We cover a lot of ground in this episode when it comes to what is the best CRM you should be looking at if you are building an online course/membership business?
Marketing automation does seem to be the buss-word of the moment, and in truth connected to a course based online business, it probably is essential to get your head around what are the real choices you have in this area. However, don’t worry me and Cindy are here to give you some advice and info connected to the leading systems on the marketing the present moment!
This weeks show is Sponsored By Kinsta Hosting
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the WP Tonic show. Its episode 399. Oh my God coming up. I feel like I have being doing these shows forever, folks. And my beloved listeners and viewers. You probably feel that way yourself as well. I got my great cohost with me. The champ, the one that controls my madness. We have got the great Cindy Nicholson with us. Cindy would you like to introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers? She’s laughing. I made her laugh.
Cindy: Well you never know what you’re going to get with Jonathan. Hi everyone. Cindy Nicholson here from thecoursewhisperer.com. And along with Jonathan, I help entrepreneurs that want to create online courses. So 399, Jonathan, that’s pretty good. You’re getting there 400 next weeks.
Jonathon: Yeah, crazy stuff isn’t it? Cindy? So we’re going to have an internal discussion here. We’ve got some great guests. We’ve got great this next weekend in June. We’ve got some great guests. We are fully booked folks. But we are going to have an internal chat. I and Cindy thought a good subject would be to talked about CRMs and how you integrate them into your course. The system that you’re going to use. Obviously we have a focus on WordPress and why you should use Lifter LMS or Learn Dash. Or some other course and WP courseware. There’s a number of plugins but marketing automization is a real buzzword in 2019. And I think it would continue just as strongly in 2020. What do you think Cindy? Do you think that is a great topic to discuss?
Cindy: Yeah, I think it’s a really good one cause it always comes up. And it really kind of is an essential kind of component to how you would be running your online or membership business. So maybe Jonathan, maybe we can start with, you know, what is a CRM? And why would you want one if you had a membership site or course?
Jonathon: Well a CRM it’s just a way to manage the people. And also it’s normally utilized in email sequencing. Fundamentally like with a course if somebody finishes a particular course, you would then send a sequence of emails to that individual. If an individual hasn’t been progressing through a course for a certain amount of time, you could send them a sequence of emails. Does that make sense Cindy?
Cindy: Yeah absolutely.
Jonathon: Also if somebody is purchasing a course and they have given their name and email and then they abandon the actual purchase of the course. You could then send them a sequence of emails. If you’ve got a modern shopping cart, checkout page. Uplifts are big in the terminology. And what I mean by uplifts you’re from a diff, in the shopping cart page, you offer them the opportunities to buy additional products or services. They’re buying a small course and then there might be an additional course which you want to promote. And then after they’ve bought the course you can send us a sequence about this app course you doing. That type of thing. Does that make sense?
Cindy: Yeah, absolutely. In terms of, and maybe this is something I can talk to you about how important it is to kind of maintain that contact with you. Once people have signed up for your course to have that, those touches with your clients as they’re going through it so that they still feel that you’re part of the course with them. Like how important you think that is?
Jonathon: I think that is really important. I have a tendency to underestimate that. I have a tendency, when I’ve been exposed on courses to sequences, I don’t particularly like it. I’m not bothered by it. And if they got the option that I can switch off or indicate I don’t receive them. I probably would, but that’s more to do with my personality. And I’ve been in the online building websites, marketing for over 12 years now. So we have our personal biases and we for obvious reasons we think other people are the same. They are not. Actually getting, it’s been scientifically proven in the people that I read. And think that they know what they’re talking about. That having a lot of touches with people that joined the course and continue to get given them encouragement. And is by the majority of people most welcomed. So I am not the best judge of that. Because I don`t need that so much. I am more concerned about which is in bold and I’m not demeaning it. The actual quality of the course. Why I say that, they’re both really essential. Aren’t they Cindy?
Cindy: Yeah, I think it’s super important especially, you know, you want them to take the course and you want them to have success. But you also want them to know that you are on their side, supporting them in rooting them on. And again the best type of client is an existing client for future products. So if you have other courses that they would benefit from or other services that you can offer them. Kind of maintaining that connection with them is super important as opposed to having them feel like they were kind of abandoned once we got their money sort of thing.
Jonathon: Yeah. And I think you can never start early enough building these sequences of emails. Obviously in the future episode when it’s an internal discussion between you and me. I think the future subject is getting those first 100 members of your course. I think we could discuss methodogies about how to get those first 100. Because that is seen in the course, the course entrepreneur environment as a leading benchmark. Can you get those first hundred people to join your course? Would you agree with that, Cindy?
