Carl Barenbrug

Product design, creative direction

Building a Membership

In late spring of 2020, Minimalissimo introduced a membership platform as a means to generate passive income for greater sustainability, engage more with our community, design things members can use, discover how advertisement-free reading is valued, and determine to what extent creators we feature value our magazine as a promotional tool for their work.

From Day 1 of this membership, I viewed it as an experiment with low expectation. Given the simplicity of the membership signup process (a brainchild of Manu) and how effortlessly and unobtrusively we introduced the concept throughout the website, I thought it would appeal to a small proportion of readers, ignored by some, and overlooked by others. Gradually however, the membership has grown, but it is at a snail’s pace and the numbers are modest. Sure, some people simply signup for the perks and then cease their support once they have what they want (I have no time for those people), and others support us without even a consideration of the perks (I love those people). Then we have members who support us and also enjoy all the perks we offer (I also love those people).

Site visits to fluctuate throughout the year but we still hit +50k per month, so this can give me a rough idea of how many readers (as well as social media followers) might become members. To be honest though, I couldn't care less about web analytics. They are becoming increasingly unreliable through the introduction of private browsers and extensions (fuck cookies). Same goes for social media followers, where people barely see any of the content we publish due to those wonderful algorithms we all love to complain about.

With modest membership numbers, but positive reactions, I am going to persevere with this model for the foreseeable future. I have also set a tentative goal to reach 100 core members. That will cover almost all of our overheads to keep the site running smoothly and consistently. Whether we reach that in two months or twelve, I don’t really mind, because we will continue to experiment with this platform and how else to introduce it to our community of readers.

I live with the hope and intention that eventually donations from our members will form the core income stream for Minimalissimo, and our online shop will be supplementary to that. That will obviously need to far exceed 100 members, but I don’t think it is an insurmountable challenge.

You can read more about the rationale behind the Minimalissimo membership and if you are interested in becoming a member yourself, then I would greatly appreciate and welcome your support.

And if you are curious about what the perks are, you get:

  • Digital magazine bundle
  • Wallpapers library
  • Members email list to discuss plans, ideas, and experiments
  • Select product discounts
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