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A Rather Tortuous Web Journey

March 10, 2013
Bright Yellow Marketing

Bright Yellow Marketing

I seem to have been on a very circuitous journey learning about “web stuff” this week.

We are specialists in social media and local marketing, but we tend to keep away from anything  related to creating websites. My knowledge in relation to websites is fairly limited.

Our bestof Norwich website is done for us by developers at our head office, and with Bright Yellow Marketing, I work with a wonderful design graduate who set me up with a wordpress website and who helps me when I get stuck.

I didn’t have a budget for Bright Yellow Marketing – it’s our second business and has to be self-funding. I don’t want to be reliant on any bank loans or overdraft.

The reason we set up Bright Yellow Marketing was that there was a demand for social media training.

The Bestof Norwich, our main business, is all about promoting recommended local businesses and if we were offering training as “thebestof” then the implication is that we are endorsing anyone who is a client. We wanted the training to be open to anyone, regardless of whether they had been vetted as “thebestof”.

Bright Yellow Marketing also opens up wider markets. I have just written a book on “How to Tweet Your Book”, which obviously has an international niche market.

Because Bright Yellow Marketing was self-funding, I started off using a free crm – capsule crm – and linked it to Mailchimp to send out newsletters.

I found, though, that I didn’t send out newsletters very often, partly because we were so busy with our main business, thebestof, but also because of the hassle of having two separate systems.

Now that we have a more stable income from Bright Yellow Marketing, I can look at some paid for services.

The other day I bought a wordpress plugin that I thought would do a lot more for me that it actually does!

But what it has done is taken me on a huge learning journey. Learning is always a good thing.

This plugin referred to Aweber in it’s demo videos. I’d heard a lot about Aweber and thought I would have a look at it.

We have been using Swiftpage until now for thebestof, along with a bespoke crm, but Swiftpage no longer supports the excel plugin, which is annoying me.

At the same time a client asked me to source the best crm / email system for him, so my research in this area was going to help not only both my own businesses, but also a client.

I signed up for a £1 trial of Aweber.

We have used lots of email and crm systems in our time – infusion, ACT, Swiftpage, intouch, capsule, Mailchimp – so I have a good base of comparison.

Then, to utilise the new plugin, I also needed to be able to create a new wordpress page with a shopping cart or a “buy now” button.

My wordpress lady had added a light shopping cart plugin, but then I got sidetracked wondering whether I would need the better, paid-for version, and trying to work out what the difference was.

After much thinking, I realised that what I actually needed was a “buy now” button rather than a fancy shopping cart.

Before I could even add this, I needed to understand a bit more about PayPal.

By this time my brain was about to explode.

It seemed that every time I thought I was nearer an answer, another question popped up – so many new systems to get my head around – Aweber, paypal, wordpress plugins, crms, shopping carts….. so I did what I usually do when I’m struggling to understand something….

….. I drew a mindmap.

Suddenly I realised that I actually had 3 strands of research and learning:

1. Working out exactly what my “product” was, so that I could add the relevant wording to the website (I’d been mulling over ideas for a few weeks)
2. Finding the right email system / autoresponder system/crm and deciding whether to change from what we currently use.
3. Working out how to take payment online

That took me on a journey to:
1. Get to grips with Aweber to see if it answered my needs

2. Compare it with other email systems that we use

3. Find out more about Paypal, compared to eg Google Checkout, and then learn how to set it up and link it to Aweber/my website. (if I was going to use Aweber)

4. Work out whether to use a shopping cart, and if so, which one. It turns out that you can’t just import the PayPal code for a “buy now” button on a wordpress website.

5. Work out how to use the shopping cart plugin and add the code in the right place.

6. Work out what my “product” was going to be – come up with the right wording and add it to wordpress

7. Check that all these various systems that I was planning to use, did in fact integrate with each other!

8. Putting it all together to get a finished product.
And I have done it!

Looking at the resulting very simple wordpress page, it is amazing that it took so much work.

You may wonder why I went to all this effort over a weekend, when I could have outsourced it.

I outsource as much as I can, but actually this learning experience was very useful.

It also means that the next time I want to add something to my Bright Yellow website I will know how to do it and be able to make the change immediately – whether it is midnight on a Sunday or the middle of the week, rather than waiting for someone else to do it for me.

Putting in a lot of work now will save me huge amounts of time later, especially as it will enable me to automate a lot of things – handy for book sales – and will make it easier for people to buy training or other products from us.

And I have come up with an interesting solution for my client – something I would not have thought of if I hadn’t been trying out all these systems.

Well, that’s my argument, and I’m sticking to it!
What systems do you use and what do you think about them?

What are your favourite products?

Feel free to leave a comment.

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