Monthly Archives: June 2021

activecampaign the number 1 email automation and crm platform for business

ActiveCampaign – The Number 1 Email Automation and CRM Platform to Automate Your Business

If you haven’t automated your business in one way or another, you need to do so. 

Repetitive tasks can really consume lots of your time and these days technology makes it very easy to automate some things.

I wanted to introduce you to ActiveCampaign. 

NOTE: We’re affiliates of ActiveCampaign. We’ve created this post to introduce you to the platform and to let you know what it can do. If you click through any links on this post, you may be directed to their aite. If you make a purchase, we may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

We thank you for your support! Any assistance we get is greatly appreciated and it allows us to continue introducing you to new software and services that can help you in your business.

What is ActiveCampaign?

It’s a platform that makes automation super simple and is very affordable, even for individuals.

ActiveCampaign offers the following solutions:

Let’s discuss each of these below.  We’re not going to go into too much detail in this post, but read each section below and if you want further information, click through the link and go learn more.

Email Marketing

There’s no denying or escaping email marketing.  Email still happens to be the best return for money.  In fact, it’s been said that you can get a return of investment of $4 for every $1 spent on email marketing.

That sounds pretty good to me!  Even if you could double your investment, it would still be worthwhile.

Talking of email marketing….  Which aspects do you think are best suited for automation?

Here’s where ActiveCampaign makes it super easy!

They have pre-made automation templates that you select and they automatically populate and start working right away.

Some examples of automation templates include:

  • Fitness Class Signups
  • Abandoned Cart Emails
  • Text Reminders for Upcoming Workshops
  • Post Project Feedback Surveys
  • Credit Score Tagging

These are only a tiny handful compared to the number of automations available. 

See them all. 

Segmenting

One of the most important aspects of email marketing is the ability to segment your contacts into groups of interest.

You won’t sell icecream to an Eskimo or a coloring book to a blind person.

In the same vein, you want to make sure you segment all of the people entering your list into their areas of interest so that you can send them the right types of emails and educational content over time.

Learn more about email marketing……..

Marketing Automation

You can’t respond to every request that comes your way, especially if you have a high volume of web traffic.

You don’t want to be tied to your desk all day:

  • Sending Quotes
  • Delivering Business Profiles
  • Sending Product Specifications
  • Answering Questions
  • Confirming Appointments

All of these things can be automated in ActiveCampaign.  Automation can relieve you of the need to constantly repeat the same process over and over again and leave you to do better things with your time.

Learn More about Marketing Automation…………….

CRM & Sales Automation

Having a CRM allows you to track the buyer’s journey with your business and most of the time the contacts in your database will be graded on a point based system.

As the contact progresses through the buying cycle, their need for education and information will change.

Give them what they need

When you know the stage of each contact in our database, you have the knowledge to send them relevant and timely information, education and sales offers.

All of this can be automated within ActiveCampaign:

  • Tag each contact
  • Trigger automations as they change status
  • Trigger automations on specific events
  • Trigger automations based on actions
  • Trigger automations on demand

This is lead nurturing at its finest. 

You’re keeping your contacts in the loop.  You’re automating your sales process.  You’re sending product recommendations at the right time.  Customers get what they need, exactly when the time is right and they have a better experience.

Learn More About CRM & Sales Automation………………..

Service & Support

ActiveCampaign takes great pride in their product offering.  They want to make it as simple as possible for anyone to migrate to the platform and know how to make the best use of the tools at their disposal.

Services

They will help you migrate from your previous platform, help you get started and guide you every step of the way.

They have a simple onboarding process.  A well stocked learning center and knowledgebase.

 It’s also easy to ask for help when you need it.

Support

If you ever get stuck with any part of using ActiveCampaign, you can always open a support ticket and one of the friendly staff will reach out to assist you.

Learn more about Support & Services from ActiveCampaign…….

What should you Automate?

The processes you should automate for your business depend on the type of business you’re running.

ActiveCampaign is best suited for the following:

For each industry and business type, there will be different automations that make sense.

Like we said earlier, ActiveCampaign has made it really easy to automate processes because they supply ready to use automation templates that plug n play.

