The 2024 Membership Site Playbook: Trends, Exclusive Insights, And Data

The 2024 Membership Site Playbook: Trends, Exclusive Insights, And Data

Discover key membership site trends in 2024 with WishList Member – your path to success!

Think about the last time you visited a really great membership site. It's 2024, and these sites have come a long way from just forums or gated content. 

They're now bustling hubs where people connect, learn, and share like never before.

Given the speed at which technology evolves, it's crucial to stay abreast of industry changes, especially if you're keen to make your mark.

So let's dive into the dynamic world of membership sites in year 2024, where the game's changed and staying ahead means being bold, creative, and downright savvy.

Here's your insider look at latest and greatest trends, the dos and don'ts, and the secret sauce that'll transform your membership site from surviving to thriving in this turbo-charged online era.

And yes, it's going to be easier than you think! 

The Digital Renaissance of Membership Sites

The game of membership sites is changing in 2024. We're witnessing a digital renaissance in the world of membership sites, and it's thrilling!

This year, we're seeing a seismic shift in how membership sites operate, interact, and engage with their audiences. The rules have changed, and the playbook is being rewritten as we speak.

With new trends popping up and technology playing a bigger role, it's all about staying informed and adaptable.

Let’s break down what’s new and what’s working.

The Trends That Are Redefining the Game

In this whirlwind of digital transformation, several key trends are emerging as game-changers:

membership site trends

1. DO Embrace Hyper-Personalization

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all content. This year, it's all about creating a tailor-made experience that speaks directly to each member's preferences, interests, and behaviors.

Remember this figure: 80%. Epsilon reports that 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences.

If you thought personalization was confined to addressing members by their name, 2024 will challenge that perception.

AI and machine learning technologies are getting sophisticated, providing advanced levels of personalization in content delivery, email communication, and product recommendations. 

So, what does this mean for your membership site? This means you can deliver highly tailored experiences to your members using technological advancements.

For example, you could use machine learning to curate content to the unique preferences of each member. This might mean suggesting articles, courses, or forums based on their browsing history or even the time they spend on certain sections of your site.

Likewise, AI can help tailor email communication, serving members with timely and relevant information, amplifying engagement and retention. 

One way of implementing this trend on your site is through a form builder plugin like WPForms. You can use WPForms to collect information about your members, and integrate it with ChatGPT for AI-generated notifications. Send unique, tailored alerts to members based on their form submissions, enhancing the individualized experience and fostering stronger member engagement.

2. DO Explore Virtual Reality Integration 

Another game-changer in the 2024 member-centric trend is the increasing role of Virtual Reality (VR) technologies.

According to Grand View Research, the global VR market size was valued at USD 15.81 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.0% from 2021 to 2028.

Adopting a cutting-edge trend such as VR may seem daunting at first, but remember, it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing approach.

Begin by identifying specific areas that can benefit from VR and evaluate the feasibility. Always cater to what your members need and would find most beneficial. 

In a membership context, VR can provide immersive experiences that connect members in a way not possible through traditional online formats.

Think virtual meet-ups, product walk-throughs, guided tutorials or collaborative workshops. It's an innovative way to increase member engagement and provide value that goes beyond the typical. 

However, integrating VR isn't just about driving engagement; it can also revolutionize the way you provide value to your members. Say you're running a fitness membership site—using VR, you can offer personalized workout sessions, virtual trainers, and immersive wellness practices. 

Businesses are rapidly exploring VR integration. Goldmans Sachs predicts that by 2025, VR technology in the workplace could be a $16.1 billion market. That's a significant hint towards the potential of VR, pointing to a promising future for the membership site industry as well. 

On the final note, VR is here to stay. The sooner you embrace it, the better edge you will have in the competitive landscape of membership sites.

So, don't neglect this trend; instead, jump in and ride the wave of virtual reality to foster a futuristic, novel, and innovative user experience for your members.

3. Value-Driven Pricing Models 

The age-old practice of a ‘one size fits all' pricing model for membership sites is not enough to draw potential members in 2024.

In 2024, it's all about:

  • Providing your clients with personalized and tiered plans, and
  • Focusing more on the value provided rather than just flat rate fee. 

This shift towards value-based pricing allows you to make your membership packages more attractive by aligning your prices with the perceived value of your offerings.

In fact, McKinsey research indicated a 1% price increase, when done right, could generate an 8% increase in operating profits

For example, a basic level could offer access to webinars and articles, while intermediate and top-tier levels could include one-on-one mentorship sessions, exclusive reports, and more.

These additional features would provide value for the price increase, which could drive member satisfaction and loyalty. 

