The more things change…
In late November of 2020 I turned 50 and a few of my friends got together and bought be an incredible gift – a new MoFi Studiodeck Turntable. I haven't owned a record player (or records) since I was a kid. If you know me, the next sentence won't surprise you. I'm now running out of storage space for all my new records!
I tell you this to tell you what you already know – the more things change, the more they stay the same.
And that's also true for a plugin that is one of the old school players in the game – Digital Access Pass. It's one of the original membership plugins for WordPress and because it's been around a lot, and because we all like shiny new things, it's easy to skip past.
Today I want to tell you why you should circle back and spend a little time checking it out.
Let me first ask you a question…
What matters more, when it comes to a WordPress plugin:
- What you can do with it? or
- What can be done with it?
I know, you're likely thinking, isn't that the same question? That doesn't make sense. But there's a difference. And marketers know this. They don't showcase what “I” can do with the product. They showcase what “someone” can do with it. In other words, the power of a product may not be something that is easily accessible, but that doesn't mean it's not possible.
My wife and I were in Paris a few years ago with our kids and we saw a young man selling these little planes with an elastic launcher that he would shoot into the air and it would light up the sky, and then come right back to him. My kids wanted one (each). I bought them one to share and that was the right call because neither of my kids could make it do what that expert could.
Digital Access Pass is one of the most powerful plugins in the WordPress world for selling content (and protecting it) – either for membership or courseware sites (or both). And they've made it a lot easier to use than they used to.
But that doesn't matter. And here's why.
They offer a service where you can get their experts to configure things for you for pretty cheap. It's a white glove service that changes the name of the game.
Because as long as the power is available, I don't necessarily need to know how to configure every switch that's available to me. I want the benefit of the power. Not necessarily the know-how on how to do everything myself.
Evaluating the DAP membership plugin
The other day I told you that when I evaluate membership plugins like Digital Access Pass, I use this new criteria of 11 factors. Here is how DAP compares to the criteria.
Protect posts / pages – The DAP membership plugin protects content in every way you want it to – from full pages, to partial pages (with shortcodes), to posts and custom post types. It protects content by category, and protects files (like PDFs and Excel files). It also supports showing you a content teaser without showing you the whole content, in order to drive people to sign up.
Collect payment – Digital Access Pass connects to more payment gateways than most of the membership plugins out there. Maybe in second to another old school player, Wishlist Member. DAP connects to WooCommerce, but also Stripe, Authorize.net, ClickBank, PayPal, ThriveCart, SamCart, 2Checkout, Zaxaa, Ontraport and more.
Most importantly, they have their own cart, SmartPayCart that is incredible and beats SamCart for most of the features that people choose that cart solution for.
And did I mention, while not related to incoming payments but rather to outgoing payments, DAP comes with a full-features affiliate program too!
Sell access to specific posts – The other day I compared ten different content protection solutions (more on that on a future post) and almost no one did this well. But the DAP membership plugin does it and does it well. If you need this feature, the DAP membership plugin is on the short list of folks that can help you.
Automate access (via dates, delays and accomplishments) – If you want to talk automation, you'll want to check out DAP's visual automation system. Much like AccessAlly, they connect their plugin to your marketing automation system and pass tags back and forth. From there, you can do almost anything you want. You can use this to trigger emails, to open up courses for them, or to move them from one level to another.
Integrate with marketing automation – DAP connects to just about everyone – ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, Drip, Aweber and, of course, Mailchimp. I mentioned their connections to Ontraport and should have said Infusionsoft as well. So pretty much, if you're using something, you'll likely be able to connect it to DAP. But they also support Zapier.
Support teams and group-based access – Whether you call this umbrella accounts, child accounts, or team accounts, the point is the same. Your membership plugin should support it. And thankfully, Digital Access Pass does it – giving group owners the ability to control who gets access (sub-accounts).
Restrict historical content – This is one of the most requested features when I work with clients on their membership sites and while DAP supports it kind of, it's not a fully fleshed out feature yet. But I hear they're working on it.
Deliver content as both membership & courses – This is one of the areas we're seeing a lot of change in – as membership plugins are adding LMS features and LMS plugins are adding membership features. Thankfully, DAP has been here for a while, offering progress bars, “mark as complete” buttons, and more. And they don't lock you into any particular layout. Design it as you wish. And combine your course with your membership / protected content any way you like.
Create multiple payment plans for the same access – Internet marketers everywhere know that you can sell the same content (access) across three different plans – all up front, broken into x payments, or with recurring monthly payments. The fact that most plugins don't support this dynamic doesn't make a lot of sense. Thankfully, Digital Access Pass totally supports it.
Provide options for upsells / one-time offers – DAP doesn't require any additional software once you start using their SmartPayCart (SPC). It includes a full-featured upsell/down-sell funnel builder for one-time offers. It also offers free trials and an option to let customers use points to pay for things (did I mention they support full gamification?).
Developer Support (extensibility) – While there's a ton of DAP documentation, it's mostly focused on how end users can do things. That said, they have so many features, there's less of a developer need to extend something, and more just a need to learn how to use every feature it makes available.
So how does DAP rate on this list of 11 features? Amazing.
Only one other plugin actually beats it, but that's a post for another day.
- Protect Posts / Pages – 10/10
- Collect Payment – 10/10
- Sell Access to Specific Posts – 10/10
- Automate Access – 10/10
- Integrate with Marketing Automation – 10/10
- Support Teams-based / Group Access – 10/10
- Restrict Historical Content – 5/10
- Deliver Memberships / Courses – 10/10
- Multiple Payment Plans – 10/10
- Options for Upsells – 10/10
- Extensible by Developers – 8/10
You should check out the DAP membership plugin
Does it matter if I know how to configure everything using Digital Access Pass, if they offer the ability for me to purchase 3 or 4 hours of their time to listen to what I want and then configure everything for me?
I don't think so.
I have long told LMS and membership plugin vendors they should offer a white-glove service. After all, just because I want a new couch or bookshelf, doesn't mean I also want to build it.
The best news?
Sign up for free content. People still do that.
Thousands of folks (7000+) regularly get my posts in their inbox. For free.