Don't be left out.

My Horror Experience With GetResponse

1. Their registration box doesn’t work

So first, when registering on the registration page, there are several textboxes to fill out. However, the textbox wouldn’t take any of my emails. My personal joshmacodnald.net email, nor my gmail or hotmail addresses. It just said the email was invalid, when it clearly wasn’t. Frustrating.

2. Their website is full of errors.

So I click to email them, guess what? 502 error. I got back, click the button again, okay the email form appears now. So I send an email.

3. Their email is slower than they let on.

After submitting an email to the sales department to explain you can’t sign up (a HUGE CRO issue, probably costing them 5-10% loss in sales), you’re told they’ll be in touch “very shortly” and by that, I’d expect an email within an hour. No, of course they didn’t follow up within an hour.

 

4. Their phone number is out of service

As I said, an hour goes by without a response so I just try to submit the form. It gives me an error message, with a phone number. Awesome! I’ll hop on call and get this sorted right away I imagine. NOPE. After calling, a pre-recorded message says the number is no longer in service. Wonderful.

5. The live chat support agent was misinformed.

So I search Google and find a live chat option, cool. I’m connect with someone right away who says the issue is I must have my DNS records set for my domain. Why? He nor I have a clue. I run A records for my VPS and I run MX records to connect to my mail server. His answer doesn’t explain why I can’t register with my hotmail or gmail.

Also, why does the email of the admin need to have this? It’s not like this is the email we’ll be sending emails from anyways. This is more so my personal email for billing, support etc. I don’t want emails to be sending from this. But with GetResponse, yes, they try to imply that you’ll be sending from your personal email.

Whatever, so I exit out of that live chat, annoyed. I go to the homepage, there is a single form that asks for an email address and a password to get started. I enter in the EXACT SAME details as before, and it works. So one registration form works, and the other does not. Talk about lost sales.

6. The editor is super laggy and disfunctional

So I finally get into the control panel. Cool. I setup an email, and the HTML editor delays every input for 1 second. Frustrating! So you don’t spot a type until you’re 5 words along and have to click back or wait for the arrows to catch up, etc. What a mess. So I wrote the email text in my local editor, then just pasted it into GetResponse.

Would you believe me if I said the backspace button stopped working within the editor and I had to refresh the entire page?

7. Their docs are out of date

So now it’s time to integrate with my existing solution. I found someone made an extension for Contact Form 7 on WordPress and GetResponse (no idea why GetResponse wouldn’t code this for their own customers – it sure would be nice), so I download the extension and it asks for an API key. Okay, so I go into my dashboard, I can’t find it in the options. So I search on Google, and find this article. I try to implement what it says – outdated. The pages and settings it explains are no longer part of the current UI.

8. Their live chat is super laggy

So I go back to live chat to clarify how to find the API key. The worst part? It lags about 20 seconds when you try to type something in, and that is sometimes not quick enough before the live agent tries to cancel the conversation before a response can be fired off.

9. They send emails you can’t unsubscribe from

Here’s another one for you: you’re basically signed up for endless emails from them. No unsubscribe link.

End rant. So, does anyone have an autoresponder recommendation?

3 Proven Video Sales Letters

1. GOG.

All around good-guy, Greg OG is a Toronto native. Take a look at his video:

The script:

My Name is Gregory O’Gallagher and I’m 24 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, in maintaining a lean and chiseled body, and striving each day for self improvement.

Even though I have just woken up, I won’t eat for 8 hours, this increases fat mobilization, boosts mental alertness and has profound health benefits.

To blunt my hunger, I’ll drink sparkling water… 2-3 hours later, I’ll enjoy black coffee, a very powerful appetite suppressant.

Intermittent Fasting has been the most powerful health discovery I have ever made, it has made staying lean and building muscle, effortless..

It’s boosted my work productivity and it’s given me the freedom to eat like a king everyday. I simply feel fantastic. If it happens to be a workout day, I’ll hit the gym hard. I only life three times per week. This maximizes muscular and neuro-recovery and provides the fastest rate of strength gain. I believe in honing your training down to the essential movements that create the perfect physique and then becoming really strong at them. For my key movements, I always perform the heaviest set first, followed by two progressively lighter sets with full rest periods. This style of training allows to come into the gym, stronger each and every session. Since I was 6 years old, I wanted to crack the code to build an amazing body that was strong, powerful and awe-inspiring. I’m 24 and I can honestly say without a shred of doubt, that I’ve cracked that code and since sharing it, it has unlocked the potential in thousands of people that are taking it daily.

