The World is Digital
Years ago, when I was in high school, a girlfriend's dad explained to me that computers and software were permeating everything. They would soon take over controlling all sorts of things that weren't (at the time) technical.
Honestly, I laughed. It sounded so futuristic. And I was a big computer guy already.
But then we walked into his garage. My girlfriend wasn't happy. She had the look that said, “we're never leaving this house on our date….”
In their garage was a new system he had built—for sprinkler management and maintenance. Small computer chips were communicating back, so that he knew exactly where a problem was—along the 40 or 50 feet of track he had in the garage.
I honestly had never thought of computer chips when thinking of sprinklers. But he wasn't done.
He was building a special kind of plane. And he started talking about cars…
Today I think about cars and the computer chips in them, and I think that my ex-girlfriend's dad was way smarter than I had ever guessed.
[tweet “Whether we like it or not, we need to get comfortable with technology sooner rather than later”]
I mention all of this as background—because the world is moving completely digital. And that means that, whether we like it or not, we need to get comfortable with digital technology sooner rather than later. Even when we're doing non-technical things.
Non-technical folks run online marketing for offline businesses
I was in Hawaii a few weeks ago. And I went to get a Henna tattoo. The gal that worked at the hotel where I stayed was completely non-digital. There was nothing about her location, stand or setup that looked like she embraced technology.
But when we were done, she asked me to rate her on Yelp, Thumbtack and comment about her on the hotel's entry on tripadvisor.
Given how happy I was with her work, I told her I'd be happy to. And then my next question was whether she had her own website.
“I don't know how to do it, and everyone always wants to charge so much…”
So is Rainmaker the solution? Is Rainmaker worth it?
I was on vacation, with my family, so I decided not to spend the next hour pitching my Henna tattoo artist on Rainmaker (still a decision I'm second-guessing, because it would have been an awesome case study).
But now that we're sitting here chatting—you and me—let's talk about the cost and work associated with building an online presence for your offline work.
You need to generate leads
When you're talking about creating an online presence, you need to know why you're doing what you're doing. And what you should be doing. That's not technology, per se, it's education.
And you need it. Maybe every off-line approach you've used to date will work online. But it's rare. More often than not, and this is true even for me, there are online lessons that are new and worth learning all the time.
Thankfully, the Rainmaker platform is for people like you. And that means they have educational resources to help you think about online marketing.
You need to warm up those leads
Let's assume you collect people's emails. You've put some lead generation forms on your website. What do you do with these people? What do you send them? And how do you do it?
Thankfully, the Rainmaker platform integrates with email solutions like Mailchimp, AWeber and Infusionsoft. But even better than that, because Rainmaker runs on WordPress, every article you write on your site can be sent to those services via a technology called RSS.
The best news? You don't have to understand it in order to use it. Over 10,000 folks have watched my video explaining it.
You need to close those leads
Assuming you've brought people to your site, collected their emails, and sent them a newsletter or two, what's next? I'll tell you, but I think you already know the answer.
It's time to invite some of those folks coming back to your site to buy what you're selling. And that means you'll not only need a website design that makes it easy, you want to make sure you can support the core eCommerce features to collect payments.
Want to know a secret? People love PayPal—even if I don't love it so much. They treat it as different than “real” money because paying with an existing balance doesn't trigger the same part of their brains as taking out their credit cards.
Good news! Rainmaker supports PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net and Braintree.
You need the landing pages for conversion
We just talked about conversion—but we didn't talk about the technology related to those landing or offer pages. They need to look good. They need to convert.
Today folks like LeadPages, ClickFunnels, and more are working on a variety of landing pages.
But you don't need all that (right at first) when you're creating your first landing pages. Why? Because included with Rainmaker is an ability to create as many landing pages as you need.
Did you catch that? Unlimited landing pages (and good looking designs at that) are included in your Rainmaker account.
You need a good looking website for those leads
Landing pages are just one part of your site. Yes, they're the spot where you can convert people, so they may be the most important pages of your site. But it's not hard to remember the last time you left a site (without making a purchase) because it looked like 1998 wanted their websites back, right?
More than 30 different themes are available as part of your Rainmaker plan. And guess what—each of the 31 themes look fantastic. Like you hired a designer. But you didn't. Because we're focused on not spending tons.
You need hosting, a CDN, and regular backups
We're getting down to the last things we know you need. More often than not, it's the first things you have to decide, because technology works that way. Your technology decisions impact your business decisions—even if we don't like that reality.
