11/12/13

Nov
12

An alternative to Infusionsoft for small (but mighty) creative businesses

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If you’ve been following me for a while, you’re aware that I’ve had my fair testing of different mailing list softwares. More specifically – Mailchimp, Aweber and Infusionsoft. (Another post more directed at the differences between Mailchimp and Aweber coming soon).

Most recently, you’ve probably heard of the many issues I’ve had with Infusionsoft and my search for an alternative.

Beyond, the more-than-useless, “success coach” they assigned to me (that I payed $1300 for and later demanded my money back), there was one technical glitch after another.

Like… how you can only use Firefox and IE when you’re working within campaigns… the most important part of the entire software.

Anyways, after testing it out for a few months, I finally decided that Infusionsoft (which from here on out, is going to be referred to as “IFS”) and I had to part ways.

As much as I thought (read: wanted) my business to be ready for IFS, the truth was – IT WASN’T. And that’s just something I had to be okay with. I could have hired someone to take over the IFS tasks, but then I’d be paying $259/mo for the software alone plus $500+/mo for someone to help me use it. That seemed a bit ridiculous to me… someone who has become quite the outsourcing fanatic, as of late.

So, I went on a hunt for a perfect alternative to IFS, and if you’re in the same position as me…

  • You are a small creative business
  • You want to sell digital products
  • You have a mailing list
  • You want everything to be streamlined & easy to manage

… then you’ll likely get a good head start to finding your perfect alternative to IFS.

 

THE PROBLEM

→ IFS was too much for my needs

→ IFS was way too expensive for my budget

→ Other alternatives didn’t have all the features I was looking for

 

One major lesson I’ve learned :: Just because someone you admire uses it, doesn’t mean you’re ready for it.

 

MY LIST OF MUST-HAVE FEATURES: 

  • Payment gateways include Paypal & Authorize.net
  • Mailing list integration with Aweber
  • Affiliate management system
  • Discount codes
  • Automatic File Delivery

* Bonus points if all these things came in ONE software solution

 

A FEW ALTERNATIVES I CHECKED OUT (AND WHY THEY DIDN’T WORK FOR ME): 

  • Pulley App :: no mailing list integration or affiliate management system.
  • Sellfy :: was using this for a bit, but I didn’t like the % per transaction fee they charged each time someone purchased something. The fees definitely added up.
  • E-Junkie :: have also used this in the past, but after they had a system failure on the day I launched the Irresistible Offerings live coaching program, I was donezo. Also, awful interface.
  • Selz :: don’t like the per transaction fee they charge.

I also thought about just using good ole fashioned Paypal buttons, but decided that the Affiliate management system and automatic file delivery features were too important to leave out.

 

THE SOLUTION

I ran across this resources page while googling, “how to integrate Pulley app with Aweber”.

I scrolled down to the Shopping Cart Systems section, and recognized three out of four software names listed. The “Digital Delivery App” was the only one I hadn’t heard of. I clicked and it took me to the rebranded app called SendOwl… much better name.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 2.38.15 PM

Turned out – it had everything I was looking for.

<< insert major happy dancing >>

And, for those who are interested in seeing how SendOwl and Aweber combine to create a streamlined system, the purchasing process steps are below.

If you’re interested in testing SendOwl, you can sign up for a 15 day trial here.

 

HERE’S HOW THE PURCHASING PROCESS LOOKS:

  1. Customer purchases via SendOwl link that I place on my website.
  2. Upon successful purchase, they’ll receive an email from SendOwl with any download files or links and automatically be redirected to the page with the download links.
  3. They will also receive a confirmation email from Aweber asking them to confirm their email so they can be notified if there are ever any updates to the product they just purchased (you can also send them emails directly through SendOwl based on the product they purchased) and so I can keep tabs on who’s purchasing what through my own mailing list.
  4. SendOwl saves the reports on who has purchased, that you can easily download and add to a customer database if you want (I just keep everything in SendOwl so it’s there when/if I need it).

 

Super easy & integrated.

Oh, and WAY more cost effective…

PRICE BREAKDOWN: 

11-1-13-awebersendowlVSifs

 

After attending the Making Things Happen conference, which I talked about here, I made a promise to myself that I’d stop listening to what other people thought I should be using for my business and just listen to what my gut was telling me. My gut was telling me to SIMPLIFY.

