In 2010 I commissioned a new website for my membership site Landlord Law and in December it went live.
The new site was excellent in many ways but there was one problem. When people’s membership was not renewed it was like they dropped into a black hole. I could not find them (via the Landlord Law system) to email them about their membership and suggest they renew.
This was important. My main income is via Landlord Law. If memberships go down that makes it difficult for me.
By 2012 I was getting really worried. I was over 100 members down on when the new site went live. Something had to be done.
I had been reading quite a bit about Infusionsoft and what it could do for businesses. The problem was that it is quite expensive AND when you sign up you have to pay extra for training.
However in late November time, they had a special offer going and I decided to give it a go.
Wonderful though Infusionsoft is, I can’t disguise the fact that it is a bit of a steep learning curve (which is why they insist on the training). For the next few weeks, most of my time was spent in liaising with their training people, and watching their online training videos – which are on the whole very good.
I was also helped by the fact that a couple of years previously I had done an Open University foundation computer course (which incidentally was fascinating) which helped me understand the way that computers work.
By the end of December, I was ready to start setting things up.
Setting up Infusionsoft
There were two important things I had to do:
- Do a ‘renewals and reminders’ campaign in Infusionsoft to automate the renewals process, and
- Transfer over the members database
Transferring the members database was a long and tedious job. I did it myself, manually, so I could check that the entries were done correctly. It took me about a week, a very boring week over the Christmas holiday, just me, the computer and my music CD collection.
Eventually, it was done.
The more interesting bit was designing the campaign.
Campaigns are a big feature of Infusionsoft. You set them up in a very visual way, and move people through them via tags, or by directly adding a contract to a campaign sequence. You can also control things by putting in ‘tasks’ which have to be done before the contract moves on.
For example, some Landlord Law members like to be invoiced. So after they have joined or renewed I have to :
- Put the renewal date on one of their contact ‘fields’
- Enter them into the invoices part of the renewal / reminders campaign
- I am then prompted by a task to do an invoice about 4 weeks before their renewal date
- When this is done I mark the task as done and the campaign moves on
- I am then reminded a few weeks later to check whether they have paid and to send a reminder email if not
- When they pay, I send out a receipt, update the renewal date and start again
- If they don’t pay, I can write to the customer and let them know
There are similar campaigns for people who pay by pay pal or any other means – they get sent an automatic email 7 days before their payment is due to go out, and then when they pay they get entered back into the campaign.
If they don’t pay, I know about it and am able to send them a reminder.
One of the nice results of doing this campaign was finding out how often people DID want to renew – the only reason they hadn’t was because of some issue like their credit card changing.
Of course, I now use Infusionsoft for a lot more than the renewals. For example:
- I have a ‘new members tips’ sequence where new members to my Landlord Law site get sent a series of short emails with guidance on how to use Landlord Law. It goes on for some 9 months! Landlord Law is a big site
- I have a ‘learning landlord law’ sequence with information about the site and service for prospective members
- I have free information series designed to encourage people to join Landlord Law – one of the most popular is about dealing with rent arrears
- I use it for sending out mailings, including the newsletters, promotional emails and my ‘critical information’ emails to people on my list when the law changes.
Another nice thing about Infusionsoft is that the people there are constantly improving it. For example, the search facility and the ways to add contacts to campaigns has improved immeasurably over the past two years. They also now have a new ‘mobile friendly’ email system. The improvements just keep coming.
Infusionsoft – the verdict
Due to problems at my accountants, my last two years accounts were done more or less at the same time. When I had my normal visit to the accountant when it was all done, he congratulated me on the spike in income a couple of years ago and on the fact that it had been sustained since. Which was really good news (apart from the increased tax bill …)
This increase is about 95% due to Infusionsoft and the control I have been able to exercise over marketing and renewals.
So for me, it has certainly paid for itself.
Its not perfect. For example, I was not happy with the limitations on the e-commerce system – but I now have Samcart to help with that.
It’s also a tough service to learn to use. However, I have found it VERY worthwhile. It has permanently increased my income and continues to give me the edge. I would not be without it.
If you want to give it a spin – the website is here.
(NB I am an Infusionsoft affiliate so will get paid commission if you sign up via my links)