How you name your membership levels has a huge impact on the success of your membership site. Thoughtfully named membership tiers create a more appealing and engaging experience for your members, which can ultimately lead to increased sign-ups and member retention.

In this post, I’ll talk about how to evaluate and test names for your membership levels, some classic membership site structures, as well as some examples for naming levels or subscription options for each case.

When you’re done, try our tool to generate level name ideas using AI. Powered by the GPT API, this free tool prompts you for the number of levels you offer, general topic of your site, and a brief description of your location and goals.

How to Name Your Membership Levels and Subscription Plans Banner Image

Why is naming your membership levels so important?

There are a few key reasons why choosing the right names for your membership levels is a crucial part of running a successful membership business. Well-named levels can:

  1. Give clarity to potential members. Giving each membership level a unique name highlights the differences between each tier, and helps potential members understand the value proposition of each level. This makes it easier for them to decide which one suits their needs best.
  2. Communicate value. A well-thought-out name for each membership level can help convey the value and benefits associated with that tier. For example, using names that imply exclusivity or prestige, such as “VIP” or “Elite,” can make those membership levels feel more valuable and appealing to potential members.
  3. Strengthen your branding and identity. Naming your membership levels also plays a role in reinforcing your brand identity. By choosing names that align with your brand’s tone, messaging, and overall theme, you create a cohesive experience for your members and strengthen the connection between your membership site and your brand.
  4. Create an emotional connection. Creative and memorable membership level names can help create an emotional connection with potential members. When they feel a sense of belonging or excitement about a particular membership level, they are more likely to sign up and remain loyal members.
  5. Make communication easier. When membership levels have clear and distinct names, it simplifies communication with your audience. Members and potential members can easily refer to a specific membership tier, making it more straightforward for them to discuss and compare the benefits and features of each level.
Infographic on Why is naming your membership levels so important?

Evaluate Your Existing Membership Levels

I work with thousands of membership sites and I’ve seen a surprising lack of clarity and creativity when it comes to naming membership levels. This is a huge missed opportunity.

If you’re evaluating, thinking about renaming, or still need to choose names for your membership levels, here are a few things to think about:

  1. Membership level names should make it clear what the member is getting for their money. The more you reduce confusion, the happier your customers will be—and the fewer refunds you’ll have to deal with.
  2. An aptly-named level can even be a badge of pride for your members; Certain associations can elicit a sense of belonging, turning anonymous “visitors” into members of the “in-crowd”.

Membership level names appear throughout your website and marketing materials, so it’s important to make sure they “read well” in different contexts. At the end of this article, I’ll link you to a specific tool that you can use as a litmus test for your level names within the key system phrases in Paid Memberships Pro.

Membership Site Structures Covered In This Guide

Tiered Membership Levels

This type of membership site offers more (or fewer) features based on membership level. For example, a basic membership may provide access to standard content, while premium memberships offer exclusive resources, advanced tutorials, and personalized support. 

Our site at Paid Memberships Pro has four membership levels: Free, Standard, Plus, and Builder. These levels are organized in a hierarchy, with Builder being the top tier. The names also help show who each plan is meant for.

Name Ideas for Tiered Membership Levels

Lowest Tier / Base Tier with Minimal Features

  • Basic
  • Beginner
  • Starter
  • Primary
  • Bronze

Middle Tier / Most Popular Tier with Average Features

  • Intermediate
  • Enhanced
  • Standard
  • Secondary
  • Gold

Highest Tier / All Features Included

  • Advanced
  • Ultimate
  • Extreme
  • Professional
  • Platinum
Screenshot of a tiered membership level example showing beginner, enhanced and professional levels in a comparison pricing table

Price or Payment Term-Based Levels

Use this naming structure when all membership levels offer the same package of features, but differ in price or duration. First, come up with a creative name related to your brand or website theme.

For instance, if your membership site represented a sports team, what would you call the fans?

Consider creating a unique membership brand, such as “Trekkies,” “Bronies,” or “Cheeseheads.” Then, you can use your level names to indicate the price or payment term.

