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4 membership business models for your Patreon site

Membership businesses have never been easier to start, using established membership platforms such as Patreon to monetise existing engaged audiences.

Patreon defines itself as ‘a platform which enables users to start a membership business to develop a direct relationship with your biggest fans and generate predictable, recurring revenue from your creative work’.

Typical membership business models are defined below, designed to maximise potential and provide a flexible strategy for unlocking commercial value. Membership models are often used in combination, each suited to a certain setup.

Gated content model

There are three types of gated content:

  • Premium content – content that’s higher quality or more advanced than free content, such as a deep-dive into a topic, or additional material to accompany the main offering.
  • Bonus content – extra content of the same type/style as usual, but gated. It’s not premium. It’s not “better”. But it’s extra, and it’s not free.
  • Content library – a collection of existing material that fans pay to access.

Community model

Access to a community curated and moderated by the creator. The primary value of a community is access to a group of people interested in and/or learning about the same subject. A community platform, such as a private Facebook group or forum, is effectively “invite only”. Once a subscription as active, an invitation is sent.

Educational model

A business model created around education and teaching such as training, tutorials, online courses, and other ongoing educational content.

Pay what you can model

Offering material for whatever patrons are willing or able to pay. This is often used like traditional crowdfunding. True PWYC models mean that everyone gets the same reward regardless of the value of support, however, as per crowdfunding these rewards can be tiered to offer ‘packages’.

So, what are you waiting for? Get that membership business going now!


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