Create a subscription based membership site to give your students access to ongoing content!
In this article:
What is a membership site?
A membership site is a subscription-based website, containing content that is available only to members. Basically, a membership site will provide your learners with ongoing access to your content, community, and (optionally) even your time as the expert!
Membership sites differ from other course websites in four ways:
- Recurring Revenue
- Rather than a one-time only purchase, your customers will subscribe to your site and pay a recurring fee. This will provide you with a steadier source of income, without the financial highs and lows that can come from selling courses for one-time only fees.
- Ongoing Training
- You’ll be responsible for consistently creating new content and offering new benefits to your members.
- Building a Community
- Access to a community of like-minded people is a major selling point for most membership sites.
- Emphasis on Retention
- The membership model relies on keeping customers subscribed for as long as possible. In other words, with a membership site, the sale is just the beginning of your relationship with your student.
For expert advice, read our strategy guide on how to create a membership site.
Essential Steps to Create Your Membership Site
You can create a membership site in Thinkific today by following these four steps:
Create a Course Bundle
How to Create a Bundle for Your Membership Site
Set Up Recurring Payments via Stripe
Create a Thinkific Community
Communities allow users to have meaningful conversations with both you and one another. Communities play an important part in driving engagement and keeping your students around longer!
Just like everything you build with Thinkific, Communities makes your brand the star. Choose your colors, logos, and topics, and host your Communities on your own custom domain without the noise of social platforms. Take a look at our article with step by step instructions to creating a Thinkific Community.
If you already have a thriving community elsewhere and don’t want to migrate, you can include a link to your existing space in your courses or emails for new members to access.
Design your Membership Site’s landing page
Design your bundle landing page. The goal with this page is to sell your membership to visitors. When setting up and designing your site, make sure to include details about the membership (things like pricing and how often students can expect to be billed), plus any key selling points (like access to a private Community, your instructor bio, and the exclusive content and/or events members will have access to).
Need a refresher on how to use Site Pages to create course landing pages? Get detailed instructions.
Redirecting Your Home Page
If you want to only show your subscription-based membership, then we recommend redirecting your home page to your membership site’s landing page (always called your bundle landing page) to streamline your sales funnel.
If you'd like to continue to allow students to purchase individual courses and bundles outside of the subscription-based membership, then you'll want to keep your home page as a course directory for visitors (the default option).
Prevent Students from Purchasing Standalone Courses
If you only want your students to be able to enroll in your membership, and not purchase your standalone courses, you can make those courses Private.
By setting a course to Private, you’ll disable the ability to enroll in the individual course from your public facing pages. We recommend adding a buy button to all of your individual course landing pages that direct students to your bundle checkout.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use external sales pages?
Yes! If you are using external sales pages to convert your leads, you will probably need to restrict access and make some minor adjustments to your site. Learn more about Using External Sales Pages with Your Thinkific Checkout.
How are membership sites different from course bundles?
A Course Bundle is a package of multiple courses sold as a single product. Course Bundles are typically one element of a membership site, along with other offerings like: access to a private community, live Q&A sessions with you, and/or other exclusive, member-only content.