Convertbox 2.0 User Review 2019

“The money is in the list” they say.
The email list, that is.
So one of the most important things your website should be doing for you is getting you leads, growing your email list. And how do you do that?
Using opt-in forms. Which is what I want to talk about today.. one of the best opt in form softwares I have used to date, Convertbox!
 

My Review on Convertbox Opt In Software

If you still have the same popup everywhere on your website, or you’re not implementing 2-step popups, or worse – you’re using the default forms that come with your email autoresponder, you need to upgrade to Convertbox.
Why? Because a dedicated opt-in software can help increase the conversion rate on your website, getting you more leads with the same amount of traffic. I personally saw that result when combining Convertbox with [Drip] and am never going to look back.
I went from getting an almost nonexistent conversion rate on a blog post with Drip’s native forms, to a 5% conversion rate overnight when implementing a Convertbox timed popup and exit intent popup. And yes, it was the same offer and the same copywriting content used from the Drip CTA to the Convertbox CTA.

Convertbox Features

This isn’t just any opt-in software. Here’s what I love about it:
  • Great templates
  • Fast deployment
  • A/B Testing (just released!)
  • PERSONALIZATION integrated with your email marketing software
  • Two step opt ins (where you click a button first)
  • Timed pop ups
  • Exit intent popups
  • Full-screen and lightbox style
  • Header and footer bar popups a la Hellobar
  • Buttons and easy to understand settings galore
  • It looks amazing out of the box
  • Support is fantastic
  • They’re always coming out with updates
  • External CTA’s (holy cow)
  • You can connect as many autoresponders as you want, even of the same brand
  • There is only a one time fee

Why is Convertbox better than established software like Optinmonster? 

 
Optinmonster does many of the same things, yes, but for an ongoing monthly fee, and the fee increases if you want all of the features like A/B testing and non-branded popups.
Even on Convertbox’s smaller plan, there is no company branding or restriction of features.
Many other popular opt-in software have platform limitations, for example Thrive Leads is limited to WordPress. Convertbox can be used anywhere and is extremely easy to install and setup – I was getting more leads within 24 hours of purchase.

Final Thoughts on Convertbox: Do I Recommend It?

YEP. Buy it. 100%. It’s the new software on the block and it already rivals the highly established opt-in software that has existed for a while, and they’re continually improving it even in the few months I’ve had it.

Best WordPress Themes 2019

Fair warning: This is going to be the laziest post on the world. I am aware of that. However, I simply want to publish a list of WordPress themes to choose from right now because people ask me this question every so often.

Elementor

Divi

Porto

 

🙂

 

The end. Enjoy!!

Why I Love Kartra (But Can’t Use It or Recommend it Yet)

Kartra is the new kid on the block in the marketing automation world. They combine the sales funnel, checkout, and landing page capabilities of Clickfunnels, with the email marketing automation capabilities of tools like Active Campaign or Drip, and then again with the membership platform capabilities of Teachable or Membermouse. (Almost.)

They even throw in tools like a scheduling calendar (with payments!), a helpdesk, and video hosting.

I mean, it sounds like the one app to run your whole business – it seems (and IS) very dreamy and appealing to have everything under one roof. For some marketers and business owners, this may be the perfect app – BUT I CAN’T USE IT OR RECOMMEND IT FOR EVERYONE QUITE YET. And I’ll explain why.

Now, I wrote down these frustrated bullet points after a second attempt at making a Kartra trial work. This was after a first paid trial and a few months of paid “use.”

So with that frustration in mind, here was my honest take, and the actual notes I took in my Stickies app while frustratedly trying to put everything I needed together to launch a product for my business totally on Kartra:

  • Everything takes multiple, repetitive, mind-numbing clicks. I’m not being dramatic here – even GETTING to the editor to edit an existing form design takes over 25 clicks (not including the actual form design changes!) You have to click through screen after screen of “Next” to view every setting before you get to the form design. This would be so easy to fix with a form settings navigation at the top… and maybe I am so tech illiterate that this is a feature I missed, but tried and it’s doubtful. I am trying to run a business efficiently – not get carpal tunnel!

  • Each time you change a form template, all of the content on your form disappears and you have to start over. What?!

  • AND… those forms designs? They can’t be edited or added to. There is no option to add text, headlines, etc. So you must work within the templates they give you or with a plain form.

