You’re planning your membership program, but you’re stumped on naming membership tiers so your offer doesn’t look like everyone else’s.

I get it.

In this article, we are going to share insights about designing membership levels and the best way to come up with creative names that will make potential customers hit that “sign up” button fast.

Coming up with original membership tier ideas

You’ve seen the membership tier cliches, and you don’t want your membership program to fall into that trap.

What you want is for your website visitors to take one look at your membership sales page, and immediately know which of the different tiers is right for them.

You won’t get that with the usual Bronze, Silver, and Gold naming scheme.

The best way to come up with a creative naming convention for your membership levels is to tie it into the topic of your membership site.

For example, if you have a membership teaching people how to play a musical instrument then some great tiers might be:

  • Musician in the Making
  • Concert Ready
  • Virtuoso

Take a few minutes to jot down some ideas that are specific to your niche.

We’re going to dive deeper into more membership tier naming in a minute, but first let’s decide how many tiers you need.

How many membership tiers should you offer?

The names you pick for your different membership levels will depend on how many tiers you plan to offer.

The rule of thumb here is to offer no more than 4 membership tiers, and preferably just 3.

Why is it better to offer fewer membership levels? It’s better to limit the number of membership tiers because a confused mind is more likely to leave the page entirely, instead of choosing an option.

Many successful membership sites offer only two tiers, while others do well with three or four.

Keep in mind that what you decide to include in each tier needs to be reflected in the title, and ultimate the price of the program, too.

Pricing your membership tiers

Pricing a membership site is an art and a science, and you can get more advice on how to do it right in our membership pricing guide.

However, it’s important to consider the price of your different membership tiers because the name you choose for each tier needs to be in alignment.

For example, you wouldn’t want to name your membership levels Rose at $50/month, Petunia at $100/month, and Dandelion at $300/month.

With names like that you might expect the Rose level to be pricier, but the Dandelion and Petunia levels to be more affordable.

Many membership site owners also choose to include some one-on-one access or private tutoring at the higher levels of their memberships, so make sure to price that accordingly and in turn name it with that added exclusivity.

Membership levels for different types of membership sites

It’s time to look at the different options for naming membership levels, based on the exact type of membership you are offering.

Yes, you could pick a brand name for your membership and then have tiers based on the payment duration.

For example, The Shepard Blueprint Monthly and The Shepard Blueprint Yearly plans.

That works fine if you only have two options, but if you really want to encourage people to pick a certain tier then follow the advice below for your particular membership style.

Screenshot of Treehouse techdegree membership examples

1. Skill based learning memberships

Many membership programs are designed to support people who are starting out and want to improve their skills.

Examples of these types of memberships include language learning, professional development, crafting, sports, music, writing, coding, gardening, and everything in between.

If you’re teaching anything that naturally has levels or topics, then these could make sense as a naming process for your membership tiers.

For example, a martial arts membership program might offer 4 tiers:

  • White belt membership
  • Green belt membership
  • Black belt membership
  • Master black belt membership

These are fun names for membership tiers, and whether the content is directly tied to the belt level or not, you’re able to convey that the skill level increases with each tier.

Other examples of skill-based memberships include:

  • Apprentice
  • Maker
  • Master

Or:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Expert

You can also follow the Treehouse example, and offer one monthly membership price but give people a chance to choose the focus of their learning.

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2. Access to different content levels

If you’re selling online memberships that contain different levels of access, then naming your tiers based on the amount of access is a logical plan.

Something as simple as this could work:

  • Free
  • Paid
  • All-Access

Of course there is always room to jazz up your membership tier names. Get creative by borrowing from other markets, like an ice cream shop.

  • One spoonful (free plan)
  • One scoop (paid plan)
  • Banana Split Sunday (all-access)

Or a buffet:

  • Membership sampler (free plan)
  • A la carte (pay for specific content)
  • All you can eat buffet (all-access)

Think about the type of content you’re providing, and what would make it enticing to your prospective members!

Screenshot of student classroom teacher tier example
Example from Data School

3. Different groups of people inside the same members area

If your membership site caters to different types of people, based on their roles, then naming the tiers based on who they are for is a great way to go.

For example, you might have the following tiers for a school setting:

  • Student tier
  • Teacher tier
  • Parent tier

Or for selling training to corporations, you might have the following tiers:

  • Individual
  • Team
  • Enterprise

You can achieve this type of bulk course enrollment for membership tiers with a learning management system (what is an LMS?) like AccessAlly.

4. Patrons or different supporter levels

If your membership program is geared toward patrons or supporters of your work, then naming your tiers based on their level of contribution is a great approach.

You want to make people feel special when they sign up to support your work. Remember that all contributions make a difference, even if they are small, so don’t forget to name your lower level tiers just as sweetly as for your higher level donors.

Some examples to get your wheels turning include:

  • Supporter of the arts
  • Patron of the arts
  • Benefactor of the arts

If your brand is focused on hard-hitting independent journalism, or keeping the press free from bias, you might go with:

  • Journalism Junkie
  • Bias Guardian
  • Independent Voice Defender

Your membership tier naming strategy should match the value you bring, and what people can expect from supporting your work.

Screenshot of wellness membership tier example
Example from Dr. Lana Wellness

5. Access to additional support

Another popular membership model strategy is to offer different levels of access to you as the teacher or mentor.

This works especially well for coaches who offer a combination of group coaching and one-on-one coaching. In this model, you can offer a lower tier that includes no coaching, one tier for group coaching, and one that includes individual sessions.

These might be named something like this:

  • Self-serve training
  • Group training
  • Individual training

Or for more of a coaching slant:

  • Solo practice
  • Group coaching
  • VIP Coaching

Obviously you can always dress these membership tiers up with your brand’s specific vibe. For example in the health coaching space:

  • Wellness Foundations
  • Holistic Health Coaching
  • Individual Health Assessment and Coaching

Go ahead and start playing with the different words and concepts that apply to your unique membership experience, and see what you come up with.

Moving between membership tiers

One thing that can also make or break your membership tier naming convention is how easy it is to move between tiers.

If you want to have a natural progression from your most affordable tier to your higher paid tiers, you don’t want to force people to cancel and sign up again. Or worse, have to email you to move them to a new plan manually.

Having a membership management software like AccessAlly that can seamless change a person’s subscription and also what they have access to is key.

Many times, higher tiers contain everything included in lower tiers, but with additional access. Find out what membership tools allow you to create the type of membership levels you have in mind, without creating a headache for you or your members.

You will also likely want to be able to pro-rate any past payments toward an upgrade or a downgrade in membership plans, so keep that in mind.

Of course if you don’t plan on having people move between membership tiers, this isn’t as much of an issue when you’re naming the tiers.

It’s time to start naming membership tiers

I hope this article gave you some inspiration and a few fresh membership naming ideas.

Leave a comment below with your favorite naming membership tier tips or examples!

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