“Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you never think you'll be up again, but life goes on.” -from the 2001 movie Blow

When ad revenue is high, we can overlook other ways to monetize our communities. Many of us have put together an ad-free experience with premium features, but how often do we advertise it? With world events unfolding as they have, we’ve seen threads on TAZ that show that ad revenue has plummeted and Amazon has reduced their affiliate rates.

Now may be a good time to promote premium memberships and donation options. Before you start advertising those options, you might want to take inventory and ensure you have the following items:

  1. A method for accepting payment, like Paypal or Stripe
  2. A usergroup to test any special features
  3. A heartfelt thank you message for users who decide to support your site

If you’re unsure how to set up any of this, feel free to post here at The Admin Zone and refer to your community’s user manual. Here are a few links for your convenience: XenForo, Invision, and vBulletin.

Most community software offers a notification system. This is an effective way to advertise your premium membership and/or donation options. I’ve found it helps to have a different message for guests, users, and premium users. You know your community best, so you’ll want to tailor your site’s message to fit the needs of your users.

Some other suggestions:
  • Make sure guests don’t have to log in to donate.
  • Give logged in users a choice to donate or upgrade their membership.
  • Thank your premium members for supporting the site.

Once you’ve covered the basics, you can expand your premium membership program with reminders two weeks prior to expiration, discount codes for upgrades, and options to gift other users a premium membership.

Do you offer a premium membership currently? If so, do you have any tips you can share to help others be successful?