See all of the recipes……..

ActiveCampaign Platform Capabilities

ActiveCampaign understands that customers come from a variety of sources and everyone has their preferred method of communication:

  • Some like messaging
  • Some like Text
  • Some like email
  • Some don’t like being contacted
  • Others find solutions via Ads

For this reason, many businesses have had to adapt to the omni-presence model. 

That means, ActiveCampaign offers omni-channel communication methods that include:

  • Email
  • Pages
  • Text & Messaging
  • Conversations & Chats
  • Social Media
  • Web Personalization

With this approach, ActiveCampaign will help you reach your customers no matter which type of medium they prefer.

All of these channels can be automated, right from inside ActiveCampaign.

How Much Does It Cost?

Now that we know what ActiveCampaign can do, who it’s best for and what channels it can be used to automate, the million dollar question is, how much does it cost?

The good news is that they have 4 different Tiers to choose from, so there’s bound to be a Tier/Plan that your Business can afford.

Let’s start by looking at Monthly then Annual Pricing plans:

Monthly Pricing

Annual Pricing

Note:  all of the above plans start with 500 contacts. 

If you have more contacts in your database, then go to their Pricing Page, adjust the slider in the top left of the pricing page to get an accurate cost for your situation.

Try ActiveCampaign

There’s a generous 14 Day FREE Trial available so that you can see the power of ActiveCampaign in action.

Go play around, see if it works for you and if you like it, why not consider signing up for one of their affordable plans.

If you need any help whatsoever, or need to ask any questions about their service please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Optimonk – Have You Heard Of This Lead Generation App

Have You Heard Of Optimonk?

We’ve all heard that conversational marketing is the way to go these days.  People want personalized marketing and conversations tailored to their needs.

That’s so true!  That’s also why I wanted to introduce you to an application called Optimonk.

What is Optimonk?

Optimonk is an application (app) that you install on your website, used for lead generation.  This applies especially for early stage visitors, ie: cold traffic that’s still looking around.

What is the main problem that 99% of website owners face?

It’s that some site visitors leave a site without taking any action.

If you’ve spent money on ads to get people to your site, this can seriously affect your budget due to a loss of revenue.

This is where Optimonk has stepped in and hope to help solve the problem.  Let’s have a quick look at the platform in this introductory Video:

It’s great having a service like this to help you get more leads.  The most important thing you can do is get leads into an email list as soon as possible. 

If you have a solution that can do this while people are still searching for solutions, products or services, then it’s perfect.

What Does Optimonk Do?

One thing that Optimonk is designed to do really well; to prevent people from leaving your site without taking “some kind” of action.

The ultimate goal like we’ve already mentioned, is to get them into an email list.  You can then nurture the person/visitor for a long time and generate repeat sales over and over again.  You can do this for as long as the person remains on your list.

What can you do with Optimonk?

Optimonk enables you to do things that should come naturally. Sometimes though, we need a program or app like it to simplify things to a point where it becomes very easy to implement ourselves.

One of the most important things each of us needs to understand about each visitor to our website is their journey to getting there and how they navigate through your site.

Optimonk allows you to create a perfect customer journey through your website. From the moment a visitor first arrives on your site, all the way through to a sale.

Here’s a list of things you can do in Optimonk:

  • Create urgency – People don’t like losing out on opportunities. Optimonk makes it easy to create a sense of urgency for your offers, sales or whatever else you need.
  • Promote Offers – Hey!  You are creating offers, aren’t you? Running sale, special and deal offers are some of the best ways of attracting new customers.
  • Exit Intent &Cart Abandonment Popups – We all do it.  Head towards that close button with the cursor, suddenly there’s a popup, teasing us with something we probably don’t REALLY need, but it’s presented in such a way that we think “Cool, I’ll take that, it’s just going to cost me entering my email address.” With Optimonk, it’s super easy to create popups that will activate anytime someone on your site moves the cursor towards the exit or back buttons.
  • You Can Recommend Products – People are already looking for products and services.  What if you could automatically have them recommended while the site visitor is browsing your site? 

Well, it is possible.  You just set it up once and Optimonk will run the recommendations automatically for you.

