The Downfall of PHP Membership Forums
So about 17 months ago I had my first membership site built in PHP.
We used PHP on the recommendation of a mentor of mine, who was
using PHP at the time. He even offered to build it for us at a very reasonable rate.
How could I go wrong? How can you learn from my mistake?
I built the marketing funnel that sold the membership site using my favorite
marketing automation software – Infusionsoft. My first issue came about because when someone
bought a membership in Infusionsoft,they instantly tried to go to the membership
site and login. Well, they didn’t have a username and password yet, so everyone
clicked the “forgot username and password” link. They then changed their password.
Except a few minutes later they got their welcome email from Infusionsoft, with their original username
and password that they didn’t recognize, and no longer worked.
Can you imagine the customer service issues we created for ourselves?
We fixed it by having infusion taking them after sign up to a video that explained
how to access their benefits.
The next issue is that PHP only allows you a certain amount of files to upload by
default. We had four tiers of membership, with at least three files for each level to
download each month – some PDF’s, some jpeg’s, some word doc’s, and two go to webinar
recordings each month – we quickly ran out of space.
We fixed the issue by hosting our downloads on Amazon’s Cloud Server (EZS3),
and just posting the links to the PHP site.
We have had two other issues:
1. Our members aren’t signing in every month to consumer their content. We fixed this issue
by delivering the content via email (as a download link). Sending those out via Infusion
allows us to see who is consuming what content, and to automatically follow up based
on their membership activity.
2: Our members have become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content we provide.
We overdeliver and they get overwhelmed and don’t take advantage of it.
We fixed this issue by creating some introductory videos that take them through
what they should do first, second, third, etc.
We are currently preparing for a re-launch of the membership site,
and are building the new version using a much more user-friendly membership
site solution. Also, one of our biggest factors was customer service. PHP is open source, which
means you are on your own. I prefer an 800 # I can call, with someone who speaks English
who can fix my problem right away.
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