[tweet “Rainmaker was designed so you could stay focused on your business instead of your technology stack.”]
But the good news is that you don't need an additional solution for hosting, for high-speed cache (a way for making your code load quickly), for CDNs (a fast way to load files across the globe, like photos), or for backups.
Rainmaker was designed so you could stay focused on your business instead of your technology stack.
What will all this cost you? Is it worth it?
Let's say you signed up for a program to teach you about online business and marketing. It might cost you $250 for a year. That's not the cheapest or the most expensive program out there.
Let's say you purchased a solution for landing pages. That might cost you an additional $300 for a year.
If you wanted to set up an eCommerce solution with Shopify, you might get away with only spending $120 for a year. But if you went with a Native WordPress eCommerce solution and purchased some WooCommerce plugins (for subscriptions, for memberships, etc), your bill would be just over $400 for a year.
Let's say you bought a theme you really liked. That might cost you $75. But you can get some for free. Of course, others end up buying multiple ones at $75 each. So let's average it out at $100.
And then we have to talk about hosting. Serious hosting that supports eCommerce will likely cost you close to $15/month. Some others may cost you a bit more ($25-30/month). Let's call it $250 for a year.
Let's put all this together:
- Online Marketing Education – $250
- Landing page solution – $300
- Online eCommerce plugins – $400
- WordPress theme – $100
- Hosting – $250
If you do this on your own, you're talking about four or five vendors, each pointing at each other when something isn't right. And it will cost you $1300 / year.
With the Rainmaker platform, you get all of this, and more, for $950 a year. That's a 27% savings.
What would you do with a 27% savings?
Let's talk about what you won't spend your 27% savings on, because I told you that you'd get more than my list above.
Have you ever heard you need to A/B testing? That goes for $50 for every test at Optimizely. It's included in your Rainmaker platform.
Have you heard of keyword research? Tools like Moz (local costs $84/year) or Raventools offer keyword analysis and cost $99/month.
If we're doing the math right, a comparable solution might actually cost you closer to $2600 (6 Optimizely tests and 1 year of Raventools).
At that point, the savings is 64% not 27%.
You can see why most people just use Yelp
By this point, you're starting to see why most people, those running offline businesses, just stick with that crappy system (that sometimes hides your positive reviews) called Yelp.
Because the cost of getting serious about your online presence can be $2600 a year. Sure, it's nothing compared to a lease for physical space. But what if you're a Henna tattoo person who's stand doesn't cost anything like that?
$2600 is a lot of money. But we're not even done yet.
[tweet “Not all WordPress plugins are equal.”]
Because most people who use WordPress are told that one of the major upsides is the thousands of plugins that are available and ready for use.
Then, after installing a few, or paying someone else to install them, you discover that not all plugins are equal. I don't have data. I wish I did. But I collect stories, and if I had to guess, I'd say that eCommerce sites end up purchasing an average of one or two commercial plugins that end up failing. The failure may be the plugin. Or it may be that it simply doesn't do what it says it would. Or it's a huge drag (on performance).
The average cost may be $50-75 for each of those. So we're looking at a cost of another $150 a year on failed plugins. But we're not done yet.
Because most business folks don't know how to determine that a plugin is causing them issues. They don't know which plugins work right. They don't know why their site is slow.
So they have to pay someone to fix their site. And that means spending another $500 (or more).
Ready for our grand total?
- Core Features: $1300
- Optimizing Features: $1300
- The Cost of Failure: $650
We're at $3250. That's the real cost of running a serious online presence that can collect leads and convert folks (that actually collects money).
Now you can see why I recommend Rainmaker. Seriously…
Who wouldn't choose Rainmaker for $950 instead of paying $3,250?
At 30% of the cost of doing it yourself, it's kind of a no-brainer.
I made the move to Rainmaker this past summer. It's been fantastic. I love it.
They haven't asked me to write this post. They don't even know I'm writing it. But I hope they realize how thankful I am for it.
And I bet they've already done all the math I did, which is why they built it. To help people like you save money and apply it to your real business, not your technology stack.
If you purchase Rainmaker Platform, I'm sure you're going to enjoy it. If you purchase it with the link below, I'll enjoy it too (as it's an affiliate link that won't cost you anything, but does bring me some money for my headphone collection).
Yes, I want to save 70% and purchase the Rainmaker platform (but first let me start with a free 14-day trial).