One potential problem with membership plugins or services is scalability. Will it be easy to protect content when I have tons of posts and pages? Will I be able to protect different kinds of content as my site grows? Will payment processing and order management scale with my user base?
Good membership platforms have to be easy enough to use when membership sites are launched, but need to provide the room for these sites to grow as they become successful. In this MemberMouse Review, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of using MemberMouse for WordPress membership sites, and how MemberMouse fits the needs of different users.
Want to jump around? Here’s a table of contents:
|1. Overview||6. Selling Bundles||11. Integrations|
|2. Getting Started||7. Smart Tags||12. Support|
|3. Configuring MemberMouse||8. Selling & Managing Memberships||13. Other Comments|
|4. Creating Products||9. Payments & Billing||14. MemberMouse Review Wrap-Up|
|5. Creating Access Levels||10. Shipping||15. Read More|
MemberMouse is a WordPress membership plugin that integrates with any WordPress site. It offers a full-featured solution for memberships, including content restriction, flexible billing options, content dripping, restricting logins, and supports developer tweaks and changes. In addition, MemberMouse can offer upsells to members, or automatically offer downsells to customers who want to cancel in order to improve customer retention and maximize revenue. MemberMouse also allows members to upgrade or downgrade memberships themselves.
MemberMouse costs are dependent on the number of users for your membership site, yet MemberMouse isn’t a true SaaS solution, as the MemberMouse plugin runs on your own servers. You install the plugin on your site, but will also have a MemberMouse account; your site then checks in with the MemberMouse licensing server to send data on site usage. Because this is a “check in”, your site doesn’t require MemberMouse’s licensing servers to run the membership part of your site. As a result, site performance is entirely dependent on your own hosting and environment.
MemberMouse pricing ranges from $20 per month for 1,000 users up to premium and professional plans at $300-600 per month for sites with over 100,000 users (support is included for all plans). You can try MemberMouse free for a 14 day trial before committing to using it. Each pricing tier offers different benefits (such as premium support starting with advanced plans), but here’s a rough breakdown of price based on number of users:
|Plan Name||Max No. Users||Monthly Cost|
My experience using MemberMouse began with an onboarding email that gave me steps to take to register my site and set up MemberMouse. The email also linked to the resources I’d need to get started, as well as some basic instructions and a series of tutorial videos. Before you can start playing with site setup, you’ll need to register your site URL in your MemberMouse account:
The cool thing about this is that you can change the registered URL, so if you want to use MemberMouse on a staging site before migrating to a production site, you can register the staging site URL and completely set up your site and members for launch, then migrate the URL to the live site. Once your site URL is registered in your MemberMouse account, you can then download the MemberMouse plugin from your dashboard and install it in your WordPress site. From there, you’re ready to start configuring your site.
If you don’t want to set up the site yourself, you can purchase Quick Start service from MemberMouse for $299, which includes a WordPress installation (optional), MemberMouse setup following a consultation call, and an optional migration of membership data from an existing site.
MemberMouse creates several pages when installed (similar to an eCommerce plugin), such as checkout pages, login/out pages for members, and more. You can customize these pages in order to test the most effective approach for your store, but I chose to first get set up.
You can check out your membership dashboard when you log in to see some compressed details about your site, but since I haven’t set anything up yet, I headed down to the General Settings menu to see what options I had.
Under general settings, I navigated to “Other Settings” and was able to change what members see when logged in, including the page they’re redirected to and whether to display protected menu items (for example, if you’re protecting products from non-members). One setting that many of you will find interesting is the “Access Sharing Protection” Setting:
This little box allows you to restrict how many different IP addresses can log into your site using the same credentials in a 24-hour period. I’d allow more than one IP address in case members use a computer and a mobile device to view your content. That way they don’t get frustrated by being locked out of your site when using a different device. For some membership sites, the ability to restrict login information is non-negotiable, so MemberMouse becomes an attractive option.
MemberMouse also allows you to create Employee users under General Settings so that sales or support personnel can log into your site and member center in order to create or assist members, but do not have access to site configuration options. When support or sales people log in, they only have access to the “Manage Members” menu, MemberMouse Dashboard, and Activity Logs.
As a final note on setup, MemberMouse includes a couple of built-in widgets that you can use to display content throughout your site. For example, the “Protected Content” widget can display upcoming content to members based on which membership level access they have so they know what to look forward to (date can be included as well).
