How you name your membership levels is one of the most important components for conversions on your membership on site.

Let’s spend some time thinking about membership level names. We’ll cover the classic membership site structures and provide examples for naming the membership levels or subscription options for each case. (And there’s even a nifty “level name” playground that tests your name within various plugin-generated phrases.)


Take a step back and evaluate your membership level names.

I work with thousands of membership sites and have seen a lack of clarity (and creativity) in this key area. The membership level name identifies what the member is receiving in exchange for their membership fee. In some cases, the name is a badge of pride for your members, turning them from the anonymous “visitor” to a member of the “in-crowd”.

Putting all of this touchy-feely stuff aside, the level name is also used in various default “phrases” within your membership site system. You need to make sure your level name “reads well” within these phrases. I’ve created a simple tool at the end of this article that provides a litmus test for your level names within the key system phrases in Paid Memberships Pro.


Membership Site Structures Covered include:


Tiered/Hierarchical Levels

This flavor of membership site offers more (or fewer) features based on membership level. This is the structure of our own site here at Paid Memberships Pro. We offer a Free, Core and Plus level. I think the level names are OK, and they do imply a tier (Unlimited being the highest membership option available).

Here are some level name ideas based on the “tier”

Tier 1
  • Basic
  • Beginner
  • Starter
  • Primary
  • Bronze
  • Baby Bear

Tier 2
  • Intermediate
  • Enhanced
  • Standard
  • Secondary
  • Gold
  • Papa Bear

Tier 3
  • Advanced
  • Ultimate
  • Extreme
  • Professional
  • Platinum
  • Mama Bear (just right!)


Price/Payment Term Structured Levels

Use this level naming structure when all membership levels offer the same package of features, but vary based on price or term. First, try to think of something clever based on your specific name, brand or site topic.

If your membership site was a sports team, what would you call your fans?

You can give membership an overall brand, such as “Trekkies”, “Bronies”, or “Cheeseheads”. Then use your level names to clarify the price or payment term.

You may still have an idea of “tier” in this structure, such as a Foodie Box site that offers 3 Month, 6 Month, and Annual subscriptions, with the option to “add on” a dessert box. For this case, I’d suggest reading through my post on price-adjusting Register Helper fields to have a selection at checkout modify the level price. Easy as pie.

Here are some level name ideas based on the price/term

  • Daily *
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Yearly

  • Annual
  • Per Annum
  • Bi-Weekly
  • Bi-Monthly
  • Semi-Annual

  • Half-Yearly
  • Perennial
  • Lifetime
  • Forever
  • Eternal

* Note that not all integrated gateways offer “daily” subscriptions.


Content Vertical/Category-specific Levels

In this type of membership site, the membership levels differ not by features, but by type of content or “vertical”. This is common in a stock or investing site, nationwide membership chapters site, or an online dating site where identifying the member’s “interest” is handled via the membership level selected.

Here are some level name ideas based on the content vertical

  • Stock/Investing Sites: Technology Sector, Gas and Oil, Retail, Pharmaceuticals
  • Member Chapter Sites: Country Name, State Name, County Name
  • Online Dating Sites: Man Seeking Woman, Woman Seeking Man, Man Seeking Man, Woman Seeking Woman, etc.

User or Member-type Levels

This is a category of membership site where the member receives a different level/price/package based on the type of member they are. Check out our Sponsored/Group Members Add On if you have a membership level that offers parent/child account relationships.

Here are some level name ideas based on the user/member-type

  • Individual
  • Student
  • Parent
  • Family

  • Senior
  • Corporation
  • Volunteer

  • Teacher
  • Non-Profit
  • Military: Active Duty and Veterans


Content Delivery/Subscription Type Levels

For this type of membership site, the levels differ by how the content is received. It will make more sense after reading the level names below, but basically this case is used when the content is offered in various formats (online, print, email), and the selected level determines the members’ preferred method(s) of content delivery.

For this case, you could use the same membership branding concepts covered in the Price/Payment Term Structured Levels section above, then use the level names to clarify content delivery.