This is my first step (and a huge step) towards simplifying my business so I can focus on the things that really matter :: creating helpful programs, designing beautiful & passion-driven brands for my clients, and doings things I love to do outside of my business (painting, reading, walking my dog and the list goes on).

 

TALK TO ME

What are some other ideas for simplifying in your business? Tell me in the comments below.

 

amanda-signature-small

PS. I’m getting ready to re-launch the Irresistible Offerings eCourse as a self-study program that you can take at your own pace. If you want to make sure you’re on the list to learn more, sign up here: http://irresistibleofferings.com/

PPS. If you signed up via that page before, make sure to sign up again if you’re still interested in the workshop. Now that I’m moving people over, you will have to re-confirm anyways, so I’m just going to do a brand new list for people who are still interested.

PPPS. If you use any of the SendOwl links above, I will get a commission if you choose to sign up for a paid account. I, however, only promote products that I’ve personally used and tested, so you know you’re in good hands.

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  • http://www.kaizen-campus.com/ Mylene

    Hello Amanda,

    I think it’s a great thing for you to do ! Simplifying is great.

    I just had a question because I didn’t understand something – probably because I d’ont know your precise needs – but why don’t you use a plugin like Easy Digital Dowloads to deliver your products, coupled with Paypal and Aweber for example ? It’s what I do for one of my project (except I use Mailchimp) and it works great. And it’s only a one time fee for the plugin.

    I’d be interested to have your thoughts on that, it’s still useful to know for future projects !

    • Amanda Genther

      Actually, @disqus_4lt02nGlbH:disqus, I haven’t heard of Easy Digital Downloads before. It looks like another great alternative, though. I definitely don’t believe that there’s only ONE right solution out there… everybody has different needs.

      Someone reading this, might love Easy Digital Downloads even more, so thanks for sharing it!

  • The LOEYW

    This is a great and timely post. Somewhere along the way infusionsoft has been lead to be synonymous to success since all the big gurus use it… so I really appreciate your post.

    Question – What did you choose AWEBER over MAILCHIMP?

    • Amanda Genther

      I moved from Mailchimp to Aweber back when I was setting up a membership site and Mailchimp didn’t give me the option to add specific customers to a specific list. Now, because of some other outside plugins you can use, this is possible with Mailchimp.

      Choosing one piece of software over another is such a personal choice, because it all depends on what you need it to do.

      I also recommend Mailchimp to all my clients who are just starting out, because I think it’s a lot easier for a first-timer to use. Hope that helps :)

      • Laila Atallah

        Great post! Love this insider look at your biz. If you’re open to it, I’d love to see you do an in-depth comparison of Aweber vs Mailchimp and who you think they’d each be best for.

  • http://www.bizeez.com/ Tania Shirgwin

    I read the other day in your November to-do list post that you were getting rid of Infusionsoft. To say I was a little shocked is an understatement as all I hear from biz owners is get Infusionsoft now! My biz is not at that stage – resources of both time and money are tight, so I’ve held off. Great to read about alternative options. Great post.

    • Amanda Genther

      I know what you’re saying, @BizEez:disqus. I also feel that EVERYONE & their Mom is telling you to get IFS. The truth is though, many businesses have succeeded without Infusionsoft. I think there is a point when your business can handle it – when you have the time & resources to train people how to use, and enough consistent income flowing in.

      Glad you enjoyed!

  • http://eefdesigns.com/ Erin

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m not at the point yet where I need Infusionsoft–but love how they look on paper (though after hearing about your problems with them I’d have to weigh those in too). SendOwl looks pretty great!
    I’m currently using Premise (http://getpremise.com) which has some really awesome membership options as well as digital downloads–that coupled with Gravity Forms (http://www.gravityforms.com/) and Mailchimp is meeting my needs for now, though it doesn’t include any affiliate options. But might be useful for someone else who doesn’t need affiliates but needs some stellar forms and a members-only area!

    • Amanda Genther

      These are FANTASTIC alternatives. I am obsessed with Gravity Forms… it’s actually how I sell a lot of 1-on-1 services that are automatic bookings.

      Thanks for sharing @eefink:disqus!

  • christinaj84

    I could hug you! This is such valuable information for the direction I want to take my business in. Thank you so much.