  • The memberships do not allow for dynamic content based on the user’s info, even if the user’s info is in kartra. All membership areas are 100% the same across all users. This is only a minor gripe, as I realize a dynamic membership website based on individual member attributes is a big ask for a product trying to do it all-in-one. But if I’m going to have to have an external membership site anyways to fulfill this need, that partially removes the benefit of membership site management for me here.

  • There are no custom fields available in payment forms. Only the basics. This can be worked around by using forms up to the checkout process, or after, but this is still frustrating.

  • There are limited layouts with payment forms. Another minor gripe, but still a gripe.

  • THE BIGGEST GRIPE, AND THE REASON I STARTED MAKING THIS LIST: There is NO OPTION to add a link to terms and conditions on payment forms. I found a thread in the official Kartra group where someone had done this previously, but the a href code no longer works in the TOC customization section, and the billing agreement checkbox characters are FAR too limited for any sort of serious service agreement. This puts high ticket businesses like mine at risk because my Terms & Conditions need to be beyond clear and beyond forward.

    Danielle Doucette recently posted a workaround in the official Kartra group, in which you add a custom field in a form that you can put in your funnel before the checkout page, and I can respect that – however being that there is already a T&C section in checkout, I don’t understand why this is so limited.

  • ANOTHER BIG GRIPE: There is no way for a customer to purchase multiple products at once, or to select addons for a product other than one single bump offer per product. This is a problem for me because if I’m going to be paying a subscription to a product with a checkout form, I expect to be able to build fully functioning checkout forms, without having to create every variation of my product manually, and then having to know which link to send to a client, or making them choose from a page of confusing checkout links. I want to be able to sell my Managed Website service in such a way that the client chooses their addons themselves, chooses them on one page in an easy to see format (not via upsell page after upsell page or via a single bump offer), and is billed the appropriate amount automatically. I can do this with Jotforms (free!!), Cognito forms, and Thrivecart – why can’t I do this in Kartra? Why is it so hard to add a simple checkbox section to add extra items to the checkout forms? (Can you feel my frustration?)

  • The calendar layout is terrible. They have done great work trying to integrate this, but even if I used all of the other features, I would never present this booking calendar to my clients. Calendly and Acuity still blow it out of the water and the UX is far better on both.

  • The Helpdesk tickets can’t be replied to from/via email, or even viewed. The user has to click to go to the helpdesk link, and then has to enter their username and password, only to have to click into MORE things to see their tickets and replies. I consider this the opposite of user-friendly, and I imagine I would receive far more help inquiries via email to skirt past this frustrating process if I implemented this in my business.

  • There is no sitewide tracking. Why? Kartra will provide you individual-page tracking codes for any non-Kartra pages… but you have to set each of these up individually, and then add them to each of your website pages individually. Compared to systems like ActiveCampaign and Drip, this is frustrating, because within those systems you can see a person’s website visits on a sitewide basis – so you can see that a blog post that maybe you wouldn’t have even thought to tag in Kartra’s system is actually an important page visit for most of your prospects. They already have tracking codes… so why not make them sitewide?

  • “Powered by kartra” is on everything – and I mean everything. This is frustrating because if I’m paying almost 100 buckeroos for a software monthly, I should have the option to remove third party branding, in my opinion.

As you can see, there are a number of high priority issues that will prevent me from using Kartra for now, and will prevent me from recommending it to anyone who needs more customizable checkouts, fewer frustrating clicks, and dynamic membership content. For anyone who just needs the basics and is selling straightforward products.. it’s great! I would love to be able to use Kartra in my business, but the big thing that is holding me back is the checkout. Once this can be enhanced to have clear multi-product/addon selection, I can consider moving my systems there. For now, here is an alternative stack I can recommend!

Kartra Alternative Options

Forms + Payments: Jotform, Cognito Forms, or Thrivecart

Email Marketing: Drip or ActiveCampaign (I prefer Drip.. AC’s layout is super clunky and I think they have less effective deliverability)

Membership: WordPress + S2member + LMS of your choice if needed (LifterLMS is free)

Helpdesk: Anything other than Kartra 😛 Freshdesk, Zendesk, etc

Calendar: Calendly or Acuity

Optin forms: ConvertBox or Optinmonster

 

Will you have to spend more money with the above stack combos? Yes. However, you also need to have software that works – and if that means duct-taping a few pieces together until Kartra matures a bit more.. that’s what I’ll have to do!

