Tutorial: Monetize Voting Contests via Membership

There are a few ways of monetizing voting contests. To get the expected result you should choose what is the best for your needs. In this tutorial, we will consider monetization via selling pricing plans for a specific period of time. If you want to use another approach and allow users to vote using scores (as many scores they have, so much they vote), please read this tutorial:

So, let’s start with the basic understanding of our goals and how we can organize the process of monetization effectively.

The conception

There are various membership extensions for Joomla offering a lot of features, but in most cases, its basic features are assigning a user to a specific Joomla User Group for some period of time after the successful payment and assign the user back to basic User Group (Registered) when the subscription is being expired.

Moreover, it is possible to accept payments using any of the available payment plugins for the subscription extension and finally make your site friendly to the local market.

Before configuring the extensions, you have to think which pricing plans will you offer to the end user. It means the user can vote for entries during the time limited in the chosen pricing plan. The best way is to offer various plans and keep the balance between price and the period of time during which the plan is valid. You should pay attention to the site’s attendance, contest goals and have a look on the site through the eyes of a potential visitor. Is there any reason to pay the price you want to set and what the end user will get for it? Think about the motivation and offer the best plans to the end users.

  • Plan: Basic
  • Actions: vote
  • Price: $5
  • Valid period: 7 days
  • Plan: Advanced
  • Actions: vote, submit an entry
  • Price: $10
  • Valid period: 21 days
  • Note: give more days or offer less price to stimulate a user buying this plan instead of basic
  • Plan: Expert
  • Actions: vote, submit entry
  • Price: $25
  • Valid period: 3 months

Have a look at the 2nd and 3rd plans allow the user to submit an entry.We will consider some plans to show the example:

The next step is creation of new User Groups which the users will be assigned to after finalizing the payment. But before we go to this step, please return to your strategy on contests and think how to organize plans more effectively. The plans described above might be a good example for a few or irregular contests.

If you are planning to start a lot and regular contests, you can think on creating special plans for each group of contests associated in thematic categories.

E.g. there might be a structure like that:

  • Animals (category)
    • Dog show (contest)
    • These funny cats (contest)
  • Entertainment (category)
    • New York’s Got Talent (contest)
    • Female rock bands (contest)
    • Top Racing Schools (contest)

As we can see, all contests are different and grouped by categories. So, you can create more pricing plans for each category and make better monetization by stimulating the user buying more plans.

Example of pricing plans for the voting cotest site
Example of pricing plans for the voting cotest site

Finally, let’s call to mind NorrCompetition allow the user to submit not only entries, but even contests and you can monetize it too!

For instance, let’s create a new plan:

  • Plan: VIP
  • Actions: vote, submit entry and contest
  • Price: $99
  • Valid period: 12 months

As the result, the user can create new contests and other visitors will submit entries there. You can offer to buy this plan to potential sponsors.

Step 2. Add new User Groups

As soon as the strategy is done, you should create new User Groups for each pricing plan to assign.

Go to Users > User Groups > create New group.

If you are not familiar with Joomla User Groups and permissions, we recommend to read official Joomla tutorial: Users Groups.

Step 3. Membership extension: configuration

There are many solutions for Joomla, so in this tutorial we will give common recommendations on set up. First of all, you should choose membership and subscription software on the Joomla Extensions Directory in the Membership & Subscriptions category.

Once you decide which extension to use, it is time to install and configure it. We recommend to read documentation and examine tutorials of the membership extension.

To-do actions:

  • Add pricing plans according to your conception.
  • Add payment method to accept payments. It might be PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout or some local payment service (see all available plugins).
  • Configure the extension. Do not forget to follow common recommendations on extensions set up.

Step 4. NorrCompetition: set permissions for contests

Now we have to configure permissions for Joomla User Groups which were created according to our pricing plans model described above.

The permissions rules should allow the user to vote and to submit the entry and in some cases to submit contest. Read more how to set up permissions in contests.

  • Basic Joomla User Group - allow to vote and to submit the entry
  • Advanced Joomla User Group - allow to vote and to submit the entry
  • Expert Joomla User Group - allow to vote and to submit the entry
  • VIP Joomla User Group - allow to vote, to submit the entry and to submit contest

You can set up global settigns in component's options or set up custom permissions for individual contests.

Configure permissions for selected User Group
Configure permissions for selected User Group

Finally, a user can do all allowed actions during the valid period of time. Once their subscription is being expired, the user will be assigned back to default Registered Group and no longer has a permission for additional actions and must renew the subscription.

Step 5. Final touches

Well, we are almost finished. However, let’s make sure that the process is clear and the end user can easily choose a pricing plan and purchase it.

Call to action (CTA). Make sure the end user can see basic information or a slogan attracting their attention and stimulating to make an action. It might be banner, HTML module or whatever else. Slogan example: “Buy plan and vote right now!”

Rename an alert message. When a guest attempting to vote, an alert with default message will appear: “You do not have permission to vote”. Using Joomla language override feature you can rename the constant to a custom message like “To vote for entries, please purchase a subscription first!”

Redirect from standard registration. It depends on the membership software you are using. Forward user to pricing plans page instead of the standard registration page. A membership/subscription extension should do it as its core feature, but in case if it is not, you should take care about it and forward users from Joomla core registration form to the page with pricing plans. You can use core Joomla component called Redirects or add rules to .htaccess file.

Finally, do not forget to verify how the process is working by making a test payment.

Good luck with contests’ monetization!