Premium membership. What do you offer to your members?

Discussion in 'Generating Revenue' started by Kathy, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. Shimei

    Shimei Fan


    Essentially, this "principal" suggests that Christians can't hold or be represented by public office.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  2. Oldsmoboi

    Oldsmoboi Fan

    In that case, the churches should be taxed. Freedom isn't free.
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  3. haqzore

    haqzore Devotee

    Exxxxxactly. But, not going to get anywhere discussing this topic here. :whistle:
  4. HarnessMedia

    HarnessMedia Aspirant

    I've been monetizing my site with banner ads for several years now. Because of my niche, I can charge a premium for banner ads (2018 looks like it will be about a $15k year). I've kept the ads obvious yet unobtrusive and both the users and advertisers seem to appreciate that.

    But I'm looking at other ways to monetize without taking away from the free services the site provides. I've just ramped up a Vendor Membership, which provides advertisers with access to post about their products/services in a special Vendor Showcase forum. Advertisers can create new topics and replies within this forum, while regular members can only reply (they can't create new topics). I haven't even really pushed it yet, so no buyers as of yet.

    I'm thinking about creating a Premium Membership for non-advertising members that want to support the site. I'm still trying to decide what premium features they would receive. One thought is a special Premium-only forum where they can talk about pretty much anything they want. For regular members, I have a no-politics policy, but I might lift that for Premium Members but only in the premium-only forum. The premium forum would also be less moderated and rely heavily on user reports, giving them more freedom.

    I've also toyed with the idea of charging $5 or $10 for posting for sale items. Premium membership could include free posting of for sale items. But I'm not sure if this is a good idea yet. Another thought would be to charge for job postings, but include them with Premium membership.

    What do you all think about charging for Premium features? Good idea? Bad idea? Thanks for the feedback. :)
  5. Ingenious

    Ingenious Fan

    HarnessMedia this is pretty much the same path I went.

    Vendor Showcase - same as you but I don't allow normal members to reply to posts (this bumped posts and caused friction. Some vendors might have staff in the forum, or use sock puppet accounts, take care!). I highlight latest vendor posts on the main forum page. I actually include this as a free service as part of a banner advert to keep things simple.

    Vendor highlighting in posts - flag advertisers as such and show their website link by their profile name when they post. Unobtrusive and very effective as it also encourages them to post more to get their link up!

    Vendor map - a Google map with pins on showing vendors and a link to their profiles/websites - might be useful if your vendors run businesses that people physically visit.

    Premium membership - sort of the same. Mine is voluntary and a donation. You get flagged as a site VIP. Members can pick how much to donate, subject to a minimum. Premium members can chose to switch banner adverts off, get more edit time, but really it's just a status and support thing.

    Paid for sale adverts - Toying with this too, but I would copy how some sites do this, a low cost premium membership (say $5 and only for 7 days) that allows people to post up any for sale adverts for a week. This is, technically, easier to implement than a per advert charge. However the downside is it will significantly reduce such posts, you have to ask, are these (as free posts) valuable to your community and bringing new members in looking for items to buy or trade?

    Premium member chat area - Potentially so very divisive to a community and has the danger of taking some of the chat (which makes your forum look busy) into a private area and also away from Google. Use with caution, or strictly limit the scope of such an area. Be wary too of having a "less moderated" area or allowing things you normally ban like politics - in my experience if you give members an inch they will take a mile. Disruptive members are then harder to deal with, as they have paid you for this service (refunds, disputes etc). I made several stabs at less regulated private areas and they all ended in tears.

    Is there any scope in your niche for merchandise? It can be a hard nut to crack as forum-themed merchandise is usually only of interest to your die-hards and therefore won't sell enough to make much money, but it helps the sense of community.

    How about posting on behalf of vendors in your showcase? Not everyone has time to make use of a vendor posting area so you could offer to post monthly or weekly for them (post as them, using a forum add-on to change the post author etc). Call or email them for latest info or take it from their email newsletters, and charge a small fee for doing this. Knock on effect, encourages competitors to post (or employ you too).

    Not explored by me yet but popular - monetising links to Amazon and the likes with your affiliate codes, though this is dependent on what niche you're in and whether members are likely to buy from affiliate sites or not.
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  6. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

    Christians aren't the ones kept from office in the USA. Despite the persecution complex often presented, the fact is Christians are over-represented. 70% of the population identifies as Christian and 90% of Congress does. That 90% is about the same it was in the 1960s.
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  7. cdub24

    cdub24 Enthusiast

    I have Google ads. The pay is way less than it used to be. I'm trying out auto ads now.

    However I'm thinking of turning off all ads for registered users. It'd be an incentive to join and it's a much better experience. I'd bet most of my revenue comes from unregistered users actuate.
  8. HarnessMedia

    HarnessMedia Aspirant

    Thank you, Ingenious ! I was hoping to get some realistic feedback like you have provided.

    I used to allow politics and turned it off because it was like running a childcare with all problem children. I think your point about divisive members and taking content away from the public forum are excellent reasons why I should NOT create a private forum. I don't want to run a childcare again and I thank you for the reality check.

    LOVE the idea of Vendor highlighting in posts!

