Membership Site Question - Restricted Monthly Downloads OR All At Once?

by Steven Wagenheim 29 replies
I am sure this is an issue that all you membership site owners have wrestled
with at one time or another.

Do you restrict the info that a member can access to certain pieces per
month, or do you allow them to have whatever is at the site all at one time?

I know what the members would like but I'm asking what the owners
prefer?

Naturally, allowing them to get everything upon signup, they can sign up for
a month, download everything, and then on top of all that cancel their
membership and you're out the whole ball of wax. In the case of PLR material
that is restricted, this hurts the other members and isn't fair to them.

On the other hand, restricting it to a monthly download means you better
have a good amount of material available each month to make the
membership worth while. This gives the membership site owner more work
to do.

My partner and I have already decided which direction we're going
(restricted monthly downloads) but I am curious as to what you all
think, which is why I made this a poll.

I'm guessing that most feel like I do, but I could be wrong.

So which is it for you? Monthly or all at once?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #downloads #membership #monthly #question #restricted #site
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  • Profile picture of the author jhongren
    i go for monthly. it makes the customers remember you. =)

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author JeffersonB
      As you said.. All in one the customer could just sign up download and leave but monthly makes them stay.

      Your going the right way for residule income
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      • Profile picture of the author lakshaybehl
        Hi Steven!

        Here's my personal fav.

        1. Give them access to all the content at once! They want this right?

        2. Post new stuff every week or so... You want them keep coming back, right?

        That's exactly what I do! I post a new video every 3 days... And send them an email with a catchy story! And that also justifies the monthly Subscription price tag! i want them to stick. PERIOD!

        -Lakshay
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        • Profile picture of the author davemiz
          whats the point of having a monthly program if you give them everything at once?

          makes no sense.
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          • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
            Steven,

            there are pros and cons of each...

            Monthly method, gives you a monthly income - not necessarily residual as you need to keep creating content. It does, however, lower the barrier to entry and people are more likely to try out the service even if they don't stay members forever.

            Lifetime method, good for exposing people to your brand and content - more likelihood of an upsell.

            I could go on for hours on this... I love membership sites.
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            • Profile picture of the author Lance K
              Originally Posted by KarlWarren View Post

              Monthly method, gives you a monthly income - not necessarily residual as you need to keep creating content.
              Not if you have all the content already, pre populate the membership site with it and schedule when each content segment is released to the membership (based on join date).
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            • Profile picture of the author elitemarketer
              Hey Steven,

              Here what I think....

              With my membership site I will be giving all the content away at once but always be adding new content. I will also be giving away a Free Software like a pop-up generator, toolbar creator, etc. that will be given the day the next month is paid for... But, they will be getting so many tools that they can use to run their business like Video Blog, be able to send videos to their list through A/V Postcards, and a whole lot more tools but the point is these tools help give the value to support the membership fee.

              Try to give them tools to use or if not do thejust do regular content and 1 big monthly!

              This way you always have great content be given away and also you have that big product that is monthly!

              Now if you are just looking to do the minimum amount of work then I would suggest doing a Live Tele-seminar once a month (big monthly giveaway) and maybe pay someone to write content for you every week or 3 days as mentioned earlier so that you only are putting in the time for the 1 hour call!

              Good Luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    Frankly as a member: If I join, and I get all the materials that others have paid for during the past year, I'm thrilled. I didn't have to make those monthly payments while the other poor saps did. I still got all the goodies.

    John Reese has it right with his membership site. You only get the materials you paid for in the month you paid for them. He has a page where one can order materials for the months that they didn't pay for. Somehow the software knows. There is no discount, its full price, just what everyone else paid. If the membership is $97 a month and I wasn't a member for October 2007, I can get that months materials for $97. I think that's totally fair.
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    • Profile picture of the author violationz
      Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post

      John Reese has it right with his membership site. You only get the materials you paid for in the month you paid for them. He has a page where one can order materials for the months that they didn't pay for. Somehow the software knows. There is no discount, its full price, just what everyone else paid. If the membership is $97 a month and I wasn't a member for October 2007, I can get that months materials for $97. I think that's totally fair.
      I've never been a member of one of these sites but that sir is brilliant - thanks for sharing.
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      • Profile picture of the author Lance K
        Another method I have seen people use is to have a joining fee (i.e. $97) and then the regular monthly fee ($9.97).
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        "You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
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      • Profile picture of the author Kim Standerline
        Originally Posted by violationz View Post

        I've never been a member of one of these sites but that sir is brilliant - thanks for sharing.
        I've been using this method for the last 3 years.
        And I've always given newer members the chance to buy older products (at the same price)

        Give old content to newer members and watch it really piss the older members off

        Kim
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        • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
          Originally Posted by Kim Standerline View Post

          And I've always given newer members the chance to buy older products (at the same price)
          Kim
          How do you handle this? Do you have the functionality built into your cart? Do you sell a different "product" that delivers the content separately?
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    • Profile picture of the author Jelasco
      Originally Posted by Scott Ames View Post

      John Reese has it right with his membership site. You only get the materials you paid for in the month you paid for them.
      What is his membership site? I didn't know he had one.

      As for the original question, like many things, it depends. If you are giving members things to sell or something like that, I would go with removing previous content. It's not fair to people who pay month after month if someone else can come in and get everything for one month's fee.

      However if it's content they are going to consume, it's often better to leave it on there, especially if it's not downloadable. For example, if you had a forum with a monthly fee, it would be silly to remove posts that were a month old.
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      • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
        Originally Posted by Jelasco View Post

        What is his membership site? I didn't know he had one.
        I guess "had" is the correct word. It used to be called "The Reese Report" and was the most excllent membership site I've seen.
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        • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
          Yes I think you need to do a combination of both...

