I know I may get a lot of angry contact form emails from this post. Let me just say up front I have nothing against Infusionsoft. Some of my friends use it. I think they have a great marketing engine (likely powered by their own software).
But before you sign up for that large Infusionsoft WordPress integration project, before you buy into the hype that you need it, let's do a quick analysis to see if maybe, and I'm saying (from the start) maybe, you could live without it.
I'll admit that I don't write a lot about marketing automation on this blog. But that doesn't mean I didn't spend two years testing various products in the market and putting them to real use for my day job.
I just don't go on and on about my day job on this blog because most lessons from my job don't apply to yours. But let me simply say, yes, I've lived in the marketing automation world for a couple of years and was thrilled to hire a Director of Marketing so I could do it a lot less.
Also, I should mention that I have at least 15 years of enterprise software integration experience. So I know how often the projects go over budget and the risks associated with them.
That's why I think it's worth looking at alternatives, if they exist.
What Infusionsoft brings: Automation
So let's first be really clear about what Infusionsoft brings to the table. It's marketing automation. That means it does a lot for you that you don't have to do on your own. Awesome, right? Yes, very awesome indeed.
Now, as I list out all of what Infusionsoft brings to the table, you're going to read this and think, “man, I need that!” You may even be convinced to go buy it. If so, read to the end before making the call, ok? Because there might be an easier and faster way. Ok?
Autoresponses – In general, all email that you want sent out on a schedule or based on an action is an autoresponder. Infusionsoft lets you set up these emails in advance so that you can send them out automatically without having to draft emails in real time. First you create the email template and then based on the trigger, it gets sent out.
Warming Leads – Just because someone asks for some info (a free e-book, 1-hour consulting, etc) doesn't mean they're ready to buy your entire solution or service. You want to warm them up by sending regular emails without being too pushy. Keep your name/brand on the top of their minds with weekly or monthly (or quarterly emails).
Post-purchase replies / offers – Let's say someone buys something from you. You're going to want to send them an immediate note, right? Maybe something from the CEO.
And maybe in a couple of days, you'll want to send them a follow-up, making sure they don't have any questions, introduce them to their support channels, and even send them a quick start guide, right?
Or what if you want to send them a follow-up offer, you know, as a special, since they just bought a specific product from you that you know is a precursor to an even bigger purchase? Pretty cool to automate that too, right?
Lead Follow-up – If someone fills out your lead form, maybe, based on the answers that they give you, or the combination of answers, you'll want to send them different responses. You know, not a generic “thank you, we received your email” kind of thing, right?
Quote Follow-up – If you sent out a quote, shouldn't you follow up (but only if they didn't accept within a week)? It would be nice to send that follow up email without even thinking about it, right?
Quick, one-link Shopping – Here's what we know – a single click that let's someone buy something (because you already have their credit card) is a pretty sweet thing, right? Wouldn't that be nice to have?
Collection Follow-up – We don't like to talk about it, but you and I both know there are some clients out there that don't respond to invoices. Wouldn't it be nice to have an automatic escalation process so that you didn't have to worry about it?
Referral Routing – And imagine that you get some leads in on your site that you know isn't right for you (geography, timeline, budget, specialization, etc). Wouldn't it be nice to automatically send back a referral email that would get them to someone who could really help them? Yes, I think it would.
Yes, Infusionsoft rocks!
All of the above is possible with Infusionsoft. In an automated way so that you don't have to do anything. Isn't that amazing?
And if it reduced your workload by 25% and increased your revenue by 50% (or more), then it would make sense to spend a few hundred dollars a month, right? What's $299 or $379 a month if you're making thousands more a year, right?
Oh, and don't forget that you may have to spend an additional two thousand up front. It's a kickstart fee to get you all configured up.
But that's not for Infusionsoft WordPress integration. That's just to get Infusionsoft configured.
I'll be honest with you, a year ago, I would have told you that you should sign up and do it. With the right revenue (and/or revenue potential), starting with the $220 plan and moving up to the $379 might have made sense. And if you could get the integration to be quick and manageable (from a cost perspective), then maybe it was right.
But things have changed in the last year and I want to tell you about them, just in case you missed them.
Wait – we haven't even talked about lead scoring!
Ok, before I show you the alternatives, especially in the WordPress world, I need to talk a bit about lead scoring. It's the feature that Infusionsoft has that I don't have an exact replacement for. Only, before you go thinking you need it, and therefore must buy Infusionsoft, wait. I said “exact.”
Lead scoring is a way to prioritize all your leads by their level of interest and alignment with whatever you're offering. This is done by monitoring their behavior and their demographic details. It's done over time and you create rules to add points to each lead.
