Video Monetization

5 Signs Your Membership Pricing is Too Low + Expert Advice

By Aarushi Singh
10 Min Read
membership pricing is too low

If you’re wondering whether your membership fees truly reflect the value you provide, you’re not alone. Sometimes, even the best creators don’t realize they’re not charging enough.

Charging too little or too much can limit your growth and make it harder to achieve your goals. So how do you know where you stand?

This guide will help you identify clear signs that your membership might be underpriced. 

To help you assess if you’re charging your business’s worth, we collaborated with our very own VP of Growth, Joe Horowitz, who specializes in pricing strategies, and Community Manager, Adaire Smithwick who works with Uscreen customers to nail down their growth strategies.

Let’s dive in and find out how you can start charging what you deserve.

Why creators underprice their memberships

Over the years, we’ve come to learn the three common reasons why creators often undervalue themselves:

Fear of being seen as sellouts

Many creators internalize the idea that if they start charging what they’re actually worth, they won’t be perceived as “authentic” anymore.

The truth is, creators are incredibly good at selling things from sponsorships in their videos to sharing affiliate links in video descriptions, they do it all with confidence. But when it comes to selling and promoting their own products and service’s value, we see them struggle all the time.

Anxiety around money

Impostor syndrome lurks everywhere in the membership space, regardless of how wildly successful a membership creator is.

Many creators feel guilty or selfish for prioritizing fair compensation for their work because of this impostor syndrome. Combined with the pervasive culture of discomfort around “money” where you’re taught to downplay financial aspirations, fearing judgment and alienation from others, you’ve got a deadly combination that’s stopping you from raising your prices. 

They let member expectations dictate pricing decisions

Creators often worry about members balking at price increases or jumping ship altogether.

This can cause them to stay in a miscalculated scarcity mindset, where they’d rather have a lot of members underpaying them than a few super-loyal members paying them what they’re worth. This can hold them back from increasing membership prices, directly impacting their financial well-being. 

Why are we telling you this? 

Well, you gotta know what’s happening in your head before you try to overcome it. Creating a healthy relationship with money is crucial for a membership business owner’s success. So if you struggle with any of these, it’s time to kick them to the curb.

5 signs you’re underpriced as a membership creator 

There’s no right or wrong time to increase your prices and no definitive milestones that indicate when you should raise your prices. You’ll need to watch out for signs that suggest you’re underpricing yourself. 

Here are the most important ones: 

1. You’re not meeting your industry’s benchmarks 

Having modest and budget-conscious pricing seems like a good idea at first. But as your membership grows, you can easily get trapped in overworking yourself with minimal resources to scale your business. And that’s when your competitors could outpace you. 

Comparing your rates against industry benchmarks is a great starting point to assess if your membership business is underpriced. 

Based on our internal data, we found membership business owners in the education industry charge the highest, followed by entertainment, faith, and fitness. 

membership pricing benchmarks by industry

In the education industry, the monthly membership rates range from $15 to $25, while annual rates are between $120 and $300. This suggests that there’s value in the content or services provided, perhaps due to the specialized knowledge or the impact of educational services on members’ lives.

For the fitness industry, the monthly rates are set at $15 to $30, similar to the education industry. However, the annual rates show more variance, from $100 to $240. This is likely due to the different types of services offered, such as personal training, group classes, or access to specialized equipment. 

Many membership owners underestimate the value they bring to members. I recently heard an interview where a membership creator discussed their pricing strategy on Patreon. They believed they couldn’t change prices due to legal restrictions until they learned about annual memberships. They instinctively set their monthly prices at $5.99, assuming that’s the “best” price for their membership business. When they discovered their competitors were charging $15 and upwards, there was a jaw-dropping moment: how can we replicate that, we left so much money on the table, and relief in the sense of we know what we’ve got to do now.

Joe Horowitz, VP Growth & Analytics, Uscreen

While there’s no one-size-fits-all membership pricing, it’s important to refer to industry benchmarks frequently. It gives you a price range telling you how much you should charge ideally from your members.

Benchmarks also serve as evidence that your target audience is already accustomed to paying these standard prices. If you’re thinking your members are going to be put off by a price increase to meet these benchmarks, remember that your members’ perception of value is often influenced by multiple factors, including the level of engagement, the quality of the offerings, and the experience they receive. 

As long as you deliver in those areas, a price increase will help you get your membership’s worth. With the right value proposition, your customers should be happy to pay a membership subscription that’s in line with these benchmarks. 

2. You’re overwhelmed and feel burnt out 

With the membership space getting competitive by the day, there’s a constant pressure to be “active”, which means you never fully turn off your mind from work. To add to this, membership owners also have an innate goal of maintaining a balanced lifestyle where they want to spend time at their leisure while still driving growth for their business. 

Amidst all of these goals and pressures (put externally or whipped up internally by overthinking), most membership business owners feel overwhelmed and burnt out.

One of the most critical components that drives and influences this overwhelm is money. 

There’s a pervasive discomfort around money where you’re taught to be as accessible as possible by being “modest” and focusing on the “quantity” of members aggressively. This means, juggling multiple projects, feeling constantly fatigued by managing members en masse, and sacrificing personal time to keep up with your ever-growing community. 

Does this mean you should only create high-ticket memberships? 

Not really. 

There are two ways you can price your membership business: 

  1. Make it accessible by drawing in higher traffic and bank on those numbers to ramp up your yearly earnings. This way, when you increase even $1 per member, you’re technically looking at a significant increase in your Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR). 
  2. The other way is to create high-ticket memberships like Jay Clouse and focus on the qualitative aspect of your membership business. 

Jay is the founder of Creator Science where he runs his membership called “The Lab”. Jay has driven $460K with his memberships alone in under two years with a capped limit of 200 members. Pretty interesting. 