          1. Enough content as soon as they're inside that they're absolutely thrilled they joined...

          2. Regular content added so they're excited about staying a member.

          Many successful paid membership sites use a forum of some kind as part of the way they deliver high quality content and keep members coming back.

          Most people think that the main revenue from paid membership sites is the paid subscriptions.

          This isn't always the case.

          Some paid membership sites are actually based on keeping you coming back to the site as much as possible then making back end sales from the site.

          To that end they may be VERY generous with 6 month, 1 year, 2 year and lifetime membership deals because the goal is to keep you as an active member for as long as possible.

          Kindest regards,
          Andrew Cavanagh
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          • Profile picture of the author Sirius Lin
            If we're talking about PLR products, I will prefer a monthly model because if I get in early, I want the privilege of being one of those few who have access to that material. If I've been a member for 6 months and received 6 months' worth of products, and someone else joins and can get all that 6 months' worth for just 1 month's fee, I'm going to be pretty ticked. It might just motivate me to quit the membership and re-join for a month every half a year or so. After all, why pay more when you can get the same thing for less?

            I'd like to second the idea that you need some content in the site as a 'starter'. So your new members can see what you've given your members in the past and what they can look forward to if they stick around.

            ~ Sirius
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        • Profile picture of the author vitalgirl
          I think it also depends on the niche - in B2B and especially IM, if you gave them all the content at once - unless you're in it for branding etc - then it wouldn't work, either for you or your other customers. But I think in other niches, having a lot of content, inc previous months, available, but still adding to it and charging a monthly fee, can work well. Even then it would depend on the niche, and the type of info you're providing
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  • Profile picture of the author danette77
    Monthly downloads will give your members a reason to come back ... and most importantly a reason to keep paying your membership fees every month. Adding new content each month also shows that you are taking an ongoing interest in your members, not simply getting the signup and dropping them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy Fletcher
    Definitely all at once. You build up a bigger and bigger starting product that helps make the initial sale. The more people that sign up, the more people you get to stay on.

    If they just sign up, grab everything and leave they'd probably have done that with your monthly version anyway. And if they wouldn't have then you've just lost that person's month 1 payment.

    If you've got absolutely tons of great content then I'd go for a sign up fee followed by monthly recurring since the initial product is so much better. For a great example of this see cardrunners.com. It's a poker video training site (that I'm in no way affiliated with but have been a member). They have a ridiculously amount of content to hook you with then great monthly updates with new stuff justifying the pretty high sign up fee followed by monthly individual payments. You can avoid the monthly if you pay for a year in advance.

    Just my 2 cents.
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    • Profile picture of the author GarrieWilson
      Neither!

      They get access to current months and previouse months content uptil the start of their membership.

      Then either have an OTO or a small monthly fee to get access to the material that was posted before they became a member.

      The site I'm working on will do this if I can get the software modified the way I want. (Using WP to post the content.)

      Garrie
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  • Profile picture of the author Naveed Peerzade
    Hi Steve,

    Its not fair for other members. If you such a website, I (as a customer) would join, get all and cancel the membership and then come back again after 6 month, pay for 1 month get all 6 month content and cancel.

    So its very simple and fair with other members to restrict monthly content.

    In another way, as I do, create different level of memberships, there are members who are willing to pay extra for previous contents/products... so lets say silver member get only current month product and Platinum Members get access to archives..

    But here, you charge a one time fee to upgrading to platinum.

    I have been using this with my membership since its launch (2 yrs) and have a great success and dropping ratio is very very less.

    Hope that helps.

    Naveed
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  • Well, I voted for Monthly Downloads.

    Hope this helps.

    Arindam
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    • Profile picture of the author David-JP
      In my experience, very few members will do the signup, quit, wait, signup, quit, wait, signup, technique to get your content. Besides, you can always warn, and ban these members. I havent had any complaints from my older users- they got the stuff fresh, and have had much more time to benefit from the site.

      David
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  • Profile picture of the author Rachel Rofe
    My main site, yayFOOD... I give everyone everything at once. That might change, with the exception of the forum.

    With most of my niche membership sites, though, people do NOT get everything at once. Why make it harder for yourself, you know? I like to do course-style formats where people get one lesson one week, another the next, etc. When they go through 6 months of lessons, then they can "graduate" to the advanced level.

    (That also gives you 6 months to decide if it's profitable to bother even making an advanced level.)

    This is better for me because I only need 6 months worth of lessons, and I'm done. I don't need to keep outsourcing new content for the rest of my life, and the sites are "set it and forget it".
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
      Give them killer content for instant reward and then provide compelling reasons for them to stay subscribed.

      Do both.
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  • Profile picture of the author SandyHall
    Hi Stephen,

    I'm inclined to go with the monthly downloads.

    Give your new sign-ups a really great deal for their first month.
    Then keep piling the content on Every Week instead of only once per month.
    (But have them pay per month.)

    Or another model I like is to give them a trial membership. Lets say 7 days.
    Charge them $7.00 for a 7 day trial membership and then the normal monthly fee from then on.

    You've got to give them a huge deal from the beginning.
    They'll be in a more receptive state of mind to continue on month after month.

    I'm putting together a new membership site now, with the 7 day trial.
    After a few weeks I'll report how that went.

    Thanks for a thought provoking thread Stephen...

    Sandy
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    • Profile picture of the author David_Thompson
      I love the idea of giving the customer
      the things he or she needs to get started
      and then continue providing quality content
      month after month.

      So yes monthly but if you are providing
      a system then give them it and continue
      giving more content.

      --David
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