How to Choose the Best Membership Tier Names for Your Online Business

Author 
Eilidh   7

One of the hardest parts of building and launching a successful product is thinking of a great name that looks professional, encourages sales, and fits your brand.

Thinking of one name is hard enough, but finding the perfect naming system for your membership tiers can slow you down with analysis paralysis!

Today's post will give you everything you need to choose membership tier names fast that:

  • Sound fun and professional
  • Connect with the language of your audience
  • Communicate your hierarchy of benefits
  • Match your type of membership business model

Let's dive right in...

More...

What Are Membership Tiers?

Membership tiers allow you to offer your visitors different levels of your product or service, so they can choose the price and content that fits their needs.

In creating different levels, your membership site becomes accessible to a broad range of people at different stages in a customer journey. Membership tiers can be defined by just about anything, however, conversion-focused tiers should be easy to understand and resonate with what your customers want to get out of your product.

Here’s an example of what your membership tier could look like:

Apprentice

$30 /month

  • 24/7 support
  • Unlimited resources
  • Complimentary online consultations

Journeyman

$45 /month

  • 24/7 support
  • Unlimited resources
  • Complimentary online consultations

Master

$80 /month

  • 24/7 support
  • Unlimited resources
  • Complimentary online consultations

Each membership tier represents a different customer’s experience of your website. The lowest tier is a starter package with limited access to content, services, and opportunities to learn. The highest tier usually has full access to everything within your product.

The concept of membership tiers is to make your product accessible to a broad audience while not giving everything away. It promotes flexibility, value and — first and foremost — accessibility.

Memberships vs. Online Courses – Which Business Model is Better?

If you want to create an info-product business, the question of whether to sell individual courses or create a membership site is important to ask yourself.

Check out our Membership vs. Courses post to learn more about which business model is best for you.

Why Do Membership Titles Matter?

The first decision a new customer has to make is to choose a membership tier that best fits their budget and needs... so it’s essential that you put some thought into naming your tiers in a way that connects with your audience. The level name is what they will come to associate as their relationship with your product.

Good membership tier names are:

  • An engaging branding tool
  • An opportunity to be super clear on what you offer
  • Terms that resonate
  • Accessible for a broad audience
  • A point of connection to communicate the value of your product

Naming your membership tiers can be fun, but with so many options, it’s easy to get distracted in the creative process. Don’t worry, we’ll help you find great names for your membership tiers... but let’s hold off for a sec and explore what kinds of membership tiers already exist first.

tiers of membership

Membership tiers engage customers with benefits that are clear, to the point and speak to what they want from your products.

Different Types of Membership Tiers

Membership tier types serve a very functional purpose. They connect your product with what your customers are looking for directly.

In this section, we’ve narrowed it down to the most common membership tiers out there. Obviously there are more, but for the sake of finding your membership tier name today, we’re keeping it simple… because your tier system absolutely should be simple.

Skill-based Membership 

A skill-based membership applies a hierarchical structure to your customers' level of experience when starting your membership. It’s a straightforward tier option that divides content access based on ability.

skill-based membership tier title

Scott Devine's bass lessons are divided based on his students’ skill level on entry.

This kind of membership is engaging as it comes with a clearly defined promise of improving your customers’ skills through purchasing your membership.

You can get creative with how you name these membership tiers, as long as it relates to the skill that you offer.

Who does this make sense for?

  • Music and Arts teachers
  • Language teachers
  • Fitness memberships
  • Sports programs

Time-based Membership 

An easy way to divide your customers is by how long they’re willing to invest in your product. A time-based membership is exactly that. It doubles up as a sales technique while clearly stating how often customers will pay.

time-based membership tier name

Amazon Prime doubles up on time-based payments that are both circumstantial and payment based.

A time-based membership is a great way to entice customers with a short-term option that will get them hooked on your product.

This type of membership tier clearly identifies where you may lose recurring memberships. To win the customer over, you can make your higher-priced tier an irresistible investment that makes the longer-term option seem like a no-brainer for those who do the math.

Who does this make sense for?

  • Software companies
  • Digital service companies
  • Stock image and audio license companies

Supporter-based Membership 

Membership sites are a chance to communicate on a much more intimate level with your customers. For experts like yourself, a supporter-based membership is a place for your audience to hang out, learn from you, purchase directly and find all your latest news.

support based membership tier name

Dr. Chatterjee is a thought leader with a unique perspective that puts him at the forefront of the wellness industry. People listen intently to his advice, and he uses membership tiers to support his endeavors.

