Creating a Membership

  • Updated

Note: It is required that one of the following payment processors is enabled in your store in to utilize memberships:

See HERE for further details on the requirements for memberships.

In this article, we will walk through the process of setting up a tiered membership in Single. Setting up a membership is a fantastic way to keep your customers engaged, power exclusive content/merch drops, and build up a steady stream of recurring income for your store! Keep reading for even more great ideas as to ways you can utilize memberships in your store!

Let’s get started…

Part 1: Single

From the Memberships tab in the Single app, we’ll click “+ Create Membership.” 

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On the next page, we will enter some basic details of our membership, such as the main name of it, what creator/artist it is for, and when it goes live. We will also upload the image we want to represent the membership in our Single account. When we are finished, we’ll hit “Save and Continue.”

Note: Here, we are only setting the title and image that will represent the overarching membership as a whole within the Single app. We will set the titles and images for each membership tier (which are what will actually show up to customers as products in our store) contained within the membership in the next phase of the process.

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Note: In order to create a membership, it is required that you at least have accounts set to optional in your Shopify store, as customers who subscribe are required to have them. This is how the recurring membership and exclusive access are able to be linked to a specific customer in your store.

If you have not already enabled accounts for your store, you will be asked to do so on the page shown above. Click "Enable Accounts."

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You will be taken to your Shopify store's settings page. From here, select either "Accounts are optional" or "Accounts are required" and save the changes.

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Once accounts are enabled in your store, you can continue forward with the membership creation process.

The following page is where we will create the different “tiers” within your membership. Tiers can be thought of like different “levels” of the subscription that unlock/grant access to various perks and content.

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What content and perks each tier unlocks can be continuously updated and changed if you so desire! 

This makes it so that you can offer your members things such as:

You can get as creative as you want here - the possibilities are endless! 

For the purposes of this demonstration, however, we will be setting up a very basic example of a membership. It will look like this:

Membership:

  • “Demo Membership”

Different tiers within membership:

  • Bronze Tier: Unlocks access to an exclusive T-Shirt
  • Silver Tier: Unlocks access to an exclusive T-Shirt and exclusive CD
  • Gold Tier: Unlocks access to an exclusive T-Shirt, exclusive CD, and an exclusive Vinyl

Note: Again, this is an extremely basic example of what you can do with memberships, but we’re going to use it for now to keep things simple during this walkthrough of the feature.

 

Let’s create our different tiers!

We’ll get started by entering the basic details of our first tier (Bronze). This will consist of a title (Bronze Tier) and a description (we’ll explain what things/perks customers can expect upon subscribing to that tier of the membership). Additionally, this is where we will upload a photo to represent that membership tier (this will be the product image for the tier).

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Next, we need to choose what term lengths we will make available for this tier, and what prices they will be. We can add 1, 3, 6, and 12 month options. It is not required to have each of these options available, but for the purposes of this demonstration, we will create each option.

To do this, we will click the “Term” drop down menu, select a term length, and enter a price in the “Price” field. After we have done this, we will click “+ Add Term” to add another term for our subscription. We will repeat this process for each term option.

After choosing each term we want to have available, we will scroll down to the “Gated Access” section of the page and begin choosing what content that tier will gate/unlock. Both individual products and pages can be added as gated content. To start selecting our gated content, we’ll click the “+ Select Items” button.

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Next, we select the type of content (Product or Page) to be gated from the Content Type drop down menu.

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After we have selected the content type, we’ll use the search bar to find the product or page we want to gate.

Note: Carousel product images will not be displayed for gated content. Only the featured product image will display when you gate a product.

Note: Gating of only a specific product variant is not supported. You must gate the product and all variants of it.

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Next, we’ll set the Allowed Quantity field and the Discount Allowed and Preview Enabled toggles accordingly.

The Allowed Quantity field (only applicable if the content type is set to Product) determines the amount of that product a member may purchase. This is useful to prevent just a few people from buying out the entirety of an exclusive/gated product all at once and to ensure that all members have a fair chance to purchase it. For example, if we only want to allow members to purchase a maximum of two of the gated product we are setting up, we would change the Allowed Quantity field for that product to "2."

The Discount Allowed switch (only applicable if the content type is set to Product) determines whether or not the product that is being gated will be eligible for discount codes. If the switch is left off, the product will not be discountable in any way. If the switch is enabled, discount codes will be applicable to the product. It is possible to have a mixture of Discount Allowed and non-Discount Allowed products gated by the same membership tier at once. Each product's discount eligibility is determined by its own Discount Allowed switch.

