Selling subscriptions/memberships

In this article:

Creating a membership

From your Products dashboard, click "New product" and choose either "Newsletter," "Membership," or "Podcast" as your product type to create a product with periodic recurring charges -- aka. Memberships.

Give your product a name and a monthly price. When you're ready, click "Next: Customize."

On the Product tab, you can add your Product's title, add a description, and you customize the last part of the URL of the product. (Or you can use Gumroad's pre-populated URL. In the case of the screenshot below: the product part of the URL is "QaSmj")

Then, add a thumbnail and a cover image. The difference between the two is that the thumbnail shows up in the Gumroad Library, Discover and Profile pages and your cover image is what people see when they look at your profile and your product.

Under Product Info, you can add more details about what your members will receive. For a Membership,  though, you can also specify this further under the Membership tiers themselves.

Creating and managing tiers

Tiers are variations you can create for a Membership. The equivalent of these are Versions for Digital Products and Variants for Physical products.

Having multiple Tiers can help you:

  • Create levels of membership access, with each tier providing customers at each tier level receiving different combinations of files
  • Sell software with different license levels (Individual / Team / Company)
  • Offer an additional service on top of your digital product, such as a coaching call or a trip to a mini-golf course.

Now, let's make some different Membership tiers.

First, select Add Tier, then add a title and a description:

To limit product sales for a specific tier, enter the maximum subscriber number in the  Maximum number of active supporters box.

Then, upload all of your files directly  to your tier. You can upload files from your device, Dropbox, from an existing Gumroad product or link to an external URL.
To delete any files just, select the trash can icon. If you need to, you can change the name of your files. Click the dropdown icon and enter a name for your file and a description if you want:

You can also choose our Custom Delivery feature and redirect customers to an external URL corresponding to their subscribed. Just click on the "Redirect to a URL after purchase" button below your tier to toggle that feature on!

You can deselect any files you don't want in your tier by  clicking the checkmark circle to the right of the filename. You can also change what files are in what tiers by selecting the pencil icon and selecting the Tiers beneath it that you want it organized under:

When you're done with one tier, continue on with the next. For example, if you're offering multiple levels of a membership, you can label them something fun like "Buddies," "Best Friends," and "Family." Don't forget to add a description of what's included in each tier. 
This is how it will look for customers:

Reorder tiers

If you want to change the order of how your tiers appear, hover over the left side of the tier and click and drag to the desired order:

Preview tiers

You can click on the corner of the preview box to view how your membership will appear and double-check everything looks correct. Yep, looks great! If you've chosen to have a set amount of members to a tier, the number of slots appears under the tier name. In this example, there are only five slots open on the Family Tier:

Share tiers

You can send customers to a specific tier by selecting Share next to the title of the tier. When you click that, you will be sent to your membership landing page with the tier of your choosing pre-selected. You can then share the URL at the top directly with your customers.

Reassign a member to a different tier

Did your customer select the wrong tier? Are you deleting a tier and need to move customers to a new one? 

Reassigning members is a quick fix. Go to the Audience tab in the navigation. Click on the customer to change the tier. Under "Tier" select the new tier and click "Save":

This does not charge or refund the customer; it simply changes their tier. The change does not affect pricing or payments - the customer will always continue to pay the same price they are currently paying. 

Letting customers switch tiers or payment frequency

For Memberships with multiple tiers, customers can change tiers at any time and choose how they want to support you from the  Manage Membership page of their membership. They can find this page through the link in their receipt, or if they have a Gumroad account, they can hover over the Membership product in their library and see a button that says "Manage Membership."

If they upgrade their membership to a higher tier, they will be charged a “prorated” rate. They will get a discount for the remaining part of their subscription, which will be subtracted from their new Membership rate. The discount is calculated as of the end of the current day.

So, if they are paying $5/month and change to a $8/month tier, they will be charged $3 that day to make up for the rest of the month, until they are charged $8 again. 

If they downgrade their membership (move to a lower tier), their current plan won’t be changed immediately. We will wait until the end of their billing cycle to downgrade.

They will get a receipt of their change in their email inbox.

What happens if you delete an active tier?

Sometimes you don't want a tier associated with your membership anymore and wish to delete it. But how does that affect buyers who have already bought the tier you want to be deleted?

From the point of view of such customers — nothing changes virtually. They'll continue to have access to files associated with their tier at the time of deletion  unless you also delete those individual files! If the files are deleted, customers will not see any files attached to their purchase. 

Also, deleting the tier does not stop customers' subscriptions. They will keep paying their recurring charge until the membership is cancelled. The Licenses API will also keep returning the (then deleted) tier in the variants field.

