Tiered Levels on Your Membership Site: To Do or Not to Do?

by | Jan 9, 2023 | Resources

The subscription economy is expected to reach $904.2 billion by 2026 — and owning a membership site that offers tiered levels/ subscription plans is one of the easiest ways to tap into this huge, growing market.

That being said, tiered levels are not for everyone.  It’s important to consider the pros and cons before deciding if offering tiered levels is right for you. Read on if you want to learn more about the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to tiered levels.

Tiered Levels: The Advantages

Tiered levels offer an attractive pricing structure from a series of points of view. Some of the most touted advantages of tiered levels on membership sites include:

More Loyal Members, More Revenue for You

Tiered levels offer members the ability to sign up for a plan that best suits their needs, budget and payment preferences. This often leads to more loyal members who stick around longer – thus providing you with greater revenue in the long run.

increasing member retention and loyalty

Giving Everyone an Option

Not everyone can afford the most expensive pricing plan — and not everyone may want to jump head-first into a plan they are unsure of. Tiered levels give members the opportunity to pick a plan that best suits their requirements and budget, giving them more control over their experience while removing any sense of guilt or stress.

The Possibility to Nurture Members Into Buying a Higher Plan

When you structure your plans on different tiers, you can offer members the option to upgrade if they find that their current plan isn’t giving them what they need. This helps in nurturing relationships with your members and makes it easier for them to move up the ladder when needed.

It Taps into Human Psychology

Tiered levels help you build perceived value. This can be defined as  a customer’s perception of the worth they are getting out of your content. With tiered levels, you can show customers a clear comparison between the different plans you have to offer and let them decide which one best fits their needs.

Differentiating Your Plan Offerings

Not all of your content is created equal. Tiered plans allow you to create content and experiences adjusted to the needs of different types of customers, separating them into distinct tiers and rewarding loyalty.

A Good Option for Lead Generation

If you offer a free or low-cost plan to customers, they may be more likely to sign up with no commitment. This gives you the opportunity to nurture those leads and build relationships with them before offering them updates or upselling additional plans.

Tiered Levels: The Disadvantages

As with any pricing strategy, there are also disadvantages to consider. Some of the cons of offering tiered levels on membership sites include:

It Can Be Complex to Manage

Managing a set of tiered levels can be complex and time-consuming. You must ensure that each plan offers unique features that are worth the additional cost, while also making sure that all of your customers understand the differences between them. Additionally, you also have to make sure you can provide customer support for each pricing level. 

The Value Perception Could be Misguided

The value perception of a tiered plan could be misguided, meaning customers may not perceive the higher-priced plans as being worth the extra cost. This could lead to fewer customers upgrading and more churn.

It May Not Be Worth it for Small Membership Sites

Tiered levels can require a lot of work – most notably in terms of marketing and customer support – which may not be worth it for a small membership site. It’s important to consider the size of your customer base and the number of resources you have available before investing in tiered plans.

It Could be Difficult to Upsell Members

Depending on your specific membership site niche and your business model, upselling members might be difficult — especially if you are not offering enough benefits or incentives for them to upgrade.

You Need a Clear Plan in Place

If you are considering offering tiered levels on your membership site, it’s important to have a clear plan in place. Before launching any tiered plans, make sure that you understand the pros and cons of each option and that all of your customers know what they are getting for their money.

Tiered Levels Can Lead to Price Sensitivity

Price sensitivity is defined as a customer’s willingness to pay a certain price for a product or service. With tiered levels, customers may be more likely to compare prices and shop around before settling on one plan. It’s important to consider this factor when creating your pricing strategy as it can have an impact on conversions and revenue.

How to Create Tiered Levels for Your Membership Site

If you are keen on creating tiered levels for your membership site, make sure you build a solid plan from the get-go. Sure, changes might pop along the way — but if they’re very drastic, it might be difficult to migrate existing members from one pricing plan scheme to another.

That being said, here are some tips to remember when creating tiered levels for a membership site:

Figure Out What Plans You Want to Offer

Before setting up the different tiers, you need to decide what type of plans you want to offer. Think about the features and content that will be included in each plan and ensure that your customers understand the differences between them.

Decide on Your Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy should be based on your customers’ needs and preferences. You can set prices by value-based pricing, market-based pricing, or cost-plus pricing.

Create Solid Offers for Each Plan

Make sure that you are offering unique features and content in each plan to justify why it is more expensive than the one below it. If your customers don’t see the value, they won’t upgrade.

Make It Easier for Customers to Upgrade

You should make it as easy as possible for your customers to upgrade by offering them simple payment options and an intuitive user interface. This will help encourage more members to upgrade and ensure that those who do have a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Make It Easy for Customers to Choose Too

Don’t go into too much detail about the different plans. Keep descriptions short and to the point, and make sure that customers can clearly see what they will get for each plan. In general, you want to stick to up to three or four pricing plans.

Always Keep Your Data and Member Segments Clean

When you run a membership site with just a handful of members, every mistake can be amended manually. However, as your membership base increases, it becomes more difficult to keep up with the changes. Always make sure that you have a system in place that can help you automate and manage data cleanliness. Otherwise, you will not only create chaos among members, but it will also be very difficult for you to market to them in a personalized way (which is essential, by the way.)

By following these tips, you can create tiered levels on your membership site that will help differentiate your offers and encourage more members to upgrade. Just remember that adding tiered plans is not a one-size-fits-all solution and it’s important to consider the pros and cons before making any decisions.

Advantages and disadvantages of tiered levels

Alternatives to Tiered Levels for Membership Sites

Let’s say you’re not that keen on building tiered levels for membership sites. Are there any alternatives?

Well, yes. Instead of going for a tier levelled-membership site, you could go for any of the following options:

Single-Tiered Membership

Owning a single-tiered membership site doesn’t mean you’re limiting yourself. In fact, you can still offer a range of content and features to your customers. This type of membership site is best suited for those who want to focus on one specific service or product without overcomplicating things.

For example, you could offer extra products or upsells on a single-tiered membership site. If your site deals with fitness, you could upsell members into buying a healthy recipe book. If it’s a photography site, you could offer additional online classes or provide access to exclusive content.

Metered Billing Membership

A metered billing membership site is ideal for those who don’t want to offer different tiers but still want to monetize their content. This type of membership site charges customers based on how much they use the service or access the content.

This type of membership model works particularly well with subscription-based products, as users can pay for only what they need. For example, if you’re offering an online course, customers can sign up for a month and only pay for the lessons that were viewed during that time period.

Freemium vs VIP Membership

The freemium model is becoming increasingly popular among membership sites as it allows users to access basic content or features for free while charging them a fee to access the more advanced content.

This type of model works well for those who want to offer some of their content for free but still monetize their services. For example, if you’re offering an online course, customers could have access to some lessons or videos for free and pay a subscription or one-time fee for the more in-depth content.


Tiered levels are definitely quite offering for membership sites, but that doesn’t mean you should go for it blindly. Weighing the pros and cons and looking into alternatives can help you create a membership site that works best for your business.

In the end, it’s your choice whether you want to go for tiered levels or opt for any of the alternatives discussed in this article. However, the most important thing is that you understand your customers and provide them with the best experience possible.

You May Also Like

18 Ways to Increase Member Retention for Membership Sites

Everything You Need to Know about Recurring Charges for Your Membership Site

Top 6 Free WordPress Membership Plugin Options

35 Membership Site Ideas to Help You Generate Revenue

Top 5 WordPress Community Plugins for Membership Sites