Why the Circle Community Platform Works

Whenever we integrate a new tool or build inside a new platform as a creative agency, we like to hear how other folks have found it. So, if you're considering building a Circle community, we'd like to extend that same courtesy to you. From reasonable pricing to industry-leading features, is a community-building vehicle that's been picking up steam in the world of membership-based websites. The platform brings a stunning amount of integration capabilities to the table, which has been one of our primary reasons for choosing it. In building with, we were able to eliminate other tools that tend to make membership platform experiences messy, costly, and just unnecessarily complex for members (and admins!).  

If you know a little about what a platform like this can do for businesses and creators, you may be wondering what sets Circle apart from its competitors in the market. We'll dive into that in detail. Here's what our experience with building a Circle community has been like.

Branding functionality options inside the Circle community platform.

So... What is

At its core, is a tool for gathering your people. The platform offers an all-in-one solution to the brand issue of integrated community building. Historically, entrepreneurs, creators, and immersive brand leaders have been forced to cobble together different tools and software to bring folks into the fold. This can get messy.  

Circle is a membership-based platform that gives you complete creative control. I can't really stress that part enough. In my mind, this is one of the greatest distinguishing factors (more on that later). With your Circle membership, you get a robust feature set that includes  

What Sets the Circle Membership Platform Apart?

Unlike many competing platforms such as Breezio, integration is at the forefront of what provides. With the professional plan, businesses can retain their brand and vibe while building up a powerfully integrated ecosystem. The best part? Circle membership is something you can directly integrate with your own website or app, further driving home the point that this is a tool designed to grow alongside an existing brand just as much as it is one for building a whole new business.

Creating a Circle community is also just a damn fun experience. The sleek interface and modern UX call to mind the best parts of Notion while building out a more externally focused feature set      

Platform Pricing

Circle membership comes in three tiers: Basic, Professional, and Enterprise.

Basic ($39/month)

On the basic plan you get group chat and direct messages (eliminates the need for Slack), individual profiles, admin moderation controls, a custom domain, and unlimited events. There are other features, but those are the essential selling points. Check out their full plan details here.

Professional ($99/month)

Professional adds live stream and video functionality, zero Circle branding (refer to my point above), API access, customizable code, and custom single sign-on options.

Enterprise ($399/month)

The Enterprise option is pricey for a reason. In our estimation, most small businesses probably will not need this initially. However, the biggest thing you get here is support and priority, which could certainly be very useful if you have the capital to invest. This support comes in a variety of forms including strategy calls, concierge access, prioritized email access, and more. Enterprise would definitely be nice to have if you're in an industry that moves fast.

For our money, most small businesses and creators will get the most bang for their buck with the Professional tier. We say that because that's what has worked for us.

A Case Study in Circle Integrations

Take RV Road Fellows, for example. This is a site that we recently built in Webflow and integrated with a professional Circle membership. The interactivity of the platform is obviously a major factor in garnering interest. That initial experience will be one of the primary factors in generating the snowball effect of initial membership draw. And it's already working.

Combined with a charming design that elicits a sense of whimsy, the marriage of Webflow and is what makes this site tick. Circle gave us total customizability to create the RV Road Fellows brand exactly how it needed to be. Membership platforms can be tricky, but with a robust foundation for building its community, features, RV Road Fellows is ready for the journey. + Zapier

The average member of RV Road Fellows is on the go and looking for a convenient point of connection. If they don't find that quickly, they'll look elsewhere. This is why removing all friction from the sign-up process was an absolute must. By integrating with Zapier, we were able to automate an easy-as-pie sign up process for new members.

Users can sign in via an email address, Twitter account, or Facebook account. The process is lightning quick and as simple as it gets. After sign-up, our Zapier automation quickly adds the new user to a ConvertKit audience, invites the user via email to verify their identity using Stripe, and tells the RV Road Fellows moderators that someone new has joined (so they can be properly welcomed).

Membership Groups

Once on-boarded, the platform lets members zero in on the specific spaces they'd like to join. Users are not limited to just one space either, Circle allows members to join and access multiple spaces and feeds where they can get the information and interactions relevant to their interests.

A list of groups to join inside the RV Road Fellows Circle membership website.

Messaging and Event Planning

Communication is a crucial element of building community. When it comes to the online world, chat and direct messaging are a must. Often times, though, this is a space where platforms fall a bit short. Community builders end up pulling in other tools, and it just gets messy. Not so with Circle.

Upon becoming an RV Road Fellows member, users are given access to a variety of communication and planning features. These include posts, live streams, private messages, trip sharing, a personal introduction chat, video sharing, a forum-style feedback section, and robust individual profile displays. This diverse functionality sums up the all-in-one nature of quite nicely.

Monetizing in

RV Road Fellows is not currently monetizing their platform. If/when they decide to do that, however, the Circle platform is built to support this. Probably the coolest part here is the amount of control you have over how your paid memberships work. If your business model requires gated access to content (re courses, workshops, etc.), this can be managed with ease through Circle. Want to set up recurring subscriptions? Easy enough. There's even the ability to validate coupons, discount codes, and free trials (see below 😉). This is kind of huge for admins because it cuts down on them having to learn how to navigate an entirely different tool like Square.

A Circle platform asset with text that says, "Easily accept payments from your members with Circle."

Final Assessment

The Circle community platform works as well as it does because it solves the problem from several angles. By creating an all-in-one space, they make the community experience significantly easier and more accessible for both members and admins. But that's not all. As an agency, the trickle down benefits of are immense. Any Circle sites that we build become essentially self-sufficient, or at least self-contained. Instead of running in several directions to support our clients when they experience user errors and glitches across five different tools, we get to focus all of our attention and less of our time on any periodic updates or minor issues that may come up in a single easily navigable spot.  

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