Infusionsoft – otherwise known as confusionsoft – is widely touted as being the leading edge of online marketing support software, or you might also have used Ontraport (formerly OfficeAutopilot), as I had. It was a great alternative to Infusionsoft, which has a really high entry price point.
But both of them are expensive when you’re starting out, and are SO complex that for me anyway, they were just much more than I wanted.
And yet, I wanted something that delivered a lot of what these big players offered:
- Online payment processing that integrated with my email lists, autoresponder and affiliate program
- Membership that was easy to use and integrated with my products and autoresponder
- Tech support that actually answered my questions and gave me the help I needed that was not wrapped in condescension and assumptions that I’m actually too dumb to use their software-version-of-God
- Easy form creation to easily add to my WordPress site
- A built-in-forum
- A built-in-affiliate program that integrated with my products and membership so that when I sent email to release new content I didn’t have to work out the timezones of the different servers and adjust – yes I have had to do that in the past. WTF?
- And actually feeling like a person in their business, not just another credit card number.
I’ve been working online a long time – I built my first website in 1996. Yes I know, dinosaur 🙂
So it’s a fair guess that I’ve got a bit of a clue about what I’m doing, that I’ve tried a lot of systems, and that what I really want to be spending my time doing is creating new products and programs and supporting my members, not burning hours and hours and HOURS every week wrangling various systems to talk to my WordPress website.
Many times I thought, “There must be something out there that actually is simple to use and does what I need!”
I honestly thought that answer had come with OfficeAutopilot’s membership plugin for WordPress. I was on their early beta test a few years ago, for a few months. But sadly it just never worked for me despite lots of new builds and hand-holding- something about my server or whatever just didn’t like their membership plugin. And at $297 a month at that time, it was $900 not well spent – it never quite worked properly and it chewed up hours and hours of my time. I was so frustrated I pulled the site down.
Like it did for me, the wrong or out-of-price-range software could actually be slowing down your business and product development.
Then big life stuff happened and I essentially went offline for a couple of years while I sorted my life out, downgrading to the $79/month plan to maintain my list and autoresponders. So the OAP plugin might well be working very well now, I didn’t go back for another try.
It’s expensive trying, you know? Expensive in time more than money even!
Instead I tried WishList Member. I know a lot of people have worked well with this but again it was just a brain bender for me. I even did a five week course on it. Still too much hard work to understand their system – I’m not dumb but it never made sense to me.
So I kind of abandoned the idea of a membership site at all. I had all my stuff set up on email autoresponders only. But every time I was a member of someone else’s online browser-based program I was just jealous!
And one day in a mastermind group I asked what others was using – and the answer that came back has been a DREAM!
Here’s the Alternative to Infusionsoft and Ontraport that I LOVE
That answer is Simplero and while I’m trying to keep this post factual, I might get a bit gushy because this system solves SO many problems of having an online information-based business.
The system is an all-in-one developed by a US-based Dane, Calvin Corelli, whose tech support team spans Europe and India.
Techs who answer your questions with a voice-over video filmed INSIDE YOUR OWN SITE to show you exactly what goes where.
And accessing tech support – it’s right inside your site, you just click the ‘help me’ icon and the help interface pops right up – no going to another site, creating an account, searching their knowledge base and not finding an answer before you post a question – though they do have a helpful knowledge base!
Oh, and a users’ FaceBook group that isn’t super busy but you can get help there. Their support isn’t instant – I’m in Australia so very different timezone – but it is always within 12 hours.
The whole interface is quite similar to WordPress – main nav down the left hand side of the screen, most-used features appear again in a menu across the top of the screen. The ‘help me’ icon is part of that set.
Why it’s a great alternative to Infusionsoft and OAP/Ontraport
You get everything listed above, and MORE, for $100 a month.
For 15,000 contacts.
I was paying OAP $79 for 5000 contacts and an autoresponder. Plus I was paying for a shop plugin, $11 a month. Plus I was paying for MemberMouse at $20 a month. Plus I paid $179 for IDevAffiliate, with $100 for a developer to upgrade that everytime it was necessary. (I do all other upgrades myself).
Plus I paid for an annual Pro account at Vimeo.
Plus I paid Amazon S3 for file storage/download.
That lot added up to well over $150 a month.
For stuff that took hours and hours to maintain. I honestly lived in abject fear that something would just randomly update and stop communicating with something else….
Email Autoresponder with Features Plus
Speaking of email, you can set up unlimited lists (and there’s a cool tagging feature coming – Simplero will explain what that’s about and how you can use it :)) and any number of forms for each list.
For example I have a form for the subscribes at the end of my blog posts, a second form (for the same list/freebie offer) on my home page, and a third form on my freebie page. Knowing where people sign up helps me keep track of what works when.
Also, the system automatically checks any links you put into any email, to see that they work.
And it automatically checks your spam score, to help get more emails delivered.
And of course it tracks open rates, click rates etc.
Plus you can be really selective about who you email – the system even checks for duplicates if you’re emailing several lists, and sends just one email.
Calvin Corelli, the founder and owner of Simplero is an information marketer himself. He built the system he needed for his business – so he’s very hands-on!
Simplero is under constant development and Calvin keeps you updated with the progress of those new features via your Simplero Dashboard – when you login the updates are right there, often in video format.
You can watch or close so you can get back to managing your business through the simple dashboard.
And Even More Features
But wait – there’s more!
