holiday sales for membership sites

6 Holiday Sales Promotions That Work Well For Membership Sites

Can you hear that?

If you listen carefully, you can make out the faint sound of those iconic glockenspiel notes jangling in the distance. The time has come. Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is about to dominate the airwaves and get stuck in your head for months.

That means the 2022 holiday season is upon us – whether we're ready or not.

But because you’re such a superstar entrepreneur, your Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and New Year’s promotions are already planned… right? You even have your email copy drafted in a Google Doc, sales page perfected, and social media posts scheduled in Buffer.

If that’s the case, there’s absolutely no reason for you to read this article. All that’s left for you to do is kick back and optimize your eggnog recipe.

But in case you don’t have everything quite finished yet, we'd love to share some holiday promotion ideas with you. These are some of the most popular ways our customers create engaging sales for their memberships. Our hope is that you’ll discover one or two strategies here that'll help you finish 2022 strong.

After you read this article, you’ll know how to:

Create coupons, gifts, and special offers for your existing customers
Attract new members with deep discounts and enticing promotions
& Increase revenue during the holiday season

Plus, we'll share an easy way for you to track these promotions with a feature that's baked into the latest version of MemberMouse.

Here are 6 sales promotions you can use to promote your membership site this holiday season.

sales promotions for membership sites

1. Flash Sale

Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned sale? Running a flash sale is a great opportunity for you to offer a limited-time discount on some or all of your products and services. The time-sensitive nature of a flash sale helps build hype around your business and can lead to a healthy spike in revenue.

When executed correctly, a flash sale can work wonders for your membership site. If you have a list of leads or prospective customers who are on the fence about joining your membership, a time-sensitive discount could provide the perfect motivation for them to join. For example, you could run a special promotion discounting your membership by 20% for all new members.

A flash sale is a valid strategy to employ with your current members as well. If you offer products such as video trainings or digital courses in addition to your membership, a limited-time discount on these products could be very attractive to your current members. By selling additional products to your existing members, you can increase the lifetime value of your customers and overall profitability of your business.

How To Create This Membership Promotion:

Running a flash sale is easy with MemberMouse. To set one up, all you need to do is create a coupon to be applied to the product or membership of your choosing. When you create a coupon for your flash sale, you have total control over which products are discounted and the expiration date of the sale. That means you can run the flash sale for any and all of your products or memberships for any length of time.

Once you’ve created the coupon for your flash sale, you can deliver it to your customers however you’d like. If your flash sale is targeting prospective customers, you can either send them the coupon code for them to input during checkout or you can simply send them a quick link that takes them directly to the checkout page and automatically applies the discount.

Or if your flash sale is targeting your current members, you can choose to display the coupon code anywhere on your site (such as their member homepage). And using the Member Decision SmartTag, you can choose to show it only to members who've made certain purchases or not.

2. Buy One Get One…

There’s nothing like getting something for free. A “Buy One, Get One” sale is a time-tested promotional strategy that can be easily applied to your subscription business. Think about it: have you ever been enticed to buy something simply because you were offered an additional product for free? What’s more, sometimes the appeal of a free product is greater than the appeal of a discount. So let’s take a look at an example of how you could implement this in your membership site.

Imagine that you offer both a la carte products and memberships on your site. If you are trying to sell an a la carte video training or online course, you could sweeten the deal by packaging it with a free month of your membership. If someone is on the fence about buying your course or training, the added incentive of a free month of your membership could encourage them to buy.

The same scenario also works in reverse: If your main offering is your membership, you could create a more compelling offer by including your standalone course to buyers for free. However you decide to package the offer, remember that giving away something for free or extending a discount to a related product goes a long way in increasing the desirability of your promotion.

How To Set Up This Special Offer:

Setting up a “Buy One, Get One” offer with MemberMouse is rather straightforward. For this example, let’s imagine that you want to give everyone who becomes a Gold Level Member your video course for free. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Create a free bundle for your video course
  2. Protect the content for the video course pages or posts with that bundle
  3. Create a Member Link SmartTag link that allows members to apply the free bundle to their account
  4. Finally, add that link to a confirmation page so that as soon as your customers become a Gold Level Member, they can add the Video Course bundle to their account

And there you have it! Whenever someone purchases your Gold Level Membership, they’ll be able to access your video course for free. Now you can promote this offer to your current or prospective members. If you ever wanted to stop this promotion, all you'd need to do is remove the redemption link from the confirmation page. Easy as pie! (Mmmm, pie…)

For more detailed, step-by-step instructions, check out this article: “Create a Buy One, Get One Promo”

member promotion ideas

3. Give the Gift of Your Product or Membership

We’re just about to enter the biggest gift-giving season of the year. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way for you to encourage your current customers to give your products or memberships away as gifts to their friends, family, or colleagues? By empowering your current members to purchase your products or memberships as gifts, you improve your chances of capturing profits hidden within your business.

