If you have gathered a significant following on social media and want to monetize it, creating and selling an online membership is the way to go. After all, subscriptions and memberships are a part of consumers’ yearly spending, with 56% of shoppers having at least one subscription. 

Thus, online memberships are a goldmine for anyone with a decent following. That being said, creating one isn’t that simple. You need to find a solution to your audience’s main problem, position it right, and market it well enough so that it catches some steam. 

But what if you don’t know who your target persona is and what value you can provide to them? Or, what if you have premium content ready to be put behind a paywall but don’t know where and how to sell it?

Well, Whop is here to help! In this guide, we will cover some straightforward steps to get your membership business up and running, as well as letting you in on a few marketing techniques to further scale it.

For now, let’s talk about the basics, starting with what an online membership is. Or, if you're ready to jump straight into creating your membership, click here for the seven steps to creating and selling memberships online.

What is an Online Membership?


An online membership is a business model that gives members access to exclusive digital content or products for a fee. With online memberships, content creators, entrepreneurs, and influencers can earn revenue from their existing audience while building a community of like-minded folks.

Like online subscriptions, memberships offer several perks, like access to online courses, Discord servers, tools, software, and more. The one thing that makes them stand out is their focus on the community aspect.

You see, subscriptions will offer your members the perks above, but they’ll have to go on forums or social media if they want to talk about them with fellow subscribers or you. Memberships have these embedded within the membership site or platform, so the community will engage with each other directly on your portal.

That’s just one of the many reasons you should start selling online memberships - here are a few more.

4 Reasons Why You Should Sell Online Memberships

As a creator, launching a community might not seem like enough to justify investing your time into a membership business. However, the benefits of starting a membership business are definitely worth the effort involved. Here is why creating an online membership can be such a lucrative business model:

  1. Predictable Revenue Stream
    With a recurring revenue model, your membership business can bring in a steady income month in, month out. This enables you to plan your budgets (marketing, operational, growth, etc.) accurately and efficiently.
  2. Closer Relationships with Audience
    Going back to the community side, your membership site, server, or platform allows you to communicate directly with your audience. Thus, your loyal followers will build a closer bond with you as a creator. In a sense, they’ll become marketing assets that advocate for your membership and are ready to buy your next product.
  3. Minimal Costs
    As a digital product, memberships are extremely low cost. In fact, excluding the time you’ll need to invest into making or redistributing the content, the only expenses are operational, similar to those you’re already paying as a creator. Of course, if you sell through a membership management software platform, you’ll have to take their fees into consideration.
  4. Data Insights
    One of the key benefits of online memberships is all the customer data you get access to. You can ask your members for feedback and observe their behavior within the community and the product you offer, as well as their overall preferences. In turn, you can use this data to improve your membership offerings and the customer experience.

Now, let’s get into the details you need to know to start working on your membership business.

Selling Memberships Online as a Content Creator: Step-By-Step Guide

Before we dive into each step you’ll need to take to start selling memberships online, there’s one more thing you need to know. 

Besides all the practical steps, a great membership is all about 3 things:

  1. Having an amazing product or service
  2. Creating and engaging with the community
  3. Marketing the platform, site, or server into oblivion

Thus, we’ve curated each step to fit these 3 statements.

Step #1: Who Is Your Target Persona?

target persona

As a content creator, you already have a niche following. However, to create a successful online membership business, you need to narrow your audience down to personas. 

Now, this is relatively simple for established creators. You simply have to take note of who your most loyal followers are, understand their main problems, and offer them the solutions they need alongside a killer community.

But, if you have an audience of a few thousand or your niche is rather generic (ie. fitness, finance, etc.), you’ll have to set up individual calls with some of your followers to create a persona.

Find the ones consistently engaging with the content you post, and hop on a quick call with them. Once you speak with a couple of dozen of them, consider who the ones that you’d want to be members of your membership community are. Note down their similarities and create your target persona.

This target persona can be as simple as “males in their 30s” if you have a large following in a niche industry. You could have a more detailed persona for others, like “female solopreneurs in their early 30s who want to digitalize their businesses”. It all comes down to finding who you want to work with and who’s ready to buy a membership from the get-go.

Step #2: What Is Your Value Proposition?

Finding a target persona and figuring out your value proposition go hand in hand. The process of creating a value proposition for your membership is a little bit different, though.

Like target personas, content creators with large followings already have some sort of theme that they can immediately sell. For less-established creators, finding a value proposition requires engaging with your audience once again.

This time, instead of trying to understand who your followers are, you must understand the what. What problems do they have? What are their goals when they consume your content? What solutions can you provide to them? The answers to these are your value proposition.