Cindy: Yeah. We’ll have to make sure we remember that because that’s a good one to talk about.
Jonathon: That’s linked also building up your initial sequences and building up your email. You know, your thank you email, having clear instructions about what will happen. Having an embedded video in that thank you email. Giving a personal message. We are using zoom in a Webcam. These are not expensive things to do now. But now learning from some of the pros. I learned myself or when I see a nice sequence, I take some screenshots and I keep it in a folder. Because when you see somebody that’s put enough effort and work is pretty slick. Isn’t it? And I think anybody that wants to get success in courses as an eLearning entrepreneur they got to learn these mythologies. And the earlier that you get into course automization I think the easier the progress is going to be. As hopefully your course grows.
Cindy: Yeah. Absolutely. And again, it’s part and parcel. It’s part of the whole gig. If you are going to do a course. So when it comes to CRMs, like there’s a bazillion out there. So it can be very overwhelming if you’re trying to decide on which one to choose. So what do you think are some of the main features that somebody should look for when they’re starting to shop for a CRM that works for them?
Jonathon: Well, this is a great question Cindy and thanks for asking it. Having the right CRM that’s focused at your particular level and at your particular niche. There are a lot of them and I’m going to go through about half a dozen or more. Some of the leading ones. And what I see as their strengths, weaknesses and suitability is if you’re an eLearning entrepreneur. I’m going to start off with the big daddy in the email marketing. And I think recently last week said that they might over 700 million in profit. And they’re going to be utilizing a lot of that money in their CRM system. And that`s Mailchimp. Now, Mailchimp has been established email platform for a number of years. And it exploded on the market. And it did that by having a more sophisticated UX interface. And secondly, a very strong marketing methodogies by offering a very usable free tier to its user base. And which was very attractive. You know, you’re offered 2000, you could send off 2000 emails per month. I’m not sure if it was 2000 emails or your 2000 contacts. I think it was 2000 contacts. And you can send as many emails to those 2000. Well that that covers a substantial amount of people that are using email for their courses. Because I would say 80% of courses don’t have 2000 members.
Now, as an email service, the free service. I had some slight problems with it. Because what was not explained to people is that the difference between their free service and their paid services where the actual servers that was sending the email out. And the bounce rate and the rate that your emails would end up in people’s junk folders. And in the marketing folder if people were using Gmail. And was high and when you went to the paid version of Mailchimp, they use different servers for the paid levels than they did with the free level. There always is a price for free isn’t there? By a certain level to get you’re going. I think it did. Also you had their branding on the free level. You had their branding. Now they were not into automization because mostly automization is around two elements. It’s around tagging and lists. These are the two fundamental building blocks of automization tags and lists. And how different CRMs used tagging and list varies. Some are highly tagged based, some are highly list based. Some have a mixture of both. And this has consequences in the way that you set up your course with your CRM. And we’ll have future consequences on how you can utilize these systems. Did that make sense?
Cindy: Yeah absolutely.
Jonathon: Now with Mailchimp it looks like there kind of going to attempt to build out a whole marketing platform with their announcement last week. That seems to be the way that they are going. Where it’s going to be like hubspot or it’s gonna be like Ontraport. Like Ontraport and Hubspot, they’re higher level CRM`s. Ontraport and hubspot would dispute that with me. And say that they are still aimed at the small business market. Or Infusion Soft with their own system. They got one. I think it’s called Keep. Their entry is more the small medium size business market. I would dispute slightly what they cause these. I think they would be used by the small to medium business but a slightly more mature business. Because I would say in this small business market, the three of just mentioned their price structures are slightly higher than some of the other ones that we are going to discuss Cindy.
But Mailchimp have made it clear that they looking to build a full featured like hubspot where you have landing page. Where you literally be able to build a website. And you would have the automization. They using tags and this at the present moment. But the only thing I would warn people is that when you start using it, the flexibility and what you can do compared to some of the other systems that we’re going to be discussing is much more limited. And you can see that is a much younger platform than some of the other ones which are more mature Cindy. And also they documentation and the help documentation and videos that they support is okay. But can be confusing and contradictory. That’s what from somebody. I was using Mailchimp about three, four months ago. And I was actually utilizing looking at their landing page functionality. And it’s great, but I find the interface not to be as easy to use as they would make out the user base. Would you agree with that at all?
Cindy: Well, it’s interesting because when I first started out, I started out with Mailchimp. And it was great that is free, but I did find it wasn’t as user friendly as I thought. So yeah, no, I found that with Mailchimp as well. And it’s interesting that it’s kind of going big with all of the marketing tools and everything. So what other ones do you have there for me, Jonathan?