My name is Gregory O’Gallagher. It’s time for you to unleash your potential.

There Are Agencies That Believe Backlinks Are Not A Leading Factor

You guys won’t believe some of the stuff I get told. Today I was talking with an SEO agency from St. Petersburg, FL. He told me:

Sorry Josh. You lost me at backlinks still being a major ranking factor.

That’s right, he does not believe backlinks are a factor. Why? Well I talked to another agency who had another response:

Thank you for reaching out to usour SEO team does not rely on backlinks as they are not as useful as they use to be.
Matt Cutts former head of web explained how backlinks will become irrelevant in 2014 [in another video].
Yes, that’s right. There are professionals who actually believe what Matt Cutts says. They just don’t see the bias him in. They believe guest posts no longer work, because he said so. Even the most radical lies, there is someone out there who actually believes it.

StockX banned me for denying an unauthorized transaction

Let me tell you about a customer experience from hell.

StockX is a platform for people to buy and sell limited edition sneakers and other apparel. At 4:43 AM, I received a notification that my PayPal was charged for $364.36 USD.

StockX

I saw this notification about an hour after it came in and immediately emailed their support email explaining this unauthorized charge. I hopped onto the StockX website to find that the email address on file for my account was changed. I immediately clicked to unlink my PayPal from StockX before another charge would occur.

I discovered that someone purchased a Supreme x North Face backpack and had planned to ship it to Paris, France.

After no response for an hour, I decided to log into PayPal to place a hold on the charge, before the money was gone for good. What happens next? They ban me for denying the charge.

Josh,

We will be suspending your account indefinitely due to a chargeback via PayPal. We cannot risk another future chargeback from your account. We do not allow any returns, or exchanges on StockX.

Thanks,
Russ

Finally, a support agent reaches out to my original email, saying they cannot find the fraudulent item that was purchased. I go to login to StockX so I can send over a screenshot about the fraudulent email and the page loads blank, because my account is disabled.

So how exactly did this happen?

  • StockX allows you to easily change the email address on file without confirming the change from the old email. This means receipt emails for fraudulent will avoid your inbox.
  • The PayPal link they have in place must not require a password to re-login via PayPal before purchasing

Figure it out, Russ.

4 Must-Use Email Marketing Tools (and 2 to never-use!)

Even with all the new communication tools that companies are leveraging, such as Slack or Discord, email continues to be the main mode of communication for businesses.I don’t where my company would be, without leveraging some of the advanced tools on the market today.

HubSpot initially got me hooked on read notifications, but their free plan limits you to 200 notifications per month, which just isn’t enough for my business. Their introductory plan starts at $50/month and I feel it has a lot of useless features that are used to justify the price. After deciding I need reliable and affordable read notifications, I spent an entire evening testing and using alternatives.

MixMax

MixMax won me over because they had all the features I wanted and a beautiful interface. Every time someone opens an email of mine, it records when they opened it, from which device and where they were.

My second favorite feature is the email scheduling. Although I’ve been up working since 3:30 am this morning, I used to be a night owl, which means I’d be responding to emails at night. The problem with emailing at night, is the rest of the world is usually sleeping. So if I was writing an email at 1am, I’d schedule it to send at 9:30 AM in the morning.

However, schedule sending is nothing unique to this list. What is unique is the fact that MixMax leverages data to build predictions of when you should target each recipient. In the following screenshot, MixMax concludes that I should send an email to my dad at 1:26 PM. This number changes, based on who you choose as the recepient.

Although this is my software of choice, it’s not perfect and I am always following the competitors for better options.

Some of the things I’d like to see in MixMax:

  • Competitive pricing. I pay $29/month for MixMax. It’s a bit high for just a few features, but I’ve yet to find a competitor with dramatically reduced pricing to make it worth switching.
  • Schedule follow-ups without a template. I’d like to pre-write a follow-up when writing the initial email and have it send in 3 days if the first email doesn’t get a response.

