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My Brutally Honest MemberVault Review – Is it Better than Teachable?

 December 28, 2019

By  Csaba Borzasi

In this in-depth analysis, we're going to dive deep into what MemberVault actually is, how it works "under the hook", and figure out whether it's the right membership solution for you.


Look, If you want to start and grow a successful online business, you're going to need a membership site or some type of learning management platform.


And currently, there are A LOT of these on the market, like Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, or Kajabi - each with tons of cool features and benefits. 


However, the thing that they're ALL lacking is that they don't allow you to keep your business feeling personal at scale.


This is where MemberVault comes in. 


What is MemberVault?

Now, if haven't heard about it before, MemberVault is basically a membership site where you can put all your offers, courses, downloadables, PDFs, and even coaching or membership programs in one place...


...with the added benefit of giving you an unprecedented look into how your audience actually engages with all your content.


So, MemberVault's unique selling proposition is that it empowers you to have relevant, personalized insights - and even conversations - with your audience in a way that's pretty much impossible with services like Teachable, Thinkific, or Podia.


In fact, MemberVault calls this whole ecosystem a "binge & buy marketplace"...


...And it claims that it can boost your sales from your existing subscribers, without the constant need for effort-intensive launches.


So, instead of the traditional launch method, where you blast your subscribers with promotions that drive to your sales page and allows people to only purchase what you're promoting at that specific time... 


...This system allows you to plant the seeds of several products into the minds of your prospects at an earlier stage, exposing them to relevant marketing messages more efficiently.


(But of course, you could still do regular promotions and launches as well)


What's really cool though, is that the real magic of MemberVault happens "under the hood".


Why? Because it gives you TONS of audience insights and automatic segmentation capabilities based on how people engage with your stuff.


If all of this seems complicated now, don't worry, the system is actually pretty cool and not that hard at all to set up.


So read on (or check out the video below) to discover what MemberVault actually is, how it's different, and whether it can also benefit your business.

Want to boost your sales with your online business? Check out my Copywriting Resource Hub where you'll find in-depth guides, interesting case studies, and practical resources that will help you boost your conversions and sell more, without being salesy or aggressive.


A General, High-level Overview

Right from the start, it's obvious that MemberVault's whole positioning is all about making your business feel personal, even at scale.


This is very, VERY important in 2020 because marketing trends are shifting.


People aren't really that interested in scammy, pushy, or aggressive marketing tactics anymore...


Instead, they want something that speaks to THEM directly.


And the way how MemberVault makes this happen is by introducing something called "gamification". 

What is Gamification?

Gamification makes all your content much more engaging, by introducing strategically placed reinforcement elements that increase your audience's willingness to consume more of your stuff.


These elements could be unlockable rewards, unexpected bonuses, or cool mini-games embedded throughout your membership platform that your audience can use to gain points and unlock even more exclusive bonuses. 


Gamification is scientifically proven to increase conversions and sales, and apps like Duolingo, Candy Crush Saga, or Brilliant all use it to great effect.

Another cool MemberVault feature is the ability to identify your best leads very easily.


In a nutshell, this basically gives you the ability to automatically score people based on their engagement level, and once they reach a certain threshold, the system will flag them as "hot leads", even creating a new segment for you.


From here, you'll be able to reach out to them directly or set up an automation that will send them targeted sales messages with a high chance of them converting. 


Why MemberVault's "Binge & Buy" Marketplace Is So Powerful

As mentioned earlier, one thing I especially love about MemberVault is that the whole system is aimed at creating something called a "binge & buy" marketplace.

Binge & buy marketplace - MemberVault

So why is this such a big deal? 


Because new trends are showing that 80% of new leads who subscribe to your email list or get into your funnel are not ready to buy yet - and won't really be ready for quite a while.


Of the remaining 20%, 5% will buy relatively easily, and 15% will ignore you regardless of what you do.

Now, think about that for a minute...


80% of people will not going to buy up-front, even if they like you... because need more nurturing.


They simply need more time to get to know you better and get exposed to your messages more often - so that when the time comes, you'll be the "natural" choice for them.


