Video Monetization

How To Launch a Membership App

By Peri Elmokadem, Aarushi Singh, Chris Sharpe and Joe Horowitz
11 Min Read

Learn About Launching a Membership

A woman watches content through a membership app while learning a recipe.

The idea of launching a membership app can be daunting. 

You might feel overwhelmed by the list of tasks involved, unsure of where to start, and concerned about making costly mistakes. The fear of choosing the wrong platform or mismanaging your launch can keep you stuck in the planning phase indefinitely.

Every day you delay launching your app, you risk losing potential revenue and members. Your audience seeks convenience and accessibility, and without a dedicated app, you might be falling short of their expectations. This hesitation can lead to stagnant growth, missed opportunities, and a loss of trust from your loyal members.

The good news is that there’s a way to simplify the process and ensure a successful membership app launch. In this guide, we’ll break down the essential steps you need to take, from choosing the right app builder to designing a user-friendly interface and executing a powerful marketing strategy. 

What are the benefits of building a membership app?

Before we dive into HOW to launch your membership app, let’s understand WHY it’s worth the effort. 

In a world where people are constantly distracted and there’s so much noise, a dedicated app helps you create a sacred environment for your members. This space is free from distractions, allowing them to truly resonate with your content and connect with you.

Membership apps are also an important tool for expanding your online video business. Whether you’re launching a mobile app as an extension to your existing membership or just starting to explore the possibilities, launching a mobile app can open up plenty of avenues for your business. 

We analyzed the behavior of 1.1 million users and discovered that creators who supplement their web-based services with Over-The-Top (OTT) apps experience an average growth of 30% in revenue. (Yep, that’s right – 30%!)

Let’s take a closer look at how membership apps can help your business grow: 

1. Attract and convert more customers

Audiences expect to access entertainment and content anytime, anywhere—from workouts to favorite shows on smart TVs, tablets, or smartphones. That’s why it’s essential to make your content available where your customers spend their time. 

In fact, our data reveals that the average subscriber now spends around 27 hours per month on OTT services. This usage level, which mirrors the industry average, has seen a remarkable doubling in total video play hours since 2016, alongside a 74% increase in video plays overall.

This ongoing shift away from traditional cable—which has lost over 25 million subscribers since 2012—highlights a clear shift towards digital, app-based content platforms. By tapping into this trend, your membership app can reach a broader market, delivering the convenience and accessibility that today’s viewers increasingly demand.

2. Keep customers for longer

It’s a well-established fact that retaining an existing customer is significantly more cost-effective than acquiring a new one—up to five times cheaper, to be precise. 

Our findings underscore the value of membership apps, which have been shown to boost content views by 30% and amplify customer engagement. This increase in engagement is crucial; the more connected and committed customers feel, the more likely they are to continue their subscriptions.

By offering easy access to content and enhancing the user experience, your app can cultivate a dedicated community, decrease churn, and strengthen your customer base.

3. Increase your membership revenue 

Membership apps can help you drive higher revenue as it enables you to provide a better member experience, lets you cast a wider net, and build additional monetization opportunities within the app itself (think running exclusive events or contests). 

The key thing to remember here is to set the right membership pricing. Our research shows that membership fees vary significantly across different sectors, so staying on top of industry benchmarks is also essential.

The education sector commands the highest rates, with monthly memberships typically ranging from $15 to $25 and annual rates between $120 and $300. This pricing reflects the substantial value that educational content, often transformative in nature, provides to subscribers.

online membership pricing benchmarks from Uscreen

However, sectors like entertainment, faith, and fitness are not far behind, each offering unique value through their services. 

Joe Horowitz, VP of Growth & Analytics at Uscreen, highlights a common issue:

Joe Horowitz

Many membership owners underestimate the value they offer. In a recent interview, a creator discussed their initial pricing strategy on Patreon. At first, they initially set a monthly fee of $5.99, assuming that was the “best” price for their membership. Upon realizing competitors charged upwards of $15, it was a wake-up call about the potential revenue left on the table.

Joe Horowitz
VP Growth & Analytics at Uscreen

By leveraging a well-designed membership app, you can enhance service delivery and fine-tune your pricing strategy to better reflect the true value of your content, significantly boosting your membership revenue.

A great example of a brilliant pricing strategy is the fitness brand Find What Feels Good, with COO and Co-Founder Chris Sharpe recently spilling the secrets to their success.  