Well, we’ve got some good news for you. There is an easy way for your current members to buy any of your products or memberships and send them to their friends and family as gifts.

How To Gift Your Membership:

Be sure to read this article that goes in-depth about our gifting functionality. But to get you started, here are a few key things to keep in mind when setting up your products or memberships as gifts:

  1. A member can purchase any paid membership or bundle on your site as a gift
  2. To do so, your members just need to be logged in to your site
  3. Your members do not have to be a member of the membership level they are purchasing as a gift, nor do they have to own the product they plan on gifting
  4. Gifts can be redeemed one of two ways: either by the link delivered on the confirmation page after your member buys the gift or via your member’s My Account page.

Now you can run a special promotion to your members encouraging them to spread the love and give your products or memberships away as gifts to their friends and family this holiday season.

4. Discount for a Set Number of Buyers

This promotional strategy is similar to the flash sale, but with a twist. Here, you’re extending a special offer such as a discount for a set number of buyers only. The hype and sense of urgency that is created with a standard flash sale can be significantly multiplied when you limit the total number of people who can take advantage of the offer. Here’s how you can apply this sales technique to your subscription business:

Picture that you’re just about to launch a new product or membership level. And, you want to generate some energy and excitement around your offer. As part of your launch sequence, you could announce to your members that the first 100 buyers of your new offering will receive a $100 discount. What’s great is that MemberMouse gives you the power to limit the total quantity of coupons used. So, you don’t have to worry about turning off the coupon once 100 people have used it. MemberMouse takes care of the automatically for you. Let’s take a look at how you could do this.

How To Create This Membership Discount:

The process for creating a special discount for a limited number of buyers is just like creating any coupon. The key difference here is that you choose how many times you’d like the coupon to be used, and put that number in the Limit Quantity field. In our case, we want our offer to be valid for the first 100 buyers only. So, that’s the number we’d insert into the Limit Quantity field.

special discount for membership sites

Limiting the total number of people who can take advantage of a special offer is a tremendous way to build engagement around a sale or promotion.

5. Deep Discount on an Introductory Offer

Do you have an introductory product or membership level that you use to get customers in the door? Maybe it’s a low-priced course or bottom-tier membership level. These types of offerings are often referred to as “tripwires” in the digital marketing world. Though, some people – like legendary marketer Brian Kurtz – prefer to think of these offers as “Welcome Mats” instead.

The idea here is to make an inviting, low-risk offer that converts prospects into paying customers. If you do have an introductory offer that you pitch to prospective customers, running a special deep discount promotion can be a great way to acquire a fresh set of new customers. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday right around the corner, you have the perfect opportunity to implement such an offer.

For example, let’s say that you have a Beginner’s Video Training that you normally sell for $20. As a special promotional sale, you could offer this training for $1 instead. Even though you may sacrifice some initial revenue on the front end, you create the possibility of bringing many new customers in the door. Then, when they’ve had some time to get to know you and explore your site, you can offer them an upsell to your core products or memberships.

How To Do This With A Product:

While you can accomplish this with a coupon, we'd first like to share how to do this by creating a new product. The benefits of creating a new product are that you can track the sales of this product against your full-priced one as well as later on easily assess the LCV of customers who purchased this product.

  1. Create a new product for your $1 ‘Beginner’s Video Training’
  2. Be sure to set the associated access to the original ‘Beginner’s Video Training’ bundle
  3. Copy the purchase link for you new $1 product
  4. Use that purchase link wherever you intend to promote your offer (in emails, on sales pages, etc.)
  5. And if you like, change the product to be inactive when the promotion is over.

how to create a holiday sale

How To Do This With A Coupon:

You can also accomplish this by creating a coupon with these parameters:

  1. Create a coupon for your $20 ‘Beginner’s Video Training’, and apply a $19 off discount
  2. Apply the discount to the first charge only — *Please review Important Reminder section below
  3. In Valid Products, select only your ‘Beginner’s Video Training’
  4. And if you like, set the start and end date for the coupon

Now you can run a deep discount promotion on an introductory or ‘tripwire’ product. This is the perfect promotional strategy for Black Friday / Cyber Monday type sales events.

