What is Tiered Membership and How to Create It in WordPress

Membership levels, or tiers, mean creating different groupings to classify the members. When you want to offer customized benefits or access to your users, creating membership levels is the easiest way.

WordPress has immense possibilities to create different types of memberships on your website. Indeed, that makes it the most popular CMS around the world.

In this blog, we will show you what is tiered membership, how many types of tiered membership there are, how to create a tiered membership model for your business in WordPress, and its benefits.

Let's get started.

What is a Tiered Membership

What is a Tiered Membership

Suppose a website offers several plans to provide different benefits to its users. These packages are called Membership Tiers and the model is called Tiered Membership.

Tiered membership lets you categorize the benefits you offer in separate groups. You get to make some features available for a lower price while making the other features exclusive for premium members. At the same time, it gives your members the freedom to choose what they want. This way it offers a win-win for both parties.

Membership tiers or levels are usually used to charge different fees in exchange for different privileges. But it doesn't always have to be based on payment. Some organizations use loyalty points or user activities as the metrics of membership levels.

Some sites employ the freemium model – keeping one tier free and the rest premium. In this model, benefits offered in the free tier are available for any user who just signs up. On the contrary, other features are called premium, available for paying members only.

Things You need to Create a Tiered Membership

Things You need to Create a Tiered Membership

Creating a tiered membership system may sound complex. But you don't need to start everything from scratch. If you have a website built with WordPress, a plugin like WP User Frontend Pro can take away all the complexity. With all the built-in features, you get to enable membership on your website in under an hour.

Since WP User Frontend Pro is filled with all the content posting features, its membership can be monetized using two default options –

(i) Charging the users on a per post basis, or

(ii) On a subscription basis.

As we've now mentioned subscription, just want to confirm that though membership and subscription are similar, there's a fine line between them. A subscription is a model where a user must pay to gain access for a specific time or pay on a regular basis.

Membership, on the other hand, may or may not charge a user. Even if it charges, it may or may not be recurring. This means, that membership can require a subscription, but that's not a must. Sounds confusing? Here's everything you need to know about Subscription vs Membership.

How to Create Tiered Membership or Membership Levels

How to Create Tiered Membership or Membership Levels

Now, let's get you back to how you can create tiered membership using WP User Frontend. As we mentioned above, WP User Frontend Pro allows you to charge users on a per-post and subscription basis.

However, you might wish to charge visitors to sign up for your website. For this, you'd need another plugin – Paid Memberships Pro. So, you need a total of three plugins activated:

  • WP User Frontend
  • Paid Memberships Pro
  • WP User Frontend Pro

Well, let's follow the steps below –

Step 1: Creating a Subscription Pack

First, you will need to create a subscription pack.

With WP User Frontend, it's very easy. Just navigate to User Frontend → Subscription → Add Subscription.

Give a name for your subscription pack, and then from the Posting Restriction section, put the limit on the number of posts, pages, products, and other available rules you want to set for this pack.

adding a subscription pack
Posting Restriction in Subscription Pack

Step 2: Creating a Membership Level

Now to make both Paid Memberships Pro and WP User Frontend Pro work together, please enable the module named Paid Memberships Pro Integration from WP dashboard → User Frontend → Modules.

Navigate to Memberships → Settings Levels and create or add a level from here.

create or edit a membership level from settings
Creating a Membership Level

Fill up the General Information, Billing Details, Expiration Settings, and all according to your need. Scroll down to Other Settings and you'll get the option of selecting the subscription pack created with WP User Frontend PRO in Step 1. Assign a subscription that you want to offer for this particular membership level.

assigning subscription pack to a membership level
Connecting Subscription Pack with Membership Level

Step 3: Locating the ‘Subscription Pack Page'

Now, navigate to WP User Frontend → Settings → Payments.

You will see a drop-down menu, here we need to select the page that contains the subscription packs.

Select the page named “Membership Levels” from here.

Assigning the Membership Levels Page

And… it's done. In the same way, you can create as many subscription packs as you want, and link them to the levels accordingly. Just keep in mind that, you shouldn't add the same subscription pack for different levels.

Let's say we've created three levels – Bronze, Silver, and Gold with three different subscription packs (with different sets of rules for posting). So, what'll it look like?

frontend view of a Membership Levels page
Frontend View of a Three-tiered Membership

So this is it, you've successfully created tiered membership for your WordPress site.

At this point, you may wonder if a tiered membership model is suitable for you. In that case, let's break down the benefits and drawbacks of membership levels.

Benefits of Membership Levels

The tiered membership model is great for long-term revenue generation. The key benefits include –

  • You get to know your audience's behavior better. You'll be able to perceive their buying habits, usage patterns, and preferences by looking at the numbers.
  • You have the option to offer a more tailored experience to your audience. We all know that a one-size-fits-all strategy is not ideal. Everyone's demand is different. With membership levels, you can easily offer a customized experience.
  • From the membership stats, you get an idea of your business's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. From the top-tier members, you get the idea of why they are loyal to you, and what could be done to make the lower-tiered members upgrade. Similarly, the churn rate shows the weakness and the scope for improvement.
  • Upselling or marketing also gets easier with membership levels. When lower tier member feels that they are missing out on more exclusive content, they easily upgrade to the upper tier.
  • Similarly, because of the anchoring bias, people once anchored to a higher pricing plan, try to find out which plan is the best bang for the buck. Thus your medium or low-tier plans also get a lot of conversions.

The Pitfalls

Like every other thing in this world, the tiered membership model has its pitfalls.

  • The benefits of each level and their pricing need to be aligned perfectly. So, you need to be aware of marketing psychology while pricing your model.
  • If your members don't feel they are getting enough value from a plan, they can downgrade or even terminate their membership. So, publishing fresh content is a necessity.

But don't fret yet, we've got several resources created by our writers to help you with these. Check out this one if you want a little help with the pricing strategy: How to Set the Right Price for Your Membership Site.

Or if you want to have a look at how successful membership sites name their membership tiers, here's another one: How to Name Your Membership Levels.

Before You Go

So, we hope we've covered what exactly the tiered membership model is as well as its pros and cons. Do you think it's the best membership model? Leave your opinion in the comment section below.

And if you're planning to create tiered membership for your website, and need any assistance, feel free to reach out to us.

Nayeem Shahriar
Written by

Nayeem Shahriar

Loves learning new things and ideas. Enjoys reading books or watching movies in free time. But ends up spending most of his time in games and sports.

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