Thus, if you plan to delete the files along with the tier, we recommend that you reassign the customer to another tier that will remain live. (See the section above here on how to do that.) Also, please note that changing tiers will NOT change the dollar amount customers are charged.

Membership settings

In the  Settings section at the bottom of this page, there are many options to choose from. If you want members to lose access to their files after their membership ends, click the Members will lose access when their memberships end toggle. You can generate a unique license key for each sale. You also have the option to send either just your last post or all your previous posts to the members when they sign-up. 

You can also show the number of members on your product page to entice future customers to sign up.

If you're selling a product that can fall under the e-publication category, you can mark it accordingly. Go here for more information on that.

Lastly, you can set the default payment frequency when a customer lands on your membership page.

Creating fixed-length memberships

To create a fixed-length membership, click the Automatically end memberships after a number of months toggle in your "Membership settings" and type the number of months you'd like your membership to continue.

Please note that the number you enter must be a multiple of the payment options you are offering on the product. So, if you are offering a yearly payment option, you can't set the membership to end after 13 months. 

Free trials🍷

Sometimes like a fine wine, a taste test is needed before a customer fully commits. Gumroad now offers the ability to give customers a free trial for a limited time -- either a week or a month. 

To set up a free trial for your membership, go to the  Settings at the bottom of your product editing page and toggle on Offer a free trial:

Note: Customer cards will be charged at the end of their free trial, either in 7 days or 28-31 days, depending on the month. Currently, we only have these two options.

Forty-eight hours before the trial ends, your customers will also be sent an email indicating they will soon be charged. If they do nothing, the charge will proceed. If they cancel, you will also get an email informing you.

Additionally, one day if you decide to turn off a free trial, this will not affect people currently on them. Buyers will continue to have their free trial and will not be charged immediately. However, any new customer coming to your product will not see any free trial.

Pricing

For membership products, the default billing period is monthly. You can also offer pricing options for every 3, 6, and 12 months. Toggle on the options you want to offer, and if you want to change the price of any of these options, simply change them:

Sending updates or planned emails to your customers

You can use our Post feature to update customers about new files being added or any changes to the Membership in general.

You can also send out automated, scheduled emails to your customers using the Workflows feature. 

You can choose to send different Workflow emails to the individual tiers or select the entire Membership itself:

You can choose if you want to send these automatic emails to new customers or choose to have an email sent out to customers who cancel their membership:

How it works for customers

To get a sense of the buying experience of a membership, check out our free example product

Your customers can create a Gumroad account when they purchase from you and can access all your product updates from their Gumroad Library. They will also be able to use our mobile apps to view the Membership's files and posts. Cancelling can be done from their email receipts and from their Library, through the "Manage Membership" link. 

If they don't create a Gumroad account, they will only receive product updates from you via Posts. If they decide later to create an account, they will see all their product updates in their Gumroad Library. 

You can cancel your customers' memberships, refund them (fully or partially) for specific payment installments, or resend their receipts in the Audience dashboard.

To give customers a post-purchase discount on a subscription installment, issue them a partial refund by entering an amount to refund in the price field. You can find all past charges for a customer if you click the "Charges" menu:

When a Membership is canceled, the customer will have access to the content up until the Membership was going to be renewed. 

Renewal reminders

To avoid surprised customers writing in (or worse, chargebacks), all members on a non-monthly payment cycle will receive an email reminding them about the upcoming membership renewal — 7 days before the charge.

Again, this mail only goes to those subscribed to a quarterly, every six months, or annual plan, NOT to monthly subscribers.

Highlighting a membership

Want to highlight a Membership of yours? You have the option to display a Membership of yours on your Profile. Go to  Profile, then Products, then select the Membership you want to highlight under Highlighted Membership. You can turn this feature off by selecting Don't show Membership

When you do have a membership featured, this is what happens when someone clicks on the "Membership" tab (Anna's Monthly Poetry Club is the selected Membership to be featured here):

You can send people directly to your highlighted membership by adding "/membership" to the end of your URL like so: 

https://annagreen.gumroad.com/membership

Restrictions of memberships

  • You cannot change your billing currency after you have created your membership.
  • You cannot change the price of your membership to affect existing subscribers. Price changes only affect future subscribers.
  • You cannot delay payments on subscriptions - i.e. where customers buy the membership on a launch date in March but do not pay until May. The date of purchase is the date of purchase.
  • You can not create temporary discounts on memberships. If you make an offer code, it applies to all payments on your membership. It will not only apply to the first payment.
  • You cannot give a membership as a gift.

Using the Gumroad API

To pull information about your subscribers and membership products through the API, please refer to: 

Looking for more information? 

To get a sense of what a membership looks like for customers, check out our free example membership product.

Check out this Memberships Q&A with Gumroad's own Philip Kiely:

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