This might sound crazy, but let’s say you wanted to buy a car. {stick with me here}

You’d probably think of all the things you’d want this car to have before deciding which car is best for you.

If you have a big family, you might look for a minivan rather than a coupe.

If hauling big stuff around is your thing, scratch compact cars from your list.

Notice how getting clear on what it is you need in a car easily whittles down your choices with zero anxiety? Well, that’s exactly what you should do for your membership.  When you figure out what it is you need your membership to do, finding the right tool becomes so much easier. 

Starting to see the connection there? Great. Moving on.

How to Define Your Membership Needs

To get started, think about your membership functionality in every day terms (no need to get all techy here).

For example, if you will sell more than one course or subscription to your customers, that’s a need. Write it down.

You can even do this exercise Mad Libs style. In the software development world, we use Use-Cases to write stories that tell what a system should do. It’s kind of like role play.

First, identify the different roles of people who will interact with your membership. Two obvious roles will be you, the membership owner, and your members .

Use Use-Cases to Get Clear on Membership Needs

Use a tried + tested software development exercise to help define your membership needs.

Next, write out what each role will do on the site and why.

As a <type of user> I want <some function> so that <some benefit>

Here’s a real example from a client.

As a membership owner, I want to control the delivery of content, so that members won’t become overwhelmed.

And here’s another client example.

As a member, I want a trial membership so that I can see if this membership is right for me.

And another for good measure.

As a membership owner, I want to make one-time offers so that I can induce customers to buy more expensive items, upgrades or other add-ons.

This is a great exercise for getting clear on your needs without getting buried in the ‘how’ of those needs.

Super simple, right? I know. All you need to do is just keep filling in the blanks.

You’ll also start to see which needs are must-haves versus just nice to have.

Once you have your list, then it’s time to have a look at membership plugins available to you. Or schedule a technology match up session for extra guidance with finding the right membership tools. 

Defining  your membership needs up front helps you avoid costly + frustrating mistakes down the road.

I hope you can see how determining your membership needs before shopping for a solution can potentially save you a heap of time, money and headache later.  Just as you wouldn’t buy a car before knowing what you need, don’t even think about buying your membership plugin until you’re clear on what you need it to do first.

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