The Preview Enabled toggle lets us choose whether or not we want customers to be able to preview the gated/exclusive content in our store. If we are gating a product and turn this switch on, it means that non-members will still be able to see the product in our store, but will be unable to purchase it until they actually purchase the proper membership. If we are gating a specific page in our store, it means that non-members will be able to go to the page, but will only see a prompt telling them that they need to become a member before they can access the content.

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If we wanted to add additional products or pages to be gated by this tier of the membership, we would click the "+ Add Item" button. Since we’re only planning to have the Bronze Tier unlock the Exclusive T-Shirt, though, we will not add any other content. Once we have finished adding all of the content we want to be gated, we’ll click the "Save and Create Another" button to create our next tier.

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We’ll repeat this process for the remaining Silver and Gold tiers of our membership.

 

🚨SHORTCUT ALERT!🚨

After creating our first tier, upon creating subsequent ones that will unlock not only new content, but also the content from other, lesser tiers, we can save ourselves some time by using the “Duplicate” button that is now present.

Screen_Shot_2022-08-19_at_11.42.20_AM.pngClicking this button will let us copy over the gated content from a previous tier to the current one we are creating. Since we want the Silver Tier to not just unlock the Exclusive CD, but also unlock the Exclusive T-Shirt that the Bronze Tier unlocks, we’ll choose to copy over the Bronze Tier’s gated content while creating our Silver Tier. We can do this by selecting it in the drop down menu that appears and then clicking “Duplicate.”

Screen_Shot_2022-08-19_at_11.43.07_AM.pngNote: Once you duplicate over the gated content from one tier to another, you will be prompted to save your changes before it will take effect. Once you save, you’ll be taken to the main page of the membership in the Single UI. To go back in and add the additional gated content to the tier you were working on, simply click on the tier and you’ll be back to where you left off, but with the other tier’s content copied over!

After we have created all the desired tiers for your membership, we’ll click the “Save and Continue” button to move on to the Review page.

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On the Review page, we’ll ensure that everything looks as it should and then click “+ Publish Membership.”

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❗️IMPORTANT❗️

After publishing a membership and the start date has passed, with the exception of changing what content is gated, many aspects will become uneditable. Most notably, pricing CANNOT be changed. Please make absolutely sure all details are correct before publishing your membership. To see a full list of everything that can and cannot be edited after publication/start date, please see HERE.

If you archive a membership or one of its individual tiers, all respective members of what was archived will be lost. THIS IS IRREVERSIBLE. If you take this action and wish to regain the lost members, customers will have to repurchase the membership at full price and restart their selected term. See HERE for more info.

 

Before we move on to getting things set up on the Shopify side, let’s take a look at some things we can do with our membership after we have published it!

1. Export Members

An extremely useful feature we can take advantage of from within Single after publishing our membership is to export a full list of active members. This export can either be of the entire membership, which includes every tier (click the “Export Members” button on the main page of the membership)... 

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 …or of an individual membership tier (click on the desired tier from the main page of the membership and then click “Export Tier Memberships”).

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This export will be in the form of a .csv file that is sent directly to the email address we are logged into our Single account with. The export will provide us with customer info such as email, name, membership/tier/term, and location, as you can see in the example below.

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2. Share

We can also notify our entire Shopify customer base (as long as they have opted in to marketing) of our newly created membership! From the main page of the membership, we’ll click the “Share” button on the top right.

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From here, we can fully customize and whitelabel the email that will be sent out to customers if we choose to! To do this, all we need to do is turn on the “Enable Email Whitelabeling” toggle and enter/upload our details and image that will be included in the email.

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We can even send ourselves a test email to see what it will look like before sending it off to customers by clicking the “Preview Email” button.

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Alternatively, if we wanted to use a different mailing tool all together, we can export/email ourselves a .csv list of our Shopify customer base by clicking the “Export Data” button in the “Export Mailing List” section.

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Part 2: Shopify

In order to work around aspects of Shopify and gate products and pages behind memberships, it is required that Single move these gated pieces of content off of any sales channels. Don't worry, while the products are gated, they'll still be purchasable to customers who meet the membership requirement! This is just how Single runs the show in the background. 👌

 

❗️IMPORTANT❗️

Do NOT add content that is gated back on to any sales channels. If you do so, content gating will cease to function. 

Additionally, do not edit pricing or other details of your membership tier products within Shopify. Doing so can result in unfixable errors.

