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 with gated content for members only. A membership site is essentially a hub where your learners can get ongoing access to your content, a community, and possibly even your time as the expert!
Membership sites differ from other course websites in four ways:
- Recurring revenue - Rather than a one-off purchase, your customers will subscribe to your site, paying a recurring fee on a regular basis to access your services and/or content. This way, you get a steadier income as opposed to the peaks and valleys that often arise from selling courses for one-time fees.
- Ongoing training - You’ll be responsible for consistently creating new content for, and offering new value to your members.
- Building a community - Access to a community of like-minded people is a major selling point of 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 connect with and engage in meaningful conversations with you, the course creator, and one another. Using Communities can be instrumental in driving engagement and keeping your students around longer!
Just like everything you build with Thinkific, with Communities, your brand is the star. Choose your colors and key imagery, and host your Communities on your own custom domain - without the noise and distractions of social platforms. You can find step by step instructions to creating a Thinkific Community HERE.
If you’ve already have a thriving community elsewhere and don’t wish to migrate, you can include a link to it in your courses or emails for new members to access.
Design your Membership Site’s landing page
Now we’ll design your bundle landing page. The goal here is to sell your membership to visitors. When structuring and designing the site, be sure to include details about the membership (like pricing) 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 Builder to create course landing pages? Get detailed instructions HERE.
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 (aka 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 likely need to restrict access and make some minor tweaks to your site. Learn more about Using External Sales Pages with Your Thinkific Checkout HERE.
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, alongside other offerings like access to a private community, live Q&A sessions with you, and/or other exclusive, member-only content.