Category: Community

circle

From

$39/mo

overall

8/10

trial

14-day

TL;DR

Pros

  • Great community feature
  • Course and live stream available
  • Mobile app available

Cons

  • Limited payment options
  • Limited support

What You Should Know

  • Great community platform with payment system
  • Course and live streaming available
  • Mobile app available
  • Limited customization

Ratings

Feature: 8.5

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Features: 8

User Experience: 9

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Features: 8

Pricing/Value: 7.5

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Features: 8

Support & Community: 7

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Features: 8

What is Circle?

Circle is one of the most popular community platforms and has been trusted by over 8,500 users since its inception in 2019.

This includes big companies like Adobe.

The main purpose of the platform is to help online creators create a space for their members (free or paid) to gather and connect.

Similar platforms,also competitors, are Vibely (now Kajabi)  Mighty Networks or Skool

Features: What Can You Do With Circle?

The core feature of Circle is its community capabilities, which is essentially your very own, customizable facebook group (only better).

But there is more to it as the platform has expanded what it can do for online course creators for example.

Here is a quick overview of the full feature stack:

  • Fully customizable community
  • Events
  • Online courses
  • Live stream video
  • Mobile app
  • Payment system
  • Single SSO with specific apps

That’s a really interesting combination and may even be enough for people that already use other platforms for their funnel.

Most online businesses will still also probably need email marketing software.

Let’s break down some of these core features:

Community & Groups

This is of course the most important part of Circle and what attracts most people to the platform.

At its very core, you can set up different Space Groups that contain different Spaces (aka conversation channels).

Think of it as different group conversations, each can serve their purpose within your community.

There are a few types of Spaces you can choose chose depending on what you want it for:

  • Posts: this is your standard post and reply thread. Members can like, reply with text, audio or GIF.
  • Events: these are date based and serve as an announcement about what’s coming up.
  • Chat: this is a timeline-based conversation, one message after another.
  • Members: that’s a directory of specific members

You also have the possibility to add quick Links to help your members navigate through the community or get to other external pages.

Circle also supports a Live video feature which allow you to stream directly in the platform and keep the recording:

Lastly, the platform also allows for members to send Private Messages to each other, which is a great way to connect.

Each member has a profile they can customize and display several information such as their bio and social media links.

Courses & Event

The course feature has been added after so many users asked for a way to deliver their online programs directly inside of Circle.

This looks and feels very much like an online course builder with a back-end management of content.

You can create your modules and lessons visually with the drag and drop builder.

These can include rich text, videos, audio, and files.

Note that video hosting is not unlimited and depends on your Circle plan.

This is only available on the Professional plan upwards.

Of course, lessons can be easily integrated to the rest of your community and members can comment and interact inside the course.

You can also see student’s progress and see where they drop off to optimize engagement.

Checkout - taking payments

If you’re building a paid community or plan to sell online courses through Circle, there is a checkout system integrated in the platform.

All you have to do is to connect Stripe (there are no other payment options).

You can sell one-time fee courses or set up recurring subscriptions.

Only the following currencies are supported: AUD, CAD, EUR, GBP, BRL, and USD.

This is pretty straightforward and maybe a little limited right now. Most platforms integrate with Paypal but this isn’t currently available here.

There is no upsell or order bump feature and you can’t set up an affiliate program with Circle’s checkout.

You can easily create different tiers and subscriptions

Your students later on also have the option to easily upgrade from one tier to another. Free trials are also possible.

Mobile App

The last important feature to highlight here is the mobile app.

This is available on both iOS and Android, for your member to stay engaged on the go.

Note here that this is not a branded app, and you will have to explain to your members that they need to get the Circle app and find your community there.

The advantage of such centralized apps is that you don’t have to do anything for maintenance and updates.

Your members can message, comment and keep up to date just like they would on the desktop app.

Note that as an admin, you will still probably need to use the desktop version as you can’t really manage your community from the mobile app.

You can’t really change the design or layout of the community in the app but this is still a great selling point.

What’s Circle user experience like?

Circle is a very polished and easy to understand platform.

The web browser experience is very satisfying with a very smooth platform.

You can customize the looks and feel to some extent also the layout is still fairly static. But it should be very easy to learn for your members.

The mobile is also working well on both iOS and Android.

You do have access to custom branding and code script on the Professional plan for further customization.

How much is Circle?

You get started with Circle on a 14 days free trial.

After that, thee are 4 paid plans depending on your needs and the features you need:

These are:

  • Basic: $39/month (paid annually)
  • Professional: $89/month (paid annually)
  • Business $239/month (paid annually)
  • Enterprise: $360/month (paid annually)

The Basic plan should be fine if you’re just looking for a community platform with a small number of members.

The limit on the Basic plan is 100 members and note that you will also have a 4% transaction fee if you use Circle’s checkout.

Most people will probably land on the Professional plan, with an unlimited number of members, and the course and live stream features available with up to 100GB of storage.

If you’re looking to completely integrate Circle with other platforms, higher plans might be needed.

Overall this pricing is fairly on par with other competitors such as MightyNetworks or Skool.

How is Circle Support & Community?

Circle doesn’t really have a direct support and ticketing system.

Instead the platform uses its own feature to create a community and support its user that way.

This acts as both a Help Center and a forum to get help from the community and the Circle team directly.

It would’ve been better to also have a live chat but this is currently not available

Our Overall Rate:  4

Features

User Experience

Affordability

Community & Support Rating:

Pros:

  • Great community feature
  • Course and live stream available
  • Mobile app available

Cons:

  • Limited payment options
  • Limited support

Conclusion:

Circle does a great job for the core of its value proposition: the community features and helping course creators deliver their programs.

It’s also amazing to benefit from the mobile app, all inclusive of the price.

There is some aspect of the secondary feature we’d prefer to be more customizable, but this may not be a deal breaker!

If you want to give Circle a go, you can start on a 14 free trial and start building your community.

Joey Mazars

Online Course Expert

Hi, there! I've literally spent thousands of hours helping clients build their online courses on these platforms through my marketing services.

I've become obsessed with helping them find the right fit for their needs and decided to guide other creators through their decision process with these detailed reviews.


Still have more questions about the best platform or strategy for your online courses?

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