 

In addition to removing gated products from any sales channels in your store, Single creates several pages that are used to power the content gating process. They are listed below:

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  • Membership: A public facing page that should be added to your Navigation/Menus. This is where fans will go to manage and view their membership. Alternatively, if they visit this page and are not already a member, they will be prompted with the option to do so.
  • Exclusives: A publicly facing page that you can add to your Navigation/Menus, etc. This page will display the current membership of the customer, as well as all content they have unlocked for purchase or viewing in your store, based on said membership. Gated content that is preview-able, but the customer does NOT meet the appropriate membership requirements to unlock, will NOT be included on this page. 
  • Gated Content Entry: Strictly a utility page. This page ensures that the correct gated content displays with the associated membership tier. This page is public, but does not need to be interacted with.
  • Gated Content List Entry: A page that displays all of the gated content that has been made preview-able for any specific membership tier. This page is public, but does not need to be interacted with inside of your Shopify admin directly. However, we will put it to use, as you’ll see in a bit.

❗️IMPORTANT❗️

DO NOT delete or rename any of these pages, as it will break the content gating functionality. When you add a page to your navigation, it will allow you to give it a display name that people will see. Here, it is fine to use whatever DISPLAY name you want for the page. Just don't actually RENAME the pages.

 

In summary, you do not need to pay attention to any of these pages inside your Shopify Admin besides the “Exclusives” and “Membership” pages. You’ll likely want to consider adding the “Exclusives” page directly to your navigation, menu, etc., as it serves as a hub for all of the content any particular customer has unlocked based on their membership. Additionally, you’ll definitely want to add the “Membership” page to your store as it’s how customers can control/view their membership. 

The Gated Content List Entry page does come into play in order to display/preview what gated content is unlocked by each individual tier within a membership, but you will not directly add this page anywhere. Instead, there is a different way to go about this as we will cover below.

 

The Exclusives Page

Let's start by adding the Exclusives page to our store Navigation. By going to this page, customers can quickly see any unlocked, exclusive products that they have access to based on their membership.

To add this page to our store Navigation, from our Shopify Admin, we simply go to Online Store > Navigation > Menus > Main Menu > Add Menu Item > Search for/Add "Exclusives" > Save Menu

Note: For a more detailed explanation of how to create and edit collections in Shopify, click HERE.

As you can see, there is now a link to the “Exclusives” page located in our main Navigation menu at the top of our store. We have chosen to have this link display as "Exclusive Content."

Note: While you must not change the ACTUAL name of the page, while adding the page to your Navigation/Menu, you change the name that will be displayed for it. This does not rename the page itself, just the actionable item/button that directs customers to it.

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Upon clicking the "Exclusive Content" button (the “Exclusives” page) that's now in our Navigation/Menu, customers will be prompted to login to their account.

If the customer IS a member, after logging into their account, they will be able to access the exclusive gated products associated with their membership.

If the customer IS NOT a member, after logging into their account, they will simply see a page stating that there is no exclusive content viewable to them at this time.

 

Tidying Up Our Membership Products/Options

Now let’s make things look a little nicer by organizing our different membership tier products/options. We can do this in a couple different ways. 

1. Via Shopify Collection

The most basic way is to put the different membership tier products into a collection that customers can easily access from our homepage. To do this, we’ll first make a new collection called “Become a Member” from within our Shopify Admin. Next, we will add all three membership tier products to that collection.

Note: For a more detailed explanation of how to create and edit collections in Shopify, click HERE.

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Finally, we’ll add the collection to our Navigation/Main Menu using the same method we used to add the “Exclusives” page to our Navigation/Main Menu. Again, that would entail going to our Shopify Admin, then going to Online Store > Navigation > Menus > Main Menu > Add Menu Item > Search for/Add "Become a Member" > Save Menu.

Note: For a more detailed explanation of how to edit and add to your Navigation, click HERE.

This will add a button to our Main Menu that customers can click to quickly access the different membership tier products, as you can see below.

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2. Via Individual Membership Collections With Previews

What we did using method number one looks great! However, wouldn't it be nice if customers had a way to see what content each membership tier unlocked before becoming a member? Or if there was a way for current members to quickly see what exclusive content is associated with each membership available in our store (as opposed to the “Exclusives” page, which shows ALL unlocked content from the customer’s membership[s]). This would be especially helpful if you were to add other fan memberships to your store that unlock different types of content...

Well, remember how we said that the “Gated Content List Entry” page would come into play earlier? It is this page that will allow us to let customers see what content each particular membership in your store unlocks, if you have your gated content set to "Preview Enabled" (you can choose to leave this toggle turned off if you want to keep any content completely hidden/unknown to your customers until they are a member). Having said that, this page works behind the scenes and you will not be adding it directly to your Navigation like we did with the “Exclusives” page.

By using the following method to organize and display our different membership tier products/options in our store, not only will it give customers an easy place to find each option, but it will also allow them to see what each tier unlocks.