You might even be able to find these answers through your own experience. 

For example, if you're into the trading niche, you have had to go through a period of learning how trading works, what indicators you need to look for, and, potentially, many trades in the red. As an expert, now, you can keep your knowledge, tools, and premium content behind a paywall. 

Your solutions to your former problems can become the primary offering for your followers facing the same issues.

Step #3: Brand Your Membership

Once you know who your membership will address and what will make it stand out, it’s time to get into membership branding. Through this, you’ll be able to communicate the purpose of your offerings, as well as let your personality shine.

For starters, you should invest some time in creating an attractive logo that aligns with your premium content. If, for example, you’re offering access to a Discord server with daily NFL picks, your logo should be football-related.

When you have a logo ready, you’ll need to consider what content you’ll offer and your marketing messaging.

What Will Be Included With The Membership

Your membership should include access to similar content you’ve already posted on social media. For example, if you’re a YouTuber, consider fine-tuning some of your videos, package them into batches, and label them as an online course offering.

If you like a more hands-on, engaging approach, you can host weekly live streams within the community. For instance, if you own a trading Discord server, you can stream your trades for an hour each week.

Obviously, for other niches, you can create in-depth guides, daily tips, podcast episodes, and any other digital product you have experience with.

Craft Marketing Messaging

Your membership’s messaging will allow your following to understand exactly what you’re offering and how it will help them. To do so, implement your value proposition within your branding.

Taking the trading server example above, the key isn’t to say that you “offer access to a server where you stream once a week”. Instead, you should present this as “offering access to a community of like-minded folks, where you can learn from each other and get expert insights from weekly live streams”.

Step #4: Create an Online Community

discord community

We’ve already stressed this a lot, but there’s no membership without a community. Your followers are simply subscribers at that point. That’s why you must create a paid forum or server where members can chat freely.

Discord servers are your best bet for this, as they allow for several customization options. Plus, we’ll directly help you set up your server right here, on Whop. And we’ll let you in on a little secret: gamification.

Whether you choose Discord or host your server independently, you must implement some gamification within it. Things like a membership badge for long-term members and roles according to membership tiers (we’ll talk more about these below) will keep the engagement high.

Now, you should have a good idea of what your membership will include and who it’ll address, and you have everything ready to launch. Thus, let’s get into the last few steps.

Step #5: Choose a Platform and Pricing

The platform you choose to host your membership and the pricing model you go for is crucial. You can always change these as you gather more members. But, you’ll need to use a reputable platform and price the membership reasonably to have the best chance of attracting a big chunk of your audience.

Of course, if you already have a significant following, you can try independent hosting and offer a large one-time purchase as the only option. Even then, though, it’s better to opt for recurring revenue and let a membership management platform handle everything and provide you with all the necessary tools for a small fee. 

Where Should You Sell Your Online Membership

Now, there are tons of platforms that will allow you to sell your online membership. From Patreon to Stripe Billing, all of them have their benefits. That being said, we believe that Whop is the best platform to sell your online membership.

With Whop, you'll get access to all the necessary management tools to help you run your membership, and then some. As a digital product-centric platform, Whop knows what your membership business needs, which is why they offer an increasing number of product types you can sell directly on the site. Plus, Whop is all about building communities and will help you set up your very own Discord server.

We’ll let you in on how to sell your online membership on Whop further down this guide (or click here to skip right ahead to it!)

Establishing Pricing Models and Membership Tiers

There are several membership pricing models, but we’ll focus on the top 3 ones: monthly, annual, and one-time memberships.

  • Monthly Membership
    With a monthly membership, you’ll have a varying income every month, which can be great but somewhat limited. On the one hand, it’s the best option for your members, as they don’t have to commit to your membership fully from the start. But, it also hinders your budgeting preferences, as you might have big differences in the money flow from month to month early on.
  • Yearly Membership
    Yearly memberships are a much better option for the creator, as you can set your budgets accordingly. In essence, within a 12-month period, your monthly revenue will only go up. That being said, it might not be as attractive to your audience, as only the most loyal followers will commit to a 1-year membership without a free trial.
  • One-Time Membership
    Now, one-time memberships are very high-ticket deals. On the one hand, it’s a great way to get tons of money flow from the very start of your membership business. However, your focus will be on getting more members in rather than investing most of your time in improving the offerings at the start. Thus, you could lose credibility with your very loyal followers, which can hinder the business altogether.

Once you’ve decided on your pricing model, you can consider adding membership tiers. This is especially great if your membership is affordable, as it allows members access to all the basic offerings. Then, if they wish to support you further, they can opt for the more premium options.