6. Create a “Virtual Gift Card”

As a membership site owner, the holidays are not only a good time for you to run sales and promotions for your business, but also a terrific time to give back to your own members and customers. In that spirit, why not consider giving some or all of your members a gift card they can use on your site?

Imagine how cool it would be for your members to see a gift card pop up in their members' area the next time they log into your site. With MemberMouse, you have the ability to create a “virtual gift card” that dynamically displays to the members of your choosing. That means you can create different gift cards for each one of your membership levels. Or, you could simply create one gift card to be sent to all your members.

While creating a true gift card with MemberMouse isn’t technically possible (meaning crediting money to a member’s account), there is a way to create a virtual one. With our coupon functionality, you can create coupons with a specific dollar amount that can be applied to a future purchase.

If you'd like additional implementation options and more detailed step-by-step  setup instructions, review this article: “Virtual Gift Card How-to: 3 Methods Explained”

How To Create A Gift Card:

For this example, let’s say that we want to send all of our members a $25 coupon for them to use on any future purchase. Here’s how you’d do it:

  1. Create a coupon with a $25 discount
  2. If you want to apply an expiration date to the “gift card,” set the end date for the coupon
  3. Send the coupon code out to all of your members!

Now if you want to get really fancy, you can style a graphic that looks like a gift card. Then you could use the Member Decision SmartTag to dynamically display the gift card graphic linking to the coupon code anywhere SmartTags can be displayed on your site. And that’s how you create a “virtual gift card” for your members.

How To Track The Use Of All Your Coupons & Gifts

With the release of MemberMouse 2.4.0 came a feature that makes it much easier for you to see how many people used a particular coupon. The Coupon Log lets you track all the coupons that have been used on your site, see who used it, and pinpoint the date it was used.

membermouse coupon log

Here's an article from our support center that gives you all the details about how to use this new Coupon Log.

Similarly, we also created a Gifts Log that lets you track products that have been bought and redeemed. What's cool about the Gifts Log is that you can not only identify your current members who gained access through a gift. You can also see all the pending gifts that have been purchased but not yet redeemed.

membermouse gifts log

Here's an article from our support center that shows you how to use the new Gifts Log.

Now you have an easy way to track how effective your membership promotions were during this holiday season!

Important Reminders

Now, before you go off creating a bunch of new promotional offers to test this holiday season, there is one thing we need to remind you of: If you have a product or membership that starts with a trial period, the $0 charge for the trial is considered the first charge.

That means when you create coupons for products with free trial periods and choose “apply discount to the first charge only” in Subscription Options, the coupon’s discount will only be applied to the $0 charge for the trial.

What we’re trying to avoid here is having your customers be charged full price for a product they thought they were getting a discount on. If you don’t want to apply a coupon’s discount to all future charges, all you would need to do is create a new product without a trial period for your members to purchase. This way the coupon will take the discount off of the first full-price charge.

Also, you might run into some difficulties if you want to offer your existing members discounts on their current memberships. This strategy requires a few extra steps and we want to make sure you set things up correctly. If this is something you'd like to try, please get in touch with our support team here. We'd be more than happy to walk you through this.

membership promotion ideas

Wrapping Up

Are you inspired to create a special offer for your membership site this holiday season? We hope so!

It’s our mission to help you build powerful and profitable membership sites. If you do implement any one of these strategies, we’d love to hear how it went. Leave us a comment below and share your success with our readers. We wish you much success in this upcoming holiday season as we head into 2024.

Matt Brown

Over the past 6 years, Matt Brown has worked closely with some of the world's most successful membership and online course entrepreneurs. He's seen first hand what works – and what doesn't – when it comes to starting, building, and growing online businesses. On top of that, Matt was responsible for screening all the guests we've had on the Subscription Entrepreneur podcast. This allowed him to hear the best membership marketing and growth strategies from top authors and experts. Now, he shares everything he learns with you here on the MemberMouse blog. Subscribe today so you can discover cutting-edge strategies that can help you grow your membership, subscription, and online course business.

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