Our Infusionsoft Journey

A few years ago, I had to be convinced to switch our email provider to Infusionsoft.  It was a pricey service compared with other services on the market.  Being a software guy, I always think about just doing it myself.  But we were having big issues with email at the time, and I was tired of being in the email business.  Our site was sending thousands of emails a day, much of it manually sent, and we were looking to automate those processes so that we could easily send out segmented or city based email to 50 to 100 different markets.  This was no easy task, and Infusionsoft was not exactly going to solve much for me other than the white listing issue.  The biggest issue was getting the right data with the right message to the right market.  While Infusionsoft does send well and now has Infusionsoft CRM and other great tools like Infusionsoft Ecommerce, it still would mean that we had to build 75 separate pieces of content and send it to 75 separate lists.

Why Such Personalized Email?

Well, our business is events.  We send event notification emails to many many markets and each market has different events.  This kind of information can only be generated through a content management system, and that’s why we created Take It National, a Localization Content Management System.  And then within some of those cities we needed to send to specific groups occasionally that were Catholic, Jewish, African American and other segments. The end result is we need to be very specialized in what we send.

How We Made Infusionsoft Work?

So, if you think about it, the email CRM providers only provide the sending mechanism.  Yes, there may be a place for content like contact information or product information within Infusionsoft, but most companies need to copy and paste their core business content into these Saas packages like Infusionsoft.  That means that there are a lot of copy and paste writers out there prepping data for Infusionsoft.  In the case of “one city” or “one time” events, which often use Constant Contact or Eventbrite this is a relatively easy thing to manage.  You throw many users into the mix and combine that with both multi-city, multi-segment information and you will need more than just Infusionsoft to get your emails out the door.  So, how did we make it work.  We used the Infusionsoft API and wrote a connector between Infusionsoft and Take It National.  Now the two systems talk the same language.  Our local coordinators in up to 100 cities log in to Take It National and create all the content, and the content gets sent out automatically through Infusionsoft.

So Why Is Infusionsoft Just Better

If you talk with Infusionsoft, they will give you all kinds of reasons why they are really better, like the way their Sequences work, Opportunities, and things that do what they are supposed to do, when people click.  Their sequences are killer.  The way the system works is really amazing.  Infusionsoft added Infusionsoft CRM and Infusionsoft Ecommerce, and all of that is terrific. The bottom line is our emails go through to our customers better than any provider we worked with on the market.  That is why we ended up using Infusionsoft and while it did cost more, in the end it cost us less as we grew and grew.  Our business now uses Infusionsoft and we are back as the top provider of Speed Dating in the US.

You will probably notice that this blog article is really pushing Infusionsoft, and that’s because I am not just a user of their service, I am a partner and affiliate and if you use one of the links in this blog to purchase an Infusionsoft license I will get credit.  If you are thinking about signing up and want to find a person who has been through all the things necessary to connect content to Infusionsoft, you should come and knock on my door and fill out the contact info form on this website.    To learn more about Infusionsoft, just follow any of the links on this page and let me know if works out for you.

Working With WordPress And Other Cool Stuff

The more you work with WordPress, the more you start noticing the simplicity of the application makes it possibly for some really interesting innovations to occur in the plugin, widget and theme areas. The creativity of developers is never ending. Here are a few things that I have noticed recently.

Flash Fonts

For those of you out there not aware of these, take a look at my site at http://www.takeitnational.com. I purchased this theme from Theme Forest, with Flash Fonts, which for some reason has nicer themes than most places where you can buy a quick theme. You will notice the red fonts on the home page are not your normal css or text fonts. They are each individual Flash Fonts. This third party application actually converts each letter one by one. Why is this cool? Basically it allows my site to have nicely curned fonts that are very appealing compared with some of the text and css that currently have limits. Also, the real key to Flash Fonts is the <h1> and <h2> tagging are not messed up for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This means that, in the past, when Flash was used, it would hose up your SEO text on the page, since Flash was not so SEO friendly. It also meant in the past with Flash that the website would slow down. But this does not seem to be much of an issue with flash fonts. Where to get them. I am using Sifr (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement), which is an easier to implement version of this stuff. Best answer is just find a theme with them built in already and you will get them…

Amazing Ajax Graphs And Charts

Another thing that somebody pointed out to me recently is this amazing array of ajax graphs. See this article. Basically with just simple ajax and html you can pop dynamic charts onto your wordpress page. Years ago I was addicted to EasyCharts, one of the first open source chart, javascript, chart produc the market. Now it is a cornucopia of charting and graphing to go around.