We suggest going for 2-3 membership tiers, though you can definitely add individual ones for each of your offerings (ie. different tiers for your online course and podcasts). 

Step #6: Market and Engage


Building an awesome offering and gathering a bunch of new members is all great and all. But, if you don’t further market your membership to turn your big audience into a huge one, you won’t be able to scale. Plus, if you don’t engage with your members, they won’t be inclined to stay on your server for a long time.

That’s why we want to discuss some marketing and engagement strategies that will set a foundation for scaling the business even more.

Marketing Strategies

Considering that you’ve already built up an audience on social media, you know some basic marketing strategies. You can implement these to promote your membership, and they should be enough to get some new members in.

That being said, we believe that, when it comes to outreach, your options are only 2: your social media and your email list. For example, if you post user testimonials and discounts on your story, many followers will be tempted to at least check out what your membership offers. 

Then again, you could tap into the short-form content goldmine and repost excerpts of your paywalled podcasts or live streams to entice your followers to join.

Now, as for your email list, it’s the most useful tool you have. Even if your social media accounts got shut down tomorrow, you’d still have the emails of your most loyal followers, where you can show them teasers of new content coming to the membership or send exclusive discounts.

Engagement Techniques

When it comes to engagement, things are much more simple. You know how Twitch streamers engage with their chat every day? That’s, more or less, what you’ll need to do within your community. Be that by just chatting with them on Discord or hosting live streams, you only need to ignite a spark to get a fiery conversation started.

One thing you could also do is make the onboarding more engaging. Compile your best content for each member and send it personally to them, add a welcome message when they hop on the community, that kind of stuff.

Step #7: Evaluate and Scale

Well, now you have a community of members who engage with each other and yourself. They talk about everything you offer in your membership and are generally happy. Now is the time to get all the data, evaluate what’s going wrong and what you can fix, as well as get ready to scale.

Here are some of the metrics you’ll need to track, as well as some of our tips to scale your membership business and get an enormous following in its community.

Metrics You Should Track

All the metrics you need to track are either revenue or customer-related. If you offer a monthly or yearly membership, you’ll need to take note of your Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) or Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) accordingly. 

Another metric to track is the Churn Rate, which shows how many decide to terminate their membership within a given period.

Tips to Scale Your Membership Business

Scaling your membership business will differ depending on how big your following is. One of the best ways to scale is by building a referral program. If your loyal members are happy with what you offer, they’ll definitely bring more people on board, with or without an incentive.

Another tip to consider is streamlining and automating all the processes you can. You’ll probably need to grow your team to do so down the line, but it’ll save you time and make your membership business bring in much more revenue.

How to Sell Online Memberships With Whop

So, you’re ready to start selling an online membership. As we said above, there’s no better place to do that than Whop. Let’s go through the few steps you need to take to sign up on the platform and begin selling in a matter of minutes.

Choosing a Store Name and Branding

whop create

As with any other platform, you’ll start by choosing your store’s name and a set of logos. Of course, if you already have a logo, you’ll be able to use that.

Select Your Product

select product

Then, you’ll see a set of products you can choose from, like software, templates, courses, classes, etc. You can sell all these and many more digital products on Whop. 

Integrate Third-Party Platforms with Whop’s API

Once you’ve created your store, you’ll need to integrate any platforms you use with Whop’s API. If you decide to launch a Discord server or Telegram channel, you simply have to integrate these, and Whop will take care of the rest. Have multiple membership tiers? Whop will help you assign the role accordingly when a new member joins your Discord server.

Launch Your Store and Use The Dashboard

And now you’re ready to launch! Publish your store on the marketplace, and it should be available to everyone. Feel free to play around with Whop’s dashboard to find all the metrics you need, as well as get all the data insights you wish.

Start Selling on Whop Today!

This should be enough for you to launch your online membership business today! It is clear to see that memberships are one of the best ways to monetize your big following.

If you’re ready to start, consider selling your online membership on Whop. Sign up today and have your online store ready within minutes!

Online Memberships FAQs

How to make money selling memberships online?

To make money selling memberships online, you’ll need to offer premium, helpful content for your audience that can’t be found elsewhere. Plus, you must create an incredible community that ensures each member is welcome.

How to sell a membership online?

To sell a membership online, you’ll have to identify your target personals and value propositions. Once you do so, pick the platform you want to sell on and create and compile the content you wish to be included in your membership. When that’s done, you can start selling your membership online.

How to promote an online membership?

Marketing an online membership is straightforward as long as you have an already-existing following on social media. All you have to do is promote your membership on your profiles with the help of user testimonials, content snippets, and early looks at new content releases. You can also use an email list to get more people on board.