One word of caution for those of you trying MemberMouse: watch the tutorial videos. I make a habit out of jumping into using a new plugin without first reading documentation or watching videos, but I ended up going back and forth between the products and memberships that I created and wasted time. Usually documentation is great for when I get stuck rather than as a starting point, but I wasn’t sure why memberships and products were separated in the way that they were.
MemberMouse assigns membership access to different products. If you’re new at this, it may seem redundant to separate memberships from products at first; however, this allows you far more flexibility in pricing your membership products. You can create a “Bronze” membership access level and tie it to multiple products, such as a standard product (at one price), a discounted product (with a promotional price), and an affiliate product (with a price for users referred from an affiliate). After watching the videos and understanding this structure, I really liked the flexibility offered by separating membership access from products.
Products are created under Product Settings. Both virtual and physical products are managed from the same page, and once your products are set up, you can then create membership access levels and assign them to your products. To start, assign your “Associated Access” for your products to “none” since you’ll be setting up memberships later.
With MemberMouse, you can create sign-up fees or trial periods. If you enable “Trials”, you can optionally set a price for a trial period (which can be $0), then determine how long that trial period will run. If you only want to use this for a sign-up fee, then you can set a one-day trial and then start the membership. This isn’t ideal, as the monthly charge won’t be shown immediately at checkout since only the signup fee is shown, but it works well enough that it shouldn’t be an issue. Your product description should explain fees and billing anyway.
You can also make products “shippable” to take advantage of the limited shipping methods available in MemberMouse for memberships that involve physical products.
Once products are created, you can then create membership access levels to tie to any of your membership products. These membership levels will determine the content restriction rules for members. However, you can also edit the access rules on a per-post or per-page basis.
When you create a membership level, you can assign that access level to a particular product. This is what I was talking about in terms of flexibility – you can assign an access level to as many products as you want, so if you offer promotional pricing for email subscribers or referrals from your affiliates, you can tie the same access to each of these products.
You’ll also select which categories will be protected for that access level from the same screen. Multiple post categories can be selected for access. As a result, MemberMouse supports both tiered and topic-based memberships.
As a default, access will be restricted for the entire post for each post in the category. However, you can get around this to display post excerpts and teasers with Smart Tags. Access can also be set on a per-post or per-page basis while editing a post or page. The post / page editor is also where you’ll handle content dripping. Dripping is flexible and super-simple, as you can set a delay in access for each membership level in terms of days.
Once content dripping is set up, you can view schedules for each membership level under Product Settings > Content Dripping Schedule to get an overall view of when each access level can see content. This page will also allow you to bulk edit access rights for each membership level, and customize content dripping times for each access level. It’s really useful for those of you that already have a lot of content created, and just want to assign drip times and access rights from one screen.
Not sure how it will look to each member? MemberMouse has a cool feature where you can preview content from a certain access level’s point of view, and even from a number of days into the membership (to see how your content dripping will affect what members see). Look at the top of your screen when previewing your site:
Neat, huh? So now you’ve set up products and access levels, then tied them together. Once you’re completely done, you’ll have a list of products with associated access levels:
MemberMouse has another sales option of which you can take advantage. Members cannot purchase more than one membership level using MemberMouse. However, you can use a different content restriction tool, known as a bundle, to provide a topic-based membership. This is also how you can provide upsells to current members. You can assign multiple products to a bundle in the same way that you can assign multiple products to a membership access level. Bundles allow you to expand the content access that a product provides when used in this way.
Because Bundles are tied to products in the same way as membership access, bundles can also take advantage of content dripping. The benefit to using bundles is that members can purchase more than one bundle at a time.
Before you start setting up your site to sell membership products, you’ll want to check out some of the built-in shortcodes for MemberMouse, known as Smart Tags. You can use smart tags to insert purchase links for your products, selectively restrict (or remove restrictions from) certain pieces of content to create excerpts, and show member data. For example, you can show a member’s name on emails or welcome pages, content based on their membership level, or show content based on which affiliate referred the member to your site.
Smart tags also allow you to insert links that allow members to manage their own subscriptions, upgrade memberships, or purchase new products. Since you can customize the member’s “My Account Page”, you can upsell bundles for all members, or dynamically display upsells for each membership level.