Chris Sharpe

Regardless of the size of your membership community, when you’re considering a membership price, take into account the time and energy it takes to run the membership.  Look at your internal numbers like average out per customer, lifetime value, and growth in a defined time. Once you’ve done that, map how they align with your revenue goals. Think about what additional value you can add in terms of cadence, content accessibility and visibility, audience preferences, expert access, tools and resources, exclusive perks, and discounts to justify the price increase.

Chris Sharpe | FWFG
Co-Founder & COO at Find What Feels Good
fwfg pricing page
Uscreen logo

Find What Feels Good’s Pricing Guide: Increase Your Membership Prices in 3 Steps

What makes a successful membership app

To kick off your app launch, start by asking, “What will make my app unique?”

Consider the features you want to include, what your customers would like, and what has made other apps successful. From our experience, a standout membership app goes beyond functionality—it delivers an exceptional user experience that enhances engagement and loyalty.

Your app should deeply resonate with your audience, offer exclusive value, and build a vibrant community.

Let’s delve into the key elements that drive the success of a membership app, focusing on design, content, community engagement, and monetization strategies.

1. User-centric design 

Focus on making a user-friendly interface that’s easy to use and includes personalization options based on user preferences. Add features like customizable profiles and adaptive streaming to improve their daily use, making your app an essential part of their routine.

Fit with Coco does a great job of making their app simple to use, with quick access to all content and customization options like playlists. 

fit with coco mobile app

2. Exclusive content 

Attract subscribers with unique, high-quality content that isn’t available elsewhere. Provide a range of formats like videos, podcasts, articles, and live or interactive events to suit different preferences and keep your audience coming back for more.

The Creator Project’s Collective is a great example of this, offering videos, live sessions, coaching, a podcast, and a wide variety of templates and resources.  

the creator's project example
the creator's project example 2

3. Community building features 

Include features that encourage member interaction, like forums, live chats, and group activities. These help build strong community engagement, increasing user attachment and loyalty. 

Many Uscreen creators use the Community feature to connect with their members better. For instance, Studio Bloom excels with their integrated community, enhancing mobile app engagement with push notifications and providing constant, easy access for fans.

studio bloom community

4. Flexible monetization strategies 

Offer different subscription plans to suit various preferences and budgets—monthly, annual, or tiered options. Consider a freemium model where basic content is free, and premium content is behind a paywall, to help turn free users into paying subscribers.

For example, Find What Feels Good continues to offer a host of full-length yoga classes and programs on their YouTube channel for free, while the app hosts an extensive amount of members-only content. (A great marketing tactic too—more on that later!)

fwfg youtube library

Abundance+ also has a great amount of subscription offers to make sure the membership is accessible to a wider audience with varying budgets.

abundance plus membership example

5. Analytics and Feedback Loop 

Use analytics tools to monitor user engagement and preferences, which can guide your content and feature updates. Set up a feedback system to collect direct user insights, enabling ongoing improvements to the app based on actual user needs and preferences.

4 ways to create a membership app

Now that you have a clearer vision for your app, it’s time to take the first step toward launching it. This involves selecting the right development method for your wants and needs, taking into account your budget, technical experience, essential features, and how you want your business to operate.

Let’s explore the four available options to help you determine the best fit for your business.

1. Use a dedicated platform that offers branded apps 

Launching an app might seem daunting due to the technical requirements, but using a no-code platform like Uscreen can significantly simplify the process and reduce costs. 

Uscreen offers a customizable, white-label platform that allows you to create a branded app compatible with major streaming services like iOS, Android, and Roku. Unlike many other no-code options, Uscreen also hosts and manages your video content, providing features such as live streaming and community tools to enhance your app’s performance.

Let’s take a look at Uscreen in action to see how it really works. 

Fitness video membership business, Studio Bloom, focuses on offering prenatal and postnatal training programs. However, they faced significant challenges when launching their app alongside juggling their other business activities. The need for a more sustainable, scalable solution led Brooke Cates, the CEO and founder, to prioritize their digital strategy. 

studio bloom case study

In June 2020, Brooke turned to Uscreen, leading to a streamlined operation that notably helped her accelerate her membership’s growth. This strategic move allowed Brooke to focus more on refining the member experience and expanding her brand’s reach, establishing Studio Bloom as a leader in its niche. 

How did Studio Bloom use Uscreen

  • Uscreen enabled Brooke to manage and update all video content easily, streamlining operations significantly.
  • The platform’s organization features improved navigation and user experience, making it easier for members to find and engage with content.
  • By developing apps across six platforms, including iOS, Android, and various TV apps, Studio Bloom made its programs widely accessible, significantly expanding its reach and user engagement.
  • The integration of community forums and interactive features helped forge a stronger connection among members, enhancing loyalty and retention.