But it's not as simple as increasing prices. It's critical to conduct continuous A/B testing, surveys, and even price sensitivity surveys.

Understanding what content and services your audience values most, and their willingness to pay for it, is key.

And if you're looking to optimize your survey efforts, Formidable Forms, a powerhouse WordPress plugin, makes it possible to not only collect data but also to use that data to create listings, directories, and even complex calculators.

You'll need to carefully analyze and measure the values your membership site provides to different segments of your users. Fortunately, with the advancement of technology, we now have sophisticated tools and software that can help us track these data to back our pricing decisions with facts and figures. 

The future of membership sites is moving towards this direction, and it's a space filled with potential. So, go ahead and explore the possibilities of a value-driven pricing model for your membership site.

4. DO Widespread Automation 

From marketing automation to customer service, 2024 is about automating more than ever. A MarketsandMarkets research predicts the global automation market to reach $3.4 billion by 2024. Integrating automation tools into your membership site can lead to more efficient processes and elevated user experience. 

So, what kind of automation tools are we talking about here? 

Email Automation

Well, as a membership site owner, you can engage your members more efficiently with automated emails or newsletters.

FunnelKit Automations and WishList Member come together to create a powerhouse of marketing efficiency on WordPress.

This integration allows for effortless contact importing, audience building tailored to your content, and automated access upgrades upon form submissions or purchases.

Plus, it smoothly transitions members between different levels and offers a personalized touch with coupons for expired memberships. This combination is a game-changer, making marketing not just more effective but also intuitively responsive to member actions and preferences.

Other tools like ConvertKit, Campaign Refinery, or ActiveCampaign can help you manage your email list and automate personalized messages.

Customer Service Automation

Likewise, you can enhance your customer service using automation.

AI-driven chatbots, like Tidio and Olark, can automatically respond to common customer inquiries on your site. This will not only improve response time but also free up time for your customer service agents to handle more complex issues. 

Data Automation

Data automation should also be on your radar. After all, who wants to spend countless hours analyzing data when software can do that?

Tools like Google Analytics and Tableau can gather valuable data about your members and their behaviors, providing insights that can help you make data-driven decisions. 

Automation doesn't mean you're replacing the human touch, though. It, instead, enhances it by giving you more time and energy to engage with your members on a more profound level. It is all about working smarter, not harder. 

5. DO Nurture Your Micro-Communities 

A study published on Tint shows that 73% of consumers have positive views on brand engagement in communities.

In 2024, anticipate the surge of smaller, niche-focused, highly engaged communities within your membership site. Focusing on micro-communities allows for more direct engagement, fostering stronger relationships with your members. 

Often, these micro-communities are built around specific interests or goals. For example, a fitness membership site may have communities focused on yoga, vegan diets, or marathon training. These offer spaces for members to connect with like-minded individuals, drive discussions, share insights, and support each other. 

The key to the success of micro-communities lies in their ability to foster a sense of belonging.

In addition to fostering stronger relationships with existing members, micro-communities serve as powerful magnets for potential members.

Talk about the power of conversation! Word-of-mouth referrals is a colossal engine driving a staggering $6 trillion in annual consumer spending. That's right, a jaw-dropping 13% of consumer sales come from people simply talking about products.

As members of your micro-communities share their experiences in these specific niches, it introduces your site to more individuals likely interested in what you provide. 

Moreover, there's a growing trend toward monetization within these micro-communities. The 2024 trend entails introducing premium tiers within the communities or charging for niche-specific content like webinars, ebooks, or courses. 

Ultimately, in 2024, the emphasis for membership sites will indeed be “less is more”. By focusing on smaller, high-engagement communities, you can enhance the value of your site for members while at the same time driving growth and profitability.

Don't currently have a forum on your website? A free plugin like bbPress could help you bring your community on site and open up opportunities to monetize your content.

6. DO Gamify to Boost Engagement 

Member engagement stands as a cornerstone for success in the membership site industry. With a lackluster engagement strategy, it's hard to keep your members interested or involved. And that's where gamification steps in. 

As per research published by MordorIntelligence, the gamification industry is skyrocketing from a cool $9.1 billion in 2020 to blasting off to an astronomical $30.7 billion by 2025.

We're talking a whopping 27.4% compound annual growth rate. That's the gamification market turning up the thrusters and going full speed ahead!

Clearly, it's a trend not to be missed.

The integration of gaming mechanics into your membership site can trigger your members’ natural desires for competition, achievement, and collaboration.