Content Restriction can also be created or lifted with smart tags. For example, if you just want to display teaser content to non-members or members that don’t have the correct access, you can wrap that content in a smart tag:
[MM_Access_Decision access="false"] This is my teaser content. [/MM_Access_Decision]
This lifts the protection from that content for readers without access. Putting smart tags together can provide some pretty powerful customization and automation for your membership site.
When you’re done learning about smart tags, setting up products, access levels, and content dripping, you’ll want to sell the memberships you’ve created. While MemberMouse automatically creates a lot of pages, it doesn’t create a catalog or sales page. For me this is a good thing, as I think selling memberships to potential users requires long-form content anyway – members probably aren’t going to come to your site and browse for memberships right away.
To sell memberships, you’ll need to create pages or posts with purchase links. You can copy purchase links from your product settings for each product, or generate a purchase link using a smart tag if the link is being posted on your WordPress site (which is what we’ve done in the screenshot). You can also use MemberMouse’s built-in button styles rather than the ones from your theme (mine are a bit lackluster since we’re using the default theme).
One of the great things about MemberMouse is that members can manage themeselves, which helps free up time you’d otherwise spend on site administration. For example, member upgrades, downgrades, and cancellations can all be done by members in the “My Account” page. You can also customize the member “My Account” page to automatically upsell your products for you, or to try to save sales if members want to cancel.
When members make changes to their accounts, these changes are automatically reflected in your email lists or other integrations built-in to MemberMouse so that you don’t have to manually manage changes in membership (i.e., moving from the “gold” list to the “platinum” email list). The members center is geared towards automating and simplifying your site management, which can save huge amounts of time for sites with thousands of members.
If you’d like to downsell members who’d like to cancel, you can take advantage of the MemberMouse Save the Sale page, which lets you create a downsell that will be shown to members that want to cancel a membership. When members do cancel, you can choose to hard cancel the membership, which blocks access to the members area and logging in, or you can pause the membership. When a member pauses their account (or you choose to set cancellations to membership pauses), their membership is actually frozen so that they still have access to any content that’s been released up to that point, but are removed from the drip schedule and cannot access any new content.
Update: The newest version of MemberMouse changes cancellations. Member status now becomes “Pending Cancellation” when the users opts to cancel, but the user retains access until the end of their current billing cycle. They then change to “Cancelled” and access is stopped.
Billing is extremely flexible with MemberMouse, and cycles are completely customized. You can bill in terms of days, weeks, months, or years, and enter the cycle of your choosing (ex: 3 months, 1 year, 2 weeks, etc). You can continue to bill on a recurring basis indefinitely, or you can set a number of cycles for the membership (such as “3 payments of $19.95”). In addition, you can charge a one-time fee for memberships (though I’d recommend avoiding this unless you’re just starting out, as you’ll constantly have to chase new members, which kind of defeats the purpose of a recurring billing model 😉 ).
You can also use coupons with MemberMouse, and determine whether to apply them to the first billing cycle or the life of the membership. Coupons can provide a percentage off or a dollar-amount reduction. Coupons can also be created to provide an entirely free membership, or you could create a membership for a customer yourself and comp that membership instead. Coupon usage can be restricted to certain products or a number of uses.
The best part about billing is that you can control recurring billing actions, such as refunds, directly from MemberMouse rather than logging into your account with your payment processor. For example, you can issue refunds from within your MemberMouse admin rather than logging in to Stripe or PayPal to do so, and MemberMouse automatically interacts with the correct processor.
Finally, MemberMouse integrates with several popular payment providers, such as Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.net, Braintree, and ClickBank. You can use one on-site payment method, such as Stripe or Authorize.net, and at the same time use PayPal and/or ClickBank to provide up to three payment options.
Because cards are tokenized and saved for members, MemberMouse can also help automate overdue payment handling to save your customer management team time and keep your revenue stream flowing. When MemberMouse detects that a card has been declined, it marks the member’s account as overdue, then sends the member and email asking him to login and update the card information in the account. The member can then update billing information from the “My Account” page. The member is then immediately charged the amount due and the member account is reactivated.
