When members are asked to invest their time and money into a club or other type of membership group, you need to make them feel recognized for their efforts – even in the smallest of ways!
One small but effective way to do this is to make a distinction between different membership levels and name them appropriately. Though this is seemingly insignificant, structuring and naming membership levels will bring a whole new dimension to the membership experience.
In this article, we take a look at the different membership structures you can explore for your membership site, along with some examples of interesting and engaging membership level names.
The tiered membership structure
The structure of your membership club depends on the kind of club you’re running and the services you offer. For memberships that provide content, music, entertainment and similar services, the tiered structure always works. Operating on a “get what you pay for” scheme, this structure’s leveling is based on how much money customers are willing to shell out. The more you pay, the better the services.
For example, with subscription-based membership sites like Netflix, you can get a basic subscription that allows you access to the website’s basic services or choose mid-tier or premium levels that offer more perks like HD or 4K viewing or access for multiple users.
Why does it work? This ‘more you pay, the more you get’ structure is appealing because it lets members feel like they have some control over their overall membership experience. If a member chooses to pay for a premium subscription then realizes that money might be tight in the following month, they can rest easy knowing they don’t have to give their subscription up completely – they can just downgrade for the time being.
Membership clubs and businesses relying on this model can benefit from better customer engagement, member retention and have a better understanding of their customers. You can observe which membership tiers are more popular among new members and which plans retain members. That way, you can refine or even drop plans that don’t get as much love as their more popular counterparts. Consider what mix of benefits are appropriate and meaningful for each level. Features such as member only ticket pricing, member only content, member deals, directory access and directory listings may be selectively offered only to certain membership levels.
More examples of tier names:
- Free, Premium and All-Access
- Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum
- Garnet, Ruby and Diamond
- Basic, Basic Plus, Donor’s Circle and Lifetime Member
Another effective way to structure a membership club or service is to offer different products, perks and services to different types of people. For example, a professional organization in the advertising field can offer plans based on their members’ demographics such as Agency, Freelancer, Vendor, Educator and Student.
Membership clubs that usually operate on a category basis are professional associations and sports clubs. With these types of clubs, members are sometimes categorized by their age, profession or contribution to the club. For example a yacht club may have membership levels such as Junior, Young Adult, Associate and Senior.
This complex structure helps segment the large member base into smaller, more manageable teams. It also helps each member feel more significant and recognized in their position.
Payment term levels
Unlike tiered levels that are divided according to how much members are willing to pay, the payment term membership level is split by how OFTEN members are willing to pay. Usually, members can choose to pay on a monthly, bi-annual or annual basis.
This is one of the most popular membership level structures because it’s easy to understand. And if your membership site offers automatic billing, members don’t even have to think about when they have to pay. Another advantage of this structure is that it’s more enticing to members who don’t want to commit to a club or service long-term. They can opt to renew their membership monthly and cancel their membership whenever they please.
However, this concept also has a downside. It’s harder to anticipate your annual profits from membership fees alone since you can’t determine how long a member will stay.
Familiar sites that use payment term levels include LinkedIn Learning, which offers monthly and annual subscriptions and Adobe Creative Cloud which offers annual plans paid monthly, prepaid annual plans and monthly plans.
How to name membership levels
There are two important things to remember when deciding on a membership level name:
- It has to be on-brand with the membership club, and
- It has to give a clear idea of its position in the leveling hierarchy.
First, it’s always a good idea to name your membership levels something thematically aligned with your brand. For example:
- A professional organization for business people might have names such as Executive, Strategic Partner, Supporter and Affiliate.
- A sports brand may name their membership levels with terms like Rookie, MVP and All-Star.
- A lifestyle membership website that offers perks and discounts to select restaurants can use names like Foodie, Patron and Critic.
- A gardening club could use names like Sprout Scout, Plant Parent and Green Goddess.
- An aviation museum might use names such as Frequent Flyer, Crew and Pilot.
Second, the name has to reflect the hierarchy of the level. Some sites that try to stay on brand tend to forget that the hierarchy also has to be 100 percent clear to the users. They’ll use random words that might sound nice, but don’t tell you where you are in terms of benefits. Don’t have your participants sift through their email or a hard-to-find blog post just so they can figure out where they are in the hierarchy.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t underestimate the power and appeal of strong and well-planned membership level names. With the right words, you’ll be able to entice potential participants and make current ones feel valued and appreciated.