The most important asset you can build for your business, is your email list

The truth of the matter is this.  You cannot rely on Google, Facebook, Youtube or anything else for the longevity of your business.  You need an asset that you have total ownership of, that’s your email list.

Your email list is the one thing that you can send emails to and create revenue for yourself at will.  You need to respect every person on your list as the individual they are.

Nurture them, respect them for their patience and offer them:

  • Information
  • Education
  • Advice
  • Deals
  • Tips & Tricks
  • Make their lives easier
  • Entertain them

Above all else, NEVER ever SPAM them.

Growing your list is easy with Optimonk

There are quite a few lists and groups that you can create.  I can mention quite a few, but there’s only so many that really matter.

Using Optimonk, you can easily add contacts to:

  • Email Lists
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Text/Phone Contact Lists

Get feedback from Customers in the form of surveys

What’s the best way to improve your service or website?  Ask the people using it! 

With Optimonk, it’s easy to get feedback from your site visitors and learn what frustrates them, what they like and where there’s room for improvement.

Make Announcements

It’s far easier to keep existing customers than it is getting new ones.  So, when you start growing your list, you need to make sure you always let them know of any upcoming events, sales, workshops, courses or whatever else you have going on.

Remember, the customers signed up to your email list and want to be included in your community, never leave them uninformed.

That doesn’t mean you should spam them every time you have something new happening.  Let them know in advance, say a month or so in advance should do it. 

Send out a calendar of events for the Year and if there are changes during the year, add a notification in a newsletter.

Make announcements on your website so that customers can see for themselves.

*HINT – Customers prefer self service*

Optimonk makes it very easy to make announcements on your site too.

Redirection to and from sections or sites

Let visitors find what they are looking for on their own.  Be the guide and allow Optimonk to be the tool that allows the visitors to navigate anywhere they want to go.

Redirecting customers to various sections or sites is super simple with Optimonk.

Lead Generation/Capture Forms

The simplest designs, requiring the least input often convert the best for lead generation.  Optimonk has a lot of clean, simple Templates and Forms for lead capture/generation purposes.

Setting up a lead capture form is as simple as choosing a design, dragging and dropping a few elements, changing the text and images and you’re good to go. 

All of this can be done in less than 10 minutes flat!

Embedding Optimonk on your site

Optimonk provides the visual building blocks for you to build your marketing tools on their platform.  When you finish designing your marketing materials, you’re given a few lines of code to insert into your site.

You can design:

  • Buttons
  • Links
  • Popups
  • Landing Pages
  • Lead Capture Forms, etc, etc

This means that all the marketing action takes place on your website, but you use the tools supplied by Optimonk to put it all together on their platform.

To make it all work, paste a few lines of code on your site, and let the magic happen!

Want More Sales?

Have a quick, look at the demo video below:

If you’re ready to make more sales, want to build your own marketing stack and generate more leads for your business, then have a look at Optimonk in more detail.

Head on over to the site to see exactly how it works, learn the platform inside an out, then decide if it’s the right fit for your business.

You can start with their FREE plan and upgrade when you are ready.

Top 7 Alternative Sources of Funding for Startup and Small Businesses in South Africa

Funding or financing a small business in South Africa is, and probably always will be a problem, depending on who you ask. 

We’re creating this short list of Funding Sources so that you have a few more options to choose from. 

NB: In the name of transparency, some links in this post may direct you to a partner site for which we are affiliates.  We may make a small commission if you make a purchase or sign up for a paid service. (At no extra cost to you.)

We’ve sourced these Businesses because they’re closely related to what our partners do.  It makes sense for us to help other Businesses given the current economic climate.

There are estimated to be approximately 2.5 million small to medium enterprises in South Africa.  (Excluding any recent startups)

It can be very difficult to get a Business started without adequate startup capital, no matter where you go in the world.  The most difficult finance to get is traditional business financing.

The reason why it’s so difficult to secure is because of:

  • Long waiting periods
  • Business registration processes
  • Legal documentation
  • Pages and pages of required documentation
  • Lots of red tape

A startup doesn’t have the luxury of being able to hope and pray for funding, that’s why the vast majority of small businesses bootstrap in the initial phase of the business.

