How do you know which membership platform (or plugin) is best for you?
I’ve ran a membership program for 7 years and happy to share some of my experience. It comes down to pricing, features, and most importantly…how you plan to run your business!
1. NEW business vs ESTABLISHED business
This is a really important distinction to make because it greatly determines what kind of platform will help your business vs hurt your business.
If you have a NEW business, what you need most is speed and flexibility. You need to get off the ground quickly and launch your business ASAP so you can start making money and take advantage of that new enthusiasm. You either don’t even have your memberships plans/products/services ready or you have only 1 or 2 at most. Those pre-packaged membership platforms are probably the best bet for you. Not only will they get your service up and running quickly but they’re easy to make changes so your pivot can quickly pivot to meet industry needs. You also won’t have to pay much to start and won’t waste so much time in development.
If you have an ESTABLISHED business, what you need most scalability and reliability. You don’t need flexibility any more since you already know exactly what kinds of things you need and don’t need. What you need is a system that can handle tons of members, plans/products/services, and also layout your membership in a customized way. Of course, this requires a more mature platform and probably custom development to go with it. It’s pricier but your profits cover the cost easily.
Most membership platforms are priced in 3 different ways:
- Per software license – you pay for a monthly/annual fee for the software and you’re free to use it however you wish. Only problem is it might take extra time/cost to develop the software to look and function exactly how you want it to.
- Per product or member – you pay a monthly fee based the number of products and members that you have. This can turn out to be very cost-effective if you have few products and members, but your products are high-dollar. On the other hand, they are quickly overpriced if you plan to have many products and members but at low-cost.
- Per transaction – you give up a percentage of your earnings (and maybe also a monthly fee). This can be especially costly in the long run if you have many members. You’ll feel like you’re getting ripped off.
My advice? Do some math ahead of time and think realistically about how many products and members you plan to have in the future. It might be a better idea to pick the right platform now before changing later down the line. Now would be a great time to really hone in your business model.
Pick the platform that allows you to do what you need, and maybe a little more. Don’t pick one that’s overkill. Think very carefully about how your workflow will be on a daily basis. There is no need to have extra features that only create extra work (for no pay) and make you hate your business sooner. The features should be fun and helpful rather than time-consuming and stressful.
4. PRODUCT management vs USER management
Again, your membership platform should fit your workflow. Is most of your day-to-day going to be creating new content? Or is it going to be interacting with existing users? Or a bit of both? And which one actually creates more value for your business? You need to think about these things!
Typically, the most customizable membership platforms are usually software plugins that look relatively “bare” and unpolished compared to the others. This bare-ness is what makes them developer-friendly and easier to work with since you can style them however you want without having to battle with default styles. The more established your business, the more you’ll want a developer-grade membership plugin with limitless flexibility. It’s the only way IMO to create a truly unique user experience.
Want to try my favorite membership plugin?
- Super easy to use, really flexible (for both non-technical users as well as developers), cheaply priced IMO, and with tons of features. Read my MemberPress review.
You can check it out using my affiliate link – www.memberpress.com