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Member Area Pre-Selling

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I've decided to host both my 3 month program and my monthly membership on squarespace.  

I've started the first cohort of my 3 month program already and the membership will launch in 2023.

So far so good.  

There are some functionality issues/missing features, which I've requested from Squarespace in a very lengthy email, but I'm going to stick it out in hopes that 2023 brings some of these to life.

I've managed to find workarounds for a few things, but not all.

One thing in particular is how to presell my program and membership.

I've begin round 1 of the program, but it's a program I'll be running 3 times a year and I need to be able to presell the next round while the current round is still running without giving clients of the next round instant access to the program.  It would mess things up as it's a guided 3 month coaching program. 

I'd also need this for my membership as I'd like to start preselling it now but not launch it until 2023, and thus I don't want people to get access now as it's not yet completed.  Ideally they would pay a reduced rate now, and then their access begins for 1 year or 1 month from the time the program kicks off.   

In either case, I figure I could create a stripe link for the presale and then send them an email to create their accounts later, but it's not ideal because the sale won't register on Squarespace and also, the membership won't get set up properly to auto-renew. 

I wish Squarespace allowed us to set access time frames, like if the membership or program begin at a later date, people can sign up and pay now but their official access period begins at that later date so they get 12 months, 3 months or 1 month from the date the area/content is made live...but alas they do not. 

Is anyone aware of a workaround for this?

 

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5 minutes ago, HolisticNiss said:

There are some functionality issues/missing features [in Member Areas], which I've requested from Squarespace in a very lengthy email, but I'm going to stick it out in hopes that 2023 brings some of these to life.

One thing in particular is how to presell my program and membership.I need to be able to presell the next round while the current round is still running without giving clients of the next round instant access to the program.

I share your pain. Member Areas is nearly there, but right now there are a number of missing features. I've discussed these at length with the relevant teams but, as you'll see in my post, many remain.

I don't mention pre-selling in the post as this isn't something that came up in user interviews, but I see the issue for you. The only workaround that I can think of is to sell the next cohort as a Digital or Service Product in Squarespace Commerce so that anyone can buy it now and then gain access to the Member Area when it is available using a page password to sign up. A 100% discount code should prevent them having to pay again.

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Thanks Paul. I have seen your post, and I made sure to read it carefully before submitting my long long long list of requests to Squarespace.  Of course, I'm one person, but hey, you never know who else might need what I'm asking for.  

Here's my laundry list of requests if you're curious and if you'd like to share with them also since you probably have more clout than I do.  I know it's not likely they'll get to all of this stuff anytime soon, but it was worth asking.

I'm really hoping they improve things further as I'm attached to the idea of keeping my member area under my site, so I have all things under one roof.

 

Courses & Programs that run for a limited time

For context, I've recently launched an online group coaching program. I will be running this 3 times a year.  They access the content for self-study and refer to the event calendar for group coaching sessions and links to live calls.

Right now anyone who signs up gets instant access to the member area.  

This is problematic for a few reasons:

1) I can not approve or deny members before payment is finalized and they are granted access (while it's not a necessity for all member areas, this needs to be an option)
2) I must remove members manually once the program ends
3) I can not start selling my next round of coaching while I'm currently running a round, because they would gain instant access to the current round.

An easy fix for the above would be to allow us to set multiple start and end dates for the program so that we can open up registration x times a year and each time, whoever registers will only be granted access for the round they registered for and not instant and ongoing access.


4) I can not offer members an opportunity to join a second round of coaching unless I remove them and ask them to sign up again.  

I need a way to be able to accept payment from them at a discounted rate to continue having access to the program after the initial expiry date...i.e. if they want to stay on and participate in the next round.

 

Member Approval

I can not approve or deny members before payment is finalized and they are granted access.  

It's important to be able to add an optional member approval process.  It will be useful for some types of memberships but not all.

 


Program Terms & Conditions and Disclaimers

As a coach, I need coaching clients to read and accept program terms and conditions and a disclaimer prior to starting a coaching relationship.  

Right now, they purchase the program and then I have a form that I ask them to sign once they are inside.

This isn't ideal and I need an option to do this on sign up.  This needs to be customizable for each member area (i.e. not one standard terms and conditions for all member areas)

 

Membership Site Admin Access

It's important to be able to manage adding and removing members on the back end.

I know I can remove members, but I need to be able to add myself and my collaborators to the member area as administrators.  

Right now the only way to do that is for us to sign up for a membership.  

Not only does this skew the analytics and data, but also, requires us to pay for the membership unless we use a discount code for 100% off.  

