If you’ve ever been a part of a club, company, or organization, you know how hard it can be to manage people. It’s true for digital spaces too: A major hurdle for people interested in starting a membership site business is the fear of being overloaded trying to manage everyone who joins.
But it doesn’t have to be this way, we promise! With the help of membership management software, your job can become much easier.
Ahead, we’re going to explore what membership management software is; why membership and subscription management software is valuable for any organizer; and finally, we’ll look at some software platforms that can help you get started with your membership site.
What is membership management software?
Membership management software is designed to make organizing a group of people easier for you through automation.
When you create a membership or subscription website, you’ll probably be creating content, small groups, and special offers for your members. But on top of that, you’ll be dealing with members’ requests, concerns, technical problems, and more. This can be incredibly time consuming without the right processes in place.
The best membership management software will give you powerful tools to control the ways you communicate with members (and how they communicate with you and each other).
Why is membership management software worth having?
Membership management software is worth it because when you’re able to streamline managerial work, you can focus on providing a quality membership experience to members.
Now, you might be saying, “That sounds great and all, but what does it actually do!” We get it, this can all seem pretty abstract.
So, let’s change that.
In the past, you might have had to hire someone solely to deal with these responsibilities. But today, membership management software eases the process of automating tedious tasks, such as:
- Approving potential member applications.
- Organizing all of your member data into an easily accessible database.
- Automating membership payments and renewals.
- Allowing you to send mass emails to your members.
- Detailed access to member activity reports.
Membership management software won’t completely eliminate these tasks but it will significantly reduce your work.
We are living in a time when people want answers to their questions and concerns immediately. Membership management software can allow you a stop gap to either solving issues, or getting the ball rolling on figuring them out.
Now that we’ve talked through why membership management software is a great thing to have, we’ll move on to the key features you’ll want in the software.
The best membership management software features
Membership management software is only as good as the features it provides you, to make your job easier.
We believe there are two important criteria when evaluating membership site management software:
- It should have a host of features that automate many of your monotonous tasks.
- It should provide you with many ways to encourage member interactions.
Now, let’s take a look at what features help you achieve these criteria.
The first major component of any membership is the application or registration process. We’re sure that you can think of a time where the signup process for a service you were interested in ended up completely turning you off from subscribing. Signing up for your membership site should be one of the easiest steps in the process.
The best community management software will offer a registration process that’s quick, easy, and seamless.
Charge for memberships
This might seem like a no-brainer, but having the ability to charge for memberships is a must. A lot of organizers end up utilizing cumbersome ways to monetize their membership sites. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Membership management software can provide the infrastructure to charge for memberships, allow for different payment options, and even automate the renewal process.
Mass notifications and messaging
Another important feature is the ability to quickly and efficiently send messages to all of your members at once. For some creators, it can be a major time saver: When you have mass-emailing functionality, you can notify anyone where there are new deals or fresh content, and give members reminders about opportunities, events, and more.
Downloadable membership data and activity
One thing is true no matter what sort of membership you offer: you’re going to gain a lot of data. The best membership management software will allow you to easily download and store that information. That way, when you or your team need the data down the road, it’s easy to parse.
Plus, knowing the who, what, where of your members’ activity can be incredibly useful. Especially when you’re planning new promotions, content, and strategies for your business going forward.
Groups and exclusive content
When you create a membership site, you bring together a group of people with similar interests. Inevitably, some will be more invested than others.
Fortunately, this isn’t a bad thing.
Membership management software allows you to experiment with assigning members into small groups. This allows you to speak to specific peoples’ needs and encourage more interaction between certain members. Plus, creating groups can create sub-communities within your big community of supporters.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you have a free membership on your website. In the free space, you can still post announcements, new content, and more to all members. But you can also offer a paid membership tier that gives people who opt-in exclusive content, deals, and incentives.
Utilizing membership tiers is a great way to give members autonomy in how they want to interact with your brand. On top of that, the best membership management software will allow you to reward members for their activity with things like referral programs.
If you’re thinking of starting a membership site, offering an online course might not be your first thought. But don’t underestimate how valuable this feature can be.
Remember, the best membership management software will allow you to automate tasks and offer members valuable experiences. With online courses, you can pile on the value by giving your members a chance to learn, connect, and get that much closer to their own goals alongside their peers.
3 platforms that have great membership management software
While there are plenty of platforms that offer membership management software out there, we’re trying to make your search easier. We’ve narrowed down three platforms that offer many of the features we’ve detailed above.
Let’s check them out.
Mighty Networks has powerful membership management software that allows you all of the features we’ve talked about today (and more):
- Website builder.
- Member profiles.
- Automated membership applications.
- Activity log.
- Downloadable analytics for member data.
- Automated payments.
- The ability to create exclusive content.
- Online courses.
Best of all, it does this while making your website available on both the web and on a native mobile app, available on iOS and Android. All of which are easy to set up and customize.
Wild Apricot is another major player in the world of membership management software. They describe themselves as a platform that will help you “attract, engage, and retain” your members.
The brand has focused on providing tools to streamline the processes of collecting and analyzing member data. Some features we like are:
- Automated membership applications.
- Membership renewals.
- Online membership database.
- Exclusive content.
- Mobile App.
Wild Apricot has many must-have membership management features, and they excel in automation. It’s a great pick if you’re solely looking for a way to streamline interaction with members… But to us, part of the benefit of membership sites is that you can automate tedious tasks and engage more deeply with your biggest supporters.
On top of that, Wild Apricot doesn’t provide you the option to offer online courses. This might not seem like a downside if you weren’t considering it, but believe us, having this feature available to you will be worthwhile in the long run.
Join It has created membership management software that emphasizes automation of repetitive tasks. When you choose Join It, you’re getting a lot of the features we’ve talked about above, but you need to have a lot of the infrastructure laid out already.
Here are some of the features that we think Join it has that we like:
- The ability to put memberships into different categories.
- Activity log.
- Automated membership renewal.
- Online payments and cancellations.
- Downloadable member analytics.
While Join It offers a lot in the way of monetization and automation, that’s basically all you’re getting. Their services are much more impersonal compared to Mighty Networks and Wild Apricot. On top of that, they don’t allow you to offer online courses, and there’s no mobile app.
Time to get started
We can’t stress enough how much membership management software can improve the way you work. It’s great that you’ve been thinking about how you can start your own membership site and hopefully, this guide will help you get started.
But utilizing membership management software to create your website isn’t just about automating the processes of your business. It’s also about making it easier for you to create a space for your online community to convene and interact with you and their fellow members.
This is an exciting time, and we can’t wait to see what you create!