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A lot of these posts were originally on SureFireWebServices.com. So if you found them through search engines or clicking around, this is their new home :). Enjoy!

Tools and Reviews

Beaver Builder: A WordPress Designer For People Allergic To Code

Article written by Tammy Martin at Martin Marketing

Like many business owners the thought of revamping my home page was daunting to say the least. I’ve heard horror stories of the process taking months to complete. Instead of tackling my entire site, I decided to take on one single page at a time, which made the plan more feasible for my busy schedule.

I heard about Beaver Builder through Jonathan Perez at Surefire Web Services, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to try it out. I tend to avoid code like the plague so I knew that if Jonathan was going to recommend it to me, that it was going to be easy. My home page revamp was the perfect opportunity to do so.

The first thing I did was rewrite my home page because my target audience changed since I previously wrote it. Before I wrote it so it would be targeted at professionals, but this time I narrowed it down to spiritual entrepreneurs. Then I sent the content to my graphic designer. (This isn’t necessary for the average business owner, but I wanted a professional look because my clientele are higher end and more discerning.)

Martin Marketing WebsiteWhen my graphic designer finished the page design, I decided to tackle the implementation myself in Beaver Builder. It took between one and two hours because I was simultaneously creating the images from the main design file from the designer in Adobe Illustrator and bringing them into WordPress.

The page design required some theme changes as well to the header and footer. I asked Jonathan for his assistance with that because that fell outside of the page design scope.

From previous projects working together, this one shifted from me doing 20% of the work to 90%. All Jonathan had to do was help with the more advanced revisions for me. You can check out the finalized page at Martin Marketing.

I found Beaver Builder super easy to use compared to other Page Builders on the market. I am still shocked that I was able to do the majority the heavy lifting considering the fact that I am not a developer.

Kuddos to Beaver Builder for making web design a breeze!

6 Tools I Use To Run My Business Smoothly – Part 1

I’ve been developing my processes and business for a little over a year now and I finally have a pretty tight grasp on the tools that I use.  This comes after constant trials of different plugins and services that just wouldn’t work the way I needed them to.  I think I got it all sorted out though. So alas, here are the X tools I use to run my business smoothly, and efficiently.

hatchbuck-logo-reversed-teal1. Hatchbuck

Holy Crap. So I found this earlier this year and I tried a DOZEN different emailing software.  I have a few sites and the problem was always the following:

a. Integration
b. Reporting
c. Ease of use.

Hatchbuck solved all of these issues, and they did it pretty affordably too. With Hatchbuck I can create my optin forms, label each one (great for reporting), and see how they perform.  It keeps track of my entire email list and contacts, and I can add tags, tasks, etc. etc.

Other tools I’ve tried:
InfusionSoft – Very powerful and Very expensive
Mailchimp – Couldn’t segment my lists correctly, tags was definitely the way to go for multiple lists.
ActiveCampaign – I loved it, but the reporting was a pain, I never knew who was signing up with which form, when they signed up, etc. (I’m sure there were ways to figure that out, but the issue was I was always trying to figure it out.)

Cost: $99/mo

You can’t outright buy Hatchbuck, you have to go through a demo process, but if it’s something you know you want, just let me know and I’ll get you a purchase link to bypass the demo.

Learn more about Hatchbuck here

contactuallylogo

2. Contactually

It took me a while to find this one because there’s really nothing else like it.  What Contactually does is sync up with your Google Apps mail, and keep track of who you contact on a daily basis.  Whenever someone emails you, you put them on what Contactually calls, a “Bucket”.  The buckets you create can be anything from new lead, partners, customers, etc.  Once their in the bucket, you set up a rule to follow up.

For example, if I get a new lead, I put the lead in the “new lead” bucket and that will remind me to follow up in 7 days if I don’t hear from the person.

On top of that, Contactually includes awesome email templates that you can use and even create your own.  It’s the Holy Grail of customer retention and follow-ups!

If you haven’t spoke to someone in a while, Contactually will remind you, and it’ll keep track of what you last talked about.  It’s pretty amazing, and I can’t run my biz without it.

Other Tools I Tried:
There’s really nothing like it, so none.

Cost: $40/mo

Check out Contactually Here

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3. Zaxaa

I found Zaxaa from hearing Kim Doyal mention it.  I tried it out, found out they had a membership plugin, and I had to jump in!

Zaxaa is a tool for selling products on your website.  You can sell memberships, digital goods, upsell, create affiliates, and so much more.  I haven’t completely dived into the full capabilities of it, but if you’ve purchased a course on my site recently, you’ll see the different.

The Zaxaa membership plugin works really well, and it keeps everything completely separate from WordPress but still integrates beautifully with it.

I can put purchase buttons anywhere I like which means I can create my own landing pages.  It’s a little scary to start out with because there’s a lot of fields to fill out for each product, but it’s pretty self explanatory and you don’t have to fill in every single one.  When you start getting into upsells, and dime sales, affiliates and everything else, then you’ll notice that all the original scary fields, are there for a reason and are VERY useful.

Other Tools I Tried:
Easy Digital Downloads – I love EDD, but for the cost and sake of only 1 plugin, I decided to use Zaxaa.  But EDD will always be an option on sites because it’s also incredibly easy to use and works very well.

Cost: You can pay $60/mo and they take 3% (which is a little high) Actually, there’s monthly cost for the basic plan but there would be a 3% transaction fee OR $67/mo and no extra fees, OR pay for the year at $399 (which is what I did).  Not sure how often they have specials, but I did manage to catch one when I signed up and got it for $319/year! So worth it!

Check Out More on Zaxaa

Getting To Know Thrive Leads

Now while I’m a HUGE fan of Beaver Builder, mainly because of their simplicity and usability, there’s also another page builder out there called Thrive Content Builder.  I haven’t been using it much but the Thrive team has been busy making all sorts of cool new things to play with.  One of those is things is called Thrive Leads.  Read More

What happens when you deactivate the Beaver Builder Plugin

I made a quick video to demonstrate exactly what happens when you use the Beaver Builder plugin to create page then deactivate it. Once deactivatved, I go ahead and reactivate it to see if it keeps the format.

SPOILER BELOW (If you don’t want to see the video)

Spoiler

It keeps the format =)

Go Get Beaver Builder

What Is CoSchedule?

Lately, I’ve been checking out different WordPress plug-ins and I stumbled upon something called CoSchedule. Now if you’re anything like me you’re always skeptical before jumping into a plug-in right away. As soon as I found this, however, my mind was blown. Read More

The Best Page Builder Plugin for WordPress!

I’ve tried a bunch of different page builders over the last few months, and I have to say that my favorite by FAR, is Beaver BuilderRead More

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