Kartra employees/founders: please do let me know once the above issues are fixed. I WILL HAPPILY SWITCH OVER. <3

 

-Hannah, the Vagabond Boss

Which is Better: Drip or ActiveCampaign?

As many of my projects continue to move forward this year, I’ve been testing out different email automation programs and autoresponders, from Mailchimp to Drip to ActiveCampaign.

Mailchimp is great for starting from ground 0 to get your feet wet, but not great for marketing automation in the long term, in my opinion. So in come Drip and ActiveCampaign. After trying them both out for a bit, here are my thoughts and a quick comparison on the two.

Drip vs ActiveCampaign Pros and Cons

  • ActiveCampaign does not automatically resend confirmation emails – Drip does have this setting. However, in ActiveCampaign you can manually resend a confirmation email.
  • ActiveCampaign is not capable of sending confirmation emails for double opt-in if you are adding someone to a list via the API, or really via any method other than their built-in forms.
  • ActiveCampaign does NOT auto-score leads. Drip does. There are pros and cons to both of these methods. Drip scores people on your list much more automatically out of the box, and you can also customize this. With ActiveCampaign, scoring is far more customizable and granular, but it takes much more time to set up everything out of the box – it is not plug and play at all.
  • ActiveCampaign does NOT have a native integration with Stripe, or even a native “LTV”/Lifetime Value field like Drip does. I find this odd since marketing automation is so closely tied to the intent to increase customer LTV and revenue. On the other hand, you can link Stripe to ActiveCampaign via Zapier and create automations to update a custom LTV field, and this works on all plans.
  • ActiveCampaign does NOT have forms that are as pretty as Drip’s.
  • Drip does NOT have lists, ActiveCampaign does. Drip bases their marketing fully off of tags – which may or may not be beneficial to you depending on how you email.
  • Drip DOES allow for easy multi-site management in one login. ActiveCampaign does not. Ie in Drip, you can manage multiple website accounts with different tracking codes and subscriber lists. In ActiveCampaign, everything is grouped together just with different lists.
  • Drip does NOT have as nice of a contact overview as ActiveCampaign does. The reason I originally began switching from Drip to AC, in fact, is because I felt like it was difficult to get a full picture of any single contact or segment of contacts in Drip. AC’s person overview page is far more valuable and intuitive compared to Drip’s timeline.

That’s about it – which one is better for you really depends on what your needs are, and I know it’s always annoying to read that from an online review, but after trying them both (and thinking I’d find a “winner”), your unique needs are really what will be the deciding factor. 🙂

I hope that helped – I’ll update this blog in the future but wanted to quickly publish my findings for now.

How I Would Start a Niche SMS Marketing Company Today

Hi guys,

So now that I’ve written my online business roadmap, where I detail types/models of online businesses you can start and how to choose which one…. (see here)

And my Example Service Businesses post

I thought it might be good to start sharing the actual ideas I have in (somewhat) real time, to hopefully inspire you and give you some insight into my idea framework and how the post-idea logistics work.

The thing is – there are new systems, new social media platforms and features, new software and data capabilities being created every day. The people who become successful online service business owners are the ones who are able to spot an opportunity and become a known expert in the opportunity – which is much faster to do when the opportunity is brand new, like when a new feature comes out.

If you can be the first to master something in your network and offer it as a service (or, better yet, the first to find someone who has mastered something and offer their skills as a service, hiring them for fulfillment), you can have an independent location business pretty quickly. A lot faster than getting a college degree, at least. 

So I want to talk about an idea I ran across and how I would start this company today if it were a focus of mine. Today’s idea….

SMS MARKETING. FOR RESTAURANTS.

Step 1. Market research

First off, when you come up with a service + industry type of business idea (which they all should be), it’s important to check whether there’s actually demand for this in the market, if possible. If it’s too new it won’t be very easy, but if it’s been around for a bit you can check search volumes. You can do this via Google’s KW tool or KWFinder.

 

Wouldya look at that – there are people searching for this. Not a lot, but there are. If you could rank in the first position for all of these keywords, and were getting those 80 visitors a month, and could convert 10% after remarketing (not on the first touch) – that’s 8 new clients per month! Not bad for a brand new business with likely low search competition due to relatively low search volume.