There might still be a sense of hierarchy in this structure, such as a Foodie Box site offering 3 Month, 6 Month, and Annual subscriptions, with an optional dessert box add-on. For this case, I’d suggest reading through the post on how to modify the price at checkout based on user fields to set up a field that modify the level price at checkout. Easy as pie.

Name Ideas for Price or Term-Based Membership Levels

  • Hourly
  • 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 for Paid Memberships Pro offer “daily” subscriptions.

Content Vertical or Category-Specific Structures

In this membership site model, levels vary by content type or “vertical” rather than features. This is common for stock or investment sites, nationwide membership chapter sites, or online dating sites where the member’s interest is defined by their chosen membership level.

Name Ideas for Content Vertical or Category-Specific Structures

Stock or Investing Sites:

  • Consumer Products
  • Technology Sector
  • Gas and Oil
  • Retail
  • Pharmaceuticals

Member Chapter Sites:

  • Country Name
  • Region Name
  • State Name
  • County Name
  • City Name

Online Dating Sites:

  • Man Seeking Woman
  • Woman Seeking Man
  • Man Seeking Man
  • Woman Seeking Woman
  • Other

User or Type-Based Membership Levels

This membership category offers different levels, prices, or packages based on the member’s user type. If you need a membership level that provides parent/child account relationships, take a look at our Sponsored/Group Members Add On.

Name Ideas for User or Type-Based Membership Levels

  • Corporation
  • Military: Active Duty and Veterans
  • Non-Profit
  • Family
  • Parent
  • Senior
  • Individual
  • Student
  • Teacher
  • Volunteer

Content Delivery or Subscription Type Structures

In this membership site model, levels vary based on the method of content delivery. This model is often used when content is available in different formats (online, print, email), with the chosen level determining the member’s preferred content delivery method(s).

For this case, you can use the same membership branding ideas discussed in the Price/Payment Term Structured Levels section earlier, and then use the level names to specify the content delivery method.

Name Ideas for Content Delivery or Subscription Type Membership Levels

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

Sponsorship or Benefactor Membership Levels

If you run a non-profit organization, you might think about membership a bit differently than most other site types. In your case, membership level is actually sponsorship level, and you can 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.

For example, check out the list of nonprofits and their benefactor/membership tier names below:

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.

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

Add-on Memberships or A La Carte Plans

A membership site doesn’t have to only include recurring membership plans or options where members can only hold one level. In fact, with Paid Memberships Pro, members can hold multiple levels simultaneously—we call this Multiple Membership Per User, and it’s now a feature included in the free core PMPro plugin.

Use Cases for the Add-on Model

Add-on levels or a la carte plans let members pick and choose among a variety of different options for specific access or benefits. Some popular cases where sites use an add-on model include:

  1. Exclusive Content Access: An add-on membership level that grants access to exclusive articles, videos, or tutorials that are not available to other membership tiers. This can be specialized content like “Expert Gardening Tips” for a gardening site, or “Advanced Coding Modules” for a tech learning platform.
  2. Event-Based Access: Members can purchase add-on levels that give them access to one-time events, webinars, or live sessions. For example, a “Live Webinar with Industry Experts” or a “Virtual Cooking Class with a Celebrity Chef” can be offered as a separate purchase.
  3. Resource Libraries: Offer access to specialized resource libraries and downloadables, such as “Legal Document Templates” for a business community or “High-Resolution Photo Packs” for a photography site.
  4. Personalized Services: This could include one-on-one coaching sessions, personalized workout plans, or custom diet plans, like a “Monthly Personal Training Session” or “Custom Meal Planning”.
  5. Software and Tool Features: For tech-oriented sites, additional features or tool access can be an add-on. Examples include “Premium Plugin Features” or “Advanced Analytics Suite”.
  6. Community and Networking: Special membership levels for accessing a private forum, networking groups, or member directories, such as “Business Networking Group” for entrepreneurs.
Infographic on the Use Cases for the Add-on pricing model

