Looking for some membership ideas to spice up your community? We reviewed some communities for community builders to find out what winning strategies they are using. Here we outline different membership benefit ideas you can use to attract new members and retain existing ones.
In this post:
- What do people want from a membership?
- 10 Membership benefit ideas
- Using members-only benefits to increase attractiveness
What Do People Want From a Membership?
Keep in mind that people join paid communities because they want to gather with like-minded people who share some of their interests.
So, we can affirm that what people most likely want from joining any community it’s a sense of belonging. They want to connect with others who are similar to them and build something together.
Additionally, people join a community because they get added value. Your membership’s price must be, in your members’ eyes, ridiculously low in comparison with the benefits the membership gives them.
Thinking about why members join your community it’s very powerful. It allows you to get clear on what are their goals, and what are they looking to accomplish.
And once you know what they want out of your membership, you can start to think about what kind of membership benefits can help them accomplish those goals.
What’s Considered a Good Membership Benefit?
This will of course depend on the type of community you are running. Different types of communities attract different types of people.
For example, a community membership for young professionals will certainly benefit from offering a job board, or career mentorship opportunities.
Well, because young professionals are likely looking to grow in their careers, get better-paying jobs, and expand their knowledge.
A community that offers benefits like a job board and career mentorship opportunities can help them accomplish their professional goals.
So the first step is to think about who is your community trying to gather. With that answer in mind, you can start to brainstorm some membership benefit ideas for your paid community.
Additionally, benefits that match your ideal member’s profile will also help you to attract new paying members. For that, you need to make sure you promote those benefits or introduce a referral program.
Below are some powerful membership benefit ideas that successful communities are already using to grow their members’ base.
10 Membership Benefit Ideas
#1: Host Members-Only Events and Networking Opportunities
This is a strategy most communities use. Since one of the main reasons people join communities it’s because it helps them connect with like-minded people, offering events it’s a sure bet.
Membership communities usually organize virtual or hybrid events such as webinars, AMAs, or interviews with experts. Additionally, you could explore some in-person options such as regular local chapters and members-only breakfasts/dinners.
Sandbox, for example, it’s a community that organizes many different activities: they host local events, online webinars, retreats, and global summits. This way, they allow members an opportunity to network and bounce off ideas with each other.
#2: Create Different Membership Tiers
It’s a common practice in membership communities to introduce several membership levels. The more advanced the tier, the higher the price and the benefits it offers.
This allows you to deliver a VIP experience to those members who are willing to invest more in the community in order to have a full range of benefits.
#3: Offer Online Courses or Certifications
Do members of your community gather to learn something together? If the answer is yes, it’s plausible to offer online courses, workshops, bootcamps, or exclusive training for paying members.
More points if you also offer certifications that members can use to land a new role or get promoted.
Maker’s Mark uses this principle and the entire community is based on an audience-building course that also includes weekly remote classes and other online events.
#4: Share Curated, Valuable Content
Many successful membership sites use content not only to attract new members but also to retain existing ones (by offering them exclusive, members-only content).
If you decide to go this route, the content you create and distribute has to be very aligned with your members’ goals and interests. It has to be, in short, extremely valuable.
Keep in mind that users are bombarded with free content all the time on the Internet. So, your community’s content must be useful and deep.
The Community Roundtable, for example, has a huge content library that’s only available for paid members. Inside, you won’t find generic content. Instead, there are tools, templates, extensive how-to guides, case studies, reports, and multimedia assets that make community builders’ lives easier.
#5: Start an Online Group
An online group it’s another of those membership ideas that allow members to connect with each other and interact virtually. There are many platforms to create an online group, but the right one to choose will depend on where potential members hang out online and what your membership model is.
For example, Slack it’s a great platform for career-centered communities since it’s a place where people commonly gather as professionals to work on different projects. Discord, on the other hand, it’s more casual and it was originally used almost exclusively by gamers.
You can also open a members area on your website, or create a forum on your own platform.
Another popular option it’s Circle, because of all the features it offers to community builders. You can read a full comparison on Circle vs. Facebook groups if you are unsure where to start your community’s online group.
#6: Maintain a Job Board
Job boards are great for career-centered communities. Professionals can benefit greatly from a community that provides them with the strategic connections needed in order to grow in their careers.
A job board allows members to browse through different job postings and apply to the roles they are interested in. Some communities’ job boards also allow members to upload their CVs and companies to post open roles.
For instance, inside the Projectium Network, founders can post their projects and also what open roles are available in that specific project. This creates a community where founders and makers can come together to grow professionally, network, and create new collaborations together.
#7: Offer Mentorship Opportunities
Many communities offer mentorship opportunities in order to help members accomplish a specific goal, usually a professional or career-related one.
You can offer virtual or in-person mentorship options for members. Also, some communities create a platform that allows members themselves to apply as mentors or mentees.
For example, Connecting Talents specializes in matching people with complementary skills for them to learn from one another and find new collaboration opportunities. In a way, this is a very unique mentorship model where both are mentors, instead of the learning being a unilateral approach.
#8: Give Access to a Member Directory
Directories allow members to meet others and find like-minded peers to individually connect with (which is, after all, a major reason why people join communities in the first place).
Some communities allow members to create very descriptive profiles, enabling others to find people with similar interests. Additionally, you can feature members randomly or publicly congratulate some that had recently achieved an important milestone.
#9: Host Fun Contests and Challenges
Activities such as contests and challenges are very engaging for members and usually draw a community closer.
Make sure to think about a juicy price for the winners, so it’s enticing for members to participate.
#10: Offer Coupons, Discounts, and Cashback
Try to partner with complementary businesses and other communities that can offer valuable deals to your members.
These types of exclusive deals work wonderfully both to attract new members and to retain existing ones. They allow you to incentivize people by offering something valuable to them that’s more expensive for non-members.
Using Members-Only Benefits to Increase Attractiveness
Above you witnessed how some successful communities are using member-only benefits to increase their attractiveness and get more and more new members in return.
Members-only benefits are powerful when they are aligned with your members’ needs and desires. In this case, benefits actually improve members’ lives, help them accomplish their goals, and add real value to a paid membership.
As we stated at the beginning of this post, thinking about who is your membership trying to attract, and what are their goals, it’s vital to define the benefits you want to offer to paid members.
When the benefits you offer override the price of the membership and also allow members to accomplish their specific goals, it’s a no-brainer for new members to join. Your community’s attractiveness it’s drastically enhanced.
Now that you have a rough idea of what benefits you could use to attract new members, it’s time to think about how you will welcome them. Check out our community onboarding guide for more!