Here are some level name ideas based on the type of content delivery

  • Online Only
  • Print Only
  • Online and Print
  • Email Newsletter

Sponsorship Level/Benefactor Tiers

If you’re a non-profit organization, you most likely think about membership a bit differently than most other site types. In your case, membership level is actually sponsorship level, and you have a chance to get really creative in how you name your tiers.

A great approach to level naming is to pull ideas from the goals of your organization, your location, the group or cause you represent.

Instead of coming up with my own examples, I’ve compiled a few non-profits and their benefactor/membership tier names below:

The Franklin Institute’s Benefactor Society

  • Pendulum Partners
  • Baldwin Circle
  • Celestial Circle
  • Ambassador Circle
  • Kite and Key Circle
  • Franklin Fellows
  • Inventors Circle

Colonial Williamsburg’s Donor Societies

  • Duke of Gloucester Society
  • Capitol Society
  • Colonial Williamsburg Assembly
  • Colonial Williamsburg Burgesses
  • Colonial Williamsburg Associates
  • Raleigh Tavern Society

The Kimmel Center’s Founders Circle

  • Partner
  • Benefactor
  • Artists Circle
  • Leadership Circle
  • Presidents Circle
  • Chairmans Circle


Go Forth and Name Ye Levels!

I hope this post has given you some direction as you brainstorm level names for your new or existing membership site. If you have a type of membership site that wasn’t covered, post a comment below so we can discuss some level naming conventions for your site.

If you run an existing membership site, you can still rename your membership levels. With Paid Memberships Pro you can simply update the level names under Memberships > Edit Level in the admin. Every member that currently has that membership level will automatically have their membership level name updated.


Time to Play

The Membership Level Names Playground below allows you to enter a desired membership level name and see how it will “read” within various plugin-generated phrases. These are the most common phrases your members will see, both on your site and in membership-related emails.

Test your level name against key phrases in Paid Memberships Pro.

Enter a level name to test:


You have selected the My Level Name membership level.
Shown on the membership checkout page.


Membership Level: My Level Name
Shown in most member communication emails and invoices.


Your My Level Name membership is now active.
Shown on the membership confirmation page.

If you have a level name that doesn’t pass the litmus test, don’t fret. Every phrase in Paid Memberships Pro can be “translated”, and I’m not just talking about languages.

Our blog has several posts on renaming key terms within the plugin, such as this post about replacing the word “Membership” with “Subscription”.

Depending on your membership site, you may need to use these methods or another approach. Just open a topic in our members forum (provided to PMPro Plus and Unlimited members), and we will help you work out any hiccups between your desired membership level name and the built in phrases of Paid Memberships Pro.


Author’s gravatar

Hi I have been using the Tiered/Hierarchical Levels. However, The “box” where I choose who as access to each page has disappeared from the design page. Any ideas what happened?

Dan

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Author’s gravatar

Try clicking the “Screen Options” drop down in the upper right of the edit page/post. Make sure that “Require Membership” is checked in the “Boxes” section.

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Author’s gravatar

How silly of me. thx!! On another note. I believe Im having a conflict between Paid Memberships Pro and “shopp”, any suggestions as to where I can find a solution?

Author’s gravatar

HI Guys !

Is in the free version, the possibility to let apper one or 2 of my subcriptions plan in different pages , for eg :

Customer : Plan a and B on page customer plan page
Pro : Plan c and D on page pro plan !!

Thanks

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Author’s gravatar

You can use this hook in custom code to filter which levels are shown on the levels page:
https://www.paidmembershipspro.com/hook/pmpro_levels_array/

The code could check a user’s level first and only show C and D to current members. We also have this tutorial RE requiring a certain level to purchase another that you might want:
https://www.paidmembershipspro.com/require-a-specific-level-to-allow-registration-for-another-level/

We can help you with this further in the member forums.

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Author’s gravatar

Hello, I don’t see a quarterly option available in the drop-down when choosing billing cycle. Do I need to add custom code for that?

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Author’s gravatar

I think some gateways support “quarters” and others don’t. You can always use 3 Months. If you’d like to update the wording to say “Quarterly” etc, we can help you to use our pmpro_membership_level_description filter to do that. Post to the member forums.

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