The best membership software is going to share some common traits regardless of the sophistication and power of the membership software. Reviewing these basic traits is an important 1st step in any membership software application and since this is an important part of your online business model, it’s important to choose wisely.
And only if the basics pass the initial review should you then shorten your list of membership software providers and perform a more detailed and extensive review.
Basic Membership Software Review Criteria
- Admin Interface – There’s a big difference between a software application that technically “works” and software that’s easy to work. Look for an admin panel that has a well thought out interface with easy to follow menus and step-by-step Camtasia style videos.
- Installation and Upgrades – There are 2 schools of thought for software; 1 is the old “own it and install it” like Microsoft Office and the other is the Google Apps approach where you use the software and let someone else deal with the maintenance, upgrade and security issues.
I personally believe the old school method of owning and installing stand alone software is coming to a close as there are simply too many advantages inherent to online software applications. The biggest strategic advantage is the ability to ignore the technical issues and to focus instead on the business side of the equation.
- Ease of Use – Besides looking good and having an intuitive interface, the membership software also needs to operate in a manner that makes it easy to upload your videos, audios and written materials for distribution to your customers.
- Customer Segmentation – Not all customers are treated equally, based on what they paid, so it’s important that you can easily segment your customers and only give them access to the materials that they paid.
- Timed Content Distribution – Also known as “drip feeding” content, it’s important to keep customers in your membership system as long as possible to maximize the lifetime revenue from each customer. To do this, you’ll need a membership system that distributes your content on a pre-determined schedule and not expose all your materials on day 1.
- Affiliate System Integration – Having affiliates promote your membership site is going to be critical to a long term profitable venture so the affiliate portion of the software must be top rated or your prospects of finding super affiliates will be severely limited.
These are simply some of the basic needs of the best membership software. By no means is this an extensive review rather it’s a starting point to an in depth analysis.