You’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into building your business. Your clients love working with you, and you them. Most days, you have to pinch yourself that this is actually your life!
But as you’re probably painfully aware, it’s not all roses and sunshine.
If you’re a coach or sell digital products, you know how much time you send answering questions about accessing downloads, troubleshooting issues with playing back videos, or resending links to digital product or coaching call recordings. You love your clients, and you’re blessed to have them in your life. You want to provide great customer service, but there are only so many hours in the day, and you’re not quite ready to hire an assistant. There is an easier way!
You may have never thought that your business could benefit from membership software, but more and more solo entrepreneurs, practitioners and small businesses are discovering the benefits of adding membership software to their WordPress website, even if they aren’t offering coaching or official ‘membership’ programs.
• Continuity programs become a breeze to manage.
• No more calls from your clients on weekends saying they’ve lost the link to their course materials or call recordings.
• Manage multiple information products from one simple dashboard.
• Clients access all their products and content in one centralized place right on your website.
• Offer affiliate programs for your products.
• Manage coupons, dime sales and content dripping from one dashboard.
• Saves you time – LOTS of time
• Allows you to focus on what you do best – building your business – while your clients can focus on learning and not keeping track of emails and links.
So now that you’re convinced (or at least a little intrigued) that membership software can make your business more efficient and will make life so much easier for your clients, how do you pick the best application for the job?
How to Assess WordPress Membership Software Applications
Before you invest in a membership platform, there are a few questions to ask yourself to figure out the best solution for you:
- What will you be using the membership software for? What do you want to accomplish? Easier delivery of content to existing clients? Launching a coaching program? Delivering dripped video courses?
- How much time will you be able to invest in maintenance and creating new product connections in the software?
- What’s your budget for initial purchase and maintenance? Many applications have so many add-on fees, and costs can add up quickly. Look for a one-time fee option.
- Will you be setting up the system yourself or will you be outsourcing?
- Think of the current and future sticking points in your business and write them down – the right membership software will help alleviate some of the redundant tasks you end up doing every day.
- Review the forums of the different applications and see what people are complaining about. Are they real technical issues or are there repeated complaints that should be red flags? Do support staff seem to respond quickly to forum questions? Are they responsive, kind, and helpful, or do they sound like the users are bothering them?
- Does the company do the software installation for you?
- Do they provide copious amounts of tutorials, videos and documentation?
- How often do they update and upgrade the software?
- Is the dashboard intuitive?
- Do they have a money-back guarantee?
There are so many options to choose from, but after literally weeks of research over the last couple of years, and building numerous membership sites, my recommendation list comes down to three, depending on your needs: Digital Access Pass (DAP), Membermouse and the new kid on the block, ZippyCourses.
Digital Access Pass
- It’s great value at $167 – a one time fee for a single license (plus $60 a year – current rate – for updates and support). For what it does, this is a steal.
- You can provide a variety of different types of content to both free and paying customers/clients, including WordPress pages/posts/categories, videos from your video hosting service, audio files, PDF reports, zip files, html pages and even images.
- Allows you to sell unlimited products and create unlimited membership levels (free and paid), as well as recurring subscriptions and one time products.
- You’ll be able to sign up unlimited members.
- Offers limited-duration free and paid trials.
- You’ll accept payments from a range of carts and payment processors: Authorize.net, ClickBank, e-Junkie, Paypal Standard (Business & Premier), Paypal Website Payments Pro, 1ShoppingCart and all private labels, 2CheckOut, Infusionsoft, Premium Web Cart, WP eStore, Plimus, Warrior WSO Pro, Google Checkout, JVZoo, DigiResults and more.
- Use the built-in FREE DAP Shopping Cart for Authorize.net, Paypal Standard and Paypal Website Payments Pro so your members can check out and pay right on your web site. Free cart also has support for Coupon Codes and Dime Sales. It needs some styling to look great, but it can eliminate the need for a shopping cart subscription for some business models.
- Utilize ‘real’, unlimited content dripping without having to create a new ‘product’ for each dripped content segment.
- One-click upsells and downsells, as well as one time offers.
- There’s a built-in affiliate program that lets you pay per lead and pay per sale with support for PayPal Mass Pay. Also lets you offer multi-tier commissions.
- There’s also built-in email autoresponder and broadcasts emails.
- Then there’s the top-notch customer support, the ongoing development – and they’ll even install it for you!
Membermouse has pretty much everything that Digital Access Pass does, but as of spring 2015 only allows for one product purchase at a time in the shopping cart (no ‘continue shopping’) and does not include an affiliate module. It does have a much nicer user interface, though! It’s not a shopping cart, but is a beautiful membership plugin. Best for business owners with membership products or bundles and not multiple products.
A new offering by Derek Halpern of Social Triggers, this one looks brilliant. It’s just released, so I haven’t evaluated it completely, but am working my way through it building my own membership program. What sets Zippy Courses apart is that it offers full online course software, as well as multiple product capability, membership levels, and more. $199 for a year of support and updates
If you’re interested in discussing how membership software might make your business run more efficiently and make life easier for you and your clients, drop us a line via our contact page. We’d love to talk to you!