When A Post Is Not A Post

Asked to give a few people advice recently about their WooThemes themes they purchased I looked carefully how the Woothemes get implemented and this seems to be a pattern. What they basically do is ask you create a post category. Let’s say we call that “Features”. Then they have this admin section in the back that allows you to select the “Features” category to show up in a particular part of the home page. It could be a calendar-like section or a middle section, sidebar left or right or testimonials. Notice that I do not use the word “Widget” in discussing this method. Because what they typically do is use posts as content in places on the home page or throughout the site. On the area where it is the full blog, the site knows to ignore “Features”, because that is how this works. Woothemes and other theme makers use posts as static content, so that is why the blog ignores it. Some use categories to do this, others use tagging. For the events area, the site uses additional fields which show up under posts, down below on the page. This way the posts are tracked as “events” (You have to go into their special admin and set events as the event category). These are part of many clever ways that WordPress is used to solve content issues.

Next time, an article on new words, that WordPress has sealed in the english language…

Google Event Tracking Analytics Tag Explained

Event Tracking Basics

First off, Event Tracking is a new feature in Google Analytics. If you are already a user, it is a different thing you have to implement with tagging. So if you are not an existing implementer of Google Analytics, you will have to start from the beginning.

I have been working with Web Analytics for over a decade, and there isn’t an analytics program on the market in the top 3 or 4 that I have not worked with, from Webtrends, Coremetrics, Omniture (Now Adobe), to Google Analytics.

So recently when I was asked to write a short spec on the Event Tracking tag and how it works in Google Analytics, I had to look carefully at this tag. It could be confusing, because Google Analytics typically does not use a lot of tagging. You just pop it in there and it works! Good news though, is that 99% of Google Analytics users won’t need another tag, unless they want to dig deeper (or have to).

So, as a reminder, the basic chunk of Google Analytics code looks like this:

<script type=”text/javascript”>
var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));
</script>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-XXXXXXX-X”);
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}</script>

You get this when you login to Google Analytics, go to edit your account and click on “check status”. If you need more info on how to do this, I am going to write an in depth overview of google analytics and will cover the basics in that article.

Basically replace the UA-XXXXXXX-X with your code, or grab the full javascript code from www.google.com/analytics/ , pop this code into your html, and you are ready to go with Google Analytics.

Extra Tags & Event Tracking

There appears to be about 5 or 6 extra tags for Google Analytics (depending on what article you view on the web), and finally 2 extra tags for the checkout process. By tag, I am referring to lines in the analytic javascript code block. The big one that seems to be getting lots of attention recently is Event Tracking by Google Analytics. This is because it is new in their program and answers a lot of problem areas that Google Analytics did not cover in the past.

The basics of Event Tracking are you add a line of code per event. This would mean adding the following line:

pageTracker._trackEvent(category, action, optional_label, optional_value)

to the google analytics javascript block. I would place it right above
pageTracker._trackPageview();

You would replace the variables in _trackEvent in order to produce specific tagging of Events.

Category

The Category is used as the highest level tracking. This means it ties together all the other variables and should not be too unique per line. It is required. This means if you are tracking a series of events, you would keep this the same per event page or action. If you are tracking a WebForm for instance, then keep all of these the same wording like “Web Form” so they are grouped together.

Action

The Action is used to track the type of so called ‘actions’ the web surfer is taking. So for this example, you would use “Viewed Form” or “Completed Form” or “Received Error” or something similar.

Labels

The label is used to show additional info about the event you are tracking. It is kind of like giving a page a title. In this case this could be “Seeing Form On Page” or “Filled Form Out” or “Got Error On Form”, or it could just be “Form Page”. If it is unique that is fine as well.

Values

The values field is an Integer or Number field, so it often won’t apply. A great article about about this subject, the Event Tracking Guide, says that it is great for counting or summing things up like download time.

That’s it for now. There will be a future article on my success or failure in implementing the event tracking in Google Analytics.