- Landing page and squeeze page creator. (I use LandingPages so I don’t use the Simplero version – others in the FaceBook group do and love it). This is separate from the signup forms you use to allow people to subscribe to your site.
- Hosting for your videos, audios and documents (goodbye Vimeo and Amazon S3)
- Subscriptions for your membership site
- Coupons!!!! Configure them any way you like – even a one-use coupon for one person!
- Yes you can drip content
- You can add more administrators to your account – no need to pay for extra ‘seats’
- Calvin is also an information marketer and coach so he blogs regularly about online marketing – so it’s like best-practice training, all built into your monthly subscription.
They care about their customers
Any time there are system problems you’ll get an email, FaceBook status updates and updates inside Simplero.
There has been a bit of outage (about an hour) in the couple of weeks before I’m writing this post (Aug 27) and the updates were amazing. As they tracked the problem they let us know via all the above methods.
Afterwards they gave a blow-by-blow explanation for those who are technically minded and want that level of info.
My Favourite Feature of Simplero
Okay when I first saw this I thought ‘oh that’s cute but I already know how to do that’ – but it’s become one of my favourite features because of how much time it saves.
And now I write this, I’m thinking “is that really my favourite” because there are a few really cool make-it-easy features that I love so I’ll talk about them all 🙂
First, the media manager.
Simplero calls images, video, audio and any kind of document ‘media’. You manage them all through the single media interface, which you can access from anywhere in the dashboard. The media interface sorts the media types for you so that if you’ve got a load of items in there you can see them all easily. So click on “PDFs” to see only your pdfs.
When you upload a pic, Simplero processes the images into a bunch of sizes for you (this is the favourite mentioned above – Simplero does it so much faster and easier!) Here’s a pic that’s part of my Month of Good Days, and the size variations below.
So you can add only the one you want to use without worrying about download speeds for your users using mobile data – just add the size that makes the most sense. Simplero optimises them for speed!
Managing your media library is a doddle. If you want to delete a file you just click the x beside any item and after checking you really meant to do that, it’s gone.
Link to anything in your library from anywhere – Simplero gives you a link to copy/paste to your blog, facebook page, where ever.
And of course you can access the media library from within the email editor or the membership site – just click the media button and your whole library is available to you, just click the icon and you see it all with the same sorting feature right there.
Drool-Worthy Audio and Video Handling
My membership content is all delivered by video and PDF. Guess what? Simplero AUTOMATICALLY CREATES AN AUDIO VERSION of your video as you upload it. And it adds the file sizes to inform your members about download times. AND they can download the files as a podcast. You don’t have to lift a finger to even click those features ON, they just work out of the box.
Okay so clearly I love Simplero, honest to God it’s made working online a pleasure again instead of a massive grind. I have so much time on my hands I’m able to work on my long-held dream of writing a novel! Yes, no more checking that everything is still working everytime WordPress or one of my plugins updates. Simplero all just WORKS.
What I Don’t Like
- The membership site is a different domain name – zenlearning.com. I haven’t found that my members are at all confused though – they just click the links in the email they get and go right to the site. I CAN set up my own domain on there, but I haven’t done it. When I moved over I was really irritated by yet another round of trying to get my membership plugin to work the way I needed it to (even after paying a developer to tweak it!) and had a launch deadline looming!
- I’m not mad about the styling inside the membership area; it’s black and white. You can style it differently if you know how to use CSS. I do, but I haven’t changed the styling because at first I just wanted to see if the thing would work for me, and since it does work so easily and beautifully, I’ve just been getting on with what I really love doing, creating content 🙂 You can set basic styling, headers etc through an easy point-and-click interface but that doesn’t let you choose fonts, font sizes or colours etc. That would be a lovely feature!
- And so it goes without saying that you can’t use Google fonts. Well maybe you can, likely Calvin would have workaround for it – but for me it’s not a big issue though I do use Google Fonts here on BBCentral.
A Free Trial You Can’t Beat
If you want to take a look at Simplero, you get a free trial.
Yes lots of people offer free trials.
This one is different – it’s an almost-unlimited free trial – you can set up your membership, landing pages, forms to collect email addresses, your products – anything really. For as long as you want to. Without paying a cent.
You will only start to pay when you want to send email or sell products because Simplero pays fees to third parties for those servises.
But you can set up and tweak away to your heart’s content for as long as you like, without paying a cent – I did. It took me about three weeks to have all my questions answered and my memberships working the way I wanted them to work. At all times during setup and since I’ve become a paying customer, tech support was fantastic.
And you know those metrics that you’re ‘supposed’ to watch – like lifetime value of a customer? Right there, in the dashboard, nothing more to do! And you also immediately see all your sales, subscribes, unsubscribes.
I could go on and on and on about Simplero but really there’s only thing to say: give it a go.
Yes this is an affiliate link (if you sign up for the service using my link I get a 20% commission for referring you – it doesn’t cost you anything extra and you don’t save money by skipping my link). It’s Simplero’s way of saying “thanks for telling your audience about us”.
I rarely recommend any products, and only recommend product I use myself, and love.
Honestly, try Simplero. It’s the only alternative to Infusionsoft and OAP/Ontraport I’ve found that is so easy to set up and use, and it costs 2/3 less. It’s put the joy back into my online business because if there are any problems I just “Calvin” it and it’s sorted!
Such bliss because:
Simplero just WORKS!