SalesHandy

SalesHandy is also one of the top email marketing solutions available on the market. For any of the good features like a multi-staged mail merge, you’re looking at $20/month.

Similarly to MixMax, SalesHandy also makes you use a template structure for follow-ups, which very well could have been enough to make me switch from MixMax.

I did give SalesHandy an opportunity to perform, but I couldn’t get my contacts imported, without a vague error message. However, I will likely revisit SalesHandy in the future and advise all of you to give it a fair chance.

ReplyUp

For those of you on a budget and looking for automated followups, look no further than ReplyUp. For just $12/month, you can deploy follow up sequences which schedule bulk, personalized emails and track their open rate.

Gmelius

Gmelius is currently playing catch-up but priced at just $15/month with a load of features, CEO Florian Bersier could be sitting on top of one of the most promising email solutions in 2018. In a day and age where multiple followups are everything, the founder reassured me that this and everything I’m looking for is coming in 2018. Out of all the solutions available, this is the platform to watch.

Thanks for your email. Sequences or multiple follow-ups are not part of our solution yet. This is on our road-map and will be released at the start of Q1 2018.

All the best,

Florian
CEO, Founder

Boomerang

Boomerang is the reigning champion. They are the PayPal of payment processing, which is a good and bad thing. They’re well known mainly due to their free version, but the benefits don’t justify spending $15/month given the amazing options on the market. However, if you’re sending from a Gmail address, you can get a handful of Boomerang features for just $5/month whereas the others on the list start at a much higher price.

GMass

I tried GMass a while back and ran into some issues. The software itself runs out of Gmail, whereas competitors like MixMax and SendHandy have their own thought-out user interface to manage campaigns, reports and statistics. The messy labelling system used to report message reads reminds me of a makeshift mail solution I made a few years back.

They have a strong marketing campaign to get the company in front of people like myself, but they really need to rethink the product.


If you’d like me to review your email marketing software, send me an email.

Why I Chose Morgan James

People wonder why I didn’t self-publisher rather than going with Morgan James. Some articles discuss the idea that Morgan James authors are conned into using Morgan James but I think that’s completely false. I chose Morgan James for a few reasons. I’m going to go over the benefits and drawbacks of going with Morgan James rather than CreateSpace, as I did consider this carefully. This is informal review of my experience so far.

The main benefits over CreateSpace:

  • The team is helpful with pushing everything along and educating you on the process. They have the patience to work with first time authors, like myself.
  • They have the ability to place you on the shelves in book stores. I can’t speak for if I get placed, but I’ll keep you updated.
  • They understand internal formatting – something I had no experience with.
  • There’s nothing worse than telling someone you wrote a book, then telling them you don’t have a publisher.
  • They have been used by top marketers like Joel Comm, E. Brian Rose and Russell Brunson, for a reason.
  • They have connections with reputable fulfillment centres that can be sure to integrate with your sales funnel.

The main drawbacks:

  • New authors must pre-purchase books. After you’re published once, you don’t have to do this again.
  • Updating your manuscript costs money.

People also ask me why I went with Morgan James instead of going with a literary agent who could hunt up a big publishing house like Penguin or any of its imprints.

The main benefits:

  • I can sell copies through my own channels at a different price than the stores.
  • When selling through my own channels, I keep a larger percentage of the sales revenue.
  • They can get you to market faster than traditional publishers. My niche is based on technology which is time sensitive.

The main drawbacks:

  • Placement in bookstores is not guaranteed.

I think Morgan James has it’s place in the publishing space. It may not be right for everyone, but it was right for me. So far the first 6 months has been a good experience and I hope I can say the same 6 months from now. Talk soon.

Bisou – Free Luxury WordPress Theme

It’s been on my agenda to master PHP and the WordPress Codex to build a WordPress theme. Last week I sat down and decided to knock out a bad-ass free WordPress theme. The first thing I realized was how many requirements WordPress forces on you. For example, on themes built for business, I really hate comments. Comments are unprofessional and generally cause problems. If you don’t acknowledge comments, customers will think you’re ignore them. If you do acknowledge them, you have to have a secretary check them daily. Besides, the comment form boxes are always unattractive, so I usually have to edit the theme to get rid of them for all of my clients.

