Designing our membership program

Designing your membership program is about more than choosing what benefits to offer your members. 

You need to conduct audience research to understand what potential members value and articulate a membership value proposition. You’ll use that to design a product – the membership program – that speaks to those values, aligns with your mission, and can be implemented with your existing capacity. You’ll then identify a reasonable price or prices for your membership program.

The Membership Puzzle Project has watched newsrooms spend months trying to come up with the perfect mix of benefits and pricing tiers. But while benefits can make the membership experience more enriching, they’re not as important as knowing your potential members deeply and getting the membership value proposition right. This is what hooks potential members and tells them what they’re opting into. 

Once you’ve got the value proposition and branding right and you’ve identified a few ways to add value to the membership experience – your benefits – the best thing you can do is launch your membership program and see how potential members respond. The most useful feedback you get might be whether people join, why they say they joined, and what benefits they take advantage of when they do. 

This section will guide you through developing the first draft of your membership program so that you can get it out the door and see what your members think.