Let me give a quick lesson on search volume, by the way. These are estimates from Google, and even if a keyword only has 10 avg. monthly searches, there are likely dozens or potentially hundreds of variations of that phrase also bringing in 10. So yes, it can be valuable to go after a dinky 10 search volume keyword if the search intent is for the exact friggin’ thing you offer and dominate the industry for.

STEP 2. START A WEBSITE, AND LEARN IT OR SOURCE SOMONE WHO CAN IMPLEMENT IT.

Why are there 2 parts to step 2? Because you need to start doing both of these things immediately. In SEO, site age has an important factor in your ranking capabilities, so even if you can only slap up a one-pager in a day, DO IT.

Next up is to either begin learning every fricking thing you can about this marketing avenue or use your money and your interwebz/brains to source someone who has already done this.

Step 3. Define your services/offerings, START DOING THE THING, get proof

Once you know how you’re going to fulfill your service, you need to define your offerings and plans, if you have different pricing points, etc. Make sure you have a solid idea of exactly what will be done after a customer checks out.

An easy way to do this is to find a business who would allow you to perform the service for free temporarily, so that you can learn and document all of the processes, and start getting “proof” of your services.

STEP 4. BUILD OUT YOUR WEBSITE MORE

Now that you have all of the above, you should build out your site to look complete and professional, detailing the services that you offer, and making sure it is at least up to par with (if not better than) your competitors.

Pages & features your website should have:

-Some sort of branding – keep it simple to start. Pick some colors and stick with them. DON’T FRET ABOUT THIS EVEN THOUGH THAT WOULD BE FUN.
-Home, About, Services, Blog, Contact, TOS, Privacy Policy
-Google Analytics
-Hotjar if needed
-Live chat – I like Drift
-An email marketing feature such as Drip already installed and tracking

STEP 5. it’s time to rock – Start marketing your service!!

You now know that you’re offering SMS marketing to restaurants. You can fulfill the service until you find someone to do so, or you have already sourced someone who can fulfill the service. You have already worked with a client to refine your process and get some results or testimonials. YOU NOW HAVE A BUSINESS YOU CAN START MARKETING.

  • Announce it to your network – Start telling everyone you know and their mothers what you have begun doing and to please share your services with anyone who it might benefit.
  • Cold email – Scrape your ideal leads to death and email them regularly. Because you’re going for restaurants, this should be very easy. This is probably something I should write about separately. 😛
  • Content marketing – think of and research search volumes on topics that restaurant owners might be searching, and topics that restaurant owners interested in marketing might be searching. I should probably write an article about this later too, but if you’re driven you can Google how to do this kind of thing. This skill will benefit every single business you are involved in. Once you have topics, create excellent articles from them, publish them and optimize them to death on your website. This should begin immediately after you begin scraping and cold emailing because it’s gonna take you a little while to rank, and you want to have that platform already built and ready to rock.
  • PPC (Adwords through Google) – begin bidding, or hire someone to begin bidding, on PPC keywords for your services. Make sure your website has end to end tracking installed so you can know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Social media – Start your profiles, obviously – and begin running social media ads as well, especially for retargeting existing visitors and lookalike audiences.

TAKE IT OFFLINE
For such a clear industry target such as restaurants, you can also easily take your marketing offline with direct mail, especially in bulk. Do a Google search – or just go use InfoUSA.

 

I know this is a really messy and incomplete rundown/shakedown of how to start and market an online business. I’d be surprised if you could take this and run with it yourself, unless you were able to hire someone to coach you through many of the moving tech pieces. But I want to inspire you to start thinking of things this way because this is how setting up an online service business works. You come up with an idea and a target market, validate it, figure out how to fulfill the service, and get to work getting in front of every friggan person you can who might want it.

 

What are your thoughts? Is this a business you think you could run? I dare you to take it and do it! 🙂 Let me know in the comments.

Example Online Business Ideas – Things You Can Literally Specialize In Starting This Year

Hi guys,

Welcome to my master resource for online service business ideas! 

I plan to (or, at least, hope to) keep this updated as an ongoing resource with ideas for areas of expertise that anyone can learn and begin a service business around in under a year.

Right now it’s a bit of a shell and just a list, but this is what you guys asked for (service business ideas) and I wanted to deliver sooner rather than later to get your gears going.

I’m tired of people saying “I wish I could do that” when they see my lifestyle – the truth is there are many possibilities that can allow others to live how I live, working on my own time from where I want.

