If you’re looking to create a membership site for your Infusionsoft based business, you might be taking a look at CustomerHub vs iMember360 or Memberium.
These are some of the most popular options for setting up a course or ongoing members area… CustomerHub is created and hosted by Infusionsoft itself, whereas iMember360 and Memberium are both WordPress plugins that you need to install on your own servers.
I’m writing this review to explain how these different options are better suited for different use cases. I’m also the co-founder and creator of the AccessAlly membership site plugin for Infusionsoft, but I will do my best to mention our plugin only when it makes sense.
CustomerHub vs iMember360 / Memberium for Infusionsoft Integration
One thing that all of these options have going for it is that they’re all designed around Infusionsoft, using the API of this CRM platform.
That means that if there’s a feature you’d like to access from inside Infusionsoft, to pull into your members area – these tools can probably do it.
With CustomerHub you’ll be looking at a more constrained way of doing that, because it’s not an open platform like WordPress where you can add new plugins or add ons.
The way that CustomerHub handles access for courses and content is through a combination of tags and CustomerHub groups – a collection of tags. This addition of “groups” can be confusing, and if you organize your tags probably you don’t need a group. Groups only exist in CustomerHub, and if you ever want to move away from CustomerHub it could cause some additional work to transition to a purely tag based system.
On the other hand, iMember360 uses tags and assigns one tag per Membership Level. This type of membership level can be useful if you want to have a hierarchy for your members, like a Bronze, Silver, and Gold tier of access. Memberium uses a similar level tracking method for displaying content in your members area, because Memberium is in many ways modeled on the way iMember360 was designed.
Cost Comparison Between CustomerHub, iMember360, Memberium, and AccessAlly
Each of these options will incur a recurring cost, and if you’re following membership site best practices then you’ll be earning more from your members area than you are paying to run it.
Let’s look at CustomerHub’s cost and pricing structure: it’s a $79/month pay as you go hosted platform. This is an add-on service that you pay on top of your monthly Infusionsoft costs. This covers only one members area. Each additional members area you’d want to host would be an additional $79/month.
Next, we’ve got iMember360 with starts at $57/month for one individual membership site. If you want to use the plugin on more than one domain, they have an unlimited domain option at $97/month. iMember360 also offers a yearly plan where you can save 2 months worth of payments.
With Memberium, you’re looking at a $47/month recurring fee for one individual membership site or domain name. If you’d like to have an unlimited number of membership sites that connect to the same Infusionsoft account, they’ve got an $87/month option that does just that. But if you wanted to go with a different Infusionsoft account, you’d take two $47/month single options. Similar to iMember360, Memberium has a yearly option that lets you pay up front and save 2 months worth of payments.
AccessAlly offers a lot of the same functionality and more, including fully customizable course design templates, for just $99/month. There’s also a yearly option that allows you to save on the cost of 2 months of service.
You can also take a look at my comparison between iMember360 vs. Wishlist to get an idea of other possibilities.
Now that we’ve got the basics of comparing CustomerHub, iMember360, and Memberium out of the way… it’s time to take more of a side by side look at the different features you might expect to use to create your Infusionsoft membership site!
Member Creation & Login Area
One downside to CustomerHub is that it’s hosted on another platform – this means that the domain people will use to access the site will not offer a cohesive brand experience.
On the other hand, WordPress plugin solutions mean that you can install your membership area on a subdomain like “https://access.accessally.com” or “https://members.yourdomain.com”. This increases the likelihood that people will be able to find your members area after they’ve purchased or months down the line when they want to return to your content.
Member creation is handled inside Infusionsoft’s CRM system for each of the options we’re discussing today. You’d set up the automation for a customer’s account to be set up inside an Infusionsoft campaign. The only difference is that with the WordPress plugin options like iMember360 and Memberium, you need to send an HTTP Post from Infusionsoft to your WordPress site to let it know that a new member account needs to be set up.
With both iMember360 and Memberium, you can set up a customized looking login page using a WordPress theme template. On the other hand, with CustomerHub you’re stuck using a simple login screen that can’t be very fancy.
SSL Certificates & Security
One thing that CustomerHub has built-in is the SSL certificate that allows the site to handle credit card details and secure information. The advantage of not hosting a membership site on your own host is that Infusionsoft handles the security side of things without you having to think about it or do anything extra.
However, the added benefits of installing your own SSL certificate on your domain to host your membership site yourself outweigh the cost. It’s just $10/year to buy an SSL certificate to add to your WordPress hosted membership site, and to be able to add the payment integrations that it helps protect.
Shortcodes & Controlling Access
CustomerHub does not offer shortcodes, instead they have something called a “partial”. A partial is a piece of content or code that is displayed on a membership page (regardless of whether the page is set to be accessed by that particular tag or not).
This can be used to show a preview of a paid course or piece of content, to tease people to upgrade to the next level of membership. This of this as permissions within a permissioned page.
iMember360 and Memberium are very similar in terms of their shortcode strategy… they offer a TON of options for shortcodes. iMember360 offers over 300 shortcodes, and Memberium has a similar set of options. The sheer number of options here can be overwhelming, and there isn’t an easy way to learn what each shortcode does other than to read lengthy documentation.
With this number of shortcodes, it’s like learning a new programming language! As a Memberium alternative, AccessAlly, the number of shortcodes is minimized and instead you can use the simple step by step wizard interface to reach many of the same objectives.
In terms of deep integrations, one of the benefits of using a plugin or tool designed specifically for Infusionsoft is that you can handle payments. This includes failed payments, and allowing your customers to go in and update their credit card details and see their outstanding invoices.
However, if you want to offer payment “self serve” handling for your end users using iMember360 – you’ll need to sign up for an additional monthly fee plugin called iClient360 (Updated November 2017: this no longer seems to be an active offering).
