Tutorial: Understanding Membership Levels

Easy Membership Sites allow for, essentially, an unlimited number of membership levels. Each level can have different pricing, expiration dates, start and end constraints, user eligibility for memberships and more.

The best way to understand how to set up a membership level is to examine the ones that are included as part of the default template.

Straight out of the box, there are three levels that we call “Silver”, “Gold” and “Platinum”. These three levels are very simple – they charge a single price per month and renews on the day the user subscribed.

Let’s take a look at how these are setup:

Under the MEMBERSHIPS -> SETTINGS -> LEVELS, you will see a screen that looks similar to this one:

Membership levels showing four columns of information - name, billing details, expiration and Allow Signups.

You can tell a number of things from just the four columns in this image:

  • The memberships are all recurring
  • The membership level is currently open to new members and
  • The membership levels are all priced per month

Let’s take a look at the first membership on the list – SILVER.

To view everything about it, just hover over the SILVER row and click on the EDIT link that pops up. You will end up in a screen with numerous options that spans about 5-8 pages (i.e.: it will take about 5 – 8 Page-Downs to get to the bottom.) Don’t get overwhelmed, we’ll break down each section for you.

Bill Details

Probably the most important pieces of data on this page are in the BILLING DETAILS section:

Billing detail fields - showing initial payment, option for recurring subscription, billing amount and billing cycle limit.

From this you can easily see:

  1. That you’re collecting a fee for the first period which is defined as one month.
  2. That it is a recurring subscription.
  3. That each additional period (in this case each month) the customer pays the same fee.
  4. There is no limit to the number of periods – billing will continue until the customer cancels.

Every membership level will be using this section. This is because it is in here that you define your pricing.

One-Time Payment

Now that you know how to set up a standard recurring membership level, lets talk about the next most popular type – the ‘one-time’ payment. In this type of subscription, the user pays one time and is granted the membership level forever.

To set that up, you would just remove the tick next to the RECURRING SUBSCRIPTION field. When you do that, all the recurring options disappear.

Billing details with only two fields - initial payment and recurring subscription option/check-box.

With these settings, the user will be granted the membership level for a one-time payment.

Expire Membership After A Certain Period

Giving away a membership forever might not be the best option for your business. You might want to collect a one time fee and then expire the membership after a few months.

To make this happen, scroll down to the area just below Billing Details to the OTHER SETTINGS section.

Showing the OTHER SETTINGS section - fields are disable new signups and membership expiration check boxes.  It also defines two more fields for expiration period.

Here we have ticked the MEMBERSHIP EXPIRATION box which allows us to select the EXPIRES IN field – which is the number of days the subscription will last before it is automatically expired.

So, you can make the membership expire 90 days after the subscription has started – or choose other periods such as 12 months or 8 weeks or even set the length in years.

Collect N Payments and Then Expire The Membership (AKA Installment Payments)

You can combine a basic recurring payment and the expiration option from above to take installment payments.

So, you can set your initial and recurring payments to, say $10.00 and then set the expiration shown in the section above to, say, 3 months. With this, you will collect $10.00 each month for three months and the membership will then expire.

An example of where this might be handy would be if you’re running a course for three months and want to allow your students to pay in 3 installments while the course is running.

Note that in this configuration the membership is cancelled completely after the installment payments are complete – your user will then lose access to any membership benefits.

Start All Members’ Memberships On The Same Day

You can allow members to sign up for a membership but only initiate the membership benefits on a particular day. This is great if you’re working on a course and members in the course all need to start on the same day.

To set this up, scroll down to the DELAYED BILLING FOR RECURRING SUBSCRIPTIONS section and set the start date in that section.

Shows the field for delayed recurring billing.

Expire All Members’ Memberships On The Same Day

The flip-side of starting all members’ memberships on the same day is to expire them all on the same day. If you’re running a course with a fix start and end date, this can expire the membership for everyone on that day.

Pricing Option: Name Your Own Price

Most memberships will have a fixed price over a certain period. But you can also allow the user to name their own price while setting a minmum price, maximum price and a suggested price.

You can find this option if you scroll down to the VARIABLE PRICING section.

Variable pricing options showing min price, max price and suggested price fields.

Tick the ENABLE VARIABLE PRICING box to enable these fields.

Pricing Option: Donations

Similar to the Name Your Own Price option above, you can collect donations. You can set a minimum amount, maximum amount as well as a drop-down list of “suggested” donations.

Donations screen showing field options that control donations behavior.

Wrap Up

As you ponder your options, keep in mind that everything mentioned here applies to a SINGLE membership level. Each membership level you define can have different options which gives you maximum flexibility.

There are also many other options you can configure for each level – such as user restrictions, signup restrictions and more – we’ll be covering those in a later article.

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