    I've also thought about creating a business directory that I could then market to the public looking to hire someone in my niche. A listing in that directory could be a benefit of Premium membership. A similar concept might work for job listings, for sale (classified ads), etc. Premium membership would get sweeter and sweeter as time goes on.

    I've sold merchandise in the past and I really hated it. Creating the merchandise was fun, but the logistics of packaging, shipping, etc. was a pain in the ass. I ended up feeling like it just wasn't worth it -- sales would have to be really good in order to achieve a profit margin that would make it attractive for all that work, but then more sales would equal more packaging, so it's a vicious circle. If I charge too much, nobody will buy. If I charge too little, it's not worth it for me. Keep in mind that I'm also running a business outside of this forum full-time. But if I can build a system that mostly runs itself and produces recurring income, then it's likely a good investment of time for me.
  9. HarnessMedia

    HarnessMedia Aspirant

    I'm beginning to realize another issue with having a Vendor Showcase -- I have a company that pays for a Leaderboard ad and has renewed every year for a few years now. But they have many sales reps from all over the world and now those reps seem to have the impression that they can advertise as much as they want. So now I'm trying to figure out logistics for that. My initial thought is that the parent company can give that power to ONE rep and there'd be an extra charge for the others. Sadly, this means a little more policing for me, unless I can find a better way to deal with it.
  10. mysiteguy

    mysiteguy Devotee

    Ask them to assign one rep as the vendor, as you noted, and only give that vendor posting access to the showcase. No policing will be needed then.
  11. Ingenious

    Ingenious Fan

    I have similar - so only one account per Vendor is allowed posting access to the Vendor Showcase area to ensure those with lots of outlets or staff do not get disproportionate publicity through multiple posts, and I enforce a no-spam rule in the rest of the forum. Similarly, the account changes that highlight a vendor are only done on one account per advertiser.

    You'll always find if you give an inch, commercial companies will take a mile, you just have to find your own level that works for your community, a balance between allowing advertisers to plug and it not becoming too spammy. In my experience you can't please everyone.
  12. gogoblender

    gogoblender shiny happy pantless

    You could do a fund "drive" once a year. A friend of mine who runs another gaming forum does this... he doesnt like ads, etc...and just like to do his fund drive. He puts up "meter" up alongside the forum... with this, he write a great letter of appreciation, and explains why the money is needed and where its going... within ten days he always meets the "goal" and closes it up till next year.
    I'm not sure if all you want to collect is for expenses...but little mini "drives" like this is good practice for your marketing, gets you to connect to your core forum community and gives the fans something new to wake up to and "watch" (hopefully! :D) every day as the meter goes up.


  13. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator


    I do this every 3 months
  14. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    Is the same minority doing the most supporting, and what's the average and maximum amount users donate?
  15. Joeychgo

    Joeychgo TAZ Administrator

    No, I don't send to current supporters. The amount donated is a flat amount for everyone.
  16. Shin Ryoku

    Shin Ryoku Fan

    I charge $10 per year for account upgrades. The main feature they get is an ad free site and the ability to sell on our Buy & Sell page, but I'm looking for other perks I can offer.

    I was thinking about offering Live Content (XenForo addon) for the subscriber group only. This would give them new thread posts and conversation messages as well as alert updates without page refreshing.

    But there is a part of me that thinks that if I install that addon, I should enable it to all members rather than just subscribers. In one case, it brings in more subscribers, and in the other, it can increase general member engagement.

    What do you think? Are there other perks that have worked well for you?
  17. palhanow

    palhanow Enthusiast

    Well, that's a interesting question because i do offer some customization and cosmetic improvements and want to add more or improve.

    In my site i charge for each upgrade on monthly basis, offering a more expensive but with discount for a premium account with all upgrades inside.

    I will try to convert my currency to dollars for having some base. All monthly payments:

    - Animated avatars: 0,50c
    - Cover for profiles and threads: 0,50c
    - More participants in private conversations: 0,50c
    - Video Uploads: 0,50c
    - Change user name: 2,50 $
    - Ads removal: 2,50 $
    - Profile verification (with the blue badge): 3 $
    - User Title Customization: 5 $
    - A Premium 'version' with all features, with a nice discount;
    - Essential Pack, with the most important features, with a discount too.

    Is not everybody who uses this account upgrades, but well, is better than nothing. I'm looking to improve this Upgrades, and if anyone have any suggestions for me, I'm all ears.
  18. bernard

    bernard Enthusiast

    I think the feature set that woudl appeal to members is going to be somewhat dependent upon the nature of the forum/community. I have a forum that is a peer support group for a medical condition. The community for that forum is really close and for them, just having their username highlighted to show that they are supporting the site is a big motivator.

    Some features I also include for paid members include:
    - a larger private message inbox (or expanded messaging capabilities).
    - bypassing flood control on posting/searching
  19. Shin Ryoku

    Shin Ryoku Fan

    I'm thinking about offering some more site styles/skins for subscribing members only.
  20. dojo

    dojo Passionate admin

    hmm .. interesting ideas. The community I run is still in its infancy, but in the near future I might add more perks to it. Registered members get access to some seo checklists and resources, but I could throw in a wordpress theme or html template made by me ...
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