Jonathon: Well, I think the three that I would look at. Another one that’s free. No, for people outside the WordPress is probably not so well known is Agile CRM.
Jonathon: Yeah, Agile CRM. And I’ve had a lot of people start that because it’s a bit like Zoho. They do a ton it’s an Indian based company like Zoho. Have you heard about Zoho? Zoho is another that does a host of different software SAS base programs like invoicing. And that sort of thing. Agile does the same sort of business when they are looking to do marketing automization and a host of other things. They look at Agile CRM and it has a very low price or free platform. I would discourage you from using Agile CRM because I had been involved in companies and their support used to be fantastic. But there were problems in getting staff to work properly. So I’m throwing this initially in because I’ve had heard people say it does everything. I’ve had problems with it, but it’s ongoing. I haven’t worked with it lately. Another one that offers a fantastic free level is Mailer Lite. Have you heard of them Cindy?
Cindy: That’s actually the one I use now. I went from Mailchimp over to Mailer Lite. When we’re talking about an intuitiveness, I found it significantly more intuitive and to learn. Then I did Mailchimp for sure.
Jonathon: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think it’s a French company actually. I’m not totally sure about that. But I think it is, I apologize listeners and viewers. What do you like, you know, I haven’t gotten an enormous amount, but I know they offer free level, don’t they Cindy? Is that correct?
Jonathon: And they are quiet reasonable. Aren’t they?
Cindy: No I found that was what they offered in the free level I found was more than I needed sort of thing. But it was just really easy to use. You can do your landing pages, you can do your tagging, all of those kinds of things. And it was, I found pretty easy to use. So that was kind of the most important thing for me because you don’t want to spend all your time on that. So you want something that when you go in periodically to work on it, it makes sense of how it flows sort of thing.
Jonathon: We are going to go for our break. But before that, folks, I want to talk about one of our great sponsors. And Kinsta hosting. And if you’ve got a WordPress site and you’re in the eLearning space. Or you got ecommerce as well. You need something a bit better based on my experience than your normal cheap hosting that comes from go daddy or blue host. Seems appealing, but based on my experience, if you start using that for something like Lifter and Learn Dash or Woocommerce, you’re going to have problems quickly. And you’re not going to have an enjoyable experience. And it’s got nothing to do with WordPress. It’s normally got to do with the hosting you got. Now with Kinsta they have made it. They use Google cloud as their backbone. But what you get from Kinsta is you get fantastic hosting. Because like I said they are using Google.
But the next one is you get a fantastic interface UX design that’s really easy to use. Plus all the technology, bells and whistles like staging site, one click back up. And the other thing is you get fantastic 24, seven supports from people that really know what they’re talking about. Because you will have that problem with your hosting provider one day. And having people that you actually know what they’re talking about that are really going to attempt to really help you out, it’s going to save your bacon. So, and it’s a foldable folks. It starts at $29 a month around that. Which compared to like WPA engine is a lot more reasonable. So go to Kinsta website, kinsta.com. Have a look, see what you think. Try them out and I’m sure you’re going to be delighted. We’ll be back in a few moments’ folks.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back, we’re talking about CRM`s. And like I said before we go into the second half of this, I want to talk about an upcoming event between me and Cindy. We are doing our seven things you need to know about when you start your first course. And we will be doing a free webinar. We are doing it on the 30th of this month. It is a Thursday. We’re doing it at 9 AM Pacific Standard Time. It’s totally free. It’s going to be the beauty and the beast. You are going to have Cindy then you are going to have me. Obviously Cindy is the beauty and I am the beast. But we will be going through everything you will need to know. And at the end of the presentation you will be able to ask me or Cindy questions about getting this course done. It’s going to be a great show. So go for it and join us on the 30th. I’m going to make sure this is particularly show is published before the 30th. And join us and it’s going to be live. How you do it? You go to WP Tonic Webinar and you can register free. And then you’d be sent some email with the link to join us. And it’s going to be a great experience. On to the second half. So are you still using Mailer Lite? Is there any particular functionality that you really liked about it?
Cindy: It’s more that I think it’s the support that I’ve gotten from them. And the intuitiveness of the ease of use has been kind of my most important criteria for staying with them sort of thing. So I haven’t had been given a reason to make any changes as of yet.
Jonathon: So are you utilizing any of the automization that they offer to any degree or are you just using it as a monthly newsletter?
Cindy: Yeah, no I have my. Once they subscribe I’ve got my automization after that sort of thing. So I definitely use that and use the tagging as well feature that’s available.