For Studio Bloom, Uscreen was a game-changer. It simplified the app development process, reduced costs, and allowed them to keep full control of their brand while expanding digitally. 

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

2. Use no-code/low-code platforms

If you’re seeking a simple platform without the need for any form of content or video hosting, no-code/low-code platforms are an excellent alternative. 

Tools like Bubble, Appgyver, and Adalo offer easy-to-use drag-and-drop interfaces that enable creators to design, develop, and launch their apps with little to no coding experience. 

These platforms are particularly effective for quickly and affordably launching an app, allowing creators to test their ideas and refine them based on user feedback.

3. Work with a white-label solution company

Choosing a white-label solution company, such as digital agencies, consultants, or independent contractors, allows you to tailor a customizable framework and brand it as your own. 

This route is a good option if you aim to deliver a polished product without delving into the complexities of app development yourself. White-label solutions strike an ideal balance between customization and convenience, and they generally include ongoing support and maintenance. 

However, be aware that this increased level of customization and personalization often comes at a higher cost, and you might become dependent on the partners you select.

4. Hire a development team for a fully custom app 

If you’re aiming to create a completely unique app with specific features not available on other platforms, hiring a dedicated development team to build a custom app is a good option to consider. 

This approach provides the ultimate customization and control over your app’s functionality and user experience, resulting in a product that’s precisely tailored to your vision and user needs. 

However, it’s important to note that this method is the most costly and time-consuming option. Additionally, for any future updates or changes, you will highly likely rely on the development team if you lack the technical skills to manage things yourself. 

7 ways to market your membership app 

Successfully launching your membership app requires more than just great features—it demands a strategic marketing approach to generate excitement and attract a solid base of subscribers right from the get-go. 

Below, we share seven key marketing strategies to help you achieve just that. Each of these strategies are designed to give you a clear understanding of why these approaches are critical and how they can directly contribute to the successful launch and sustained growth of your membership app.

And don’t forget to check out the accompanying video, “How to Start (and Grow) a Membership in 2024,” for additional insights and tips to grow your membership this year. 

1. Leverage your existing audience base

Your existing audience is your most valuable asset. They are already engaged with your content and more likely to be early adopters of your new app. By tapping into this group, you can accelerate app adoption, gain valuable early user insights, and create ambassadors who can help spread the word about your app through word-of-mouth.

How to do it:

  • Email campaigns: Develop a series of emails leading up to the launch, starting with a teaser, followed by the official announcement, and several follow-ups highlighting key features and benefits of the app.
  • Website integration: Place strategic, eye-catching call-to-action banners on your website’s homepage and high-traffic landing pages. Consider a popup or sidebar that appears during site navigation.
  • Social media engagement: Use all your social platforms to create buzz. Start with teaser posts, followed by the launch announcement, and regular follow-up posts. Use engaging formats like live videos, stories, and interactive polls to keep the conversation going. Fit With Coco does this incredibly well with their Instagram account
fit with coco instagram

2. Run exclusive promotions and offers

Exclusive promotions tap into the psychological triggers of scarcity and exclusivity, driving action by offering something unique that is not available anywhere else.

These promotions can significantly boost initial sign-ups and downloads (especially when paired with Step 1), providing a quick influx of users and setting the stage for robust user engagement right from the launch.

How to do it:

  • Launch specials: Offer a special discount or extended free trial for early subscribers, creating a sense of urgency.
  • Members-only exclusives: Provide exclusive content or merchandise available only through the app, such as behind-the-scenes content, early access to new releases, or special merchandise.

3. Design content teasers, sneak peeks, and free trials

Teasers and sneak peeks can effectively showcase the high-quality content available exclusively in your app, helping to build anticipation and excitement. This strategy taps into the curiosity of potential users and increases buzz and discussion about your app, driving higher engagement and conversion rates at launch.

How to do it:

  • Preview content: Use short, enticing clips or images from your premium content that provoke curiosity and highlight the quality and uniqueness of your app’s offerings.
  • Email sneak peeks: Send out exclusive sneak peeks or exclusive early access to your email list, offering them a glimpse of what they can expect from the full app experience.
  • Free trials: Offer a trial period to let potential users explore your app without any commitment. This not only shows them the value and variety of your content, encouraging subscriptions but also removes the financial risk of trying something new. 

4. Add cross-channel CTAs

Consistent visibility of your app across all digital touchpoints reinforces your message and makes it easy for users to act. It minimizes friction in the conversion process, making it as easy as possible for users to download and start using the app. A strategic placement of CTAs can lead to higher conversion rates, as potential users are constantly reminded and encouraged to download the app.

