We have just pushed out v2.1 of the MailChimp Integration Add On. This update fixes a lot of bugs, but one of those in particular would have stopped users from being subscribed to MailChimp lists after checkout or registration.
If you suspect that you’ve missed some list signups due to this bug, you can use the export CSV feature of the plugin to generate files to import your members into MailChimp.
When you import the CSVs, it will not duplicate users already on your lists and will not subscribe anyone who has since unsubscribed through MailChimp.
We have a guide for exporting subscriber lists by membership level and importing them into MailChimp.
The Approvals Add On allows you to set up a unique approval or application process for your membership site. After a member signs up, the admin will have the ability to approve their membership or deny the application.
The diagram below explains how approval fits into the standard membership checkout process.
How it Works
Using the add on, you can set your membership levels to require approval with a few options. Not only can you set a level to require approval, you can also set a level to require an approved membership from another level in order to complete checkout.
This allows you to offer a two-step membership application and full membership registration model. You can place an application fee on the application level, and then charge your full recurring membership fee on the primary membership for approved members. Extend your site further by using fields add via the Register Helper Add On to gather member information that will help you decide whether to approve or deny the membership.
How you name your membership levels is one of the most important components for conversions on your membership on site.
Let’s spend some time thinking about membership level names. We’ll cover the classic membership site structures and provide examples for naming the membership levels or subscription options for each case. (And there’s even a nifty “level name” playground that tests your name within various plugin-generated phrases.)
Take a step back and evaluate your membership level names.
I work with thousands of membership sites and have seen a lack of clarity (and creativity) in this key area. The membership level name identifies what the member is receiving in exchange for their membership fee. In some cases, the name is a badge of pride for your members, turning them from the anonymous “visitor” to a member of the “in-crowd”.
Putting all of this touchy-feely stuff aside, the level name is also used in various default “phrases” within your membership site system. You need to make sure your level name “reads well” within these phrases. I’ve created a simple tool at the end of this article that provides a litmus test for your level names within the key system phrases in Paid Memberships Pro.
Mainly for non-profits with creative membership level tiers.
This flavor of membership site offers more (or fewer) features based on membership level. This is the structure of our own site here at Paid Memberships Pro. We offer a Free, Core and Plus level. I think the level names are OK, and they do imply a tier (Plus being the highest membership option available).
Here are some level name ideas based on the “tier”
Mama Bear (just right!)
Price/Payment Term Structured Levels
Use this level naming structure when all membership levels offer the same package of features, but vary based on price or term. First, try to think of something clever based on your specific name, brand or site topic.
If your membership site was a sports team, what would you call your fans?
You can give membership an overall brand, such as “Trekkies”, “Bronies”, or “Cheeseheads”. Then use your level names to clarify the price or payment term.
You may still have an idea of “tier” in this structure, such as a Foodie Box site that offers 3 Month, 6 Month, and Annual subscriptions, with the option to “add on” a dessert box. For this case, I’d suggest reading through my post on price-adjusting Register Helper fields to have a selection at checkout modify the level price. Easy as pie.
Here are some level name ideas based on the price/term
* Note that not all integrated gateways offer “daily” subscriptions.
Content Vertical/Category-specific Levels
In this type of membership site, the membership levels differ not by features, but by type of content or “vertical”. This is common in a stock or investing site, nationwide membership chapters site, or an online dating site where identifying the member’s “interest” is handled via the membership level selected.
Here are some level name ideas based on the content vertical
Stock/Investing Sites: Technology Sector, Gas and Oil, Retail, Pharmaceuticals
Member Chapter Sites: Country Name, State Name, County Name
Online Dating Sites: Man Seeking Woman, Woman Seeking Man, Man Seeking Man, Woman Seeking Woman, etc.
User or Member-type Levels
This is a category of membership site where the member receives a different level/price/package based on the type of member they are. Check out our Sponsored/Group Members Add On if you have a membership level that offers parent/child account relationships.
Here are some level name ideas based on the user/member-type
Military: Active Duty and Veterans
Content Delivery/Subscription Type Levels
For this type of membership site, the levels differ by how the content is received. It will make more sense after reading the level names below, but basically this case is used when the content is offered in various formats (online, print, email), and the selected level determines the members’ preferred method(s) of content delivery.
For this case, you could use the same membership branding concepts covered in the Price/Payment Term Structured Levels section above, then use the level names to clarify content delivery.
Here are some level name ideas based on the type of content delivery
Online and Print
Sponsorship Level/Benefactor Tiers
If you’re a non-profit organization, you most likely think about membership a bit differently than most other site types. In your case, membership level is actually sponsorship level, and you have a chance to get really creative in how you name your tiers.
A great approach to level naming is to pull ideas from the goals of your organization, your location, the group or cause you represent.
Instead of coming up with my own examples, I’ve compiled a few non-profits and their benefactor/membership tier names below:
I hope this post has given you some direction as you brainstorm level names for your new or existing membership site. If you have a type of membership site that wasn’t covered, post a comment below so we can discuss some level naming conventions for your site.
If you run an existing membership site, you can still rename your membership levels. With Paid Memberships Pro you can simply update the level names under Memberships > Edit Level in the admin. Every member that currently has that membership level will automatically have their membership level name updated.
Time to Play
The Membership Level Names Playground below allows you to enter a desired membership level name and see how it will “read” within various plugin-generated phrases. These are the most common phrases your members will see, both on your site and in membership-related emails.
Test your level name against key phrases in Paid Memberships Pro.
Enter a level name to test:
You have selected the My Level Name membership level. Shown on the membership checkout page.
Membership Level: My Level Name Shown in most member communication emails and invoices.