I've been using the discount code workaround, but as of yesterday, this feature is broken and your customer care has said they don't know when it will be fixed.  (update it's now fixed but if it ever breaks again, it's an issue)

So I now have no way of adding people to the member area for free unless they pay and I refund them, but obviously that's messy, inconvenient and costly considering transaction fees.   

They suggested I make the member area free to sign up for it myself, and have other collaborators sign up, but obviously this is messy as well, as it will allow anyone to sign up for free in that time frame.

 


Member Management

- ability to update member info (by member or admin....i.e. there's a typo in an email address) without having to cancel and recreate the account and sign up for a new one

- ability to communicate with members through their customer account (like a message box where they can write to you and you can respond and vice versa)

- notifications/updates section under customer account so that when members log in, they can see a summary of any updates, additions, and new content that's been added to the member area (i.e. a new lesson has been added, a comment has been posted, etc...)

 

Recurring Payments

As cost of doing business rises, it may be necessary to increase prices.  It would be useful to allow recurring fees to increase accordingly, with a mandatory notification process to members, in advance of renewal, to allow them to confirm or deny the new price.

It would also be useful to be able to issue temporary discounts or free months to existing clients/members as a thank you for referrals, loyalty, etc...

Currently, recurring payments are fixed and the only way to apply a new price is to have the member cancel and sign up again.  

Not ideal for any business for obvious reasons among which it's messy, unprofessional and results in revenue loss.

 


Member Area Overlap

Member Area content cannot overlap and members cannot ‘upgrade’ or 'downgrade' and we can't grant access to member areas manually....i.e i'd like to give my coaching program participants free access to my monthly membership while they are in the coaching program but I can not do this unless I give them a 100% discount and then remove them manually after the time has run out and then ask them to sign up again...messy and likely to result in revenue losses.

It would be useful to:

1) allow members to sign up for multiple member areas at once, for a special package price

2) allow them to "preview" all member areas and easily add a member area and pay for it, from within their customer account

3) allow upsells to other member areas or other services.  For example, when they sign up for a group coaching program they are presented with an opportunity to add one on one coaching packages.

 


Member Area Community Forum or Message Board

- It would be useful to have a community forum or message board that is unique to each member area and that allows members to interact with each other.  

As a workaround, I'm currently using a blog for my lessons and each has a comment section underneath it, but it's not ideal.

A dedicated community forum, where we can tag members and lessons (blog posts) would be ideal.


 

 

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Have you considered using a third party platform for the member-related functionality? For example, Teachable (which integrates with Disqus for discussions), Kajabi or Podia?

Edited by paul2009

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About: Squarespace Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, appreciation and great design ♥.
Work: Squarespace Developer and founder of SF Digital, building the features Squarespace didn't include™.
Content: Links in my posts may refer to SF Digital products or may be affiliate links.

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I probably should have given it more thought before I created everything on squarespace but alas I did not.

I built out my whole 3 month program on it and I love how it looks and functions and I'd hate to move it now.  I'm going to give it another couple of rounds to see how essential some of those missing pieces turn out to be and to see what squarespace ends up doing.

 

My monthly membership however is really best kept on my site because it's basically a content library and won't require much interaction with the members.  It's a homepage and then a blog filled with exclusive content, audio, video etc...

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I think I might have come up with a workaround for pre-selling programs and memberships in Squarespace member areas and I'd love some feedback.  Is there something I'm missing or haven't considered that might make this not work?

For context, preselling is important for programs or memberships or courses that run for a specified period of time.

For example, I'm running a 3 month group coaching program 3 times a year.  I need everyone to start and stop at the same time. 

So, what I did was open up registration for round 1 and then closed it once we started. 

However, I want to start selling round 2 before I end round 1. 

If I do that currently, people purchasing round 2 will be granted instant access to my program which can't happen because I've already kicked it off with a group of clients.

So I need a way for them to buy the new round of coaching, without getting this instant access.

Here's my workaround:

1. Create two member areas

  • Area 1 - exclusive member content 
  • Area 2 - one page welcome message/waiting room

2. On sales page, the join button links to Area 2 so they are directed to the one page member area and  welcome message when they join.  

3.  Once this current round is over the plan is to remove all the members from Area 1, swap the content pages between areas and rename the areas so that the right name appears in the member navigation menu

  • Area 1 which will now be without members, becomes the one page welcome message/waiting room and can be used to presell round 3
  • Area 2 with members who have purchased round 2 of the program becomes the new home for exclusive member content 

It's not idea, because there's a lot of room for human error and data loss, and I'll have to save all the member data to a spreadsheet to be sure I don't loose thing, but it's the best solution (I've evaluated several) I can come up with to presell my program for a later start date.

Any thoughts?

 

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