Kissmetrics – Website Performance Analytics

Kissmetrics describes itself as “The Customer Engagement Automation Platform” and that may be true but, in my opinion, it does little to explain what their product is really all about.

So, it would be reasonable to ask, what is Kissmetrics all about?

Well, there are three main element to the Kissmetrics product offering: Analyse, Populations & Campaigns
Kissmetrics combines behavioural analytics, segmentation and email campaign automation to deeply understand and engage your customers every step of the way.”

My initial conclusion is that the foundation for everything that Kissmetrics does, however, is their extensive and in-depth Analytics capability. The particular focus here is with “behavioural analytics” – in other words, in-depth scrutiny of what it is people do when they visit your website. Every stage of your marketing funnel can be examined and reported upon.

Of course, the inevitable question would be “what does Kissmetrics do that Google Analytics doesn’t?”

That’s a reasonable question, especially bearing in mind that Google Analytics is a totally free of charge solution and, for many organisations the answer would probably be “not much.” The system really seems to come into its own when used as a holistic approach to marketing. You run a campaign, monitor the results with Kissmetrics and then analyse and report on the campaign as it progresses.

One of the concepts you will quickly become familiar with should you choose to use Kissmetrics, is their “populations” functionality. A population is very similar to a cohort in Google Analytics – a group of people who share a common factor. I haven’t yet done the full in-depth Kissmetrics review but I suspect that when I do I will find the Population function performs in greater depth than the Google Cohorts alternative, but let’s wait and see.

Then there is the Campaigns module. Here we see a range of functions that, ostensibly, are similar to those offered by even the most basic email autoresponders. Those requiring more sophisticated email marketing and automation facilities will have already taken up with a product such as Infusionsoft, Hubspot, Clickfunnels or Marketo so I’m not quite sure where Kissmetrics fits into all of that.

None of that is intended to water down what Kissmetrics offers, however. It is clearly a well thought out and proficient product that has been widely adopted by some sizable organisations. As I haven’t reviewed it fully yet my advice is to give it a trial – there’s a free 14 day trial to help facilitate that.

The costs are fairly substantial here so you’d have to be very sure that Kissmetrics will deliver everything you need and the free trial will clearly be useful in establishing that. There’s also the option of discussing your requirements with their consultants and having a guided demo. In terms of pricing, the entry level plan is $500/month, less 20% if you pay annually in advance.

Kissmetrics

Where To Find It
https://www.kissmetrics.com/
Product Type
Analytics & Campaign Automation
Paid/Free
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes – 14 days
Price
Entry level $500/month less 20% if you pay annually.

ConvertKit – Email Marketing For Bloggers

ConvertKit is an email marketing platform that has built its reputation as being the go-to email provider for professional bloggers.

One of the claims made by ConvertKit on their website is that their product has “The power of Infusionsoft, but easier to use than MailChimp.” That’s a bold claim because Infusionsoft is very powerful indeed and is the email automation “engine” that sits behind many high-powered and often complex email marketing campaigns.

So, is it true? How Powerful is ConvertKit

Well, the thing that makes Infusionsoft so powerful is its campaign builder. Drag and drop flowchart or workflow based schematic campaign building that can deal with almost any kind of email marketing automation rules. Does ConvertKit have that – no. However, it does have a rules-based automation system which is, in itself, powerful and effective. The main selling point is that their system gives you all the power of systems like Infusionsoft but is simpler to use.

ConvertKit Email Marketing

When this happens – do that. Rule based email automation.

ConvertKit isn’t just about email marketing and automation though. There are lots of other features that will make it attractive not only to bloggers, at whom it is primarily aimed, but also to  a wider spectrum of internet publishers. These include Form Building, a Landing Page Builder, a Book Marketing tool and a wide range of pre-built integrations.

Integrations are a vital part of a system like this and all the names you’d expect to see are there including e-commerce providers like Shopify and Woocommerce, lead capture services like Unbounce and Leadpages and membership system such as Member Mouse and Rainmaker. Other services can be integrated using zapier for which there is also support.

My personal take on this is that ConvertKit provides the facilities and resources that email marketers, and of course bloggers, need but in a more accessible and easy-to-use way than Infusionsoft and some of the higher-end packages like Marketo and Hubspot. It’s also significantly cheaper – at least for those with modest numbers of contacts on their list.

ConvertKit Pricing

The entry level plan starts at $29/month and gives you storage for up to 1000 contacts. You can send unlimited emails to your contacts on any of their plans – even the cheapest. The price does rise as the size of your mailing list increases but that is pretty much standard practice and even if you reach the dizzying heights of a 5K opted-in list you’ll only pay $79/month. Beyond that, however, the price is not published and, in reality, most email marketers need to have lists that are substantially bigger than 5K contacts so if you have, or intend to have, a really large list it would be best to get a quote first.

