Today, creators around the world are feeling the pressure to be all the places, all the time. You may be feeling the same: stretched thin, doing your best to manage your followers across multiple platforms.
The good news? You don’t need to do that. When you create a subscription site on the right community platform, you can connect the dots, bring together your audience, and do it all in one place.
If any of this sounds interesting to you, but you’re not sure how to create a subscription site, then this is the guide for you.
Let’s get started!
What even is a subscription site?
A subscription site is a website that houses a variety of great content that people pay to access. But the very best subscription sites take it a step further, cultivating a community of people that are engaged and interested in what you’re building. Think of it as your own private, digital club.
When you create a subscription site on an all-in-one community platform (like, say, Mighty Networks), you’re better able to monetize your followers and content and reduce the number of integrations you need to manage your followers.
More than that, a subscription site is a perfect avenue to transition those “followers” into members of a community that grows stronger with each new person that joins. This network effect is the secret to building a thriving digital business.
Okay, but is creating a subscription site actually worth my time?
Creating a subscription site will take some time and effort. But it can also be an incredibly lucrative move if you do it right. And the right software with the right native features can make it so much easier.
It’s important to remember that determining whether something is “worth it” is a hard thing to quantify. But here’s something we believe to be a universal truth: Bringing together a community around a shared goal, motivation, or interest will always be worthwhile.
Here are a few reasons to create a subscription site for your business.
More control over revenue with less hassle
If you create a subscription site, you’ll be able to greatly reduce the hassle of keeping tabs on a plethora of revenue streams. When members are all under one roof, you can charge for your content and access to the membership in one centralized place and gain a recurring source of income with a high-profit margin.
If you’re scared that you’ll lose members in the transition, the truth is you might! But think about it this way: Even if you only have 50 members who pay $50 a month, you stand to profit $2,500 a month (or $30,000 annually). Not bad, right?
Home away from home
At the end of the day, what’s a community? It’s a group of individuals who come together because they share something in common. That could be an interest, a goal, or even a problem. Maybe you know this already and you’re creating content specifically to address these folks.
First off, that’s great. We love to see it. But what’s a community when your people don’t have a centralized place to convene and interact with the content you’re creating to help them?
By creating a subscription site, you’ll have a place for your members that help them achieve real results and transformation. That’s an incredibly motivating reason for someone to stay engaged and stick around.
Real connections can be made
Currently, your brand might be functioning across multiple social media platforms, and you may even have a subscription service like Patreon in place. It’s great that you’re hustling, but you don’t have to be husting so hard.
One of the major problems with that method of brand building is you’re left checking multiple channels to see how your followers are interacting. Ultimately, you lose out on a real connection with them, and even more importantly, aren’t giving them the ability to build meaningful connections with each other.
When you create a subscription site your “followers” become “members.” We aren’t splitting hairs here either. A subscription site will allow you to interact on a deeper level with your members and you’ll have more opportunities to create a thriving community where members form real connections.
These are just a few benefits to creating a subscription site. But can imagine the possibilities that open up with just these three things?
5 Steps to creating a subscription site
Now that we’ve unpacked the benefits of creating a subscription site, let’s actually look at what you’ll need to do to make it happen. We’ve broken it down into 5 digestible steps.
1. Find a motivating purpose
The first step to create a subscription site is to have a clear, motivating purpose. Think of this as the force that drives your community forward.
If you’re just starting to build your brand, establishing your site’s Big Purpose will help you build out your content and structure. And if you’re transitioning an existing community, you’ll need to be clear about why you’re making the move. Emphasizing the new things your members can achieve together on this new platform will be important.
Remember, a community works because you’re creating a network of people that all share a common goal or interest. And with a clear motivation, you can stress to your members that attaining your shared goal is a lot easier when you’re all under one roof working together.
2. Know who you’re trying to reach
Understanding who you’re trying to reach—what they look like, what they want from life—is crucial to building a successful subscription site.
The reality is that if you plan to create a subscription site and transition your community over to it, you’re going to lose some people. Every single person in your existing audience may not be the right fit for your new venture. And that’s okay!
With a subscription-based membership model, you won’t need to stress over wrangling thousands of members to sustain yourself. Instead, you can focus on curating an experience for your most motivated followers and providing ways for them to get closer to the transformation they’re looking for.
Plus, defining your ideal members means you can better appeal to them via marketing, content, and more. Ultimately, knowing what your people need and how you can help them will deliver better results—both for you and your members.
