Category Archives for "tips"

Mautic – not ready yet

So over the weekend I tried out the current version of Mautic, but there were a few issues.

TLDR; Mautic is not ready for production use.

Mautic is an open source  marketing automation product (think Infusionsoft). They’ve just released version 2.6 which has some nice features but I had some problems every step of the way.

Firstly, I needed to upgrade to a later version of php5, not a big hardship but just an annoyance that took a bit of messing around as I was using my Digital Ocean droplet to do this on, which hosts and my sendy instance.

That done, the installation makes recommendations on extra php modules that need installing, so yet again slight pause whilst I find the right module names and ‘apt-get’ them into place. Then create a database and we’re starting to get some traction. The application is installed and I can log in woop. Now for configuration.

There is a ‘bug’ (I won’t call it a feature) where when you change the settings, if you don’t have some fields set up for the salesforce integration – even if you’re not going to use it – then no other configuration changes would work. I wanted to switch the mail service over to using my amazon SES service. However it doesn’t use the AWS SDK like sendy and work through the amazon api, it uses SMTP with it’s swiftmail based code. So I had to create an SMTP user. Even so a couple of headscratching hours later I finally got email working.

Next issue was that the system does not implement two step optins (bread and butter requirement really in this day and age of spam and legalities all around the world). There was an article that explained how to build a funnel that would do this but it was overly complicated for something that should be trivial. However the actual flow builder is very nice and is a plus point to the application.

So having got email working, set up a campaign – with two step optimisation – it was now time to try out some sequences. Mautic requires quite a few cron jobs setting up at different times, so as not to overload the system. This smacks of poor thought because it’s fairly trivial to have a job queue and add different job types automatically, then poll the queue once a minute to see if anything needs doing – that’s pretty much what sendy does. Using a queue like this is also trivial in Laravel but Mautic seems to be a combination of Joomla code, Symphony Libs and some open source email templates. Even so I was able to get sequences working, but the email editor left a bit to be desired compared to a more rounded tool like thrive themes or even the sendy one. At least it did allow code editing which means you can use any email template you want.

Next up was tracking and this where the cracks started to show in full. There was a direct requirement for Javascript support to track anything – no other options. Any of a dozen browser blockers (adblock, ublock etc.) would be able to filter out this, and if the browser had js disabled then end of story.  Even getting the confirmation of signup would require a js enabled browser.

Doing a bit more searching I also found that SES API integration had been requested months ago but was not a high priority – so an alternative sparkpost was tried out but that would mean re-working dkim entries for everything. At least 1and1 have fixed their interface now and so DKIM editing is a breeze. The problems got worse with people reporting slow mail sending and no easy throttling so if I were to ramp this system up, things would be much slower than sendy.

So a nice experiment to see the graphical workflow builder, but it’s just not ready in all the right places to be used properly. Infusionsoft and the others are safe for now.


Overpriced courses – Are ‘gurus’ trying to take the mickey.

Overpriced courses – pet peeve of the week. With yet another guru launch this week and again a 2k pricetag!

So the general Internet Marketing Guru’s pattern is currently this…

  1. Create a course that consists of videos 2-3 hours worth. Bulk itup with pdf worksheets, mp3’s of the videos, and transcript pdfs. Maybe put in some bonuses another 1-4 hours of stuff but not useful for everyone. The course consists of rehash of existing stuff. Created using content from other courses or from a couple of books. It’s their interpretation (which may be wrong – but is usually not comprehensive).
  2. Setup a website and marketing email campaign.  Use  leadpages, clickfunnels, kajabi or optimizepress. Use infusionsoft as their back end to capture leads and feed into a funnel machine.
  3. Do some webinars with gotowebinar as their provider. All to add to the funnel. Use FB traffic to get signups.
  4. Use a hosted backend cart system
  5. Sell the course for $997 or $1997. With some options sometimes to pay in installments.

Well  they may be raking in the millions, but its still overpriced average pap for the main part.

Their faulty logic works something like this:-

  • Make it an expensive course. People will then have a vested interest in proving ‘the’ method works. If its cheaper its more likely that they will not ‘try’ their method out to the full. Then they fail and want a refund.

The fault here is that their course is  average but those that spent 2k on a course are going to give it a big try. So they can justify the spend. More likely they are afraid to admit to themselves they made an expensive mistake.

By and large, any course will get ‘some’ good students. Students who were ready for anything. Students that  get off their behinds and do something. These will generate enough cash to buy again – and you get your repeat customers. There are also a significant number who didn’t and won’t. Those customers will be lost forever.

It’s building a business out of clay. I can see some people doing this wondering why their sales are drying up after a few products and courses are released.

Running the numbers also shows a huge investment (almost 1k a month) in the front end. This needs a huge dosh of cash to churn the system. It needs lots of Ads to get lots of signups, to get lots of  buyers.  A lot of them are just jumping on the next shiny thing. You need a lot of cash to feed this machine.

Additionally,  the advisors suggesting this setup to other ‘entrepreneurs’ are raking it in. People use ‘their’ systems to do this so they get double bubble… “sell a course to use my $99 a month system!”

The only reason I can see for using these systems is lack of technical knowledge. It does take time to develop (sic) but at what long term cost?? Given I’ve got Sendy, node-red and thrive themes I can replace all that setup and the data is my own.

I still need to develop a brilliant taguchi/bayes/bandit optimiser tool but I’ll get there.

Oh and build an average 2-4 hour course!




Email Automation – Laravel+Sendy+JVzoo In under an hour

TLDR; Skip to the lower source block for the apache and htacess configs for laravel in a subdirectory using apache aliases.

I mentioned a few days ago that I’m moving over to using Sendy as my mailing list system. One of the things I needed to get sorted pretty sharpish was handling the customer email automation process for my Book website ‘Beyond Bedroom Guitar”.

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