Obviously, there are some subscription or membership models that make more sense than others.
I’m sure there are profitable membership models in every industry and niche, but there are some models (regardless of niche) that seem to thrive on the subscription web site platform.
I was once a member of a professional organization that catered specifically to subscription web sites and recurring income for their owners. Some have used the term “continuity” programs to describe this model.
I joined, not because I had a site, but because I was contemplating starting this type of business and wanted to learn all about this model prior to actually committing money to the idea.
I pulled out some notes I had written about the topic (because this organization is no longer in business) and I can share with you the five types of subscription models that are typically the most profitable.
Now mind you, these five models are not the only types of sites that have proven to generate significant income for the owner.
They are simply those that fit this type of business (paid membership sites) particularly well.
And just because you have one of these models, you are not guaranteed to be profitable.
This is a very customized and unique business model and its suitability and profitability for your chosen niche, and for you as the owner, will always depend upon many factors that are both within and outside your control.
Here are the five “best” (generally profitable) subscription web site models:
1. Already profitable newsletters. If you publish a newsletter that already has proven to be a success with lots of loyal registered customers, chances are pretty good that you could create and run a profitable membership site using the same topic and types of information that you are already providing in the newsletter.
One of the biggest challenges of the membership model is determining if there is a market for the type of paid information you plan to deliver.
If you already know that folks will pay for what you offer, you have a great opportunity to turn a simple newsletter into a much more interactive web experience with lots of options for delivering your content.
2. Professional trade associations. There is a good opportunity to profit from organizing a paid site that caters very specifically to persons or businesses that are in the same industry.
You can deliver lots of very targeted benefits to the members that you don’t want outsiders to have access to.
Having the specialized information will help as you recruit new members because they won’t be able to find the information elsewhere.
In addition, having a collective audience of like-minded professionals is a great benefit, especially if you can offer interactivity at your web site so the members can communicate with one another.
3. Self-improvement, “how to” information. Many people are looking to improve themselves and their circumstances.
They want to be successful and learn new traits and ways to change old habits and behaviors.
Weight loss, investing tips, money-making ideas, and getting out of debt are all topics that the self-improvement model works well with.
4. Career advancement and education. Many people will pay to receive help and advice regarding their careers.
Membership sites can offer everything from tips, to recommended advancement services, to mentoring, to libraries of articles and resources, etc.
This model has a very wide customer base and it would be wise to narrow your niche down significantly (to a particular type of industry or a certain type of customer) if you want to use this model.
5. Download resource libraries. Some membership models are built around the idea that members will pay to have a constant and fresh supply of downloadable products. These might be books, articles, software, scripts, images, audio or video files, tutorials, etc.
There are paid membership sites all over the Internet that give members access to huge collections of clip art, photographs, music files, niche content, and on and on.
All these “pay to play” or membership models have proven to be profitable over the short history of the Internet.
Undoubtedly, there will be other successful models appear in the future.
To your online business success,