Get ready to experiment with various strategies that uplift user engagement, that make your site more fun, exciting and addictive, such as:

  • Leaderboards
  • Progress bars
  • Milestone celebrations
  • Points
  • Badges

Remember, the key to successful gamification is relevancy. Your members should perceive their rewards as meaningful for the effort they put into achieving them.

Test different game mechanics, analyze your member's feedback, and adjust accordingly. With careful planning and creative execution, gamification could be the golden ticket to boosting your membership growth and retention in 2024.

So, why not make your membership site a more intriguing place? Incorporate gamification as a novel way of offering value, and you might just keep members coming back for more. After all, who doesn't want to be part of a vibrant, engaging online community? 

7. DON'T Count Out LMS

The future is bright for those who integrate courses and Learning Management Systems (LMS) into their membership sites.

According to a sparkly new report from Reports Insights, this market is projected to take a colossal leap from USD 17.36 billion in 2022 to a jaw-dropping USD 69.69 billion by 2030. That's a supercharged growth rate of 19.2% annually from 2023 to 2030. So, in the world of elearning, this is like going from a bicycle to a supersonic jet in less than a decade!

By incorporating courses, quizzes, progress tracking and course gamification on your site, you'll be adding a whole lot of interactive content that makes learning not just informative but downright addictive.

For your membership site to stay ahead of the game, embracing the LMS integration trend is not just advantageous but vital. It offers streamlined learning experiences, advanced insights, and ultimately higher returns – all which pave way for a thriving future of your membership site.

CourseCure

WishList Member users can take advantage of CourseCure, which is available on all WishList Member plans.

The CourseCure course builder turns WishList Member into a powerful LMS. By combining all the functionality of a membership plugin with an intuitive and flexible course builder, you can start selling engaging courses on your site in a snap.

Mix and match gamification features like quizzes, points, and badges to maximize student engagement and course completion rates.

This flexibility not only enriches courses but also incentivizes participation with rewards, making CourseCure an essential asset for membership sites aiming to leverage courses for member retention and engagement.

8. DO Optimize Content For Voice Search 

If your membership site’s content isn’t optimized for voice search yet, you’re potentially losing out on this flourishing traffic source.

Users typically use conversational language for voice search, and it’s usually question-based. So, rethinking your site's SEO strategy to consider phrases and long-tail keywords might just hit the right note. 

According to a report from Synup, there's a whopping 4.2 billion active voice assistant devices. And get this, 27% of searches on the Google App are now done using just your voice.

Plus, there's a staggering 1 billion voice searches happening every month from mobiles and voice search devices. Whoa, voice assistants are taking over the world!

So, how can you start? Begin by optimizing your content for natural language and conversational queries.

Websites with a FAQ page also tend to do better with voice search because it contains questions and answers in a conversational manner.

You should consider adding a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section which can address common queries relating to your membership site that aligns with how users typically ask queries when using voice search

9. DON'T Forget to Diversify

Remember when text content was everything? Well, those days are long gone. Say goodbye to the days of only reading long articles.

This year, expect a mix of podcasts, videos and interactive quizzes. It’s all about keeping members engaged and coming back for more. 

According to a recent forecast by Cisco, videos will represent 82% of all internet traffic by 2022.

Diverse content formats have emerged as a powerful trend in the 2024 membership sites industry. Let's shed some light on this emerging reality, and how it could benefit your venture. 

Video would be a key driver in this trend. According to an Oberlo report, video content increases the average visit duration by as much as 88%. This demonstrates the massive potential of diverse content formats to increase user engagement and time spent on your site. 

Integrated podcasts are gaining attention, too.

In 2023, the global podcast market was already massive, sitting pretty at US$ 17.9 billion. But fasten your seatbelts, because it's rocketing to an eye-popping US$ 144.1 billion by 2032. That's a whopping 26% growth rate between 2024 and 2032.

What's fueling this meteoric rise? It's a perfect storm of more smartphones, easy access to streaming, anyone-can-be-a-creator vibes, a surge in podcast wizards cooking up all sorts of content, the magic of audio-on-demand, and a gold rush of advertising ops.

Remember, providing diverse content formats is about meeting the evolving needs and preferences of your members so they continue seeing value in your site.

So, consider researching the kind of content they enjoy and resonates most with them. Furthermore, make sure each piece of content, regardless of its format, aligns with your brand's identity and message. 

Above all, technology has made content creation easier than ever before. Tools like Adobe Spark, Visme, and Canva can significantly simplify the process of making engaging videos, graphics and podcasts So, don't shy away from experimenting with content formats in 2024!

How to Build Your Membership Site

It's an exciting time to build a membership business. The global subscription economy is on the up and up, and is projected to grow to a massive $1482.11 in 2027.