At Uscreen, we’ve seen our customers drive growth and increase their ARR with both models. The tricky part is, knowing if you’re underpricing your memberships and burning yourself out because of the overarching revenue goals you set for the business. 

In our internal research, we found some pricing ranges based on the audience size for membership businesses. 

membership pricing benchmarks by audience size

At first glance, it might feel like the pricing doesn’t vary much with the size of the audience. However mid-sized creators (1,000 – 60,000 members) tend to charge higher median prices for their memberships. In contrast, larger creators (60,000+ members) offer lower prices and fewer discounts on annual plans. 

You should raise your prices at least every 2 years and consider offering annual memberships as they’re important for offering high-value memberships and generating a stable business. Our data shows that for annual memberships, churn rates are relatively lower, and customer lifetime value (LTV) is significantly higher than monthly memberships.

Joe Horowitz, VP Growth & Analytics, Uscreen

The key takeaway is regardless of the type of membership business model (high-ticket, small audience or modest-pricing, large audience), increasing your prices is critical to avoid burnout and overwhelm in the long run. 

3. You improved your product but didn’t increase prices

If you’ve made substantial improvements to your content and/or delivery, but have kept prices the same, you might be underpricing your membership. 

When deciding whether to adjust your prices, consider these enhancements as indications that your membership has provided value:

  • Community: If you have a community within your membership that fosters networking opportunities and mutual support among members, it greatly enhances the overall value proposition of your membership. And, it’s totally worth raising your prices for it. 
  • Exclusive Content or Resources: If you’ve added unique offerings such as in-depth tutorials, proprietary templates, or special access to industry experts, these enhance the value of your membership and justify a higher price point.
  • Customization Options: If you’ve integrated new features that allow members to tailor their experience to their individual needs, like customizable learning paths or fitness plans, it adds significant value to your service.
  • Personalized Support: Providing direct access to personalized support, such as one-on-one coaching sessions, priority customer service, or community support from experts, can substantially increase member satisfaction and perceived value.

When you implement these types of enhancements without a corresponding price increase, you may not only be underpricing but also potentially leaving money on the table. 

People tend to round up numbers psychologically, so a membership pricing plan of $9.99 sounds much better as compared to a flat-out $10. Technically, $9.99 is also better than $13.99 because people are naturally going to think $15 when they see $13.99. But if you’re inclined towards $13.99 as it’s higher, you’re better off increasing it to $14.99 and getting the extra dollar because people will round it up to $15 anyway. It just intuitively makes sense to bring transparency for your members and earn that extra income.

Adaire Smithwick, Community Manager, Uscreen

Make sure you regularly review your pricing strategy so that it accurately reflects the value of your service. Communicate the additional benefits to your members to justify a price increase and remind them of the value they receive from being a part of your membership. 

4. You haven’t raised prices to match inflation 

Not raising your prices to match inflation can gradually eat away at your profit margins. 

Chances are that you’re providing significant value to your members. When macroeconomic factors come into play, it’s best to continue to adjust pricing for the value you’re already providing. Just like how grocery prices and tickets to the movies increase, it’s recommended you make a price increase to keep up and ensure your membership is priced appropriately so you can continue making an impact.

Adaire Smithwick, Community Manager, Uscreen 

Think about it — your regular business costs have increased including platform fees, outsourcing and delegation costs, overhead expenses, and marketing spending. But you still haven’t raised your prices for your members and these additional costs are borne 100% by your revenue. 

Most membership owners worry about being perceived as greedy or only interested in profit, rather than providing value to their members. Or, they worry that members won’t understand or accept the price increase, potentially leading to cancellations or negative feedback. 

All of these concerns are valid, but unless you know how to address them, they’re going to limit you within a certain price box. Eventually, it won’t just be about profits. 

To keep up with increasing inflation, you might be forced to cut corners that might negatively impact the member experience. Or, you might take on more work for yourself to keep costs down, leading to burnout and a decline in the quality of your business operations. 

5. You’re struggling to grow exponentially or have hit a growth plateau 

Growth isn’t linear and doesn’t always mean an increase in the number of members in your community. 

For instance, you can drive growth with your existing customers by raising prices and driving higher ARR. Or, you could selectively increase prices for new members only and be focused on retaining high LTV members rather than acquiring more footfall at the door. 

The assumption that increasing your prices would reduce acquisition is just that — an assumption. 

Price is only one of the many objections that customers may have. Along with focusing on your pricing strategy, you also need to concentrate on communicating your value proposition, establishing a differentiator in the space, and realigning your marketing strategies.

Especially when you’re underpriced and considering raising your prices, it’s important to acknowledge whether your pricing reflects the true value of the enhancements you’ve made to the membership, or that you aren’t effectively communicating this added value to members. 

I often see creators who offer incredible memberships but don’t know how to reflect the impact they make on their members. If you’re struggling to understand what makes your membership stand out and keeps your members around, choose a few members and invite them to speak with you. Ask them questions about why they joined and the results they’re seeing. You can then use this in your marketing — and you might even learn some ideas for increasing the value of your membership before you make the price increase.

Adaire Smithwick, Community Manager, Uscreen 

Wrapping Up: Strategic Price Increase Communication is Your Key to Success

How you break the news is more important than how much you raise your membership prices. 

Make sure you’re confident and genuinely believe in your prices. Because if you don’t believe in it yourself, how will you make your customers believe it’s worth it? 

Instead of focusing on the post-announcement phase thinking about what can go wrong after a price increase, double down on the pre-announcement and during-announcement phases. 

Start mapping out your pricing strategy, how you want to deliver the news, what additional support you will give to members, and what resources you need to develop to support the price increase.

Price increases can be difficult for some of those on the receiving end, so in your communications, make sure you’re clear, honest, and empathetic. 

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