A portrait of Pete Heslop
17 Apr, 2024 5 min read

Membership strategies and benefits: Exploring the power of exclusive access

Businesses are always looking for new ways to improve their customer engagement and retention rates. One approach that has gained popularity in recent years is the use of memberships.
Membership strategies and benefits: Exploring the power of exclusive access

The membership model works to benefit both the consumer and the business. Companies gain a loyal customer base and recurring revenue, while members gain exclusive access, personalised discounts, and benefits. 

Here, we’ll look at the world of memberships and answer some key questions about their use and effectiveness.

Why do companies use memberships?

The fact is customer acquisition is getting harder. Customers are less patient, industries are becoming saturated with competitors, and it costs businesses 5x more to get new customers than retaining existing ones. As a result, many companies are turning to memberships as a way to stop one-time purchases and encourage lasting customer relationships. 

One of the primary motivators for companies to start a membership programme is better financial stability. Memberships allow companies to generate a more predictable source of income by charging customers a regular fee for access to certain services. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses with seasonal demand looking to gain a reliable revenue stream throughout the year.

What do people buy memberships for?

Memberships let people join a select group that receives additional value beyond what non-members receive. What additional value is offered will vary depending on the type of membership and the company providing it. This can include: 


Access to premium content - such as articles, videos, or podcasts - is one of the most common membership benefits. In fact, nearly 70% of memberships include a content library! 

This type of exclusive access is popular amongst online learning memberships, for example, where members can learn from a diverse range of experts to expand their own knowledge and skill set.

'Members-only' deals

Many people are looking for special discounts and deals when they join a membership. This membership benefit is most commonly found in retail or e-commerce companies. 

Faced with a cost of living crisis, more than two-thirds of people are now looking to their favourite companies to offer more discounts. By doing so, members can save money and purchase products or services at a discounted rate, while businesses hold on to their loyal customers. 

Tailored support

Personalisation is essential for most consumers today and is a vital part of why people buy memberships. Some of the ways memberships are personalising the experience are through:

  • Member details 

  • Interests

  • Location-based data

  • Unique URLS in emails

This membership type is popular in healthcare, fitness, and education industries, where members are looking for tailored support. 


A membership is, at its core, for people who want to be part of something. According to membership owners, community is the core deliverable of their membership. 

Community spaces in memberships can improve customer satisfaction, encourage members to be more active, and provide businesses with a much lower churn rate than those without one (6.06% compared with 10.46%). 

Community in memberships is typically established through the likes of WhatsApp groups, forums, meetups, or group calls. 

Are memberships a marketing strategy?

Yes, memberships can be a powerful marketing strategy as they create a VIP experience that loyal customers want and expect from businesses.  

By offering exclusive deals and personalised experiences, companies can incentivise their customers to stay committed to their brand. These rewards help keep customer satisfaction high and drive repeat business.

Another benefit of memberships is they allow companies to gather data and insights about their customers, such as likes, dislikes, purchasing habits, and interests. The more information a company can get from their consumer, the easier it is to deliver what they want. This valuable information can be used to help steer future marketing efforts and identify product or service improvements. 

Finally, customers who are part of a membership often feel they have access to something that only a limited number of people do. This can lead to positive word-of-mouth marketing, as happy members share their experience with friends and other like-minded people.

Are memberships passive income?

While memberships can generate recurring revenue, it would be wrong to classify them as entirely passive income. Building and maintaining a successful membership programme requires ongoing effort and investment. 

Companies must continually provide value and engage with members to ensure their satisfaction and retention. However, once a membership programme is established and running smoothly, it can provide a more predictable revenue stream than one-off sales.

How do you build a successful membership?

Building a successful membership programme requires careful planning and execution. Here are our top five steps to consider:

1. Identify your audience

Understand who your ideal members are and what they value. Are they looking for great savings or deals? Are they looking to learn? Once you understand your audience, you can tailor your offerings within your membership accordingly.

2. Define clear benefits

Figure out what your ‘exclusive access’ is. Are you providing members with content, discounts, or premium services? Make sure these benefits are what your audience wants and needs.

3. Price it right

Set a membership fee that reflects your value while remaining competitive in the market. More than 82% of memberships offer more than one subscription option, so consider having different membership tiers that cater to various customer segments.

4. Provide exceptional customer experience

Engage with your members through personalised communications, exclusive events, and exceptional customer service. Your customer has shown their commitment to your brand, so they should feel valued and appreciated in return.

5. Continuously evolve

Regularly assess your membership programme based on member feedback and changing market trends. The most important thing you can do is ensure you’re always providing members with value for their money. Stay flexible with your offering and adapt to meet your customer expectations.

Our takeaway

Memberships offer companies a powerful tool to establish and nurture long-term customer relationships. By providing exclusive benefits and access, companies can create a sense of community and loyalty, while also generating recurring revenue. 

When executed successfully, memberships can serve as an effective marketing strategy that enhances the customer experience and drives business growth. If you’re looking to build a membership website in 2024, Steadfast Collective can help. 

Get in touch today to start building your online community with memberships.