WordPress has been making some serious waves in the world of membership sites over the last few years as a slew of affordable plugins have emerged designed specifically for that use case.
In our recent roundup of leading contenders in the membership plugin space, one solution stood out for its combination of ease of use and powerful functionality – MemberMouse.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at MemberMouse, walk through getting set up and examine the main features it has to offer in helping you build a killer membership site.
Before we get going though, let’s quickly review the advantages of adding a membership offering in the first place.
Benefits of Setting up a Membership Site
Businesses everywhere are starting to feel the pinch as the big beasts of the online jungle continue to encroach into their space.
To take just a few obvious examples: Google will happily answer your customers’ questions; Amazon will take care of delivery and fulfilment; Apple treats itself to a cool 30% of the sale for bringing users to you via an app.
Many businesses are increasingly concerned about building some sort of moat around their core offerings to ringfence their relationship with their own customers. Membership offerings are an excellent way of doing this.
In addition to that general point, there are four further obvious advantages that make membership offerings a no-brainer for most businesses:
- Predictable revenue: There is not a company on earth that isn’t extremely interested in boosting its bottom-line with predictable, recurring monthly revenue.
- Community building: Membership sites help raise your online profile and create brand ambassadors in an organic manner.
- Ongoing marketing opportunity: Having a membership offering of any kind gives you a natural series of touch points to leverage in terms of ongoing marketing.
- Easy to set up: It’s simply never been easier to get a membership solution up and running. The type of ruinously expensive custom development that would have been necessary just a few years ago, is no longer required.
It’s that last point we’ll be concentrating on here, with a detailed look at one of the best solutions out there – MemberMouse.
Set up by Eric Turnnesson in 2009, MemberMouse boasts a strong core team with impressive Fortune 500 backgrounds who are used to delivering in genuinely high-volume eCommerce environments.
MemberMouse is a subscription service and offers three primary pricing categories, with the basic packages set out below:
The standout features on offer are the range of customer management options available, detailed reporting and analytics, and integrated marketing tools such as upsells, downsells, trial offers and more.
International currency support also comes as standard and an international taxation module is scheduled for 2015 release.
If you’re looking for examples of MemberMouse sites in the wild, there’s an impressive list of seven-figure businesses prominently listed on their homepage, including slick-looking offerings from sites such as Marketing Wiz and Reflexion Yoga.
For those looking for a path to that kind of success, the How to Build a Profitable Membership Site guide from MemberMouse’s own Dan Caron is a great starting point.
So, with the background out of the way, let’s get going with actually using the software.
Getting Set Up with MemberMouse
MemberMouse offers a free 14-day trial, so taking the service for a test spin is nice and straightforward.
The onboarding process is slick, with a couple of initial upsells for their installation service and a paid training course on how to build your membership site into a seven figure business.
Pretty soon, you’re seeing your first glimpse at the MemberPress backend, where a handy three-minute video overview showing you what the initial steps are.
By this stage, you’ll have also received a well-written on-boarding email from the founder Eric Turnnesson, detailing the next steps to take.
The first step is registering the domain you intend to use for your site. This is done via the dashboard on the MemberMouse site itself.
After you’ve got your domain authorized, it’s time to download and install the MemberMouse plugin in the same way you would any other WordPress plugin.
Once the plugin is installed and activated, you should have access to the MemberMouse dashboard in WordPress itself.
As you can see, you’re immediately presented with a number of useful metrics relating to your site, and a comprehensive set of training videos to get you up to speed on overall functionality.
Most of these videos are also listed in the MemberMouse Support Center if you’d like to have a look at them prior to actually signing up.
We’d suggest starting with the Quick 10 Minute Tour of MemberMouse which will give you an excellent run-through of the main sections in the WordPress admin and what they’re responsible for.
If you find yourself getting stuck at any stage, the Support Center is just a click away.
Now that MemberMouse is up and running, let’s look at actually creating and selling some memberships.
Creating and Selling Memberships
The How to Master Products, Bundles and Membership Levels video has a great overview of the steps involved in getting your initial membership offering off the ground, and we highly recommend viewing that when you’re first starting off to avoid confusion.
The general sequence is as follows:
- Create a product.
- Associate access with that product.
- Sell the memberships.
Let’s briefly walk through those steps.
1. Creating a Product
A product in MemberMouse is simply what your customers end up paying for. They could be one-off products, payment plan offers, monthly billing products, trial periods – the choice is yours.
You can create your products under Product Settings. As you can see, there are options for setting your price, offering a trial and controlling subscriptions and payments conveniently built in.
2. Associating Access With a Product
The primary difference between the two is that members can have only one membership level but can purchase more than one bundle at a time.
Membership levels can be associated with multiple products and are created by going to Product Settings > Membership Levels.
Access to content itself can be configured on the post/page level, and this is also where you can start setting up drip content options.
Once you’ve set up a few pieces of content, you can get a handy overview of schedules per membership level by visiting Product Settings > Drip Content Schedule.
Intelligent features such as Smart Tags also allow you some finer-grained control in terms of offering purchase links and being able to preview excerpts of content as an incentive to sign up.
3. Sell the Membership
MemberMouse largely leaves the actual sales page up to you, so it’s simply a question of creating some compelling copy on a page of your choosing and incorporating the relevant purchase link in your call to action.
You will of course also have to have your payment methods set up. These can be configured via the Payment Settings tab as pictured below.
The subject of setting up payment providers is obviously a fairly broad one so we won’t dive in too much further.
Let’s move on to look at member management.
Taking Control of Member Management
One of MemberMouse’s key selling points is the way it enables you to allow members to manage their own accounts without you having to step in.
Members are free to upgrade, downgrade or cancel their memberships themselves directly from the My Account page, with MemberMouse making the necessary adjustments in terms of billing and account status automatically behind the scenes.
One of the powerful features of MemberMouse is the extent of its integration with third-party payment software.
Overdue payments, for example, are automatically recognized and followed up on via email, and you have the ability to issue refunds directly from within MemberMouse rather than having to log into Paypal or Stripe.
Reporting and Analytics
As your site grows, the subjects of reporting and analytics are going to become ever more important for maximizing your future revenue opportunities.
MemberMouse’s Reporting Suite comes with basic reporting functionality built-in, covering areas such as member reporting, revenue and engagement figures.
Users with access to the Advanced Reporting suite (available on all Advanced and Premium packages) can take things to the next level and start drilling in on figures for Lifetime Customer Value, churn rate and breaking out sales by channel.
Check out this video on the Advanced Reporting Suite for more details on the full range of options available.
MemberMouse is making a serious play at becoming the go-to WordPress membership solution.
The range of functionality on offer and level of attention to detail that’s gone into making it straightforward to set up is genuinely impressive.
Its options for member management, reporting and analytics take a lot of the heavy lifting out of the admin side of things, leaving you free to concentrate on creating killer content to keep members coming back for more.
Overall, we consider it a strongly recommended package if you’re looking to offer memberships on your site.
We’re curious to hear your feedback though. Have you already tried out MemberMouse? Or do you have any other recommendations in this space? Get in touch in the comments below!