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If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, affordable online course platform to host your course, then I recommend checking out MemberVault.
Then in 2020, after many trial periods and tons of research, I switched right back.
My Roller Coaster Search for the Best Online Course Platform
Back when I first started searching for an online course platform in 2015, the market wasn’t saturated with choices.
The choices available also weren’t very user-friendly, and despite the high price tag, the best choice for me at the time was Kajabi. While I felt limited on how many offers I could have within the Kajabi plan I had at the time, it felt like the path of least resistance in getting what I did have out there to buyers.
I made the best out of it at the time until MemberVault came along.
When MemberVault first launched, I happily made the switch from Kajabi.
It was an easy switch to MemberVault because it was not only user-friendly as well but was a huge savings. I also was no longer limited to how many courses I could have on the platform.
And being a founding member of anything always comes with its perks, which includes more frequent and direct access to the founders themselves! It was exciting watching MemberVault build from the ground up, with a group of raving users at the helm.
As my needs changed and my business grew, I found myself needing to change online course platforms again.
As with most course specific platforms, there needs to be different automations set up in order to connect a buyer to their purchase and nurture them throughout. Since I was the only tech-savvy person on the team at the time, this began to create a sizeable bottleneck as the business grew.
Automations were getting dropped, troubleshooting went up and I was looking for simplicity in between it all.
In 2018, I made the decision to switch from MemberVault to an “all in one” platform, Kartra.
If you’ve ever switched platforms, you already know that it is a huge project to take on. However, knowing that everything would now be streamlined made it worth it.
That is, until I started realizing the downside to “all in one” platforms.
They’re simple and cost effective until… they’re not.
While using Kartra, I started finding that some of the functionality needed to be purchased outside of the platform (e.g. they can do upsells but not with PayPal so I had to purchase a different shopping cart) and anytime I contacted customer support, it turned into a project in itself.
Overall, it did what I needed enough to stay and find work arounds for and the thought of moving again made me want to curl under a pile of blankets for a week.
That was until June 2020, when I started taking a good look into the companies I was investing in and their values and it became clear that Kartra did not align with our values.
It was a full stop moment and one that made switching back to MemberVault a no-brainer.
#1 MemberVault is easy-to-use, even for the non-tech savvy
As I work with my clients and students, one of the frequent questions I get is:
“What if I’m not tech savvy?”
And I get it.
I firmly believe that the focus for your online course is to deliver a bold transformation for your students (and for yourself, within your business).
If the nitty gritty of a platform’s tech is going to stump your growth or inhibit the transformation possible for you and your future students, then my vote is against it.
Which is one of the top reasons why I love MemberVault.
From setting up your courses (videos, modules, etc) to tracking performance, the ease-of-use is unmatched.
And to be honest, a majority of the stand alone course platforms in today’s market are SUPER tech friendly.
It’s the all-in-ones that can get complicated.
And even though I used Kartra in the past, I always told people if they don’t like tech, not to go that direction because their heads would explode. 🤯
#2 MemberVault Pricing: Full use of features, FREE
I tell my students and clients to sign up for the trial plans for different online course platforms.
First, because another common question I get is:
“Where can I host an online course for free (or affordably)?”
(And my answer to this always starts with: “if the monthly payments are making you nervous, can I recommend the pre-selling concept for your course?”)
But secondly, because to me it’s extremely important to communicate to my clients that in order to make the right choice for them, they’ve got to shop around.
Check out the online course platforms.
Sign up for the trials.
However, in comparison to all other online course platforms, MemberVault is the only platform that gives you full use of all its features in it’s trial plan…
You can upload an unlimited number of products (or up to 3 products after June 30, 2021).
Plus, you can stay on that plan until you reach 100 students.
And the basic plan? $19/month and zero transaction fees.
#3 MemberVault has THE BEST customer support, hands down.
Even if you’re the Elon Musk of tech, you need customer support.
But if you’re not too tech-savvy?
Then your best bet is choosing a platform that is easy to use but also has amazing support for when you get stuck.
Whether you’ve lost a password or can’t work out how to use a new feature, MemberVault’s customer service has you covered.
There’s an extensive FAQ help section with answers to very common issues.
They also have chat and email options during business hours with fast turnaround times (within hours!).
In my experience, MemberVault’s support team members are always engaged, knowledgeable, and helpful.
Via chat, email and… their Facebook community.
Need a quick answer but you’re a night owl burning that midnight oil outside of “normal” business hours?
They’ve got it covered.
MemberVault’s Facebook group is a community for both current users and those still shopping around.
It’s run by the MemberVault founders, whom you can tag with your questions.
Bring any and all your questions at any time, and you’ll get quick, collaborative answers from the admins and the other community members.
It’s a genuinely supportive environment, so there are no silly questions.
#4 MemberVault’s unique features keep your course front-and-center.
Okay, but what about their features?
MemberVault’s got what other online course platforms have:
- Create an online course from their platform
- Host an already-created course, workshop, etc
- Sell your online course from within their platform
- Competitive pricing (down-right affordable, if you ask me!)
But there are two unique features that make MemberVault distinctly different from their competitors: gamification and the “binge & buy marketplace” experience.
Gamification is probably MemberVault’s most unique feature: a rewards system to incentivize your students who complete lessons, watch videos, etc.
Yes, MemberVault has a rewards system for your users.
Why would you need a rewards system?
Have you ever heard of the course graveyard?
