Running a membership website? Here are a few of our favorite tools for improving user experience, reducing churn, and making your life easier.
Creating a membership website is one of the best ways to create recurring revenue in your business.
We’ve created and managed our own memberships, such as Farm Fed Box and the Palm Tree Club, and have recently launched quite a few membership websites for other businesses such as Magic Playbook (one of my favorite website launches to date!).
Over time we’ve come to recognize that running a successful membership website is about more than just having a great product. If you want to build a successful membership website, you’ll need to work hard to create ongoing value in order to reduce your churn rate.
Churn rate is the rate at which people stop subscribing to your membership. Every membership has to deal with churn, and churn isn’t necessarily caused by a poor experience or bad product. It could be that someone “grows out” of your product. For instance, if you’re a sleep coach providing membership programs for parents with young children, members might churn after their kids have grown and sleep is no longer a struggle.
A great product might get someone to sign-up for your membership, but keeping people around is a wholly different endeavor.
Anyways, this post isn’t about reducing churn rate—it’s about some of our favorite tools that we have come across for membership websites. Many of these tools, however, can help provide a better experience for your members and reduce churn. Others will make your life easier as a membership website owner.
Our 4 Favorite Membership Plugins
MailPoet is an email tool for WordPress websites. What we love about MailPoet is that it has tight integration with WordPress since it’s made specifically for that platform. This means we don’t have to worry about importing members, customers, or users into another email tool to get in touch with them. If someone joins our membership, they’re automatically added to the right list. If they leave, they’re removed. Simple.
Additionally, we love that we can easily customize the design of our transactional emails using MailPoet. Transactional emails are those emails associated with a transaction (i.e. signing up, invoices, etc.). It just makes things that much more professional.
MailPoet’s email editor isn’t too shabby either. It’s pretty easy to design emails that look good. Flodesk, however, is still the gold standard when it comes to designing beautiful emails.
There are a few other reasons we love MailPoet such as its pricing structure and the ability to use your own sending host (we use SMTP.com, although most users will probably want to use MailPoet’s sending service for simplicity).
We’ve written extensively about other email marketing tools like Flodesk and ConvertKit—and we still love and use those platforms. Any of these other platforms still work well for membership websites, especially if you don’t have a WordPress website.
One of the best ways to increase traffic to your membership website is through an affiliate program. Choosing the right program can be tough because there are so many and they range in cost. AffiliateWP is awesome because it’s feature-rich without being overly expensive.
We’ve used AffiliateWP on a few different websites, and it’s flexible enough to meet different needs. For instance, whether you want to do flat rate commissions, percentage of sales, or recurring commissions, AffiliateWP can help.
Something we love about AffiliateWP is the option to use an affiliate dashboard that’s not within WordPress. If you select this option, when an affiliate goes to their dashboard, it will open up a portal that’s much more organized than WordPress. We think this really helps when making it as easy as possible for affiliates to share.
This is another tool that’s made specifically for WordPress websites.
Cartflows is a WordPress plugin that can be used to create a sleek checkout experience. Instead of that normal looking Woocommerce checkout, Cartflows can be used to customize your checkout pages to include bump offers, upsells, testimonials, payment plans and other information you might want to put in front of people at checkout. It’s really a sales funnel tool more than a checkout customizer.
Something we love about Cartflows is the ability to A/B test different offers and add dynamic offers based on customer data or selections.
Cartflows integrates with Woocommerce subscriptions, so it should work with most Woocommerce membership sites (but always check with the developer first). They also integrate with other WordPress membership/course solutions like LearnDash.
Judge.Me is a tool that makes it easy to collect and post reviews for your products on your website. It integrates with both WordPress and Shopify.
What we love about Judge.Me is the ability to collect reviews on autopilot. We can set the request frequency and emails are automatically sent out. The emails can be customized, too.
Check out this YouTube video for some more information about Judge.Me.
How to Decide Whether a Membership Tool is a Good Fit
It’s tough to commit to a new website tool, but we’re always on the lookout for ways to improve the user experience of our membership websites or make our lives a little easier. Whenever we come across a new tool that looks interesting, we always…
- Think through different use cases both now and in the future. Does this tool currently meet our needs and will it in the future?
- Determine whether it integrates with our current website set-up. Does it integrate with other platforms, plugins, and tools that we use? If not, how much work will be involved to manually integrate it?
- Research the monetary-cost commitment and time-cost commitment. How much does the tool cost? Will it allow us to generate additional revenue or give us time back so that we can focus on revenue generating tasks?
As always, we highly recommend testing new tools on a staging environment before installing them on a live website.
These are only a few of the many tools that we use on our membership websites. Have additional questions? Hit us up in the comments or DM us on Instagram.
What is your favorite membership website plugin or tool?