If you’re planning to set up a membership site connected to your Infusionsoft account, then you’ve likely considered using CustomerHub which is created and maintained by Infusionsoft itself.
Every person, business, and industry is going to have different criteria for what’s most important for a membership site. For the sake of accuracy in this comparison, we'll focus on some of the core things that I believe are non-negotiable and important for any site.
Table of Contents
- What To Look For In a Membership Site
- 1. Integration With Your Core Tools
- 2. Design Options For Your Infusionsoft Membership Site
- 3. CustomerHub vs AccessAlly: Cohesive Browsing Experience
- 4. Membership Site Security, Backups, and Stability
- 5. Mobile Friendly Membership Sites: CustomerHub vs AccessAlly
- 6. Gamification, Added Functionality, and Time Saving Features
- 7. Ongoing Support, Tutorials, and Versatility
- Where CustomerHub and AccessAlly Both Shine
- Overview: CustomerHub vs AccessAlly
- Looking for Personalized Assistance?
What To Look For In a Membership Site
1. Integration With Your Core Tools
First and foremost, compatibility and integration are a must for your membership site. After all, the CRM, email marketing system, and billing tools you use will all come into play to make your membership site work.
Both CustomerHub and AccessAlly are designed specifically with Infusionsoft integration in mind.
With both plugins, you can take advantage of the features that we love Infusionsoft for – and here I'm thinking specifically of that tag based automation!
Both CustomerHub and AccessAlly allow your customers to update their credit cards, see their invoices, and make payments on an outstanding amounts. This is key for anyone who has a paid program or ongoing membership program, because it cuts down on admin time spent chasing up clients to pay their fees.
AccessAlly goes a little deeper with that need for tight integration by allowing you to tap into Infusionsoft’s affiliate referral information. You can use this to create an all-in-one members area for customers and affiliates so that they can promote your offerings without logging into a different site.
2. Design Options For Your Infusionsoft Membership Site
The next pillar of a good membership site is great design and user experience. Of course we want our online areas to look the best…but even more practically speaking, the more intuitive a logged in area is, the more likely your customers will stay on as paying members or refer their friends.
When it comes to CustomerHub, the design options are very limited. The templates they offer seem to be designed for those who are looking for quick way to get a membership site live. The CustomerHub templates are pretty basic, and you can only make a few tweaks to make the site feel cohesive with your overall brand.
On the other hand, since AccessAlly is a WordPress plugin, it can be integrated with any WordPress theme or design, and is extremely customizable as a result. If you can imagine it, you can implement it using a WordPress theme or theme framework and AccessAlly.
For those who maybe are looking for a template-like foundation to start from, AccessAlly comes with three premium WordPress themes to choose from. These are pre-designed for different industries, ranging from health, business, and spirituality. Use them as they are, or customize them further, from the colors, fonts, images, and more.
You can also customize your login page (which you can’t do with CustomerHub) to include a sales message or any other type of branding, you’d like! You can also have different designs for different product pages when you use WordPress, which means that you could have several different courses or levels of membership that offer a distinct look and feel.
In short, the design capabilities of AccessAlly currently far exceed those of CustomerHub, even in terms of the pre-designed templates that each come equipped with.
3. CustomerHub vs AccessAlly: Cohesive Browsing Experience
Next to the overall design and feel of a membership site, it’s also important to have a cohesive navigation experience from a main website to a membership site.
Fun fact: One of the cues that a website is strong and reputable is when you’re not taken to a different domain or website suddenly during your journey through the site
Take, for example, the super successful websites like Amazon – you’re never taken to a jarringly different looking page. You stay on Amazon, and that increases trust.
With CustomerHub you can’t customize the URL of your site, to make it match your domain name… so it can be a jarring experience to be sent to a different CustomerHub domain to login to a members area.
As a WordPress plugin, a membership site made with AccessAlly can be created on your main domain (YOURDOMAIN.com) or on a subdomain (MEMBERSHIP.YOURDOMAIN.com). However you set it up, the browsing experience continues to enhance the online presence of the domain that you're working hard to build up.