- The prospect visits my site more than 3 times this month: +5
- The prospect visits my features page for more than 90 sec: +10
- The prospect visits my “get more info” form and fills it: +20
- The lead is in my country: +2
- The lead is a VP/decision maker: +10
- The lead would like someone to follow up: +15
- The lead visits my pricing page for more than 60 sec: +10
- The lead opens my “get more info” email: +5
- The lead puts my product in cart (not checking out): +20
Now, you look at all the leads in the last week. Which ones are you more interested in pursuing? Maybe even giving a phone call?
You guessed it, the one with the highest score. They're likely to be the most interested.
The Power and Ubiquity of WordPress
So now that I've told you all the reasons why you might need to go get InfusionSoft, let me tell you about some solutions that really should cause you to pause.
WordPress now powers 20% of the internet. So it's no shock that it's started to become a platform where all your automated marketing can take place (without Infusionsoft).
What I'm going to do is introduce you to a set of solutions that can do everything we just talked about and will integrate with your WordPress site.
Pausing on that Infusionsoft WordPress integration…
Let's start with the forms (the “more info” and “lead” forms). There is no question that Gravity Forms is a proven solution in the WordPress ecosystem. But what's more important is that when you buy the Developer edition ($200), you get access to a very important set of add-ons (all included). The first is it's integration with MailChimp (which I'll come back to), and the second is its integration to Zapier (which I'll also come back to). The third is its integration with Freshbooks.
Why are these integrations critical?
Simple, because when that lead fills in a form (any of them), you can drop that lead into a MailChimp list. Also, if you need to put that new lead into another system (and we're talking about over 180 different systems) Zapier will let you do that. And if you need to automatically create a quote or estimate, you can take the info from the form and create not only a client, but the estimate or quote in Freshbooks.
All, wait for it, automatically.
Oh, and you don't even need add-ons for conditional responses (a relatively new feature in Gravity Forms). So you can take that lead that doesn't meet your criteria, and you can forward it to someone else (automatically). You can take that project inquiry and based on different inputs, can create different (conditional) responses.
If you want autoresponders, MailChimp is here for you. They let you create all the different kinds you want – from regularly scheduled emails to a set of 10 warming lead emails for the next 10 months, to collections escalation.
The beautiful thing is that you can drop people into a MailChimp list (from Gravity Forms or using Zapier from any of 180 different products) and then have an autoresponder chain of emails linked to the same list. So the very placement of a person onto a list triggers the sequence of autoresponding emails.
I've referenced Zapier already. But let me explain how this works. It's a centralized messaging bus that connects over 180 different online systems. Systems like AWeber, Basecamp, CallFire, Evernote, FogBugz, GoToWebinar, QuickBooks, Recurly, Salesforce and more.
It's based on a simple trigger / action combination.
So say you have a WooCommerce site. You buy the Zapier Extension and every time a buyer makes a purchase, you can use that order as a trigger to place them into a MailChimp list (for post-purchase follow up).
You can also use Zapier to put a new task in TaskRabbit, so your virtual assistant can physically mail them a gift.
Want to use Zapier to also create a new user / organization in your Zendesk account? Done.
If you didn't know, Gravity Forms, MailChimp, and WooCommerce all integrate with Zapier. They all offer both triggering events (new purchase, no form entry, etc) and actions (place on a list, create a new account, create a task, etc).
Lastly, for behavioral analytics and cohorts, check out ORBTR or Woopra.
I told you about lead scoring and yet I haven't shown you how you could solve your problems without the exact same solution that Infusionsoft does.
ORBTR's strength is that it is completely integrated with Gravity Forms and JetPack (forms or comments). This means more automation.
Woopra requires more work to do what ORBTR does. But it also has some additional features simply because it's older than ORBTR. I've used and enjoyed both.
What these products do is let you group/tag a user after they've visited certain pages or filled out certain forms. This isn't scoring – you won't get to see points. But you will get to segment your visiting audience based on their activities on your site. It's not exactly the same, but for almost everyone, it's close enough.
Pricing it out
Now, let's do some math.
- Gravity Forms: $200*
- MailChimp: $30 – $75/month
- Zapier: $0 – $49/month
- ORBTR/Woopra: $79 – 99/month
* subsequent renewals are often 50% off, bringing this cost lower.
$125 – $239 / month
And the only integration you're doing is what comes with the plugins/extensions or the simple Zapier work that a non-developer can do.
Seriously, that's a seriously good reason to potentially pause on integrating Infusionsoft with WordPress, huh?
With Infusionsoft you start around $220 a month. And that offer doesn't include everything I listed above. Only their higher plan has everything ($379).
With the tools I've just told you about, you can start at a much lower price ($125, though I think $140 is more reasonable) and actually get started on contact, sales, e-commerce and marketing automation.
And the cost can grow as you grow – all the way up to a price that is just barely above the initial Infusionsoft monthly price.
So the next time someone tells you that you just HAVE to use Infusionsoft, that you HAVE to integrate it with your WordPress site, let them know that there are actually new options these days that are worth considering.