Premium Membership can be a successful earning for your forum, paying the bills and keeping the lights on. WebHostingTalk premium membership runs at $49.95 annually, ForumPromotion.net VIP membership is just $15/ 6 months and some forums offer lifetime membership (two large Mybb forums offer Premium for $18/ life). The difficulty is finding the compromise between respecting the average user and making premium a compelling upgrade. Members purchase premium membership for a few reasons:
- To give back to the community.
- To command some respect on the forum.
- For financial gain or value.
ForumPromotion is an excellent way for a forum to gain members and activity, but a board filled only with ForumPromotion members will not encourage an upgrade. A forum needs to have its share of interesting and knowledgeable characters, it needs to be engaging and it should be well thought-out and designed. What are some ideas for Premium Member benefits? It is easy to appeal to those wanting respect in return for their upgrade. The following could be the basics for a Premium Membership.
- A Premium/ VIP user board.
- Control over their own threads and posts (The power to delete and edit for longer periods of time).
- A Coloured/ Bolded Username. (Sparkles do not hurt either).
- Custom Rank.
- A Premium/VIP feedback area.
- Advertising Potential - WebHostingTalk allows regular members to post in their hosting advertisement boards weekly, Premium Members posts every 6 days and corporate posts every 3. An increased frequency of posting ad threads can have a positive impact on sales, providing the community is large enough and it therefore makes financial sense to upgrade. Free Advertising on the board index (perhaps capped by impressions) could also make an excellent offering.
- Increased PM space - If a member is conducting business transactions on a forum then their PM box may have filled up with conversations. Increasing PM space will further facilitate their ability to do so in the future.
- Unique Products - DigitalPoint, founded by Shawn Hogan, was created to support clients of their products. Creating unique products is the most difficult part for any forum owner to accomplish, but it could be very rewarding. Time and/or Money is required. Some ideas for products to be offered to Premium Members are: software, ebooks, t-shirts, graphic services, or article writing.
- A Useful VIP Board - A VIP board with some industry secrets, tips and methods can leave members salivating, with their mouse poised on the Pay Now button. It will help if members are reminded of the resources in the VIP section, that are unavailable to regular members.