You know… you buy an online course and maybe you login once…
And then it just sits in your inbox collecting cyber dust…
You’ve created your course to deliver a transformation for your students.
Not for it to sit untouched in the wild wild west of someone’s inbox.
The goal is for them to go through your material and finish the course.
And MemberVault’s gamification feature helps them get there.
Your students receive Engagement Points (EPs) based on certain actions they take within the online course platform.
You can appoint the number of EP’s your users receive based on certain events, such as watching a video, completing a lesson, etc, to incentivize them to make progress along your course.
As the course creator, you can see the Leaderboard (and continue to incentivize your students!), how many points your students have, who has engaged, and who hasn’t.
With this kind of feedback, you can create personalized outreach for those students.
You can check in based on their progress and further improve your own customer service 😉
MemberVault Binge & Buy Marketplace
The binge and buy concept is pretty awesome.
Membervault has structured our “store fronts” to showcase everything that you offer, both free and paid.
You can customize your store front with your colors, branding, and video or photo along with a text blurb about your business.
And since you have unlimited product offerings on MemberVault, the options are endless.
What if you don’t want to show everything you offer?
No worries- you have the option to show which products are visible to the public vs those that are visible to just those within it.
This is great for retired offers that people still have access to as well as a program that includes live calls for only certain people so that no one sees the different rounds of the program’s calls.
MemberVault Student Tracking
Although other platforms include student tracking, my experience with MemberVault’s tracking system has been phenomenal.
MemberVault’s incredible tracking lets you analyze which products and courses are actually getting purchased…
…and how much of the courses your students are consuming!
With this kind of tracking, you’ll have insight into which parts of your marketing are working and where exactly your students are falling off or getting lost once inside your course.
Why do you need this insight?
To course-correct (pun intended).
Seeing this kind of feedback live will allow you the opportunity to go into your course and tweak or edit to truly connect with your students.
These audience insights are honestly one of the best parts of MemberVault – you can personalize everything about your courses to serve your audience and experiment with new features.
It makes course development much easier because you’re creating without a blindfold; you can track what IS working, and create more of what your students love.
Also, you can ask students questions at the end of a course and get the answers sent to you to develop future courses.
A Word On MemberVault vs Teachable
While Teachable, Thinkific, and other all-in-one online course platforms have been on the market for longer, they don’t come close to MemberVault’s unique features.
Let’s start with pricing.
At $19/month, MemberVault is the least expensive monthly option with an unlimited number of products.
Their free trial?
No time cap, meaning you don’t have 14 days or 30 days to try it out.
MemberVault gives you an unlimited amount of time to try out their platform (for up to 3 courses and 100 students).
How about features?
Gamification and the binge & buy marketplace experience are unique to MemberVault.
No other online course platform provides the tracking and rewards system that MemberVault has.
And if “company values” are a decision-making factor in your search for an online course platform to host and sell your course, then you’re in the right place.
#5 MemberVault Values → the real reason why I switched back to MemberVault
A huge factor in my decision to come back to MemberVault was their company values and their attitude around sharing them.
In 2018, I decided to move our business to an all-in-one course software, Kartra.
(Note: here’s a Kartra review that I wrote while we were still using it, but we are no longer on Kartra.)
I was one of the founding members at MemberVault and, up until that point, it was just what we needed.
I hated leaving because I genuinely love the company, it’s founders and the way they treat their users, but I decided it was best for the business at that time to make the switch.
It wasn’t long before I started realizing that all-in-one platforms aren’t all that great at all the things they offer.
I felt stuck because everything was now built on an all-in-one platform, and moving it off would have been a pain.
But when George Floyd was murdered in 2020 and the BLM protests began, I reached out to Kartra to ask about their stance on anti-racism and BLM.
They refused to respond to any requests about BLM or their stance.
Spoiler alert: they never responded.
But I know that silence IS, in fact, a response.
And at this point, we should all know that silence, inaction, and tolerance are unacceptable.
As the CEO of Freedom Driven Success, I am committed to voting with my dollars for the change I wish to see in this world.
Doing so includes being particularly selective when it comes to investing in companies, tools and resources that we use within the company.
So because of that, I no longer cared about the inconvenience of switching. I knew it was time.
I did a lot of digging to research all the platforms currently on the market, as I knew the migration was going to be a big project.
And guess what?
I found myself right back to MemberVault.
Nothing compared to the evolution they’ve had with the product over the past few years and to their customer service.
And their values?
The founders of MemberVault have no problem not only talking about topics that impact their users, but they take an unequivocal stance on issues of importance to me.
And you can read it straight from their site:
Is MemberVault Right For You?
I can say that everyone that has taken me up on the MemberVault recommendation is always pleasantly surprised and extremely satisfied.
However, I find myself constantly saying 2 things:
- There is no ONE perfect platform for everyone. You’ve got to see where your business is and what goals you have for it in the near future in order to make the appropriate choice for you. And,
- Start with the trials (especially if there are any that offer to host your online course for free!). Pick one, try it, and if you don’t like it, you’ll know within that month and can switch over at that time.
In fact, most businesses do change platforms as the needs of their businesses evolve (like I did). but the worst spot to stay in is indecision.
And actually, let me add a third: double check the company values.
Do their values align with yours?
Are they silent (and do they remain silent) on values and issues that are important to you?
The answers to those questions may be enough to drive your decision.
If you feel that MemberVault may be the right choice for you, I encourage you to check out their free trial option!
I’d love to know: which online course platform did you end up choosing?