Fan-based memberships offer a chance to manage content, press releases, launch new products, and create a sense of exclusivity with your audience. Sneak peeks and tailored content maintain high levels of engagement.

As we see in the Dr. Chatterjee example above, supporter-based memberships are an exchange. Thought leaders promise consistent valuable content in exchange for continuous member support to continue doing what they do — hence the word support.

Who does this make sense for?

  • Thought leaders
  • Public figures
  • Authors
  • Artists

Content-dependent Membership 

A content-dependent membership restricts access to the content a customer wants to see. This kind of membership will provide access to completely different sections of a website based on the type of membership someone signed up for.

content-dependent membership tier

Babbel is a language learning app that divides its content based on the language students want to learn.

Content-dependent membership sites can be huge. And, while this is more difficult to manage (as there is so much content to create), you have an opportunity to engage many different customers at the same time with tailored content for each tier.

Who does this make sense for?

  • Multi-language membership sites
  • Multi-subject experts

By now, you have an idea of what works best for the type of membership site you’re creating. So, that means it’s playtime!

tiers of membership

Use a mix of your branding and product functionality to find the perfect membership tier names.

How to Name Your Membership Tiers

The best way to approach a creative task like naming your membership tiers is to exhaust all possibilities before making your decision. 

While you can’t avoid bias and personal preference influencing your decisions, you can consider all possible options. It’s time to put your most creative hat on and have some fun

Here we go…

Define What It Is You Offer

The first step in creating your membership tiers names is to divide your offers and create a hierarchy. 

Make sure you establish clearly defined benefits that justify the price jumps between tiers.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes when you consider this. You don’t want to restrict your customers so much that they can’t function at all within your lowest priced tier (particularly if it's a free one). That's because trapping people inside an artificially limited membership tier won't get people to upgrade. It’s just going frustrate them to the point of abandoning your product or service. 

Once you know exactly what you're offering and how many tiers you need to establish, it's time to give them great names. 

Brainstorm Keywords

The FUN step!

To really brainstorm great tier name possibilities, you’ve must let go and all the ideas flow out of you.

There are many exercises you can do to get your idea juices flowing. One of my favorites is a brain dump session. Note down every word associated with your product, your branding and anything else that your target customer connects with. Then, write down all of the words you can think of that connect by association to those. By the end of your brainstorming session, you should have a huge bank of words that relate to your business.

Feel free to ‘cheat’ using tools like Thesaurus.com to discover new synonyms and themes.

Now select your best finds, trying to filter for words that reflect the “small, medium, large” concept you often see in tiers of membership. 

Keep It Simple

The less creative types out there will be relieved to hear that all the ‘outside of the box’ thinking is now done. It’s time to finalize your selection.

Membership tier names need to resonate with your customers. And to do that, you must present your products in a language customers understand. The names you choose should be inline with your brand and define what customers can expect from your products.

If you get this far and decide that Basic, Pro and Premium is and always has been the best option for your membership site, don’t see this as wasted time. Going through the brainstorming processes is vital picking the best not the first — option.

Membership Tier Name Ideas

Ever thought about researching how other membership businesses have named their tiers? It might be the creative nudge you need to take your membership tier names from good to great. Just think about it as an inspirational exercise to nurture some fun and engagement with the brainstormed names you already have.

To give this a try, let’s explore some classic examples from brands you already know, as well as successful membership and subscription sites that I’ve identified…

Safe and Functional Tiers Names

Sometimes less really is more. Easy tier names guarantee that your customers know what they are getting with your product and that it fits their needs. 

The classic example of this is: Basic, Premium/Pro, Elite

Alternatively, you can go for easily identifiable divisions like Bronze, Silver and Gold, or the Pokemon game classic, Ruby, Sapphire and Diamond. 

Let’s look at some real-world examples to see them in action. 

A product that we are super familiar with at Thrive Themes is Mailchimp:

safe membership tiers

Mailchimp uses a simple subscription tier system that identifies with what businesses look for in their services.

This email marketing service gets the job done fast, and their subscription tiering is no different. 

Spotify also takes this straightforward naming approach…

spotify membership tiers names

The music streaming service is a household favorite, and their subscription reflects that.

You get the picture.

Membership tier names don't have to be creative. But simple works well to communicate services to customers and help them know what they’re getting.