This adds up to another $70/year. The downside of this particular client portal is that it introduces yet another location for your clients to login and it’s also not very customizable in terms of look and feel.
With CustomerHub, Memberium, and AccessAlly you can have your members manage their credit cards and process payments on outstanding invoices. This is a huge time saver when it comes to managing membership dues or payment plan offerings.
4. Mobile Friendly Membership Sites: CustomerHub, not so friendly
It’s no secret that more and more people are accessing the web on mobile devices. That means having a mobile friendly membership area is non-negotiable.
One downside to using a platform like CustomerHub is that it relies on uploaded videos that are played back using Flash, and that reduces the mobile-friendliness of the platform.
As whole CustomerHub doesn’t give you a lot of leeway into making your membership site truly mobile responsive, either. With a WordPress membership site plugin, you can use a mobile responsive WordPress theme for your membership area… or even build in customized CSS code to resize your membership screens for different devices like phones or tablets.
That means your customers can download, watch, and interact with your content and courses anywhere.
Site Design Flexibility & Templates
Speaking of templates…
AccessAlly comes with 4 pre-made and easily customizable WordPress themes to get started with! None of the other options we’ve mentioned so far offers this level of customization when it comes to your membership site.
CustomerHub is notorious for very simple membership site designs that don’t reflect your brand. They’re just not as easily customizable as a WordPress theme or template, but sometimes the simplicity can be a benefit if you’re not too tech savvy.
When it comes to design for iMember360 and Memberium, you’re looking at very similar options because you can use shortcodes and really design your membership in whatever fashion you want.
There is no one perfect technical solution that will suit everyone’s needs, but here are a few of the missing features from CustomerHub vs iMember360 and Memberium.
If you want to see a more in-depth comparison of CustomerHub vs. AccessAlly, we’ve got a post all about that.
With both CustomerHub and iMember360, you can’t integrate the affiliate side of Infusionsoft into your membership sites… which gives your members the ability to refer people to your products, and for you to earn more income. Instead, you need to login to a separate Referral Partner area from Infusionsoft.
With both iMember360 and Memberium you have basic access to Infusionsoft affiliate data through one shortcode that displays whether someone is an affiliate or not. But with AccessAlly’s affiliate management features, you can they integrate directly with Infusionsoft’s referral system, and it doesn’t require your clients to login to yet another members area. It’s all in one easy to maintain place with AccessAlly!
Members can see the stats for their latest affiliate sales, get affiliate links, swipe copy, and graphics for sharing your courses and programs.
iMember360’s Scalability Issues
We built AccessAlly after having used iMember360 for a few years in our business… and we built our own plugin because there were features and functionality that we were looking for.
We used to run our paid membership site on iMember360 in the 2010-2012 timeframe. It worked well because we had just a few hundred members, so the site was able to deal with the visitor load.
Unfortunately, once we created the 30 Day List Building Challenge, which is a free course inside of our members area where there’s a new video page unlocked every day for 30 days… our membership site using iMember360 began to slow way down and developed major performance issues.
Instead of having just a handful of visitors to our members area, we had over 10,000 members logging in. The reason that iMember360 sites slowed down, is because of the way it connects to Infusionsoft to check permissions. It just does a whole lot of API calls to the Infusionsoft server, which takes a toll on loading your members area.
On the other hand, AccessAlly stores the permissions and tags from Infusionsoft locally, cutting down on the back and forth calls to Infusionsoft that causes iMember360 sites to lag and slow down.
Gamification, Progress Tracking and Unlocking
Another thing that neither CustomerHub or iMember360 have out of the box is the ability to create gamification incentives, like progress tracking checklists that allow your end users to unlock additional content based on their actions. iMember360 does have more of these features.
There aren’t a whole lot of user experience design touchpoints designed into CustomerHub, iMember360 or Memberium, and that means you’ll need to use additional add on plugins to get the functionality you’re looking for.
On the other hand, with AccessAlly Pro you’ve got built-in progress checklists, and quizzes and a built-in credit system.
That’s the kind of thing that takes a simple membership site and turns it into a full learning platform.
If you haven’t built any gamification into your online courses yet… there’s nothing stopping you when you choose AccessAlly Pro as your Infusionsoft membership site platform.
Out of the box, AccessAlly Pro comes with progress tracking and the ability to unlock modules of content based on people completing previous modules. This brings in all kinds of possibilities, like being able to email your clients and learners after a period of time if they haven’t completed a module within a reasonable time frame.
Beyond the built-in features of AccessAlly, which you won’t find in a platform like CustomerHub, you’re able to install an unlimited number of WordPress plugins… giving you the option to integrate additional functionality like forums, a member directory, or anything else you can think of.
With AccessAlly you’ve got an all-in-one members area, where you can display all the different courses you have… which leads to more natural cross selling and upsell opportunities.
If you’ve ever tried to do a timed release course or program in Infusionsoft, where a customer might get one new module released every week (or every day!) then you know how many tags you’ll need to manage.
With CustomerHub this is a manual creation process, and with iMember360 as well. Memberium will help you create tags, but with AccessAlly you’ll be guided through a course creation wizard that takes all the hassle out of creating courses. It also automatically creates the course pages for you, and allows you to have multiple courses inside one members area.
This cuts down on the manual work involved in setting up your membership site, and creates a more cohesive user experience.
How AccessAlly Stands Out
Now that we’ve done a thorough look at CustomerHub vs iMember360 and Memberium, why not take a look at how AccessAlly stands out from the other options out there.
You’ll find that we’re constantly adding new features and improving functionality to ensure that you can have thousands of customers logged into your members area loving your speedy and intuitive web site!