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.

qTranslate WordPress language Plugin

The qTranslate plugin translates your website into multiple languages using WordPress. There are 2 major caveates that I will discuss in this article, which need to be resolved external to the plugin and that is where I have run into a few bugs.

Benefits of qTranslate Plugin:

  • Localize (Translate) your website into many languages.
  • Have your website seen all around the world and get indexed in internal search engines and get more traffic.
  • Using WordPress, makes it is possible to hire third parties to translate for you directly.
  • Automated language translation services are available.
  • Supports additional domains like es.strategicpoints.com if you want to use this method.

Challenges of qTranslate Plugin:

  • qTranslate has been around for many versions, yet we ran into a few bugs.
  • Installation is not as simple as plug and play. You have to make choices and sometimes DNS changes.
  • Support for problems is still not for non programmers. You may need a technical person to help out.
  • Needs to be planned out and may require a dev environment for larger websites.
  • Issues when you run WordPress Upgrade, often qTranslate needs to be upgraded. WATCHOUT FOR THIS ONE!

Unlike other simple plugins, this plugin allows you to create domains like es.strategicpoints.com and de.strategicpoints.com if you choose. The default would be simply strategicpoints.com/es/ and strategicpoints.com/de/, with the language represented by the directory. So you have to decide which format you are using, either a directory method or a domain name method.

The other issue that needs to be resolved is whether or not you are going to use translations that are done by hand or by a “machine”. By machine this means a translation engine has attempted to translate it for you. Apparently this old translation that most on the web used to call Babelfish, because they were an early automatic translator, as well as systran, is still giving it a go. I guess one day it would be ready for primetime.

After our first attempt at the qTranslate WordPress plugin about a year ago on a small website, there was a second attempt at it this past fall, to translate one of our medium sized websites into 3 additional languages. The first time at this had its pitfalls, but the second time around has been a lot better.

First issue that we ran into is what to call the domain names. After deciding to go with the domain name approach, we found that we were restricted to es.strategicpoints.com… This was a bit disappointing, because we had originally wanted to come up with completely different domain names per language. Maybe this will be a feature that will be added.

The next issue we ran into and still have a problem with is, once we turned it on, the wrong default language kept coming up. We wanted it to be English, but it came up German! The only thing we could think of was to set the default site to en.strategicpoints.com (you realize I am just using this site as an example). And we had to use .htaccess to do this. Not good. But of course marketing folks did not like the en. in front of a site, so we were stuck between a rock and hardplace. Have not yet resolved and we may have to hack the site to get it work right.

Overall it saved us thousands of dollars, and yes we did run into a bug with qTranslate. That said, it still was a big lifesaver and appears to be worth its weight in gold. So, if you have a bit of technical team around and want to local/translate, this is the way to do it in WordPress. In fact I can see sites switching to WordPress for just getting the qTranslate running.

UPDATE

So as an update to the particular bug I ran into using qTranslate, I went through and found out what the real problem was and fixed it manually. Basically the issue was that the program was looking for “de” at the beginning of the domain name. So what was happening is dev.strategicpoints.com was pointing automatically to the German language. That is because “dev” begins with “de”. The qTranslate plugin was just looking at the first two characters of the domain name, and assumed it was de.strategicpoints.com.

How did I fix this?

If you are having this bug, which I doubt, because you would have to have a domain with three parts that begins with either “de”, “es” or “en” or something like that, you could go into the qtranslate_core.php file and correct the problem. That is what I did. I went in and edited the open source code and checked for the full domain name string, “dev.strategicpoints.com” and when it matched I set the language to “en” or english, my base language. Leave me a comment below if you have any additional questions about how I fixed this, though I highly doubt that anybody will have this problem. The biggest issue now that I have solved it, is remembering to not overwrite the old plugin with a new one without fixing the code I placed in there. ..