MemberMouse isn’t really designed to be an eCommerce platform, but it does allow you to sell some physical products through your site and to sell physical products with subscriptions, such as magazines (though I think it does a far better job with virtual products than physical products). When you create your product, you mark it as “shippable”, then set up basic shipping rates (such as standard and expedited shipping).
Personally, I’d just include shipping as part of the membership pricing per month (and advertise that fact!) to simplify my store management, but the shipping methods can be useful for selling ‘swag’ items and other physical products for your site.
MemberMouse has a few integrations built in to help you with your site management. First, email is critical for communication and engagement. Rather than set up an internal email system, MemberMouse integrates directly with email marketing companies like MailChimp and AWeber. You can use this integration to manage your relationship with members using an email platform you’re already familiar with, and moving members between lists is automatic to save you time.
MemberMouse also integrates with iDevAffiliate to manage affiliates for your membership site. When customers are sent from an affiliate, this will automatically be noted in the member account, and you can choose to dynamically display content or offers to members based on which affiliate referred them to your site.
MemberMouse includes email support with all plans, and offers some other resources for users. Full documentation is available, and was pretty helpful for me. Some documentation includes video walkthroughs, and all settings and functions are documented. I only used the support desk one time for an issue with the smart tag library, and received an answer for the question I submitted in the morning later the same day, and also got a follow-up email to let me know the issue would be resolved in the next release.
In addition, there’s developer documentation available for site customizations. If you’re running a membership site with tens of thousands of members, chances are you have a developer on retainer or one on staff, so having docs handy for tweaks and customizations is a plus.
Speaking of Developers
If you’re an advanced user, or have a developer on staff, you can further automate a lot of MemberMouse functions. In addition to smart tags (shortcodes in WordPress lingo), there are plenty of actions and filters available, as well as a well-documented set of global functions for use in templates and other custom code.
In addition, you can create push notifications for site administrators and members for events such as new member signups or payment receipts. However, these push notifications can also be used to trigger actions in third-party integrations (i.e., sending data to an accounting system). This means that MemberMouse can always be the hub of information for your membership-based business.
MemberMouse also has an API that developers can use to integrate MemberMouse with external systems, which isn’t the case with all membership plugins. This allows you to create, get, and update information about members.
MemberMouse makes it easy to improve the Lifetime Value of your members by providing the ability for one-click sales. By removing barriers to purchase for existing members, you can drastically increase conversions. When members are logged in, purchase links simply open a pop-up confirming that the purchase will be charged to the card on the account to make the purchase essentially a one-click sale (account info is already prepopulated with the payment information tokenized in the customer account). Since you’ve already gone through the time and expense to acquire these members, up-selling them is made as easy as possible to generate additional revenue and to help them find other products.
Another interesting feature is the ability to email purchase links to members, so that when the link is clicked, members are logged in and sent to a pre-populated shopping cart to again remove as many barriers as possible to purchase.
The level of service MemberMouse offers was interesting for me, as many membership solutions offer the plugin / integration and support, and that’s it. The Quick Start service is a white-gloved install and setup, which is offered by a few other services, but MemberMouse also provides a list of recommended contractors, and encourages current users to become affiliates to promote the services. Developer resources are also a great addition, and help you to customize, tweak, or extend your use of MemberMouse beyond WordPress.
MemberMouse offers huge functionality and will allow you to treat your membership site like a business instead of a hobby. Since it’s designed for sites with tens of thousands of members, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Setting up a site and basic content restriction is easy (especially with the help of the “Getting Started” videos), but far more customization is possible if you’re willing to make a time investment in site setup and optimization. There’s definitely a learning curve involved in using MemberMouse, but it’s in proportion to the amount of functionality you get out of the plugin, as it has almost everything you could want in a membership platform.
MemberMouse Review Visual
Overall, MemberMouse is a well-rounded membership solution that provides more upsides than downsides and offers powerful features and flexibility for many different membership site models. I had some help in understanding all of the functionality from the MemberMouse team, and the more I learned, the more I was impressed with MemberMouse’s capabilities. Have questions? Ask in the comments!
Like this MemberMouse review? Here’s some more content you may want to read:
- Here’s a list of recent updates to the platform from MemberMouse.
- If you’re just getting started, you could check out our checklist for membership platforms to see what points you may want to consider when setting up your site.
- One of our contributors, Jason Glaspey, recently wrote a post on his experiences switching to MemberMouse from WooCommerce.