To accomplish this, we want to create a drop down menu in our Navigation called "Memberships." Then, within that drop down menu, we will have listings for “Bronze Tier,” “Silver Tier,” and “Gold Tier.” These listings will technically take customers to a version of the “Gated Content List Entry” page, but again, it is important to note that we are NOT adding this page to our Navigation in the same way we did with the “Exclusives” page. Instead, follow these steps:

Note: Click HERE to read more about creating drop down menus in Shopify.

First, let's go back to the Navigation section in our Shopify Admin. From there, since we want to add it to the same main menu at the top of the store as we did earlier in this guide, we'll click "Main Menu."

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Next, we'll click "Add Menu Item." We'll name this new menu item "Memberships" and make it so that it doesn't link anywhere (we're just using this menu item as the drop down section for our individual membership tier content pages, so it doesn't need to link anywhere itself). We can do this by adding # in the link section.

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Now, let's nest/add our individual membership tier content pages within the "Memberships" menu item we just created. We'll click "Add Menu Item" again and name it "Bronze Tier." This time, though, instead of searching for an already existing page or location in the store within the Link field, we'll go back to the Single app. From there, we'll need to go to the membership tier that we want to link to. In this case, that’s “Bronze Tier.”

Once we're viewing that membership tier in the Single app again, we'll click the "View Gated Content Collection" button.

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The page that opens is what we want to link to within our "Bronze Tier" drop down menu item (again, this is technically the Gated Content List Entry page, but as stated earlier, we're adding it in a different, more indirect way here). We'll start by copying the URL from this page.

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Now that we have our URL, we'll go back to Shopify, paste it into the Link field of the new menu item, and click the "Add" button.

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Now we can drag the "Bronze Tier" menu item into the "Memberships" menu item to nest it within and create a drop down menu. We will then repeat this process for "Silver Tier" and “Gold Tier” by going to the Single app, grabbing the URL for the “Gated Content Collection” pages of both of them, making new menu items in Shopify called "Silver Tier” and “Gold Tier,” adding the proper URLs to the “Link” fields in both respectively, and nesting them in our drop down menu called "Memberships."

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After we’re done, we’ll make sure to hit the "Save Menu" button on the bottom right of the page.

Let's go check out our store and see what it looks like!

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Nice! 😎

If a customer clicks on any of the menu items nested under "Memberships," they'll be taken to the gated content display page for that particular membership tier. Here, they will be able to see the content that is unlocked by that specific membership tier, whether or not they are already a member, but only if the "Enable Preview" toggle (covered earlier in the "Part 1: Single" section of this article) is turned on for the content. If the "Enable Preview" toggle is left off, customers who are not already a member will not see a preview of the gated content when clicking on the content display page for that particular membership tier. In that case, the gated content will not show up for the customer anywhere in the store until they meet the proper membership requirements .

This is what our pages under “Memberships” look like when the "Enable Preview" toggle is left on:

Bronze Tier:

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Silver Tier:

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Gold Tier:

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Adding The Membership Management Page

Let’s not forget to add the Membership Management page somewhere in our store where customers can access it! We’ll do this using the same method we’ve used multiple times so far in this article: Online Store > Navigation > Menus > Select or Add Menu > Add Menu Item > Search for/Add "Membership" > Save Menu.

To keep things clean, we could even just nest it under the already existing “Memberships” drop down menu in our Main Menu and name it “My Membership” like so:

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For customers who are already subscribed, the Membership page (what we’ve put into our navigation as “My Membership”) will bring them to a page that will allow them to view and manage their memberships as you can see below:

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For customers who have not become a member, they will be presented with the option to do so:

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In Conclusion

There are MANY options available that allow you to set all of this up however you like and customize your exclusive content and memberships in a way that suits your particular store. Get creative and experiment with different layouts, membership tiers and types, preview vs. non-preview enabled content, etc.! For example, if you wanted to offer members exclusive, early access to a new merch product, you could gate that product with your chosen membership tier up until the release date. At that time, you could then remove it from the gated content of the membership, making it available to everyone. The possibilities are endless!

 

❗️IMPORTANT REMINDER❗️

This cannot be stressed enough, so we’ll say it again here:

If you archive a membership or one of its individual tiers, all respective members of what was archived will be lost. THIS IS IRREVERSIBLE. If you take this action and wish to regain the lost members, customers will have to repurchase the membership at full price and completely restart their selected term. See HERE for more info.

 

Note for advanced users: If you customize the templates for the pages utilized in the Utility/Gated Content Access features, it is highly recommended that you turn on "Developer Mode" within the Single app. This will ensure that any updates deployed by Single do not alter your customizations. If you do not do this, app updates could result in you losing any customizations you have made to the page templates.

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