Problem is... this can happen one week from now, one month from now, or even six or twelve months from now! 


However, if you give these people access to this "binge & buy" marketplace, they'll get exposed to your offerings repeatedly, and they'll be able to buy your stuff at their own leisure - without the need for you to pressure them with aggressive promotions. 


The thing is, people like to have this type of control (or the illusion of it).


And if you can give it to them, they'll reward you with their hard-earned money.


You just have to wait it out patiently.


However, rewarding people and encouraging their engagement with gamification elements can definitely speeds things up a lot... and this where MemberVault shines.


What Tools Does MemberVault Replace?

MemberVault is basically an (almost) all-in-one membership platform that can take care of a lot of things for you, such as hosting courses, handling memberships, taking payment for your products and services, and more.


However, you're still going to need an email service provider, like ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, or MailChimp.


In addition, you can also PAIR MemberVault with your website, shopping cart service like SamCart or ThriveCart, or even your funnel building tool such as ClickFunnels.


It's totally up to you, and you have complete creative freedom with plenty of integrations that can create a seamless experience between your tools.


Now, at the moment, MV integrates best with ActiveCampaign (so you can do tons of cool automations if that's your thing), however, even if you don't use ActiveCampaign, you're still going to be able to use 95% of the same things.


And trust me when I say that with ConvertKit (my personal ESP), I can set up more than enough automations using their integration. 


A Sneak-Peak Into My Own MemberVault Account

And with all that being said, let's log into my account.


And let's also talk about the medium-sized elephant in the room:



Design

MemberVault design

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's bad or anything...


The design is very minimalistic, and that can often be a good thing. However, compared to other tools, you might consider it a bit "bare bone"...


Still, I never ever heard anybody complain about the design itself so far, and this little nuisance is offset by the fact that the system is VERY stable and reliable. I've never experienced a crashed or major bug once.


UPDATE: It's been confirmed that a *major* design overhaul is already in the works and it will launch in early Q1 2020. So that definitely looks promising.


Another great thing that works like a charm is:



Audience Engagement Tracking


This is how that looks like on the front-end:

Engagement points MemberVault

You can basically track total engagement based on the products people are enrolled in, the number of EPs (engagement points) they've earned by completing various lessons or answering quiz questions, and MemberVault can even identify warm and hot leads for you.


And this is huge!



Warm Leads and Hot Leads


Warm Leads are people who have checked out, or have shown some type of interest in at least one of your free products before (like clicking through to a specific product page at least two times, or completing assignments).


On the other hand, Hot Leads are people who've repeatedly viewed the teaser content (basically, your internal sales page) for one of your products that they don't own yet.


These are people who are kind of invested into the product. 


They're just probably waiting for a good reason to pull the trigger, or they just don't have the money for it right now. 


So Image how powerful it would be if you could send them targeted, personalized, automated messages thanking them for their interest and offering them an exclusive coupon or "Is this right for you" video...


A lot more people would buy, that's for sure. 


And with MemberVault, you can easily do that.


You can easily set up an automation that sends these Hot Leads targeted messages, like a quick email or video basically saying:


"Hey, I saw you checked out this product. I don't know if it's the right fit for you, but this is why a lot of people like it, and it includes this, this and that... Let me know if you have any questions. If not, I'd love to see you inside."


That's it basically and you'd be amazed by how well this works in practice.



Your Product Section 


This is the place where you can host all your products, services, and offers - both free and paid.

membervault examples

You can also mark your products as available or hidden.


This feature is useful because available products are visible on the front-end and people can check them out directly, however if you want to hide certain products (like exclusive bonuses, etc), you can certainly do so.


In this case, only people who've been added to that specific product automatically or manually will be able to see it.


Let me give you an example.


Let's say somebody buys my course, Rainmaker Email Mastery.


As soon as they make the purchase on the checkout page of my shopping cart software of choice (ThriveCart) a "Purchased - REM" tag automatically gets applied to them, which gets passed on to ConvertKit, my email service provider.


Then - since ConvertKit is connected to MemberVault - this tag gives the buyer immediate access to the Rainmaker Email Mastery product inside MV.