Jonathon: Yeah. I think they are getting a more increased penetration in the market. They don’t come up as much in these conversations as some of the other players. Just going to mention. I think the three that seems to get the most attention in podcast, in articles, the three that get the most attention is active campaign drip convert kit. They seem to be the three, that`s seen. In the first of half I mentioned Agile CRM which isn’t talked about that much in podcasts. And then we’ve discussed made alliance and I’m also mentioned Zoho. I wouldn`t recommend Zoho as an automization platform. I think it’s got strengths in some of its products. It does have a whole suite of products at very low prices. And they do a bundle deal where you can. I think they’re still offering it at $49 a month.
You literally have access to all the programs they offer. The quality and the support you get from Zoho vary a lot from the different. It’s like a Swiss army knife of suite and some of it is indifferent, some of its top notch. And it really, there is no knowledge or where it depends. They got a big team but they’re covering a lot of areas. The three I mentioned when it comes to drip, drip kind of entered the market. A few years ago it was built on. I think it was built on python. The guy behind it, it’s a bit of a legend in startups. And then they sold it. He sold the company to Lead Pages. And Lead Pages was still is to some extent big in landing pages in lead magnets and attaching a lead magnet.
A lead magnet is normally a digital free product that you’re offering to people as inducement to get their name, email, phone number. And then the digital product would be emailed to that new subscriber. And you would have a landing page builder that you could build your offering on without having to have a website. They bought drip. Now drip has a very nice interface. When it comes to UX and I think ease of using it. They seem to have more of a focus around ecommerce at the present moment. That seems to be their target audience. The tagging, I’m really big on tagging rather than list. That’s how I would describe it. I haven’t used it recently, but when I, when I did use it, I was impressed with the UX design and ease of use actually.
Like I say, I think you can still buy it as a standalone product. They are always trying to get you to buy the joint product where you’ve got the landing page. I haven’t used Lead Pages for quite a while, for over a year. The last time I looked at it, I found it very clunky compared to Click Funnels. That’s another one that I should have mentioned Click Funnels. But it’s a bit like what I said about Zoho, and Agile CRM. It is a bit of a Swiss army knife, quite expensive. But Brandon one of the founders is a legend of Internet marketing. So a lot of people buying to Click Funnels because of Brandon `s marketing ability. It’s still a really good product. But that’s a kind of Swiss army knife because you seem to have the Swiss army knife products.
And then you have more focused ones. And another one like I say. So drip, I would recommend you go to drip. But I think to be on this listeners and viewers. It’s been taken over by Lead Pages. The merge of the two companies and the two technologies have slightly put drip behind the curve a little bit. And I don’t want to be unfair. Now the other two you’ve got Convert Kit, active campaign. Convert Kit is another superb product. When it comes to UX design I think it’s just as good as drip. Tags are used quite a lot in Convert Kit. One of its strengths was. The other thing is that drip offers. You can have the kind of playing email message. And then they do offer a library of more sophisticated` templates for more kind of marketing focused email. The editor like I say.
I have not used it a while but the editors seemed pretty good when it came to the more marketing email. Convert Kit is the same thing. You can do your kind of plain text and you’ll convert more marketing type of emails. But we’re gaining market share is that they did know of outreach to some of the leading personalities in online marketing. And the other thing they offered, they offered a very easy to use form building functionality. That would integrate very easily in WordPress. Because before they came on the market, Mailchimp is a good example. The actual Mailchimp plugin that came from Mailchimp itself to build forms was dog ugly and not that easy to use. And you literally had to buy a third party plugin that gave you the ability to work with some of the leading form builders like Gravity Forms. And there’s half a dozen of these form building plugins. Initially I had to buy additional third party that would communicate with Mailchimp with your phone built in plugin. Because the one they provided was all awful. I don’t know if they’ve improved that recently. Well Convert Kit, they saw the opportunity that people want either easy to use, web based, graphical interface where they could build, really nice forms. Where people are signing up and landing pages and that’s how they got their market penetration initially. And it is a good product Cindy.
Cindy: Yeah, I heard really good things about Convert Kit.
Jonathon: Yeah I think we are going to continue the discussion a little bit and wrap it up with a couple as bonus content folks. Because we’re getting close to the 30 minute roughly. Cindy, how can people find out more about you and what you’re up to?
Cindy: Reach out to me. You can find me at thecoursewhisperer.co or also I love to connect with people on LinkedIn. So come connect with me there and say hi.
Jonathon: And folks if you want to contact me just go to Jonathan at wp-tonic.com. Join us on the 30th for this Webinar. It’s going to be a blast. And we will continue this discussion, which you’d be able to see on the YouTube channel. The WP tonic YouTube channels, or goes to the website. But if you want to watch the bonus content, the quickest way of watching that is going to be on the YouTube channel. We will be back next week. We will have a great guest and a great conversation. We see you soon. Thanks. Bye.
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