Plus, it's also easier than ever before, as membership site tools evolve to integrate new technologies and create a seamless experience for their own users. So let's get to it!

Step 1: Pick a Web Host

There are a lot of options to consider here – should you go with a more-budget-friendly, shared hosting option? Or does your business operation call for a more robust solution, with greater storage and processing power?

Read our guide on choosing the best web host to explore your options.

Step 2: Choose the Right Platforms

Make sure you choose a trusted, quality CMS and membership platform to build the foundation of your membership site.

WordPress CMS + WishList Member

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world for many reasons. Here are just a few:

  1. It's free to download and install, meaning you can invest your budget on other important tools and premium plugins.
  2. It's user friendly even for beginners making it a breeze to upload, manage, and update content.
  3. It's open-source – and always has been. From day dot, WordPress's source code has been freely available for creators to play around with. This made WordPress a sandbox for programmers to contribute to the WordPress ecosystem, which led to…
  4. Endless plugins and themes that are ready for your to use right out the (virtual) box. The upshot is that whatever website you plan on creating, or whichever way you plan to expand in the future, there's likely o be a plugin that can help you get there – no coding required.

Choosing the right platform can be a game-changer, enhancing your interactions with your audience. But the question remains – how will you choose the perfect platform?

We've created an essential checklist for picking a membership site platform that best aligns with your specific business goals.

Membership Plugin Features and Integrations You Need:

  • Easy Setup: Building your membership site shouldn't be rocket science.
  • Secure Member Log-ins: Ensuring members have a safe and private access point to your site.
  • Automated Billing and Subscription Management: For handling recurring payments and membership renewals.
  • Analytics and Reporting Tools: To track member engagement and site performance, helping you make informed decisions.
  • Progress Tracking: Especially useful for educational sites, allowing members to track their learning journey.
  • Payment Gateway Integration: Secure and reliable options for members to make payments.
  • Email Marketing Integration: Tools to keep in touch with your members, send updates, and promote engagement.

WishList Member is one such plugin that carries all these features and integrations. With WishList Member, you can turn your WordPress site into a recurring revenue machine.

Some Additional Plugins You May Want:

  • Interactive Community Forums: Spaces for members to connect, discuss, and share ideas.
  • Customizable Member Profiles: Allowing members to share information about themselves, fostering a sense of community.
  • Event Calendars and Registration: For organizing webinars, workshops, and other events.
  • Downloadable Content Options: Such as ebooks, worksheets, or templates for members.
  • Live Chat Support: Providing real-time assistance to your members.
  • SEO Tools: To improve your site’s visibility and ranking on search engines.

Adding all these plugins can improve and optimize your current site into a thriving membership or subscription business in 2024.

Step 3: Designing for User Experience

user experience

The design of your membership site should focus on creating a smooth and enjoyable experience for your users. This means having a clear layout, straightforward navigation, and ensuring your site loads quickly. 

After all, a site that's a breeze to use is more likely to keep members engaged and coming back for more. 

Another key aspect is ensuring your site is responsive, meaning it works well and looks good on any device, whether it's a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

For a more in-depth guide on how to build your first membership site, check out our How-To Guide.

Turning Your Membership Site into a Success Story with WishList Member

That's a wrap on the top membership site trends of 2024! Remember, the journey to success is all about engaging content, smart marketing, and listening to your members. 

And here's some good news: WishList Member makes this journey smoother. With its user-friendly platform and versatile features, you can focus on what you do best – creating and nurturing your community. 

So why wait? Check out WishList Member today and start transforming your membership site into the success story you’ve always dreamed of. Let's make 2024 your year! 

Found this blog useful? Dive into the discussion below and share how you're revolutionizing your membership site with these cutting-edge strategies – we'd love to hear your insights and experiences!

Follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and LinkedIn for more tips and best practices to make the most of your new subscription business.

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"We’ve tried a couple of other membership tools that were part of packages that we’d invested in. But nothing can compare to WishList Member. I know that there’s a lot of cool stuff out there that people have been building over the years. But when it comes to customization, if you use WordPress, you can’t touch this. Obviously, I’m super biased, but we’ve made millions of dollars because of this product."
Tristan Truscott
Satori Method
I have moved [WishList Member] into my top list of options for people. The new WishList Member packs a punch! And the price for WishList Member makes it a fantastic offer.
Chris Lema
LiquidWeb
WishList Member integrates with the tools I use TODAY. And they’re so eager to integrate with tools that are coming out. It’s amazing how they do it actually. If I was going to be buying a membership plugin, today… for me, I would go with WishList Member.
Adam Preiser
WPCrafter