Membership Sites vs Online Courses - Which is BEST?

legal basics np2nyc
Membership site vs online course

Have you ever heard of answering the argument of membership site v. online course with a gym? 

Then you're in for a treat today!

🎥 The video is at the bottom of this post. 

Let's start with understanding YOUR GYM 

As the gym owner (the business owner) you ultimately decide all aspects about running your gym which is your business. Inside your gym, you'll have a weight set which is the content (Kajabi products) that your customers can purchase from you. 

Question 1: How do you workout? 

I know this might not be the first question anyone asks you when you ask for help with deciding between a membership site vs. online course but having blended babies and business for a decade, I know that this question quickly highlights exactly where the constraints on your time are. 

It takes time to

  • create content.
  • make videos.
  • write emails.
  • write blog posts.
  • learn Kajabi. 

You name it running a business whether you sell a membership or an online course takes time.  

Question 2: Do you have a day pass or membership card customer? 

When you are selling day passes those are finite and not typically a repeat purchase that is more of an online course. 

When you are selling member cards those are meant to be used time and time again so that is more of a membership site model. 

When you step back and think about the type of relationship that you want to co-create with your customer base - does selling day passes or member cards sound more enjoyable and exciting to you? 

Question 3: What are you selling to your customers? 

When you sell the weight set to your customer that is an online course. Your customer purchases the weight set, takes it home (metaphorically speaking) and does not continue paying you for the weight set. 

When you sell access to the weight set to your customer that is a membership site. Your customer is receiving continued access with continued payment. They do not take the weights home (again metaphorically speaking). 

Question 4: How are you paid for the weight set? 

 This is tied directly with Question 3 and has to do with how are you paid for the weight set (aka your content or solution that you are providing for sale). 

When you sell the weights (aka your solution that is for sale) for a fixed price either in full or over time that is an online course. 

When you sell access to the weights for a fixed price at recurring time intervals that is a membership. 

This also leads us to question 5. 

Question 5: When can people buy your membership or online course?  

When they buy your membership or online course that is akin to joining your gym. 

Here you really want to think through what is right for you and for where you are RIGHT NOW. There are so many people who say one is right over the other and I'll tell you from 25 years in business and 10 exclusively online - the right answer is the one that you, the gym owner, can implement and consistently deliver on. 

When people can join anytime they choose, then you have an evergreen model, or what I remember as SNAP 24-hour Fitness. 

When people can join when you choose, then you have an open-close model, or what I remember as the YMCA model. 

I've run both over the course of my own business and recommend both to other business owners all the time because the answer lies in the facts and circumstances that are part of your life right now. 

Let's take a BIG picture look at each of the models: 

  • membership site
  • online course
  • hybrid - the Peloton model

Membership Site

In the membership site we have you, as the gym owner, providing access to your weights to your customers for a recurring payment. You can decide if your customers can join your membership anytime like I do with Bizlebox™ or if they can only join at certain times like I do with PBK™. 

Online Course

In the online course option, we have you as the gym owner selling the weight set to your customers for a fixed price and once paid they own the weight set. 

Again you choose when your customers can purchase the online course from you. If they can purchase whenever they choose, you have an evergreen model and if they can purchase when you choose, then you have an open-close model. 

Combo: The Peloton Model

With the Peloton model you have the best of all worlds. You can have an online course that is purchased and also a membership. This gives you incredible flexibility and provides many different ways for your customers to interact and pay you. 

If you are going to set up the Peloton model you have a rich and diverse way to make money in your business. 

Watch the Video Now