Catchy and Creative Tier Names

Membership tier names that resonate are ones that make sense for your brand and your customers’ association with your product. So, a good creative membership tier name will seem like a no-brainer. Your customers will naturally gravitate towards the membership tier that suits their needs.

Creative membership tiers often start with a fun theme...

For a swimming theme: Tadpole, Fish, and Shark.

Or a martial arts theme: Grasshopper, Black Belt and Jedi.

Simple, kind of cute and super easy to associate with the brand.

A great real-world example of creative membership tier naming is Siteground's WordPress hosting (technically service subscription tiers, but let’s run with it!):

membership tier names of Siteground

Siteground uses subscription names that are simple yet intuitive.

Siteground is a webhosting company. For their subscription packages, they’ve named them based on the stages a typical online business goes through. This is clever as it quickly associates each product with the desires of where a customer is looking to grow their business next.

The link between StartUp and GrowBig is strong because obviously, all start-ups want to grow bigger. This is supported — and sneakily encouraged — because the price difference to "GrowBig" is not much more to purchase.

Another example is from Book Riot:

book riot tiers of membership

Book Riot uses creative tier names that are unique to their industry.

Book Riot is a membership site for bookworms and their tiers directly reflect that.

It’s quick, witty and dead simple.

Out-There Tier Names That Work

Getting super creative with your tier names is risky, but can pay off if it’s both specific to your niche and lands well with your audience.

If 'whacky' is what your brand is known for, then brainstorming some out-there tier names is 100% worth your time.

Let’s take a look at Barry Magliarditi’s membership site for a good example of this:

Barry’s membership tier names

Barry’s school name appeals to business owners at various stages in the game.

As a business coach, spiritual guide, book author... Barry Magliarditi’s membership tier names reflect those who are at different stages of their business growth journey, and who look to him as a thought leader and business guru.

The names come with some creative flair that hints at the experience and diverse approaches that he uses.

Another example is Simons's loyalty subscription tier names:

Simons titles of membership

Simons is a traditional membership model gone modern.

As a brand that’s a household name across Canada, Simons taps into the more traditional essence of a membership — clothing catalogs.

Now digital, Simons has capitalized on its legacy and customer dedication with its loyalty membership tier titles. This is a company which knows that its branding ties in with people's passion for their products — why not take advantage of that?

How Many Tiers of Membership Should You Have?

The number of membership tiers that you choose should represent the range of customers you want to sign up to your membership site.

If you haven’t noticed already, the rule of three is a popular choice. It offers options — but not too many — and looks good on the page.

While these are good reasons for choosing three options, don’t feel obligated to comply. As a business owner, you should always be testing and looking to make improvements, and your membership tier names are no exception.

You could start with five membership tiers... and then a year down the line, find that people only really gravitate towards two or three options. With that knowledge, you could then narrow down your offerings to match what your customers actually want.

How to Price Your Membership Site Levels

Let’s face it... 

... while naming your membership tiers is important, if the prices don’t make sense, you’re not going to make any sales.

The price of your membership tiers will also dictate your revenue and filter for certain kinds of people. Too low, and you’ll attract customers who are not engaged and who require a lot of support. Too high, and you may price your product out of the market.

Your membership site should be accessible to a mix of customers at different stages in their journey, with the idea that, over time, they might jump up to the next level.

To do this, you need a comfortable entry-level price and a realistic mid-way point that is attainable and affordable. Do your research, see what your competitors are offering, and decide what works for your business.

I’m going to say it again because it’s that important, make sure that your membership tiers justify each price jump. If you go from $90 to $500 with nothing in between (and only a few of benefits that no one really wants), people are going to feel cheated.

How to Market Your Membership Site

Need some guidance on how to market your membership site to maximize your recurring revenue? Watch this...

Time to Move from Research to Action

You now have all the tools you need to get your membership tiers names finalized.

There’s no excuse anymore — get to naming!

And if you want to build a membership site that gives you total flexibility and customization power, Thrive Apprentice is exactly what you're looking for!

Just check out how easy it is to create a membership site business on WordPress selling ANY content you want (not just courses!) with Thrive Apprentice.

by Eilidh  February 8, 2022

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  • Thanks Eilidh for continually adding value for all of us to learn from. I have a question and not sure where to put it or who to send it to…..
    It’s about a feature and if Thrive has anything to help with this? Be EPIC and have a Great Day.

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