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Jan 26, 2021
Best Membership Management Software Best Membership Management Software If you run a club, a gym, or any other membership-based entity, then you’ll need membership management software. Without it, you’ll struggle to manage your members, key events, content, and finances. Luckily, there’s plenty of excellent software out there. There’s a significant amount this type of software can do, too, including database management, email marketing, and event planning. I’ve put together a list of the best membership management software to give you one less thing to worry about this year. The Top 8 Best Membership Management Software: MemberSpace — The Best for Overall Customer Service Zen Planner — The Best for Sports Studios and Gyms Breeze — The Best for Church Membership Management GrowthZone — The Best for Membership Management Automation Member365 — The Best for Built-In Communications StarChapter — The Best for Member Customization Raklet — The Best for Transactions ClubExpress — The Best for the Mobile Member Experience Now you know our picks, let’s get started. #1 – MemberSpace — The Best for Overall Customer Service MemberSpace is a membership management company that has a consumer-centric focus first and foremost. The days of struggling alone without any backup are truly well and gone if you opt for this particular piece of software. For example, while most customers have found MemberSpace to have a difficult learning curve initially, this is alleviated because the technical support is second to none. That excellent technical support extends to everything you do with the software, too, so you can have confidence that using it won’t lead you down a path where you find yourself stuck. MemberSpace also delivers the following features: A massive number of integrations, from WordPress to Jimdo Unlimited members Custom styling Worried about the pricing due to the customer support on offer? Don’t be. There’s a 14-day free trial available to ease you in, and once that’s over, you can expect to pay an affordable $25 per month on the base plan. The other monthly packages do offer more, but impressively, the VIP support is available for all of them at no extra cost. That’s something I like to see. Try it now . #2 – Zen Planner — The Best for Sports Studios and Gyms Customized pricing Zen Planner is a membership management software specially catered toward sports studios and gyms. With that in mind, the software allows club members to track their workouts, reserve classes, and much more. On the business side of things, you’ll be able to calculate your expenses and taxes, process financial transactions, and have access to custom reports to keep everything running smoothly. It’s ideal for sports studios and gyms because the software allows members to track their bills and make secure payments for their classes via a self-service portal. Other key features of Zen Planner include: Attendance tracking Simplified automated billing Skills tracking When it comes to pricing, Zen Planner bases this on the number of members your club has, and the price rises accordingly. For example, if you have 1-50 active members, you can expect to pay a monthly subscription fee of $117 per month. Do you have more active members than that? Well, 51-100 members comes in at $157 per month, 101-250 members is $197 per month, and 251+ members is priced at $227 per month. One important point here: the features don’t change based on the number of members you have and the price you pay. In other words, you won’t be missing out just because you’re a smaller club—something I think is an excellent move from Zen Planner. #3 – Breeze — The Best for Church Membership Management Breeze, as the name suggests, aims to make everything a breeze for small and mid-sized churches. I’d say it succeeds here. Its cloud-based church management software offers everything from donation tracking to data importing, while friendly customer support is available to help you navigate any problems along the way. Custom fields let you store and filter through data from background checks to baptism dates, so it’s easy to find what you need. The software also enables you to compose and quickly send emails to individuals or groups of people, and handy message stats shows you who is opening them. Other features of the membership management software include: MailChimp integration SMS reminders and alerts Breeze further lives up to its name by making the pricing a breeze, too. You can expect to pay $50 per month. That’s it—no hidden extra costs. For that, you’ll receive phone and email support, an unlimited number of users, all the available features, and you can cancel at any time. Breeze also maintains that price rises in the future, if any, will be minimal and fair. #4 – GrowthZone — The Best for Membership Management Automation GrowthZone is a membership management software with a keen focus on marketing automation. The time you’ll save from automating tasks can be used productively elsewhere to grow your business, as well as the overall efficiency that automation can provide. An example of the automation with GrowthZone is in its dedicated ‘automation module.’ This includes a powerful drag-and-drop visual email and landing page creator, and email templates you can send out to members. What’s more, the automation will send out a welcome email when members sign up. It can also make check-in calls to see how things are going and analyzes how members are using the software. GrowthZone also includes the following useful features: Multiple mobile options plus native apps for iOS and Android Payment processing Subscription management Accounting integration GrowthZone doesn’t offer as simple pricing as Breeze, however, and comes in four different variants: It’s particularly worth noting that the base features—known as core modules—are the same for all tiers, but a host of add-ons and modules, including marketing automation and member recruitment, are premium add-ons that cost extra. As I think GrowthZone could have included these in the monthly packages to streamline things, this is a detractor, but this is still great software overall. #5 – Member365 — The Best for Built-In Communication Great for communication Member365 is good membership management software when it comes to the expected features, but one area it excels in is its built-in communication prowess. I’m specifically referring to the chat option available to all members who use the software, allowing easy but vital communication to occur in a seamless environment. Discussion forums are available for everyone to keep up-to-date on the latest events, but members can also talk directly to each other, as well as you and your business, through the bespoke chat feature. This open form of communication helps you know how members feel about things and, as a result, can help you build a powerful level of trust with them. Some of the other highlights of Member365 include the following: Renewals and reporting Email marketing Fundraising Member reports On the pricing side, Member365 is split into four tiers via a rising monthly subscription fee based on the number of contacts: The number of contacts considerably increases between the tiers. All tiers include access to unlimited administrators except the first tier, so think carefully about how important that is for your company. The second tier would be a good starting point for most small businesses. A 30-day free trial is also available so you can see if it’s right for you. #6 – StarChapter — The Best for Member Customization If making sure your club’s members have a high level of customization on your platform is essential, then StarChapter has you covered. One great feature of this software is that it allows members to customize how they appear to others on the platform. Members that sign up can tweak their profile photos, add additional information to their profile, change privacy settings, and update contact information without any input from your side. While some of this sounds like standard stuff, you might be surprised at how little control some of the other pieces of software offer to members. In other words, it’s user-friendly for both administrators and members, and I like that a lot. StarChapter also provides the following: A membership directory Track attendance On the pricing front, things can get quite complicated. There are four central tiers: Keep in mind the initial setup fee that isn’t included in the monthly subscription, and be sure to sign up for a package that covers the number of contacts and members you need. #7 – Raklet — The Best for Transactions Raklet does many things well, but I particularly liked its flexibility regarding transactions and everything it can do in that area. Whether it’s collecting payments from your members or helping to organize fundraising events, this is a powerful piece of software that is primarily transaction-focused in its design. Membership renewals are automated with Raklet, removing the hassle of chasing members for their renewal fees, and members can make payments directly through the software. You’re able to schedule payment reminders, too. The ticketing system is seamless and helps create fundraising events, boost reservations, and create check-ins without seemingly breaking a sweat. Other nifty features of Raklet include: Seating maps Barcode and ticket scanning How much does it all cost? Well, you can get started for free. Although the free plan limits you to only 50 contacts, so I can’t see it being a long-term solution. That said, the ‘Essentials’ package includes almost everything you’ll need and comes in at $49 a month. An impressive price considering how much you can do with the software overall. #8 – ClubExpress — The Best for the Mobile Member Experience ClubExpress is a great piece of membership management software, all-around, in fact, but it’s the mobile functionality that shines. I’d say this is where the software begins to distinguish itself from the others, providing a slick mobile experience that can’t be found elsewhere. The design of the mobile app’s UX is not only smooth and easy to use—but it also offers some exclusive features that the desktop version of the ClubExpress software doesn’t. For example, a geolocation feature can facilitate members to meet up using their phone’s location data. There’s a handy chat option in there as well, and you can even sync events to an iPhone’s calendar. There’s been a push to make the mobile experience as definitive as possible, and ClubExpress leads against the competition here. Other features I like are the following: Includes more than 300 reports and over 50 data exports Integrated non-member database Members can log in to update their profile Modules for documents, committees, interests, photos Multi-page, multi-question, answers in over 25 formats ClubExpress calculates the price of the software depending on the number of memberships you think you’ll need. Be aware that there is also an initial setup fee starting at $150 and going up to $4550 for the ‘pro pack.’ The pro pack is for businesses that want everything taken care of by ClubExpress, so the higher price is really for convenience more than anything. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, I think the other packages are a better bet. How To Find The Best Membership Management Software For You It can be tough to pick just one piece of membership management software to use, especially as there are so many choices available. This process becomes far easier when you start to break down what exactly you need step-by-step. Let’s start with the audience. For example, if you run a gym or sports studio, opting for Breeze’s software, which targets and is specifically created for small and mid-sized churches, isn’t going to the best answer. On that same note, it’s important to realize the difference between membership management software that can be used for all businesses and those that target explicit niches. Raklet is a good example of general membership management software, which could, in theory, be used for most membership-based entities. In contrast, a piece of software like Zen Planner is clearly sports-centric and will be best suited to gyms and sports studios. It has bespoke features designed for that type of business, such as workout training and tracking for your members. Once you’ve thought about your audience and the type of membership entity you’re running, you can then start to further break your choice down by thinking about the following criteria: Software Customization When I talk about customization, I’m asking how vital is it that you can customize the membership management software to suit your specific needs. Do you have precise business requirements, or would a general piece of membership software be fine? How much flexibility do you need? The price of customizing a piece of membership management software from its generic state can be costly. Large businesses tend to have the resources to do this, while smaller ones might be perfectly happy with the off-the-shelf software. The cost of customization is often included in the startup cost that some membership management software providers use as a calculation. Or, as in the case of GrowthZone, you can get a custom price quote. Keep in mind the higher the level of customization, the higher the fee, so think carefully. Mobile Optimization Companies that don’t harness the power of mobile with optimized platforms can miss out. Of course, this is dependent on the context and what exactly your business or membership-based entity does overall. Think about how and when your customers are accessing your business. Do they need it on the go, or are most of your customers accessing it rarely and from a computer? For instance, Zen Planner and ClubExpress offer a custom experience with apps that allow your members to enjoy a full and proper mobile experience. In Zen Planner’s apps, you can track workouts and book classes from anywhere from your phone. Other membership software doesn’t provide an app at all or a mobile-responsive website, and for some, that may be fine. Think carefully about how crucial a mobile-optimized experience or app is for your company. Pricing Model The pricing model for membership management software is unique. There are many different forms it can take. Some of the vendors of this software charge per member, for others, it’s per user, and some have a base rate that you build on when extra features are needed. On my list, for instance, Member365 charges per the number of contacts, while MemberSpace lists its packages via the likely revenue you will generate from members. They also include a transaction fee of 4% on the base package. The most important thing to do here is to work out the best pricing model for your business. For example, if you have a lot of members and will have to pay significantly for them, then it might be better to find a piece of membership software that offers a different pricing model. Of course, this all depends on the context of your company, so think carefully. Summary There are some excellent pieces of membership management software in this guide. The right one will make running your business that much smoother. ClubExpress is hard to beat when it comes to the mobile experience, and Zen Planner is great for sports studios and gyms, while Breeze makes everything a literal breeze for churches with a single and consistent price point. Raklet is ideal if you have many fundraising events and transactions that need dealing with, while StarChapter is all about the members themselves, and Member365 has powerful communication features. GrowthZone is for fans of automation, and MemberSpace should be your pick if you want top customer service. Don’t forget to think about the different audiences and which software aligns with yours. Keeping your members happy and business flowing is the ultimate aim here, so use this guide carefully, and you’ll already be halfway there.
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