3. Choose a platform that has it all
If you’re wondering how to create a subscription site, one of the hardest parts will be choosing a software platform where your community or membership will live.
Designing features for all the awesome content and services you’ll offer members isn’t always easy work. But choosing the right platform will make the process more manageable.
As we mentioned above, one of the big problems that creators are facing right now is just how fragmented their audience and business is. We believe that if you’re trying to grow your business to the next level, it’s all about consolidating the number of platforms you frequent and choosing a piece of software that offers robust native features.
Back in the day, it was a costly venture to create a website with all the features you’d need for a subscription site. But now, it’s never been easier thanks to all-in-one software platforms equipped with website building tools, community management options, paid membership functionality, and more.
The thing is, not all community building software platforms are built the same.
Here at Mighty Networks, we believe that bringing people together to connect, collaborate, and get that much closer to their goals is the key to success. And that success comes a lot easier when you’re on a platform that provides all the tools you need to cultivate a thriving community and build awesome content with native features. When you and your members have a centralized place to commune, their overall experience is much better.
If you’re wondering what some of those features are that we’re talking about. Here’s just a few:
- Discussion board posts.
- Polls and Q&As.
- Live & Recorded video.
- Live Events.
- Paid content.
- Online courses.
And when you create a Mighty Network it’s instantly available across web, iOS, and Android so your people can access your community anywhere. Your subscription site becomes a community that your members can access from your own branded apps, not just a website they visit when they remember or a post they see in their social media feeds.
4. Figure out a monetization plan
Another important component you’ll need to nail down to create a subscription site is monetization.
Some creators utilize platforms like Patreon solely to offer subscription services to their members, but you don’t need to do that. In fact, when you choose this option, you’re fragmenting your community and making it harder for your members to interact with each other, you, and your content.
There isn’t a perfect answer for determining the price of your subscription site. But we can provide you with two methods to think about when determining the best fit for you.
Streamline the process
Many creators get caught up in figuring out how to price-out their content. But it all depends on what you’re offering. For some communities, charging a flat rate for access will be more viable. For others, a monthly fee makes more sense. With that said, don’t undervalue what you’re worth. No matter what you create, you’re providing people something that they couldn’t attain on their own (that’s why they are paying you!) and that’s incredibly valuable. And remember, with a network effect, your community becomes even more valuable with each new member who joins and contributes.
Experiment with tiers and bundles
Another avenue to explore when you create a subscription site is offering different membership tiers and bundles. For a lot of people, having the ability to choose between a few options is a major plus.
It might seem like this will overcomplicate things, but it doesn’t have to. One thing you’ll realize as your community continues to grow is that your members don’t all have the same needs or aspirations. They might have all joined your subscription site because of a common purpose, but some people will want deeper experiences than others.
If this is the case with your community, it’s the perfect opportunity to offer additional tiers for members to purchase. Here’s an example:
You create your subscription site and charge $5/month for members to join and access your content. Down the line, you develop two online courses and charge a $30 flat rate for each. An option that might be enticing for some members would be bundling the two courses together and charging $50 (saving them $10 if they planned on buying both).
Whatever price you decide on, the most important thing to remember is that it’s easier to go down than up. Try starting at a premium price and adjust if you’re not getting the results you want. Nobody complains about paying less money for something they’re benefitting from.
5. Let the world know you’re out there
The final step toward creating a subscription site can also be the most fun one: Telling people about the awesome thing you’ve built.
It might feel awkward to be in the spotlight, but you’ve done the work of building a community and the world should know about it. If you don’t already have an established following, it’s perfectly okay to start out with the people you know. They are more likely to believe in what you’re doing, anyway. Plus, more than likely, they’ll also hype you up to their network as well.
What many people don’t realize is that their network of connections is much bigger than they think. But many are afraid of advocating for themselves. Don’t sweat it. Once you’ve got some members who are invested in your subscription site they will tell their friends about it and get more people to join in on the fun.
Time to start building
That’s a wrap on our guide to creating a subscription site. But just because you’ve reached the end doesn’t mean the work is over.
Now comes the most important part: Getting started.
We can’t pretend that the work involved to build a community and create a subscription site is easy. But what does make your work easy is picking a platform that will give you all the tools to succeed natively without the need for outside integrations, and turns your great idea for a subscription site into a website and iOS and Android apps, all under your own brand. A Mighty Network does that.
There’s never been a better time to bring your idea to life — we can’t wait to see what you do.