But what happens if they also buy my 1-click bump offer on the checkout page, which is a 1-hr coaching session?


Since this is a one-time deal that I don't usually offer, I don't want people to see it in my regular product catalog.


However, by marking it as "Invisible", I can still have it as a standalone product but only show it to those who buy it as a bump offer (by also applying a "Purchased - Coaching" tag).


You can create unlimited products this way, which is usually quite limited on other platforms.


For example, in Kajabi you can only add three products on their lower tier, even though it's quite expensive to begin with ($150 for their entry-level plan)


To be fair, Kajabi also includes a few other tools that MemberVault doesn't:


For example, you can host your own landing pages or website, and you can do email marketing internally (although it's VERY basic compared to a dedicated ESP). 


Personally, I think that's still pretty expensive for what it offers, and most people I know like to connect their membership platform with other external services anyway.


So at the end of the day, with these expensive tools, you'll probably end up not using these extra features.


How MemberVault Works Under the Hood

Your Various Pages


On the back-end, each product is made up of several sections that you can all customize quite easily.


First, you have a teaser section that basically acts as an internal sales page, and this is visible to people who DON'T yet own that product.


Then, there are the modules themselves, which can each have any number of lessons inside. Check out my MemberVault video review for a more in-depth look into how this looks exactly (around minute 13:30).


Here's a sample screenshot:

MemberVault membership

You can also have quiz questions at the end of modules, which can reveal valuable insights such as: what people actually think about the product, what they've learned, what they didn't really understand so well, and so on.


This can then help you smooth out inconsistencies so you can gradually upgrade your products for an even better experience.


Plus, you can also use the answers to these quizzes as testimonials and social proof.


Of course, Teachable, Kajabi and other similar software all have quizzes in one way or another, but I really like how MemberVault uses them as a core feature of their platform, helping your learn more about your audience every single day.


While other players are kind of "fire and forget", MemberVault is all about conversational marketing... which, I think is definitely the future of digital marketing.



Cool "one-click link"


One feature I find particularly helpful is the "one-click link" login.


This automatically logs people in via a dynamic email link, whenever you share a product, module, or lesson with people.


The main idea here is that you embed this link into - say - your welcome email, and once people click it, they'll be automatically logged in to the platform, which is pretty cool because it's one less step that people have to go through.



The Subscriber Hub


Once people subscribe to your email list, they'll get added to something called the "Subscriber Hub" - which is basically your free resource center, full of freebies, downloadables, or whatever free stuff you offer.

Membervault membershp

So what's the main reason for such a Subscriber Hub?


Well, it's actually two-fold:


First, it's your one-stop shop to host all your free stuff, so that your valuable freebies don't end up in someone's download folder, ignored forever. Instead, you simply send them the link to your hosted files, embedded into the membership platform itself.


This is especially useful if you have several lead magnets: regardless of what people subscribe to, you can send them the same link to your Subscriber Hub, and they'll find each freebie inside. 


This is also a great way to encourage them to consume more!


And the more people consume your stuff, the more they'll buy from you.


No more emails back and forth, no more lost files, and no more trying to subscribe multiple times for different lead magnets.


If you see this in action, check out one of my freebies below, and you'll get a welcome email that includes such a link to my Subscriber Hub.

Secondly, the Subscriber Hub acts a stepping stone to your paid offerings. 


Once people check out your free stuff, their eyes are going to notice all the other products in your "binge and buy" marketplace as well. 


And depending on how many times they check those out, the system will categorize individual subscribers as Warm or Hot Leads, and you'll gain powerful new automation capabilities to pitch the right people at the right time.


PRO TIP: I also have a quiz question for every lead magnet I have, so that I can get a better understanding of my audience and have a better idea of what to create next.



Affiliate System & Built-in Shopping Cart


MemberVault has a dedicated affiliate system that you get access to, no matter your plan. 


This, again, is in stark contrast with many other tools that force you to pay for a more expensive tier if you want to gain access to premium features.


You can also take payments with MemberVault via Stripe or PayPal, without paying ANY fees on top of what these payment processors charge by default. 


