As mentioned in The 7 Best Membership & Subscription Community Platforms, there's a variety of options in the current marketplace.
Previously, we compared Ugenie to Disciple. Now, we report in relation to Circle. Please note that our analysis was conducted at the time and date of this article.
Analysis of Ugenie
Ugenie is a dedicated platform for membership businesses to build, grow, and engage with their communities. Using a social media-inspired design, users feel an instant familiarity with the mobile and web platforms. It also has a pricing structure that is accessible to small businesses. Below, we delve into Ugenie's key advantages and disadvantages.
Simple by Design
Ugenie has been designed for non-technical administrators. It is 'simple by design'. Through market research, the Ugenie founders felt other online community platforms were difficult to transition to and overcomplicated to set up and run. Richard Davies, the founder of My Business LINCS Café, is also the networking group's hub manager on Ugenie and praises the app's simplicity and functionality.
Affordability & Price Flexibility
Ugenie offers a manageable and affordable subscription-based pricing option in uHubs and uHubs+. Also, they cater to more funded and established membership businesses in uApp.
Admin Dashboard, Onboarding Support and Consultancy Ugenie offers a stand-alone administration portal to invite members, add content and analyse activity. Thus, it offers extra support, guidance and resources to help start or transition a membership site. Each uHub, uHub+ and uApp community leader and their team receive onboarding training as well as access to the thriving Ugenie Community of insights and useable documents. The Right Number of Integrations Adding way too many integrations to an online community platform results in clunkiness and greater risks of technical issues. Ugenie focuses only on the most important integrations, such as Live Streaming, Payments and YouTube to maintain simplicity.
Content Management Ugenie's content management system comprises a document library, resource library and video folder, alongside content scheduling and management functions. John F. Kelly, the founder of The Connected Salesperson, uses uHubs+. He says he has "truly benefited from Ugenie's efficient content management system," crucial for his deliverance of sales-driven eLearning.
Unlimited Member Types and Groups Members can be segmented by Member Types and Groups for content targeting. This offers detailed breakdowns of who your members are and what they desire.
Monetisation Options The Marketplace and Offers sections allow leaders to monetise their communities via product promotions, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, discounts and special deals. Further, Ugenie's payment integration is due for launch in 2021, meaning that the platform will develop into a centralised hub to collect standard membership fees.
Ugenie has fewer integrations than other options on the market. For example, they do not have a Zapier integration. They have adapted and developed their features based on the demands of their customers who tend to be non-technical administrators of smaller communities. Ugenie's approach may restrict larger businesses that seek to incorporate external apps beyond the basics.
Ugenie is currently missing some key features needed to efficiently run a membership business. However, payment integration, group chat and live streaming are all in development due to customer requests and will be coming soon.
No eLearning Delivery
Though Ugenie provides content management tools, there's currently no option to deliver courses or education through something similar to a Learning Management System (LMS).
Growing an online community on any platform involves a level of iterative learning and improvement. However, if a community leader is not driven to monetise, migrate from Facebook or immerse themselves in the Ugenie Community, they may struggle.
Analysis of Circle
Circle is a popular community platform choice for membership and subscription businesses, allowing leaders to "bring together discussions, memberships, and content". Circle uses include member interaction via direct messaging, building coaching communities, or simply gathering community members around a product.
Circle's Basic Plan is priced at $39 per month, and the Professional Plan is $79 per month. Both options are cheaper than Ugenie's uHubs and uHubs+.
Groups & 'Spaces' Circle allow members and users to switch between 'spaces', based on different topics, empowering them to focus on what they are most interested in. Ugenie offers a similar feature with a different name of 'groups'.
If a business already has a website, Circle can integrate key community elements onto it. The embedding can be done via a community widget or a space widget Event Management
Soon on Circle, community leaders will be able to create spaces to host in-person or virtual events and allow members to RSVP easily. The events can be added to a calendar with customisable invitations and reminders.
Circle allow community leaders to create a group chat of up to 50 members. Ugenie are due to launch group chats and group messaging in 2021.
Through a community widget, Circle facilitates a Teachable integration. As a result, educators have the option of creating a community of students per course.
Paywalls on Circle are designed to update, manage and support membership subscriptions, where transaction fees are the lowest for the Enterprise plan. Members are also able to view their payment history. Ugenie are due to launch payment integrations in 2021.
No Android Application
Despite the plethora of people who use Android devices, Circle is yet to cater to Android users. Instead, they solely offer an iOS option. Ugenie has developed both.
Limits on Admins & Moderators
Though Circle allow up to a maximum 3 admins and 10 moderators on the Professional plan, only 1 for each is allowed on the Basic Plan. For uHubs, this limit does not exist.
Limits on Groups & 'Spaces'
10, 20 and 1,000 are the maximum numbers of spaces available for a Circle community leader using the Basic, Professional and Enterprise plans.
Limits on Onboarding & Support
Circle's onboarding process primarily involves tutorials in the Circle Community. Also, priority email support is only offered in the Professional plan. In comparison, Ugenie ensures robust onboarding and support for uHubs, uHubs+ and uApp.
Comparing Ugenie to Circle
By downloading the Excel document below, you will receive a comprehensive comparison of Ugenie and Circle based on current information available in the market. The comparison dives into each platform's accessibility, availability, guidance, functionality, capability, content management, member management, community management, interactions, customisability, integrations, analytics system, monetisation options, marketing functions, security level and administrative functions.
Reasons to Choose Ugenie
1. By being 'simple by design', Ugenie is easier to use and customise than Circle
2. Ugenie focuses on including the right number of integrations rather than too many
3. Ugenie offer multiple Administrator roles with no additional costs
4. Ugenie's onboarding process is consistently strong across uHubs, uHubs+ and uApp. 5. Ugenie's support system is consistently strong uHubs, uHubs+ and uApp.
6. Ugenie's integrations are more suited to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
7. Ugenie has both an Android and iOS application for community access
There you have it! There's an in-depth comparison between Ugenie and Circle. Each has features and functionalities that distinguish them from each other, cater to different audiences, and solve different community engagement problems. Obviously, we regard Ugenie as being the membership and subscription community platform that you should choose. We have particularly placed emphasis on Ugenie's Android access, onboarding process, ease of use, integrations, content management system, administrative capabilities, monetisation options and accessibility for small to medium-sized businesses. If you are a community leader, or in the business of community, try a Ugenie hub, for free, for 45 days.