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 marketingartistry.com 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.
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 – 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…
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:-
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!
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”.
I ran across a small problem today. I have two bitbucket accounts, one for work projects at work and my own private login using my google credentials. Apparently if you’ve already used an ssh key you can’t use it again for another account (makes sense).
So an extra key and a bit of jiggery pokery with ~/.ssh/config as documented here…