I always say that our industry is really bad for “shiny object syndrome”. A new tool comes to the market and we HAVE to buy it because it can capture leads, convert leads, increase sales, cross-sell on automation, makes tea every 45 minutes and gives me a six-pack.
While your business does need tools for automation and management, it’s important to know that you don’t have to buy every new thing you see. When talking about tools, don’t worry about what’s right for other businesses, worry about what’s right for you. Often, people and businesses get very defensive over their choices, explaining that you “shouldn’t ever use Visual Composer” or “stay away from MailChimp”.
In truth, you need to explore what’s right for your business and stick to your guns. You have to invest in tools twice, first to pay for them and second to learn how to use them. If a tool is working for you, don’t jump ship just because someone tells you to start using something else. If you do pick another tool up, remember why you bought it while you’re learning it. Too often we get bored of learning a new tool and hop from software to software expecting it to magically solve all out problems.
With that rant out of the way, if you want leads, automation and easier pages. Here are some of your options.
Gravity forms is so popular because it does EVERYTHING. Contact forms, integrations, surveys. You name it. It’s so powerful because you can use it anywhere. Embed the shortcodes in other pages, at the bottom of blog posts and in popups to name a few.
It’s not cheap, but the support and add-ons are worth it. It also integrates really well with loads of different tools, bridging the gap between WordPress and CRM/PayPal/email etc.
Having said that, MailChimp has a perfectly good HTML form that you can embed in pages and posts and of course it integrates with MailChimp pretty well.
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on plugins to get a form capture on your blog post.
In the interest of fairness, ALL CRM and mailing systems have HTML forms that you can embed. So if you’re looking for a native, free version of a form – check the CRM tool you’re already using.
OptinMonster is my favourite plugin. I use it for everything. Those ads to the right of this blog post? OptinMonster. The embed “post post”? OptinMonster.
It’s not cheap, but it is worth it. The level of options you’ve got are mad and it integrates with almost all CRM and mailing systems. I particularly like how I can only display certain optins on certain WordPress categories, helps keep all my content silos looking sweeeeet.
Let’s start with the king (in my opinion). Beaver Builder is a totally customisable, white-labelled (which you can brand it yourself for your customers), “no short code leaving” and fast loading page builder. It handles all types of pages and always looks good.
Best of all, there are loads of add-ons (free and premium) that you can pick up, like Beaver Lodge, that take it to another level.
It works particularly well with Genesis themes and you can restrict access to content so customers can ruin the design and just edit the text.
Whichever page builder you use, make sure you try to stick to one as it makes supports and updates much easier.
When I first started using page builders (here’s why you should), I started with Visual Composer and I’m so happy I did.
It gets a little flack for leaving shortcodes on the page if you move away from it, but as starter page builders go, it has loads of features and is very intuitive.
It’s a reasonable price for one site, but you have to buy a new license for each site.
Marmite. You either love OptimizePress, or your hate it. I love it.
Sure it doesn’t really play nice with all plugins and themes, but I’m getting on just fine with it. There are a few features left to be desired, but as page builders go – this is the fastest.
Landing pages and sales pages are its speciality. As I build at least a few sales and landing pages a week, it’s a God-send. They’re working really hard on the page layout designs and it’s better suited for creating launch and micro-funnels, rather than entire sites. But Sell Your Service is proudly powered by OptimizePress.
$10 a month can get you email automation, customer management, social media profiling, list grouping, segmentation and reporting. That’s a pretty good deal.
Most of my businesses and my customers run on MailChimp. There absolutely are bigger (see below) CRM and mailing systems and you might outgrow MailChimp (although they do have a pretty aweome MailChimp-Pro). But you can’t beat MailChimp for learning automation, exploiting their easy list management and integrating with your other systems.
The big dogs. Often referred to as the gold standard of automation and marketing systems, it could in theory replace an entire WordPress site if you were just using it as promotional funnels.
It does MAD things with tagging customers and leads and can do some very clever segmentation and automation.
However, one of my larger customers refers to it as “confusionsoft” because it’s reporting leaves much to be desired. The problem with larger systems like this is that pinpoint accurate results and reports are almost impossible.
Also, if your business uses content marketing (and it should), Infusionsoft can’t really be that platform. It’s better suited as an automation and funnel piece.
I could talk about millions of CRM systems and I’ve used most of them. But if I had to move to another platform, it’d be Active Campaign. They’ve worked crazy hard at getting automation to look intuitive and their email builder is great.
I LOVE MailChimp and OptimizePress. Even if they don’t integrate that well with each other. I have a lot of customers ask me “which is the best tool to use” and I’ll often say “the best tool to use is the one you use“. People are too quick to move from one tool to another without exploiting their previous ones to the max. Sure, you might hit a barrier early on, but it’s foolish to believe that the next tool won’t have problems also.
In fact, you can see exactly how I use these tools and more in our webinar recording below. See how I integrate all the tools to create a marketing funnel with ANY WordPress website. Get access to the tools list and see how I create landing page and email automation just by signing up.
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