We haven’t carried out a full-feature ConvertKit review yet but plan to do so – see the review button on the right for updates on that.

ConvertKit

Where To Find It
https://convertkit.com/
Product Type
Email automation platform
Paid/Free
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
N0
Price
Entry level plan $29/month for up to 1000 contacts.

Kahuna Marketing Automation Platform

Kahuna targets medium and larger corporate organisations with sophisticated cross-channel marketing automation facilitating 1to1 personalisation across marketing channels including email, web, mobile devices, Facebook retargeting, and text messaging.

Kahuna Marketing Automation

A look at their current and previous client list willprobably give you a reasonable idea as to the type of client they typically work with and includes the likes of Dollar Shave Club which was recently sold to Uniliver for $1 Billion. That doesn’t mean, of course, that the product wouldn’t be suitable for more modest organisations. Unfortunately Kahuna are one of those rather annoying examples of a supplier who do not publish their pricing on their website so I have been unable to establish whether their product is likely to be affordable or cost effective for smaller businesses.

What makes Kahuna different to many of the other marketing automation platforms to which it may be compared, is the way that it uses contact and behaviour to determine which marketing activities are used, and when. Kahuna listens to consumer signals in real time unifying consumer behavior data across mobile, web, and connected devices. Customer and contact data can be segmented acording to behavioral, demographic, and lifecycle criteria and used in a variety of campaign types including; triggered (based on user or external events), conversion, lifecycle-type drip marketing, as well as consumer journey campaigns. Messages can be dynamically personalised according to user data.

Kahuna worked out that today’s consumer doesn’t want lots of noisy, irrelevant messages. They have much more sophisticated expectations regarding how well a brand should understand them. These consumers are receptive to messages that spark their curiosity and take account of their individual preferences and desires.

They have stated their mission to be, quite simply, “to replace manual guesswork with automated decision-making, helping marketers send fewer messages but with incredible accuracy and as a result, thoroughly delight their consumers during every interaction”.

Kahuna claims to be the only marketing automation platform that has been designed from the start in order to genuinely understand the consumer and the way in which they want to engage with the brands they admire or wish to be associated with.

Kahuna’s dealings with Dollar Shave club and other well-known brands including GoPro, Hotel Tonight, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, Yelp.com, Yummly and others speaks volumes. Their’s is an interesting and novel approach and if you are looking to install a top end marketing automation solution they should probably be on your shortlist but you will have to contact them and get the demo before you are likely to be able to make any kind of decision or gain an idea of the likely costs.

Kahuna

Where To Find It
https://www.kahuna.com
Product Type
AI Based Marketing Automation
Paid/Free
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
N0
Price
Not Published

We have not yet carried out a full review of this product – please check back later.

Autopilot – Marketing Automation & Funnels

Autopilot is an Australian company offering a comprehensive marketing automation tools platform at an affordable price.

Autopilot marketing automation

Autopilot’s very attractive and easy-to-use visual customer journey (funnel) builder

Competition is hotting up in the marketing automation space with relatively new kids on the block bringing new insight and approaches to the ground traditionally held by the likes of Infusionsoft, Marketo and Hubspot. Its true the Autopilot may not be quite such an in-depth product as the aforementioned but it will be right on the button for many.

In order to make marketing automation technology more accessible, more enjoyable and easier to use, Autopilot seems to have adopted a different terminology to that which is normally used to describe the things that it does. It is, in essense, a funnel builder, and a good one at that. Autopilot can automate some or all of the sales and marketing process, depending on your product and the way that you choose to take it to maket. Lead acquisition, nurturing and conversion all fall within its remit.

Lead acquisition, nurturing, education and conversion all seem to be covered by the tools on offer and the level of documentation and support all seem to be of a high quality as well.

The most striking part of the package is the visual “Journey” building interface shown in the screenshot above. The prospective customer’s journey is planned using this drag and drop campaign builder, similar to that used by Infusionsoft and others such as clickfunnels but presented in an innovative and visually striking way.

Another stand out feature of Autopilot is its “Filght School” training facility which appears to be very easy to use and full-featured.

All-in-all a very attractive product that seems to have shaken off the cobwebs found on packages like Infusionsoft, albeit perhaps without having the power and flexibility of that very popular platform. Autopilot looks as if it would be fun to use and effective too.

Good news for startups – if your business is a startup and funded by one of Autopilot’s funding partners then you can get a discount from thier usual monthly rates.

We will review Autopilot in-depth if the publishers make a review login available but in the meantime, at the price point on offer – starting at $20/month for a basic plan, as well as a 30 day free trial without credit card details being required – Autolipot is definitely one for your marketing automation shortlist.