It's totally up to you whether you want to use the internal checkout solution or you want to use an external service, such as ThriveCart. MemberVault works well in both cases.


By the way, if you want to learn more about ThriveCart, check out this in-depth video on why I think it's the best shopping cart solution on the market (+ how it compares to SamCart and Clickfunnels)


Is MemberVault the Right Membership Solution for You?

So yeah, that's MemberVault, in a nutshell.


Who is this a good fit for? 


Basically, anyone who wants to simplify their business or wants to lower the number of business tools they use. 


MemberVault gives you an almost all-in-one "binge & buy" marketplace that includes payment processing, a solid membership site, lots of automation capabilities, and tons of creative freedom to do pretty much anything you want.


You can host courses, freebies, interactive challenges, and even embed Facebook lives or create a following around the platform, with much higher engagement rates compared to many other tools. 


MemberVault is just something different.


And you know what's interesting?


I've had tons of subscribers reply to my emails and praise the usefulness and ease of use of the Subscriber Hub infrastructure that I've created with MemberVault, which is pretty cool, if you as me.


How Much Does MemberVault Cost?

Actually, it's one of the most affordable membership platforms on the market.

Membervault pricing

Unlike other platforms, MemberVault has a fully-featured forever free plan.


And this isn't like Teachable's gimped "free" plan that severely restricts the things you can do with it WHILE taking a HUGE 10% cut at the same time...


(And even if you upgrade to their Basic or Professional, plan, there are still caveats)


No. MemberVault gives you every single feature, even if you pay nothing.


The only "catch" is that you're limited to 50 users - which isn't much, but it's perfect to test out things.


So, if you have a big list and you want to try out MemberVault, what I recommend is that you first create a segment of up to 50 people.

Then, you import this into MemberVault, and basically create a beta test to see how people like it and how they engage with your stuff.


If they like it, you create a paid membership. If they don't you ignore it. It's quite simple.


In any case, one thing's for certain: if you give this a try, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results.


Now you have a risk-free way to check it out and to see if it's right for you.


MemberVault PROs and CONs

Pros

  • Innovative membership platform that's all about conversational marketing
  • Keeps your business feeling personal at scale
  • You can put all your offers - from free challenges to paid 1:1 services - in one place
  • Allows you to have a supportive buying experience that encourages purchases from day 1
  • Can help you automatically identify "hot leads" and pitch them accordingly
  • The only membership platform I know of that supports gamification at its core
  • Great value for money and has a FREE plan that includes every single feature
  • Helps you track, tag, and learn about your audience at a deep level
  • Can serve as an almost all-in-one solution to run your online business
  • Fantastic support, community, and weekly Q&A calls that are super useful

Cons

  • The UX design is a bit dated compared to certain rivals 
  • Although the FREE tier includes every feature, it's capped at 50 people
  • Can be a bit complicated to understand and use every feature that's included
  • Deep integrations are a bit limited at the moment (although the core ones are there)

Should You Give MemberVault a Try?


I think it's definitely worth it to give their free plan a try with a small segment of your audience, and see how they like it. Chances are, they'll love it.


Plus, you'll gain tons of insights that can help you refine your messaging and create better products for your audience.


Since MemberVault is a relatively new service, it doesn't have that many users so far, which basically means two things:


1 - The people behind it (Erin and Mark Kelly) are open to new suggestions and are all about building the best membership solution on the market


2 - The quality of support and the community itself is amazing, and can definitely feel that people are super nice, engaged, and eager to help with anything you need.


You can kind of feel that vibe you have with new services that are innovative but didn't really experience mass adoption yet... which, I think is pretty cool.


If you're interested, go ahead and check out MemberVault here.

Csaba Borzasi


Csaba Borzási is the founder of Game of Conversions. After spending 10 years learning the ins and outs of persuasion psychology, Csaba now focuses on what he loves most: helping ambitious entrepreneurs grow their online business and get more profitable customers. When he isn't geeking out on discovering how the human mind works, you can probably find him climbing a mountain, dancing salsa, or traveling around the globe.

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