    • Amanda Genther

      HUGS BACKK!! You are so welcome.

  • Nicola

    Happy happy happy dance happening over here! On my to do list today was to research an alternative to Infusion Soft and Office Auto Pilot as I’m not ready for either of those yet but I want something I can grow into – and I believe SendOwl may be it! Have signed up for a free trial through your link and looking forward to playing around with it – love new software to play with :-) Thank you!

    • Amanda Genther

      @disqus_SB33n4GIxA:disqus Yay! I just made your life a little easier. Goal = accomplished :)

    • Christian Burris

      You should consider Sendpepper. http://automationmd.com/sendpepper-for-starters/

      • Nicola

        Thanks Christian – I did look at that a while ago but didn’t much like the interface, I have been playing around inside SendOwl and so far I like it

        • Amanda Genther

          Completely agree with you @disqus_SB33n4GIxA:disqus re: the interface! That’s a huge factor for me when deciding what software to go with.

  • KristyOustalet

    This post comes at the perfect time- Amanda!

    A while back, I was a part-time assistant for another entrepreneur while I jumpstarted my business. She invested in Infusion Soft and I was doing most of the grunt work for it… it was a huge time investment among other things. I knew that this isn’t the right option for me + where I am in my biz. I’m so excited to check out Send Owl. Thanks!

    • Amanda Genther

      That’s pretty awesome that you were able to do a little work in IFS before investing in it for you own biz! Hope you found something you liked.

  • Christian Burris

    I appreciate your honesty. I actually use Infusionsoft and I will be the first one to admit it’s not the end all to marketing automation. If you primarily require email marketing and you don’t need an extensive sales pipeline, I actually recommend Sendpepper. Infusionsoft is an amazing system. It does a lot, but most very small business owners don’t need it’s advanced feature set. The beautiful thing about the marketing automation software market right now for small business owners is there are a lot of amazing tools to automate your business. Just because one does not work for you, doesn’t mean you should stop looking. Good luck.

    • Amanda Genther

      So true – there are so many options out there. Different ones work for different people! Thanks for your input.

  • http://www.krush.com.au/ Lisa Manson

    Fantastic post Amanda!
    I’ve actually been looking at hubspot but haven’t taken the plunge yet.
    I will definitely be checking out sendowl!! Thanks
    Have a look at http://www.hubspot.com as it’s a real contender for me at the moment ;)

    • Amanda Genther

      @lisamanson:disqus – If I’m not mistaken, I believe Hubspot is all about marketing, rather than sales. SendOwl’s main feature is a shopping cart, which I don’t think Hubspot has. Depending on what you’re looking for – either could be contenders.

  • Sharon Thompson

    Great post with valuable resources. Thank you for sharing. If your selling through an amazon ebook do you still need this additional shopping cart?
    Also Amanda I just found out about the making things happen conference on Sunday and was so inspired by Lara and Emily’s websites last Sunday. Was the conference worth it? Thinking about signing up for the March 2014 date.

  • George Palmer

    Amanda, just seen this. Thanks so much for the kind words about SendOwl and really glad it’s working out for you and your business. There’s plenty of comments, both in your article and in the comments above, about the ease of use and stylish design. Its been our biggest focuses in the development of the service so it’s great news for the team that we’re succeeding in this area :)

    We’ve got loads of exciting things lined up for 2014 and I can’t wait to share them with everyone. Thanks again for the recommendation and keep your eyes out for a big update of the admin area in the next few weeks!

    George, Founder, SendOwl.com

  • http://davidcrowther.com/ David Crowther

    I know I’m late to the party, but I found this post searching for alternatives to InfusionSoft.

    I recently had a client switch from InfusionSoft to MemberMouse.com which works with WordPress. I haven’t used MemberMouse myself, but my client was very pleased with it and the interface looks nice.

    Another service I’d recommend is Gumroad.com which has one of the simplest payment interfaces for your paying customers.

    Thanks for the link to SendOwl, checking them out now.

  • Maverick Industrial

    Not trying to be a debbie downer, but the quote about business not having to be so hard was spelled wrong. Since you have it available to tweet, I thought you’d like to know (either should be neither). Great article! I love how you’ve set up your blog. It’s clean, easy to read and innovative. Great job :)