4. Membership Site Security, Backups, and Stability
In today's digital age, online security is nothing to be sneezed at!
Since CustomerHub is an entirely separate system, you don't have the same control over it as you do on your own self-hosted website. With a CustomerHub membership site, if there’s a server outage at Infusionsoft’s servers you’re in trouble.
You also can’t perform a proper backup on a CustomerHub site, and since you need to upload all of your content directly to the site it means that you’re putting all your eggs in one basket without having a good backup or extraction plan.
With AccessAlly, since it’s hosted on a WordPress site, there are a wide range of proven plugins and backup systems… from your built-in hosting options to premium plugins that automatically backup your website to a remote location like BackupBuddy.
It's also a good idea to consider hosting the videos for your members area using 3 different video hosting platforms, which improves your site’s redundancy and helps you reduce the risk of outages or losing your content.
5. Mobile Friendly Membership Sites: CustomerHub vs AccessAlly
It’s no secret that more and more people are accessing the web on the go, and wanting to consume information on their mobile devices. That means that having a mobile friendly membership area is a top priority.
With AccessAlly, 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.
One downside to using a platform like CustomerHub is that it relies on uploaded videos that are played back using Flash, which 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. To be fair, it's not completely unfriendly to mobile devices, but without access to the backend code and customization, there are just some basic fixes you won't be able to apply to a CustomerHub site.
6. Gamification, Added Functionality, and Time Saving Features
If you haven’t built any gamification into your online courses yet, there’s nothing stopping you when you choose AccessAlly as your Infusionsoft membership site platform.
Out of the box, the WordPress plugin 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, quizzes, 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.
Plus… if you’ve ever tried to do a timed release 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. (A lot.)
With AccessAlly, the Course Creation Wizard automatically generates the tags and the associated WordPress pages for you, so you don’t have to do a ton of manual set up.
7. Ongoing Support, Tutorials, and Versatility
Another thing that AccessAlly excels at is customer support … which includes top of the line training tutorial videos.
Because seriously…setting up a membership site on Infusionsoft can be quite an undertaking. Luckily there are people who have been there before, done the hard work, and simplified the process for you. Plus, a friendly developer who is available to answer your questions is priceless (by the way, we totally have a couple of those on our team)!
On a developer-related not, the other big thing to look for when you’re investing in technology and tools to improve your business is the versatility.
If you're looking into CustomerHub or AccessAlly, it's probably because you're already using Infusionsoft…but what happens if you ever want to make the switch to a new platform or email marketing provider?
With CustomerHub, of course, you're tied to Infusionsoft. A change from that platform will require you to rebuild the membership site from the ground up.
With AccessAlly, all your content is stored in a WordPress website which is super flexible in terms of changing platforms, interfaces, and more.
Where CustomerHub and AccessAlly Both Shine
One of the best parts of both CustomerHub and AccessAlly is the ability for customers to update their own credit cards and run payments directly within the membership area. This is a huge time saver for any business owner.
They're both viable options for those who are looking to build a membership site that integrates well with Infusionsoft and offer automated services for your online members. Drip feeding content, evergreen courses, and billing centralization are all features that you can use with both CustomerHub and AccessAlly.
Overview: CustomerHub vs AccessAlly
It’s clear that AccessAlly has a lot of pros that CustomerHub can’t quite match, and likewise CustomerHub might be the better choice if your team or Infusionsoft expert is already trained on that platform.
I believe that technology is always evolving for a reason: because we demand more from our software tools, to simplify our lives and those of our customers.
That’s why I’m such a fan of AccessAlly, and why I developed it in the first place. I hope you’ll click here to see the full list of features and how you can get started with the plugin.
Looking for Personalized Assistance?
If you’re looking for a way to transfer your membership site from CustomerHub to AccessAlly, but need a little bit of help to make it happen, you’re in luck!
Our awesome team of AccessAlly Certified Partners is a group of super talented, tech-savvy professionals. These experienced rock stars are ready to offer you personalized help to make sure your transfer is a success. Check out the team here.