When I migrated my membership website from a self-hosted WordPress + WooCommerce concoction to the Rainmaker content marketing platform, I desperately wanted to escape the “plugin-updates-always-breaking-something” conundrum. Happily, I can declare that my switch to Rainmaker absolutely got rid of my frustrations. So far so
Secretly, I also had another, additional hope: to rely 100% on what the Rainmaker Platform has to offer, accept eventual limitations and commit myself 100% to do digital marketing the Copyblogger / Rainmaker way: go all-in on content marketing.
All in the pursuit of digital marketing simplicity.
It’s been almost a year now, since I switched… How did I fare?
The Lure of Content Marketing Tools
Honestly… The world of content marketing tools (toys?) is… ehm… a temptuous place, full of seductive, new
toys tools. As their hero-headed sales page ensembles praisingly, promisingly sing in unison: grow your business – faster and easier – than ever before.
Who in their right mind doesn’t want that?
We’re all victims of temptation, right? The evil temptation of… temptuos… miraculous new content marketing tools. Always out there, lurking – urging us to “create a free account” or “start a free trial – no credit card needed” – and on a more subconscious level: not miss out – not get left behind. No one wants to get left behind!
You get the idea. We don’t wanna get left behind. If our neighbor has something shiny – potentially an “unfair advantage”: we want it too… right? Equally, if our competitor has marketing tools X, Y and Z in his or her arsenal: we better be using it too… right?
To make matters even worse, digital marketing blogs often do their best to trigger our fears (of inadequacy):
There’s always one more marketing tool, tactic or technique you just gotta try/use/do… right?
Your doctor likely has a latin diagnostic label for it. My money’s on “frivolius marketicus toolitis ad infinitum” – Common street name: shiny object syndrome.
It’s a mindless fascination with marketing tools. Akin to relationship commitment-phobia: there’s always another, possibly better “date” in the pipeline.
What it all boils down to…
Practically speaking, instead of using Rainmaker’s built-in (admittedly rudimentary) Social Scheduler, I’ve used Buffer and before that: Hootsuite. Also looked at Edgar, tried Sendible and used Nimble. Time better spent actively sharing my content.
Instead of using Rainmaker’s built-in social sharing buttons, I’ve fooled around with both AddThis and ShareThis, before “settling” on Flare Pro by Filament – then finally reverting to Rainmaker’s own social sharing buttons – my first step towards essentialist marketing! Woohah! One down, 299 tools more to go:)
Instead of using Rainmaker’s built-in, perfectly fine Editorial Calendar (based on the legendary Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin) … I’ve used… well… no editorial calendar at all, resulting in much less content getting published. Note to self: content marketing needs content Oliver!
And instead of just using Rainmaker’s simple, yet powerful and efficient market/keyword research tools (formerly available as the fine WordPress plugin Scribe – reviewed here): I’ve used an elaborate combo including – but not limited to: HitTail, Keywordini, Keyword Tool, BuzzSumo, Alexa, Moz Analytics and Raven Tools, plus SEO Book’s various tools to mangle – and Google Sheets to manage – them all. Phew…
Content marketing simplicity? Nope.
Effective content marketing? No, not at all. Shamefully so. Regretfully so.
I ain’t no digital marketing specialist, I tell ya that.
But I wanna be a righteous Rainmaker! (stampin’ feet like a 4-year-old) I
want NEED marketing simplicity!
Marketing Overwhelm Leads to Marketing Underwhelm
When I’m overwhelmed and stretched too thin, having too many things to do, it always leads to way less getting done.
The typical, quite sad flow (or lack thereof) goes like this:
- Situation: you have too many choices. Too many tools, tactics and techniques to juggle.
- Decision-fatigue sets in and analysis paralysis takes over.
- You default to routine actions. The power of habit is strong.
- Your results stay the same – because you’re repeating the same old ineffective routines and habits.
That new marketing tool/service you signed up for last week won’t do you much good, if you end up only dabbling with it, never investing the needed effort to fully utilize it, in a focused, dedicated manner.
Yet, effort means time and energy. Both are scarce resources in the life of any busy entrepreneur, solopreneur, micropreneur, service professional… You know: us, the rest of us. The Fortune 5 million. Us who don’t have “a workforce” – let alone a small task force. We’re just “me, myself and I” with perhaps a freelancer or two, or a wife/husband or business partner. That really makes our time and energy resources precious.
I believe many of us suffer from from marketing overwhelm. How about you?
Me? I’m fed up with it, and have decided it’s time for a change! A positive and meaningful change. But how?
Can You Market More – by Doing Less?
Imagine how great it could be, to focus your digital marketing efforts to just one simple marketing strategy and just a few, carefully chosen tactics! Consciously limiting yourself to focus on just a few, key marketing channels, fully nurtured. No more being active and engaged 24/7/365 across every social media network out there.
It’s time to get focused!
Great marketing is focused marketing! Better to do a few activities really well – and consistently. Do what fits YOUR inherent talents, strengths and favorite modalities.
After all, while writing this, the header on the Rainmaker Platform website says “THE COMPLETE WEBSITE SOLUTION FOR SMARTER DIGITAL MARKETING AND SALES” so it should be possible… Right?
