When you are building your membership site, it becomes necessary to set up a membership pricing model. After all, you can’t afford to offer your target audience and viewers stuff for free! However, setting up membership pricing online is something you have to plan strategically. This will help you retain the existing users and woo new users, simultaneously.
Pick your pricing model
Whatever your membership site idea is, most fall into one of these pricing models:
- Recurring Subscriptions – There are many online content and service providers (such as ISPs and VPNs) that stick to the Recurring Subscription model. You may also charge your users a monthly fee which is fixed. However, this can be fixed at quarterly and bi-yearly intervals too. There can be a yearly plan as well. This model works well with loyal users who use your online service/ content yearlong. Typically, the longer-term Recurring Subscription packages for the same content are priced reasonably than the shorter-term ones.
- Lifetime Subscription/membership – This model is followed by a section of online service providers too. For example, you may offer a one-time payment model for any software sold by your company with lifetime support.
- Fixed-term subscription – This is useful when your company offers products and services online that are meant to be sold once for a period. Renewal is optional and the buyers pay the price for a fixed duration once. Examples include a license for anti-malware software with 1-year validity.
Know your bottom line
Typically, when you offer content or services online, you have to think about the running costs. This is necessary before you can finalize a membership pricing structure. The pricing structure should be done in a way that you can make profits eventually. Even the cheapest subscription package you offer should be modeled keeping these in mind.
Here are the factors that add up to your service’s running cost:
- Hosting cost – This is quite important and you need to pay a monthly or yearly fee to the agency that hosts your brand’s website.
- Payment processing – You have to think of the charges for using payment gateways.
- Software/cloud service cost – You may rely on software developed by a third party entity to offer your services online. This can also be a cloud-based service.
- Other allied costs – You may have to bear additional and related costs like data backup, site security, etc.
See what your competitors are charging
You are likely to find several competitors – no matter what type of service you offer online! Check out the websites of several rivals operating in the same segment and compare their pricing packages. This will give you a good idea regarding your own membership pricing structure. Pricing your services too high may deter a lot of target buyers who will go for the cheaper alternatives. If you price the service way lower than the rivals, that may make target buyers skeptical about quality too!
It makes sense to price your service/online content in that range but you can definitely keep a couple of bundled or limited time offers.
It is also important that you survey the target customers well. The age and income level of the customers are two major variables in this regard. If your service is meant for customers across different age groups and profiles, the pricing model has to be flexible accordingly. There are customers who look for maximum value for money and then there are some customers who do not mind paying steeper fees for high-quality online content and service. Examples include customers using VPN, video streaming, and internet services.
Adjust as you go
Just because you have kept a membership pricing model it does not mean it has to be static-forever! However, a change in membership pricing has to be done after careful and logical analysis.
Here is what you need to consider before changing the membership price:
- If you have started offering service online recently, hiking the membership price may not be a good idea. This will hurt user retention. It may also pave the way for negative publicity. Timing is quite important here. After your brand has earned a reputation and user base is considerably large, you may think of hiking the membership fee.
- Sometimes, just raising the membership fee may not be a prudent move. You may have to do it to cope with rising maintenance and running costs but the customers too need the motivation to stick to your brand! So, you may pack in some additional goodies with the new and revised membership packages. This can be in the form of a 1-month extra subscription for free with the yearly package. You may also offer special renewal discounts to loyal customers.
- Sometimes, reducing the membership price for a limited period may be useful. It may help you in wooing new customers within that span of time. For example, you may offer lower pricing for membership for users signing up for your services during the Christmas weekend.
- You may not bring change in all levels of membership pricing at the same time. This depends on your customer type and business growth plans too. For instance, you may want to motivate the customers using a monthly subscription plan to upgrade to bi-yearly or yearly plans. In that case, you may raise the monthly subscription charge while keeping yearly pricing unchanged! Or, you may raise the monthly package charges more and hike the yearly subscription fee nominally.
Membership site pricing is not tedious when you know the basics well. Analysis of running costs and targeted revenue is crucial for setting a pricing plan. Of course, assessing the rivals and knowing the requirements and priorities of your customers can be helpful in this regard.