How to do it:

  • Consistent messaging: Across all channels—website, email, social media—ensure that messaging about the app and how to download it is clear, compelling, and consistent.
  • Optimized placement: Place CTAs in strategic locations such as the header or footer of your website, within your email signature, and as pinned posts on your social media profiles.

5. Host engagement-driven launch events

Live events can humanize your brand, create real-time engagement, and provide an interactive platform to demonstrate the app’s value. They also offer an opportunity to directly answer questions and overcome objections, further reducing barriers to download. These events can generate substantial buzz and foster a sense of community and belonging among your users, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

How to do it:

  • Virtual launch party: Host a live event on platforms like Zoom, Facebook Live, or Instagram Live. Include interactive segments such as live Q&A, tutorials on how to use the app, and exclusive guest appearances.
  • Engagement incentives: During the event, offer giveaways or special promotions for participants who download the app during the live session.

6. Run targeted social media ads 

Targeted ads allow you to use your marketing budget effectively by focusing on demographics that match your ideal user profile. Strategic ad placements can maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing spend, driving significant downloads and subscriptions by reaching the right people with the right message at the right time.

How to do it:

  • Segmented advertising: Use audience segmentation tools to target ads based on interests, behavior, and demographics. Tailor your ad content to speak directly to these segments, highlighting aspects of the app that resonate most with each group.
  • A/B testing: Run multiple versions of your ads to see which messages and visuals perform best. Use this data to optimize your campaigns for higher conversion rates.

7. Add an interactive launch countdown on your website

A countdown can serve as a constant reminder of your app’s upcoming launch, keeping potential users engaged and informed. The interactive elements ensure that users return to your channels, building habit and anticipation. This strategy can increase user engagement and maintain high levels of anticipation, leading to a successful launch day with high user turnout and activity.

How to do it:

  • Daily countdown features: Each day, reveal a new feature or offer a teaser of content that will be available in the app. Use your website and social media to host these updates.
  • Interactive elements: Incorporate interactive elements like quizzes or polls about what content your audience is most excited about, or contests where participants guess features of the app for a chance to win a free subscription.

Launch your membership app with Uscreen

Now that you have a detailed roadmap for launching your membership app, the real adventure begins. 

We know that taking the first step can often be the most challenging, even with a solid plan in hand. That’s why, at Uscreen, we’re committed to simplifying the app development process for you. Our platform is designed to be user-friendly, getting your apps up and running in just 30 days, with our team of experts here to support you every step of the way.

Still on the fence? We invite you to see for yourself. Click below to book a no-obligation demo. Let’s discuss your big business dreams and how Uscreen can help you achieve them. Start your journey to success with us today!

It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

How To Launch a Membership App FAQs

Still have questions about launching your own membership app? We’ve got the answers. 

What is a membership app? 

A membership app is a digital platform where users can subscribe, usually for a fee, to access exclusive content, services, or products. It allows creators to monetize their expertise or creative outputs by providing exclusive access to things like videos, articles, courses, or live events that aren’t available to non-members. This setup not only helps to build a dedicated community but also ensures a steady stream of revenue. For content creators, membership apps are particularly valuable as they enable direct engagement with their audience through features like forums, personalized content feeds, and interactive sessions. 

What are the benefits of a membership app?

A membership app offers several benefits, particularly for content creators and businesses. It creates a steady revenue stream through subscription fees and fosters a loyal community by providing exclusive, premium content to members. This exclusivity enhances user engagement as members feel valued and part of a special group. Additionally, membership apps allow for better audience insights through direct interactions and analytics, enabling creators to tailor their offerings to meet the specific needs and preferences of their audience. This targeted approach not only improves user satisfaction but also boosts retention rates, making the membership model both profitable and sustainable.

What is the difference between membership and subscription? 

The terms “membership” and “subscription” are often used interchangeably, but they refer to slightly different concepts. A subscription typically involves recurring payments to access a service or product, such as a monthly fee to stream music or entertainment. On the other hand, a membership usually implies being part of a community or group and often includes additional perks beyond just product access, such as exclusive content, special offers, or the ability to participate in member-only events. 

Which membership app platform is the best?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as each platform comes with its own set of features, benefits, and limitations that may suit different objectives, target audiences, and content types. Choosing the best membership app platform depends heavily on the specific needs and circumstances of the creator or business. To help you navigate through the options and find the right fit for your unique situation, we have compiled an extensive article that explores the top membership site platforms. This guide provides a deep dive into each platform, analyzing who they are best suited for and what purposes they can effectively serve.