Category Archives: MeshMarketer Recommends

AWeber Mailchimp Comparison

AWeber Mailchimp Comparison

I’m not new to either AWeber or Mailchimp, so I feel that I can give you a pretty unbiased AWeber Mailchimp comparison. The truth is that up until this post (March of 2014), I would always tell my customers that their capabilities are the same but the big difference is in price. With AWeber, you’re paying the same for a few subscribers as you would for a few thousand; not so with Mailchimp as you don’t pay a dime until you reach a threshold which is 2,000 subscribers total or 12,000 sends per month depending on which you reach first. The cost is the nearly the same as AWeber plus or minus a few dollars here and there once you get reach 2,000 or so contacts. But all in all, they both had plenty of good and not much bad, so they were pretty equal in my book after considering price.

My AWeber Mailchimp Comparison

aweber-mailchimp comparison But something really changed for me today when I went to create a single-line sign up form for one of my customers. I’ve been doing the same single-line sign-up form for a while and accustomed to using just a few lines of raw HTML code. For the record, neither Mailchimp OR AWeber have a single-line sign up form code or pre-made form that does this and neither does my favorite forms program Formidable Pro, but after taking apart the 10 or so lines of code provided by Mailchimp, it’s not hard to figure out the code and then make it work. However, today I had a customer who uses AWeber and wanted the same single-line sign up form. So, I got the raw HTML code and I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone or something. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was given over 100 lines of code to pick apart! (Well, it was 101 to be exact, but this was just unreal considering how much smaller the Mailchimp raw HTML was.) And then when I tried to reduce the unneeded elements like CSS (I need to use my own blog styling), I was astounded that after a few hours I wasn’t able to do it without being forced to use their CSS. I was shocked. I realized that I need to stop recommending AWeber because they are not just different because of the price, but they are also different because of the lack of flexibility to use their raw HTML to apply the formatting that I want. Why would AWeber force me to use their CSS? I just don’t understand their need to control what I am doing with their form. After all, they want me to use their form but they don’t want to let me style it consistent with my website? What are they thinking? Well, it’s pretty obvious that not only do they want more money from budding entrepreneurs, authors and small business owners who are just getting started but they also want absolute control over their own form styling. I’ll admit that if I wanted to, I could spend hours upon hours customizing the form using their styling, but why have style for the blog and then style for the form be separate? I am given no choice to separate their form from their design style and that is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I was fine to call it a draw when it came to being equal in terms of everything but price, but not any more. My recommendation from now on to my customers is to avoid AWeber because, with everything else being equal, the price and the lack of freedom to use my own styling on their forms create a deal-breaker for me. I do admit that there are some advantages to both that could be argued successfully either way. More advanced users find more value in AWeber and those who are new enjoy Mailchimp’s easier learning curve. There are lots of reasons why both are great. However, this issue with making my own sign up forms is just too great for me to ignore. Saving time and hassle is far more important than anything to me. So, I recommend that you go with Mailchimp. The following link is an affiliate link, so feel free to use it or open a new browser window and go there, but either way, my experience now tells me that Mailchimp is the better choice for two very clear reasons. Here’s the link…

Looking for a Gravity Forms Alternative? Formidable Pro IS IT!

Looking for a Gravity Forms Alternative? Formidable Pro IS IT!

An absolutely essential part of having a WordPress blog for Internet Marketing purposes is to have some way to get messages from site visitors, gather information from them and subscribe visitors to your email list. Gravity Forms was the clear choice with me for two years, but not anymore.

Up until May 2012, I was proud to proclaim my love for Gravity Forms. I was happy to shell out their yearly developer fee of $199 (and renewed it without thinking) all so that I could run their WordPress plugin on my multi-site WordPress multi-site installation and was just about to renew it again this year when it suddenly stopped working. I was having a hard time figure out what it was on my own and my subscription with them had lapsed, so I shelled out my renewal fee so that I could get support to fix a problem affecting all my clients sites…

Well, let me spare you the day-by-day back-and-forth… Simply put, they didn’t fix this problem for eight days (that’s about 200 hours that my customers had no forms!) and they blamed it on my webhost the whole time, blasted me in an email when I complained that I wasn’t getting help, canceled my subscription, blocked me from their site and left me right where I was eight days ago. They did, at least, refund my renewal fee when I told them how I had renewed just to get this thing fixed…but they didn’t even give me an option. Basically, they fired me as their customer for questioning their lack of response to my problem.

I searched high and low, found a Gravity Forms alternative, plugged it in and it worked fine. If only I had done that long ago!

Meet Formidable Pro: My Gravity Forms Alternative

I decided to test Formidable Pro for free and then upgrade if it worked OK and it did.