So without further adieu, here are 30 ideas of things you could specialize in, as specifically or as broadly as you’d like, to start a business online this year. 

ADS MANAGEMENT

  • General ads management.. handle any and all of the below
  • PPC/Adwords management – you can become an expert in JUST Google Adwords and charge people 700-2500 monthly just to manage their accounts
  • Facebook ads management – same as above, slightly lower fees
  • Instagram ads management
  • Pinterest ads, or even simply Pinterest promotions
  • Whatever ad platform that has a significant market!SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERTISE, MANAGEMENT, MARKETING
  • Pinterest marketing for ecommerce stores
  • Instagram marketing/outreach and influencer outreach
  • General social media management (become an expert in coming up with calendars and scheduling)

CRM IMPLEMENTATION AND CONSULTING

  • General CRM advice (support multiple platforms)
  • CRM implementation specializing in specific CRMs – Hubspot, Agile, you name it
  • CRM optimization (make the CRM work better for them if they aren’t using it properly)

DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT

  • Web design
  • Web development (coding)
  • App design
  • App development
  • Any type of programming
  • Social media graphics design
  • Ad graphics design

SEO

  • Local SEO
  • Ecommerce SEO
  • SEO for a specific industry
  • SEO for other SEO companies (whitelabel)
  • SEO training
  • SEO for on-page only
  • Offpage (linkbuilding) only

COPYWRITING

  • Copywriting for a specific industry
  • Sales-page writing
  • Blog writing, general OR on a specific topic

What the heck do ya wanna learn about?

Hey friends. As I get this project going, I need to know what you want to learn about… there’s just a lot to the different types of online business and I want to make sure that whatever I put together is relevant for you. 🙂 I’ve already been asked a bit about how to get clients but before I dive into that, I want your feedback.

Can you please (pretty please) check the boxes you’re interested in on the survey here?

It will take you 2 seconds. You can check as many boxes as you want, and then you can also tell me about anything else you want me to talk about.

If you saw my Instagram story last week, you saw I cover 4 basic types of online business models: affiliate, services, digital ecommerce, and physical ecommerce. SO the first topics I’ve proposed are about those items, but you can really ask me about anything having to do with online business, like how do you grow an Instagram? Does Facebook even matter anymore? What the heck is SEO anyways? How do you take payments online? Etc etc etc. Ask me as many questions as you want.

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Rat Race Rebel was created to help YOU because I want more people to have the freedom I have, so it’s really important to me that I feed your brain the content it craves. 🙂

 

How to Get Your Facebook Page Name Change Request Approved

Hey there! Today I’m writing to you about how to get the name change request for your Facebook business page approved. Why? Because I’m going through it right now for this website, and I know many business owners struggle with this. It just comes down to making sure the topic really is the same, and clever/guideline-focused wording.

Previously, you could only change your Facebook business page’s name once. Ever. Yep, just once.

Now you can change it as many times as you want, but you’re likely to get declined if the change is significant, even if the topic is the same. So requests along the line’s of “Bob’s Plumbing LLC” to just “Bob’s Plumbing” will probably get approved within minutes, while changes like “Bob’s Plumbing and Rooting” to “Billy-bob’s Family Handyman” is likely to require an appeal.

When you first get declined, you’ll get a notification where you can click “Re-open case” to appeal. Here is my first failed appeal and I’ll explain why:


-I did not directly address the reason for denial
-I did not specify that the page name change was a rebrand, which is one of the only significant name changes that’s allowed
-My request was too long and confusing

So I was denied.

Then I went back and looked at a previous name change I had appealed and gotten approval. I followed the same template and now my request is being considered as a rebrand, and I’m betting it will get approved.

The rules are:
-Address the reason for denial directly (“The reason for my denial was “the name you requested suggests that the subject of your Page has changed”, however the subject of the page has not changed. “)
-Explain that it’s the same thing and provide the addresses to see the rebrand/move (this is necessary)
-Make sure to say THIS IS A REBRAND.

Then they will ask for proof, which you should already have published.

You need to have 2 things ready if you’re not a registered business with legal proof: Your old website name with a big post on the front page stating the name change (make sure to call it a rebrand, once again!), and a post on the Facebook page that you’re trying to change informing people of the update.

I anticipate this will be approved with no problem now as I’ve provided the exact documentation they requested. 🙂

Follow these steps to get your name change approved. This process will have worked for me multiple times now once this goes through.