There are many applications that go through the regular/formal channels such as the government. 

But, statistics show that only 6% or fewer SMB’s ever get any funding from the government.  (This Includes the Department of Trade and Industry & National Youth Development Agency.)

Fortunately for SMB’s , SME’s and startup ventures, there’s a growing number of alternative funding sources becoming  available.

These new funding sources are independent Businesses whose sole Business model is providing line of credit to Businesses.  They handle the banks and all the application processes on your behalf.

Seven Alternative Startup and Small Business Funding Sources in South Africa:

1. Profitshare Partners

Profitshare Partners is a business that helps SMEs to get funding, even if they don’t have a credit history yet.

This happens to be one of the biggest problems facing many startups, just like with new employees requiring experience.

How can you get experience if you haven’t been given a chance to work?   The same applies here, how can you prove you’re a loyal payer if you’ve never had credit?

Lack of credit history is responsible for the vast majority of loan applications being rejected.

Profitshare Partners offer 100% startup loans for short-term capital and transactional support.

SMEs Loans range from R250,000 to R5 million.

2. Fincheck

Fincheck is an online platform where a variety of lenders are listed. 

A prospective SME, SMB or Startup owner just enters the platform, fills out the application and is almost immediately matched with the most relevant financier.

Loans range between R20,000 to R72 million.

3. Lulalend

Lulalend has a simple application process that almost always guarantees immediate funding to SMEs.  (Provided the application is successful.)

Lulalend doesn’t require a lot of information and excludes a lot of red tape that similar organizations like banks and other organizations seem to love.

This makes it both easier and quicker to apply for finances.

Typical Loans/Funding ranges between R20,000 and R1 million.

4. Fundrr

Fundrr is a business that offers easy access to affordable business loans. 

The platform works to match you with the best financier to provide the type of loan you need.

Just follow the easy online application process that should take you no more than 15 minutes to complete.

Once you’ve completed your application, you should have an immediate indication if your application is successful and funds are deposited into your bank account within 24 hours.

Loan/Funding amounts vary from R20,000 to R500,000.

5. Merchant Capital

Merchant Capital is a financier that supplies funding for startups and growing businesses, more specifically in the retail sector.

Applicants apply online and if they are successful, can enjoy flexible repayment terms.

Successful Applicants may qualify for up to 100% of monthly credit and debit turnover.

6. Retail Capital is a business that offers an online application process. 

Applicants need to have a small monthly turnover of R30K, show trading history for the past 3 months and prove business ownership for at least 6 months.

They provide two types of funding

  • Asset Finance
  • Cash Advance

The simplest way to get started is to fill out the online application and one of their consultants will get in touch to discuss your requirements.

7. Pollen Finance is a business that can help existing small businesses get access to more funding.

NB:  They unfortunately don’t cater to startups, but at least we gave you quite  few options already.

Qualifying Businesses can get loans within hours.  Flexible payment schedules with no up-front deposits required.

The criteria to get a loan/funding from Pollen Finance are the following:

  • You have been trading as a Registered Business for at least 12 months
  • Turnover at least R85KP/ Month or R1Million Annually

Successful applicants may qualify for up to R3 Million in funding.

How to apply for (SMB) Small Business Funding

Knowing you need funding for your business is just a starting point. 

Getting the loan/funding on the other hand will require careful planning and some up front work.

Each Business that you approach for Funding/financing will require different sets of documents.  We’ve taken the time to give you a general idea of what to expect when you apply.

You will generally need to supply the following:

  • Funding amount required
  • Reasons for your business requiring funding
  • Your business credit score
  • Financial records
  • Business registration documents

 If your business is not yet registered it is important to get this done before you apply for financing.

Conclusion

Every Business needs financing from time to time.  Often the solutions you seek are hidden and barricaded from access due to “red tape”.

These days, businesses need simple solutions that don’t hinder their access to the necessary funds.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list – to give you a list of platforms that make it much easier to access financing than it would be if you followed formal channels like governments or banks.

If your business is in the business of offering funding for SME’s, SMB’s and startups, be sure to reach out to us and let us know so that we can add your business to this list.