As an entrepreneur creating an online community, you will need to answer many questions, but an important one has to be, “What is membership in a community?”
You must answer this question as a business owner wanting to monetize an online community. If you don’t understand its fundamentals, it will turn your online community into a capital-sapping venture.
So, what is membership in a community? And what kind of value will it give your business?
What Is Membership In A Community?
When referring to membership, we’re explicitly talking about your customers and clients being a part of the community you’ve created. These individuals will share an interest with you and your other members of the community.
There can be different membership levels, from unpaid to various paid tiers, giving your members access to unique research, exclusive content, VIP spaces, mentorship programs, etc.
However, creating this paywall can only be successful if the content on offer is worth the investment or if access to experienced professionals for assistance is guaranteed.
When people join your community, you can be sure they want to connect with like-minded individuals, and most will be willing to participate and contribute to conversations. So, if they are shown value for their membership fees, they will provide value in turn.
Now that we’ve addressed the question, “What is membership in a community?” let’s answer, “What is the value of a community membership?”
What Is The Value Of Community Membership?
The core value of community membership is a web of several benefits such as social support, networking opportunities, access to resources, a sense of belonging – and more.
All the above points are invaluable to any new entrepreneur across multiple sectors. They also give validation for achievements when networking with peers in their industry. Examples of the social support community membership can provide are:
- New skills
- Experiences from experts
- And insights
As mentioned, access to exclusive content is another benefit for someone who becomes a community member and signs up for a membership.
This exclusive content can also be issued as discounts to services you offer, previews of new products, and more. It’s this exclusivity that will attract individuals to sign up to your community’s membership program.
But how does an entrepreneur create a community membership?
How Do I Create A Community Membership?
The first step is establishing a community page where people want to sign up and log in. You might want to incorporate a paywall. Establishing this membership community will most certainly require membership website software or a platform.
An example would be WordPress.
The next step is to attract your chosen target demographic. To achieve this, you will want to manage your content and create it. The old adage of “if you build it, they will come” will ring true here.
Great content will bring interested parties. As the saying from the mid-10s still rings true here, “content is king” and will help sell memberships.
The next step is community moderation. If your members become bored, overly argumentative, or disruptive, your community will lose numbers. Retaining engaged members is critical.
Finally, you also want to focus on growing your membership by offering new services and evolving to stay relevant.
So, we’ve concluded that membership comprises several elements. And if scaled correctly, you can develop a new revenue stream for yourself by creating value.
Read next: What Are The Elements of A True Community?