How to use HubSpot Memberships

Phil Vallender avatar
Phil Vallender

Nov 13, 2023

hubspot memberships

HubSpot Memberships lets you grant your users secure access to private, premium, or personal web content with password-based authentication. 

Most websites are built to generate demand for a product, service, or solution by getting good fit visitors to raise their hand and enter the sales process. However, their usefulness doesn’t end there.

A website can also be the ideal place to host content that isn't intended for general visitor consumption. For example, content that's reserved for existing customers, partners, community, or even employees. Content like this usually requires protection and while a single, shared password can get you so far, sooner or later you need to individually authenticate different users - and that's where HubSpot Memberships comes in.

What is HubSpot Memberships?

HubSpot Memberships is the set of features available within HubSpot CMS Enterprise that take care of password-authentication for selected contacts in your database, without the need to procure, configure, or maintain any complicated, third-party technology.

Memberships incorporate the technology that allows users to generate and reset a secure password, and to login and out of your membership content areas.

You can control which contacts can register for which content areas by adding them to static or smart lists in HubSpot. Emails are then sent to the eligible contacts inviting them to create their account. If a contact is on several lists, the one account gives them access to all the areas they are entitled to see.

Membership is also compatible with a range of SSO and social sign-in solutions, making it even easier for your target audience to gain access to important content without having to remember another password.

What HubSpot Memberships isn't

While HubSpot Memberships takes care of the truly tricky infrastructure and processes of authentication, it's not a turn-key solution for creating a customer or partner portal, or a premium or private content area.

Memberships can grant specific users the ability to see certain content, but it still has to be created and presented using the HubSpot CMS. This becomes significantly more complex if you intend to show personal or sensitive information, pulled from your CRM database or third-party platform to individual users.

So, when you are planning your membership content area, it's important that you consider the cost of not only the software to enable authentication, but the cost of creating the content, and styling the necessary system pages (i.e. login), too.

Considering creating a website using HubSpot CMS? This guide covers everything  you need to know.

Building a private or premium content area with HubSpot Memberships

The most straightforward use-case of Memberships is to require users to authenticate in order to view pages that host private or premium content. These could be:

  • Standard CMS pages built using the same templates as your public website
  • Pages with different templates or themes for this purpose
  • HubSpot blogs consisting of private listing pages and posts
  • Landing pages
  • HubDB-driven directories and content

To grant contacts access to this area you'll need to add them to the relevant HubSpot list, triggering the sending of a registration email. Adding them to the list can be performed manually or automatically by workflow – based on a particular form being submitted or a payment being received for example.

The Memberships functionality only allows eligible and registered contacts to see the pages you protect, but it's important that you provide them with the means to navigate around and discover the content available to them. This means you may need to integrate membership-specific navigation or search functionality into the relevant page templates.

Building a portal area with HubSpot Memberships

Building a portal, where the content presented is more individual to the viewer, or more sensitive generally, is entirely possible with Memberships, is just requires more thought and custom development.

The information that is typically presented within a portal environment is usually drawn either from the CRM database itself or from third party platforms - where it might be requested on demand via API or stored in the CRM, either on standard or custom objects, before being shown to the user.

Using CRM object data in your portal pages requires that you identify which properties on which objects you require to show, and to use HubSpot's proprietary language HubL to both identify which specific user is logged in, and to pull the required data from the CRM on to dynamic page templates. This information then, of course, needs to be styled so that everything looks right and the user experience is good.

Once implemented, this can create a delighting experience that can add power to your relationships and businesses. And while the modules used can be drag and drop, the information that is presented will be harder to change than standard HubSpot CMS website content. This is why it's so important to scope the solution, required investment, and return in detail before commencing. 

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