear and concise.
Plan Names: A Quick GuideYour membership levels names can make a world of difference in terms of how your potential customers perceive you. Here are some basic best practices to keep in mind when choosing a level name for your membership site:
Keep It SimpleUse clear and straightforward names that convey the plan’s benefits concisely. Remember, people are busy and it’s unlikely they’ll want to take the time to try and understand complicated plan names.
Use AlliterationsConsistent lettering in plan names makes them easier for customers to remember, and also adds a touch of creativity to them.
Position Your PlansChoose level names that highlight how they are different from each other and why customers should pick one over the others.
Reflect BenefitsEnsure the plan names reflect the unique features and advantages that members will receive (rather than the specific features of each plan).
Align with BrandingAlign the plan names with your site’s overall branding and messaging. For instance, depending on what you sell and what type of industry you’re an expert in, you could use humor, industry terms, or even puns to name your plans.
How to Add Membership Plans on a WordPress Membership SiteUltimate Membership Pro makes it very easy for virtually anyone to create a membership site on WordPress. Follow these steps to add pricing tiers to your WordPress site using the Ultimate Membership Pro plugin: Step 1: Install the Ultimate Membership Pro Plugin. You can get Ultimate Membership Pro for $59/ month (which gives you access to the plugin, predefined templates, and 41+ addons), and if you need more advanced addons you can get the Pro Addons Bundle for $149/ month. Step 2: Create Levels/Subscriptions:
- Access Type: Choose from Lifetime, Limited, Date Range, or Regular Period.
- Billing Options: Decide whether the level will be free or paid, set the price, billing recurrences, and trial periods if needed.
- Other Settings: Hide the level from the subscription plan list if necessary.
- Set up login options, registration forms, and other membership-related features.
- Define what content and features each membership level can access.
- Integrate secure payment gateways to process payments from members.