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A Huge Marketing own-goal for Ontraport/Send Pepper

As someone who runs a small business, I have to keep my eye on market trends.

I am currently in the midst of trying out various marketing software. Over the coming weeks I will let you know how I get on.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been putting Send Pepper (Pro) through its paces. I comes with a free two week trial, so I had high hopes. People do not normally offer free trials unless a product works well. I was particularly interested in the way it can automate certain processes… and how it could automatically track incoming and outgoing emails.

The interface was lovely and crisp. It lost a few points because it only really likes working in Firefox. (I thought the days of browser preference were behind us.) I liked the interface, very simple to understand and snappy.

It seemed to have the capability to track clients progress through my website with astonishing, almost creepy, abilities. I did not get a chance to fully test this, but others inform me that it really is amazing. I have no reason to doubt them.

A feature that I did get to test was Send Pepper’s ability to attach emails to client records. After a time a blank email would attach itself to my contacts and sometimes the full email would appear after a couple of hours. Other times not. Call in the techs. First level very helpful, then it went to second level and the devs. At this point the company became less communicative. To me attaching emails is core functionality and it did not work. But, I use a Mac perhaps that was doing something nasty. I have never had any issues with similar functionality in other products I have tried. On the other hand, I used to be in charge of a department that dealt with email filtering for the financial industry. We got used to knowing the vagaries of different systems and documenting the work-arounds. I could not see anything here that was unusual enough that they would not have come across it before.

“I was prepared for any suggestion of a solution, even if it meant that I needed to reconfigure something with my email service provider or on my Mac.

I will never know.”

I got to the end of my two week trial and it was still not working. I asked for an extension to the free period and made it clear that I would be leaving rather than paying for a faulty product. The tech took this to his manager who refused. I closed the account. The money would have been taken automatically from my account. I did not have the time to go chasing for a refund. I do have a business to run!

Send Pepper (Pro) is a single-user product that costs nearly $200 per month, cannot cope with currencies other than US dollars (well, there are “sort-of” work-arounds), and the iPhone app is only available on the US store. There is are upgrades in the pipeline, but looking at other reviews these seem to have been promised for more than a year.

At the end of the day, for me to trust my business to a product I need reliability. Full-stop. Send Pepper did not deliver on this crucial point.

How do I keep in contact with my leads? (Autoresponders)

Imagine you have a website with a sign-up page. Someone (or something) signs up on your site and expresses interest in your product.

What next?

In old way of doing things, you would look at the information, perhaps drop them an email and, if they were interested, follow up from there.

There are so many problems with that, not least the problem with ‘spambots’ automatically signing up to anything they can find. More junk to deal with.

So, the next line in your armoury is to put on a reCAPTCHA onto your form. You know, one of those unreadable things that proves you are a human being. Problem is, some of the spambots CAN read those things and some human beings cannot. I know that after I have mis-read one of those a few times I give up trying.

There must be a better way!

Fortunately there is. There are ‘auto-responders’. What one of these does is when someone signs up it sends a welcome message and asks them to confirm that they intended to sign up. This has two benefits:

  • It stops spambots dead
  • It stops people signing up (fraudulently or for a joke) for other people.

If the person does not respond then they do not end up on your list. No reCAPTCHA, and a significant reduction in fake leads. Better still, you do not end up bothering people who are not interested in your product.

Additional benefit: if you are offering advice/information you can set up a sequence of emails that follow up on the lead… AND you can automatically import the lead information into your Salesforce leads.

Our preferred autoresponder is aWeber. (Warning: this is an affiliate link.) There are others, but aWeber has a rock-solid reputation and an extremely high ‘deliverability’ rate. In other words, their emails are rarely blocked as spam (because they are sending information from companies that leads have actually signed up to and those leads really want the information). Pricing starts at just $19 per month.

We have been setting up some other clever things with this service… but more of that next time.