Ideas for Naming Add-on Membership Levels

When naming these levels, focus on clarity and communicating the direct benefits. The names should be self-explanatory: use the name to explain the unique access or benefit provided. Here are some ideas based on the above use cases:

  1. Exclusive Content Access
    • Insider Articles Pass
    • Pro Video Series
    • Expert Tutorials Library
  2. Event-Based Access
    • Monthly Expert Webinar
    • Chef’s Table Cooking Class
    • Live Coding Bootcamp
  3. Resource Libraries
    • Ultimate Legal Kit
    • Photographer’s Pro Pack
    • Template Treasure Trove
  1. Personalized Services
    • Personal Trainer One-on-One
    • Tailored Diet Plan
    • Custom Business Coaching Hour
  2. Software and Tool Features
    • Plugin Power-Up
    • Analytics Pro Access
    • Enhanced Security Features
  3. Community and Networking
    • Elite Networking Club
    • Founders Forum
    • Creators Circle

When a potential member reads the name, they should instantly understand what the add-on offers and why it’s worth the additional price.

Webinar Replay: How to Name Your Membership Levels

AI Tool to Generate Membership Level Name Ideas

Use the Level Names AI Generator below to come with ideas for your membership level names using the GPT AI.

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

FAQs on Membership Level Naming

What is the best way to name my membership levels?

The best names for your membership levels clearly communicate the value and uniqueness of each tier. Consider using names that resonate with your brand and clearly distinguish between different levels of access and benefits.

Can I change the names of my membership levels after they are set?

Yes, with Paid Memberships Pro, you can update the names of your membership levels at any time by navigating to Memberships > Settings > Levels in your admin dashboard. All members associated with the updated level will automatically see the new names on their profiles and communications.

How do I know if my membership level names are effective?

Test your names by gathering feedback from current and potential members, and by evaluating membership metrics such as sign-up rates and retention. Our AI-powered Level Names Generator can help brainstorm and evaluate potential names based on your site’s content and goals.

What are some common types of membership levels?

Membership levels can be categorized by features, content access, user type, delivery method, and payment terms. Common structures include tiered levels (where benefits increase with each level), content-specific levels (access based on content type), and role-based levels (tailored to different types of members such as students or professionals).

How can add-on memberships enhance my membership site?

Add-on memberships, or a la carte plans, allow members to select specific benefits or access in addition to their base membership. This flexibility lets members tailor their involvement to fit their interests and needs, while helping you grow the lifetime value of existing members.

What should I consider when creating add-on membership levels?

When designing add-on levels, focus on specific benefits that can be clearly communicated and priced separately. These might include special content access, one-on-one services, date-based cohorts, event entries, or community features.

Are there best practices for integrating add-on levels with my existing membership structure?

When you introduce add-on levels, make sure they do not dilute the perceived value of your core offerings. Clearly define what each add-on includes and how it enhances the overall membership experience.

How often should I review and adjust my membership level offerings?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. If business is good, review your membership levels and pricing at least once a year. If business is slow or there are significant changes in your market or audience needs, review your products more frequently. Regular updates like this can also be a good opportunity to refresh your marketing and engagement strategies.

Go Name Your Membership Levels!

I hope this post has given you some ideas as you brainstorm level names for your new or existing membership site. Keep in mind that if you operate an existing membership site, you can still rename your membership levels.

With Paid Memberships Pro, you can easily update the level names by navigating to Memberships > Settings > Levels from the admin dashboard. All members with the updated membership level will automatically have their membership level name changed accordingly.

Do you already have your membership level names ready to go? Get your membership site up and running today with Paid Memberships Pro.

Cheat Sheet and Naming Exercise Cover for How to Name Your Membership Levels


Grab the free cheat sheet and exercise book for how to name your membership levels. This guide and the companion naming exercises will help you understand the most common level naming structures and brainstorm your own site’s level names.

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Download the free ebook: Get 29 insights and ‘aha moments’ for new or veteran membership site business owners. Use these nuggets of wisdom to inspire or challenge you.

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