Sendlane – Email Marketing & Marketing Automation

Sendlane is an email marketing and marketing automation platform offering a great set of digital marketing tools at a very affordable price.

Sendlane Logo

I came across Sendlane because, due to the nature of my work, I am on the mailing list of a great many marketers and others in the digital marketing business. When you receive a marketing message it is often possible to tell which email autoresponder was used to deliver it to you and Sendlane was one which kept cropping up more and more often so I thought I’d take a closer look.

Upon closer inspection, however, it became clear that Sendlane is much more than just an email autoresponder. As well as simply providing a mechanism for sending out emails in volume, the platform also includes other marketing automation features such as:

Marketing automation – based on contact behaviour, e.g. if a contact does not open a particular email then, after a suitable waiting period, another can be sent automatically.

Landing page designSendlane is supplied with a powerful and flexible drag and drop landing page builder and a nice selection of templates to get you off to a flying start with your landing page design. Most marketers agree that the landing page is a vitally important part of any sales funnel so this tool is a very welcome addition to the options provided by Sendlane.

Data Capture Forms Designer – a very important part of the process is capturing the email and maybe other contact details of those who respond to your various digital marketing efforts. Sendlane comes complete with an excellent opt-in form creator which can be used to add names to that all important list. You can also create attractive “Thank You” pages.

Whether you need to just send out a regular email newsletter or build a complex marketing funnel Sendlane has the tools you need. It doesn’t just leave you to it though – there’s a very well thought out library of tuition videos and other help to make sure that you get the best value from your Sendlane subscription.

Talking of subscriptions, that’s the best bit which I deliberately saved until last. Sendlane is a paid service but it charges a very sensible rate for the large amount of functionality that it gives you. It is refreshing to see a major softare producer taking such a reasonable approach to priceing their product.

You can open an account and take a free 14 day trial to familiarise yourself with what’s on offer. Then, the entry level plan is priced at just $9.50 which gives you up to 500 contacts and access to all of the features – so often not the case with entry level plans.

A subscription to Sendlane will make a fine starting point for most small businesses. True, you may need to upgrade to something more sophisticated if your marketing funnel grows and gets more complex but Sendlane will make a great starting point for many. If email marketing and marketing automation form part of your digital marketing strategy then you should take the free trial and see for yourself the great value it delivers.

Sendlane

Where To Find It
https://sendlane.com/
Product Type
Marketing Automation
Paid/Free
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes – 14 days
Price
From $9/month for 500 contacts.

SharpSpring – Marketing Automation Platform

Sharpspring is a Marketing Automation Platform which claims to be “a fraction of the cost of competing solutions” but with an entry level price of $400 for just 1500 contacts, I for one am going to take a bit of persuading.

It isn’t all about money though, and I have tried hard to see what differentiates Sharpspring from the others in the same approximate price range but I’m struggling to do so. That’s not to say is doesn’t look like a perfectly good system, it does, but there is a lot of competition in this space at this price and some of it has a very solid track record.

Sharpspring is, no doubt, a comprehensive system with everything you need to effectively run your digital marketing strategy built in as standard. Many systems offer a similar set of functions but many more offer just a few of them making it necessary for you to interface with other packages in order to get the full functionality. Not always quite as seamless as you are told.

So what’s in the Sharpspring box of tricks that makes it so comprehensive? This screenshot from their own website sums it up pretty well:

SharpSpring features

There is one feature which did catch my eye, over and above the usual suspects which include Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, CRM & Sales Automation and so on, and that is “Anonymous Visitor ID”. Now this is interesting because it is offering the same kind of information, using reverse IP lookup to try and identify your site visitors, that you would have to pay a fairly hefty sum for if you purchased it separately from vendors like Canddi or Lead Forensics.

If you want, or need, that kind of contact information then the hefty starting price for Sharpspring could well be justified.

I’d normally say that if you are in the market for a marketing automation system then SharpSpring really should be on your shortlist for a trial but it seems, even if you are willing to put the time in to do that the vendors are not – there’s no trial period available, just a demo which you have to arrange with them and isn’t the same thing as a proper in-depth trial with real data.

As I said earlier, the Sharpspring entry level account will cost you $400/month for up to 1500 contacts. This is much higher than, say, Infusionsoft’s entry level of around $200/month. and Infusionsoft is a better established and more widely used system.

However, if you like the sound of that Anonymous Visitor ID function that could well be a deciding factor, in which case go for the Sharpspring demo and see how it looks.

SharpSpring

Where To Find It
https://sharpspring.com/
Product Type
Marketing Automation Platform
Paid/Free
Paid
Free Trial Available
No
Price
From $400/month.