Now for the theme. It’s pretty lightweight – under 2 MB in size before WordPress made me add a few things to take it over 3 MB. The theme features a header image across the top which is the bulk of the size, which you can replace with your own image.By changing the header image, you can completely change the entire niche of the theme, to make it applicable for almost any sort of luxury theme.

The theme features a pinstripe background which gives the theme a luxury feel, making it applicable for businesses such as modelling and talent agencies, or even for wineries, jewellers, and bespoke tailors.

The theme works great, both with the front page as a static page, or as a blog post.

Lastly, I named it Bisou for the French word kiss.

Download the theme here:

Here’s what the theme looks like when the homepage is setup to be a blog.

Free Modelling WordPress Theme

Free Bulk Domain Authority Checker

Expired domains are becoming increasingly valuable in the SEO world and being able to sift through them quickly by checking how many editorial links they have is invaluable. While domain authority can be very useful, it’s sometimes accurate. It’s entirely possible to have an expired domain with a domain authority of 10 or 15 but have 3 or 4 editorial links that carry serious link juice.

If you watch my videos on YouTube, you know I hate on metrics often. Even trust flow isn’t that great. The amount of sites that I’ve ranked with PBN domains with a trust flow under 5 is absolutely ludicrous. While everyone is out hunting for those spammed PBN domains with TF20+, I’m grabbing all the good stuff under the radar and finding some expired domains with some seriously undervalued backlink profiles. Majestic’s trust flow is good to judge spam. Moz’s domain authority is better to judge link power. More on this in my videos.

I coded a tool that checks the Moz domain authority of a list of domains, and also counts the editorial links for each domain. This software is very useful if you’re hunting for expired domains yourself, rather than hiring it out. The software only works on Windows, as most of my desktop software does. If you’re also a Mac user like myself, you can use this, or pick up a cheap Windows computer to run your software, like I do.

Fill out your info here to have the software emailed to you.

Everything here is free. You can use a free Moz account, instead of your main.

If you have any problems, please reply in the comments below. Emails regarding free software are ignored as I just get way too many emails in a day to try to respond to everyone who needs help. As always, there is pay per minute consultation available on the contact page if you need anything. If this domain authority checker and editorial backlink counter helped you in anyway, please let me know in the comments.

How To Rank Your Small Business On Google

This blog is mainly dedicated to more advanced techniques, however here is an introductory rundown for those new to the space.

So you’re a small business, and you have a website, but you want to rank higher on Google. This process is called search engine optimization, or SEO. Since 2009, I’ve been studying the hundreds of factors that affect the rankings. I’m now going to summarize a few points that I have for small businesses who are just starting to get interested in SEO.

Submit your URL to Google

You need to check if your website is indexed at all by Google. Simply use the search query below to check if your site is indexed. If your website comes up, you’re safe. If it doesn’t display any results, then you need to submit it here. This is mainly just for new websites.

List your website in local directories

Start with submitting your website to Google Maps. Then add it to YellowPages, Yelp and any other speciality directory that applies. If you run a dog kennel, maybe search “dog kennel directory.” This may bring direct traffic to your business, but the main focus here is links and mentions of your website name. The more mentions, the higher you will rank, essentially. It’s more complicated than this, but it’s all you need to understand.

Create social profiles

I’m not asking you to become a social rockstar, but if you can start up a Facebook page, get 50 likes and post a photo once a month, Google will be able to determine that you’re a legit business.

Write tons of content

Word count and word relevancy is very important on your website. If you want to rank for the phrase “Toronto corporate law firm” then you need to mention each of those 4 words in your homepage article, at least once or twice. You also want to have as many words as you possibly can. 300 is enough, but 500 words should be your goal. I’ve seen the best businesses hit even more words.

Get reviews

Once you’re on Google Maps, it’s very helpful to have a few reviews, again to prove you’re a legit business. I manage the SEO strategy for a very large motorsports rental company and over the years, we have built up to over 80 reviews on Google Maps. We are one of the most-reviewed companies in that industry in Canada and are ranking #1.

Get links to your site

You want other companies in your industry to link to your website. If you’re a restaurant, and you often recommend a local comedy club, you guys should link to each other. You can have a “partners” page and link to the comedy club and they will reciprocate. This is one example, but there are many ways to get links to your site. Google values links to your website.

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