Your My Level Name membership is now active. Shown on the membership confirmation page.
If you have a level name that doesn’t pass the litmus test, don’t fret. Every phrase in Paid Memberships Pro can be “translated”, and I’m not just talking about languages.
Depending on your membership site, you may need to use these methods or another approach. Just open a topic in our members forum (provided to PMPro Core and Plus members), and we will help you work out any hiccups between your desired membership level name and the built in phrases of Paid Memberships Pro.
Version 1.9.1 of Paid Memberships Pro is out with a handful of bug fixes and some tweaks to our license nag. This fix in particular will help on sites that had multiple plugins using the Stripe API library.
Concerning Our License Prompts
The tweaks to our “license nag” (as we’ve named it) deserve a bit of explanation. Almost two years ago we launched our PMPro Plus membership here on the site, which includes access to our paid support forums but also allows you to use the WordPress dashboard to automatically update the plugins that we host on our own servers.
Since then, we’ve been selling PMPro Plus licenses on the site here, but we weren’t actually requiring a valid license to update the Plus addons.
There were relatively few people taking advantage of the lack of checks on our update server, so we didn’t bother to turn on the check. Now however, there are quite a few sites running PMPro with Plus licenses that try to update against our servers without valid licenses. We enabled the license check in v1.9 to encourage those sites to purchase a license (or alternatively download zip files from GitHub to update their addons).
We also added a “license nag” that pops up once a week in the WP dashboard if you don’t have a PMPro license key set. Our intention for this nag is to kindly suggest that sites using PMPro on a production site purchase a support license. These support licenses pay us to support our customers, but they also support the PMPro platform in general by giving us cashflow to pay our developers/etc. I know that as a user of open source software myself, often times the decision of which projects I support and which I don’t comes down to simply whether or not I was asked for support.
We are still committed to PMPro as an open source project first and foremost.
All of our code is GPLv2 and available for free on WordPress.org or GitHub.com. At the same time, we want to encourage users who are willing to pay to purchase licenses to help support themselves and the platform.
It’s hard to strike a balance between asking nicely and being annoying. We’re not there yet. The v1.9 update was both unclear and aggressive in how the license notification worked. We’ll continue to monitor things and consider other changes (maybe making it less than once per week for sites without a license), but in v1.9.1 we have made a couple of changes to the license nag:
On new installs, we will wait 1 week before showing the nag at all. This gives new users time to discover our website on their own or to try out the plugin and deactivate it if they aren’t using it. We didn’t mean for the license notification to be so “in your face” when the plugin was activated.
The “Invalid Key” message is no longer showing if you haven’t even tried to enter a key. The error message is also yellow vs. red to note it as a warning vs. an error.
We’re also working on updates to our pricing page and documentation on the site here to make it more clear who should purchase which license.
Many of our articles and code recipes include instructions on how to “customize and add this code to a plugin for customizations”. In addition, our support team may provide you with customizations to add to your site via this method.
This tutorial explains how to create and edit a custom plugin for all of your tweaks to the core plugin and for any Add Ons you are using.
But can’t I just edit my theme?
We strongly recommend using the customization plugin method for a variety of reasons. To be clear, the file functions.php within any theme or child theme performs like a plugin in that it can execute php code. While adding code to your active theme’s functions.php file is often quicker than building a plugin, the downside is that if you change or update your theme, you’ll lose the functionality that was built into that theme. Code in a plugin will persist.
In addition, the use of a customizations plugin helps your developers and our support team know exactly WHERE the custom code is located as it relates to your Paid Memberships Pro setup.
First, figure out how to FTP into your Website
While many of our add ons can be installed directly via your WordPress Dashboard, the customizations plugin is one instance where knowing how to use FTP to “put” or “edit” files on your web server is very important.
Your web host should have provided you with FTP or SFTP credentials. To properly log in to your web server you will need the:
If you have multiple authors on your membership site, this recipe will override the post’s membership requirements and always let the author view their content (ignoring their current or past membership level).
This post covers our add ons that extend the checkout payment options and allow you to offer up to three unique payment methods.
But first, why should you offer multiple payment methods?
Ask 5 random friends how comfortable they are making purchases online and I promise you will receive a variety of responses:
the 100% “no fear” online shopper,
those that are “slightly concerned” buying things online, and finally…
the “highly reluctant to enter my credit card number anywhere” customer.
We know that this variety of comfort levels exist, so what can you do as an online merchant to appeal to the largest array of buyers?
You can offer multiple payment methods.
Offering PayPal as a Payment Method at Checkout
PayPal offers peace of mind to buyers that have concerns paying you directly.
PayPal gives consumers a layer of protection when making purchases online. They are a well known merchant with industry-leading security features beyond anything you can put in place for your own website. In addition, PayPal offers simple tools to allow consumers to manage who they have paid, communicate with issues about their purchases, cancel subscription payments linked to their account, and report fraudulent or unauthorized activity.
When a majority of your target members fall into the “highly uncomfortable making purchases online” group, offering an offline payment method, such as mailing a check, can greatly improve conversions.
The “Pay by check” option is particularly important for “offline” membership groups or associations that are just getting started with an online system. In this case, some percentage of your members are already comfortable making payment by mail and wish to continue doing so. Moving to an online-only system can alienate the members who prefer the status quo (unless the overhead to do so is prohibitively expensive or labor-intensive).
Our Pay by Check Add On adds a “Pay by Check” method in addition to your primary gateway — and it doesn’t have to be a traditional “check” payment. Some sites use this add on to provide bank transfer instructions or to directly invoice members after checkout via other invoicing systems.