In fairness,I should at least give a thoughtful comparison beteween Formidable Pro versus Gravity Forms despite the customer service nightmare they put me through. Quite simply, Formidable Pro does what Gravity Forms does, costs thousands less and the support is responsive, polite and very helpful. But here’s a more detailed comparison…

The Cost Difference Is Enormous

Formidable Pro only costs $47 FOR LIFE to run advanced plugins on a single (or multi-site installation as in my case) compared to Gravity Forms which will run you over $1,000 in just 10 years (just under $200 the first year and just under $100 each year for renewal). I don’t know how long you plan on being in business, but I plan on being in business forever (that means thousands and thousands of dollars!), so that makes Formidable Pro almost free in my eyes. That’s a HUGE difference, my friends. Thankfully, Formidable Pro counts a multi-site installation as ONE installation. Gravity Forms doesn’t do that, so that’s another reason to go with Formidable Pro!

The Features Are Better in Formidable Pro, Too

I could go through a laundry list of features of both. They both will gather data which is their basic function. They both have a great deal of customization. They are both widgetized. They both have 3rd party plugins like PayPal and MailChimp and Aweber and several others. They both have email notification and can send the user to another page upon form completion. These are all hoped for and expected nowadays. However, there are two capabilities that belong to Formidable Pro that do not come with Gravity Forms.

  1. The first is the ability to edit data already collected. If a user is logged in, they can add or edit their form data and change it. That doesn’t exist in Gravity Forms.
  2. The second is that Formidable Pro gives you the ability to IMPORT data in CSV form. When I was with Gravity Forms, I had asked them if that could be done and they scoffed at the idea; it’s inexplicable to me why that would be. Let’s say that you wanted to migrate your data from one site to another. With Formidable Pro, you can export that data and then import it. You can’t do that with Gravity Forms. With Formidable Pro, you can also edit any of the forms that are filled out. I use this to display data from fields.
If you ask me, these two features make for a better product. It’s a better value than Gravity Forms no matter how you slice it. And then there is the support issue…

I’m Not The Only One Who Isn’t a Fan Of Gravity Forms

I’m not the only one who developed a dislike for Gravity’s “priority support.” If you read the comments at the link, you’ll see the head of Gravity Forms (Kevin) plus the guy who failed to provide priority support to me (Carl) defending Gravity and basically not listening at all and minimizing and defending instead of really trying to see where they may be at fault first and last. I’m sure that the last thing that this blogger Tom Léger wanted was to have problems with Gravity Forms and I felt that way for sure. I just want something that works and if it doesn’t then I want some tangible help. Instead of just going “OK, nobody’s perfect and we can make it up to you,” you can see all this back and forth trying to prove why Tom Léger is wrong and why Gravity Forms is right. That’s just useless and aggravating. And I also want to make one thing clear: I became such a fan of Formidable Pro that I signed up for their affiliate program, so I do earn an affiliate commission if you try it for free and buy if you like it. Just click here to try out Formidable Pro for free. I hope you will discover why I think that Formidable Pro is a superior Gravity Forms alternative. And please do let me know what you think in the comments below. I’m sure I won’t be the only one happy to jump ship on Gravity and get out of having to pay their annual fee for a plugin that just is not clearly better.

 

Self-Promotion Recommendations

Self-Promotion Recommendations

If you have checked out my website, you have probably gathered I have been in the Internet Marketing business for a while (over a dozen years now). I’ve been managing Google AdWords for as long, writing ad copy, creating media including video and hosting blogs with all the trappings of social media to help promote my clients’ products and services. Also, I have written a couple books including one on Internet Marketing.

Writing and self-publishing is an awesome self-promotion tool. It says to you that I know enough to write a book and that’s often enough to impress people–especially when you go to an interview or meeting with your book for them to leaf through while you talk.

Getting a degree from a college is also a form of self-promotion. Having a title or certification is another way. These look great on your office wall.

I always recommend self-promotion of all kinds for my clients.

I have an announcement to make. I have found another form of self-promotion that I have thoroughly investigated and found that it is not only a valid type of self-promotion, but one that is immediate and lasting.

First, let me tell you about the immediate benefit. If you are listed in Stanford Who’s Who, you can obtain their directory showing listings of all their members. Put this in your lobby or place where your clients can thumb through magazines while they wait. When they get to your office, make sure to show your plaque displaying your acceptance into the ranks of Stanford Who’s Who.

As far as a lasting benefit, there is an online network where you can meet other members, advertise yourself and be found by search. You can expand your circle of friends and acquaintances this way and find experts who can help you or even provide your service or product to others in the network.

You may have been contacted by Stanford Who’s Who for inclusion in their directory and, if so, consider this to be just as valuable as writing and publishing your own book. How much would you pay for that? Think about the expense of getting a college or university degree and the cost of that. If you can put value on what people think when you tell them or show them you are listed in Stanford Who’s Who, then weight that against what you are willing to pay to become a member.

There are other benefits to being in their network such as group discounts (which I have saved hundreds of dollars using it by the way), but I won’t go into them here. I invite you to check it out for yourself. Just go to StanfordWhosWho.com and click the Enroll button.

They don’t have an affiliate program, but if they did, I would certainly make this offer with a link where I can receive a little kickback if you become a member. However, they don’t but I am happy to recommend them anyway.