Yeah yeah, I know… good ol’ Brian Clark ain’t sittin’ on some fluffy, pulsating server cloud in the sky (would be kinda weird, I guess…) with a long white beard, thundering: “Thou shalt have no other content marketing platform before my Rainmaker Platform!” No no no, I know full well that I’m free to supplement Rainmaker’s content marketing tools with… whatever fancy tool that I… ehm… fancy.
That’s the whole problem!
I’m leaning more and more towards the conclusion that I *do not* need any more fancy marketing tools. Nah, rather: I need to go to work! Create content. Focus on that, not on implementing yet another must-have, crazy-cool tool. Fancy as it may be.
Anyway… I’m not exactly sure how… Or whether this is just a symptom of overwhelm?
How do YOU approach YOUR marketing? I’d love to know! Do you market via multiple channels, concurrently? Many even? Or just a few? One? Are you successful with it? Please help and do share your experiences in the comments section below!
Scott King says
I agree with the less is more. Rainmaker makes you focus on less tech so you can create more content. I use behemoth marketing automation for B2B and it has way more functionality but most of Rainmaker is great. I run my marketing podcast on Rainmaker and haven’t had a single issue.
Oliver Nielsen says
Thanks for sharing your experience with Rainmaker. And good to hear you find it flawless for podcasting.
Behemoth Marketing Automation – someone should make that SaaS 🙂
I subscribed to your podcast by the way! I like the intro: “… and now, here’s your host… and my dad… Scott King” – original and authentic:)
As a total newbie, maybe the Oliver-Paul love fest can have an audience, or an experiment. I’ll be the guinea pig.
Become an independent online teacher earning 60k. Niche marketing to Intermediate and High-level learners for the 4 Language Skills, Study Skills, Public-speaking and Presentation.
BASIC WORK PLAN:
2-16 students a day (a mix of individual and small-group classes*)
3-4 hours a day (online time, does not include prep and homework grading)
*$50 an hour for individual lessons
*$25 a head for group classes 2-4 people
I am not a web developer (as you’ll see from my barely even developed GoDaddy web-builder hideousness), but have worked with Yahoo Sitebuilder (yikes, I know), then iWeb (no longer supported), dabbled in GoDaddy’s web-builder, and poked at Wix.
Simplero and Rainmaker seem to have all I’d need with shallow learning curves and the possibility to expand without having to migrate over. I lean toward Simplero because I will likely not become a “big” business as an individual language teacher, and Simplero seems just as effective and cheaper.
I have a Masters in ESL from the American University in Cairo, an MFA in Film, and a BS in Communication. So I’m able to hit a learner’s needs/goals from all kinds of directions. I just need a platform that will allow me to teach as much as possible while minimizing time managing what is supposed to be managing me.
Brick-and-mortar schools have gone to an almost-exclusively adjunct system which provides no job security not to mention no insurance. Why move from town to town as some kind of academic vagabond when I can probably work from home for the same or more money?
I took an online course from a guy named Jack Askew and it’s very thorough. It already suggests WordPress and some other software for managing your budget, Google Calendar for scheduling, etc. I’m comfortable with the accounting and calendaring, but the idea of lots of plug-ins and the infamous WordPress learning curve have me earnest looking for a one-stop-shop that will help me grow without having to switch platforms or deal with plug-ins.
Any thoughts, advice?
p.s. Oliver, you should think of writing outside the tech-review stuff. You are funny and really have a way with words.
Oliver Nielsen says
Good to hear from you – I like such substantial comments a lot. Shows I get you thinking. That’s one of my main aims with what I do / write about.
First up: thank you so much for your warm, kind words regarding my writing style! It’s very encouraging and motivating:)
And super cool to read your plans! Interesting! I also looked up Jack’s online course. Seems good.
Re: your website
Your website is your platform, and you need that platform to be on solid ground that you can safely build your house upon. It’s a house you’ll want to inhabit for a long time to come. Changing your platform at some point during your journey, is best done sooner rather than later. Later, it becomes more cumbersome, due to more content that has to be redirected, SEO may suffer, etc.
So definitely get off that GoDaddy “platform” asap man ;-p
WordPress in itself really isn’t that complex. It’s the plugins that can make it a mess. So whether WordPress is a simple affair or a complex, frustrating one, depends on which plugins you use. For a membership website, you need plugins like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads – both of which I’ve found frustrating and buggy to work with.
Rainmaker solves that problem. The caveat is that it’s a hosted platform. If Rainmaker Digital (formerly Copyblogger) should go bankrupt or whatever: our websites may be endangered. I don’t see that coming with Rainmaker though, as the Copyblogger-operation is a profitable and healthy business, afaik. The same can’t be said about a publically traded business like HubSpot – a typical tech-startup: on perpetual life-support aka investor-money. They’re still not profitable. Their revenue is climbing, but their expenses are climbing even faster. These expenses are mainly sales and marketing. What that means is they have a hard time selling HubSpot to enough customers, to make up for their other expenses and to satisfy their investors.
I’m saying that to illustrate that one has to be careful which hosted platform one chooses.
Simplero would still need you to use WordPress, for your general website. But then you’d be free of heavy, complex membership plugins – so your WordPress site will be simple and manageable to work with.
There’s also Teachable – not as capable as Simplero, but an elegant product nevertheless.
One thing I’ll recommend, is that you set aside some money and time for a pro web designer to customize your WordPress (or Rainmaker) website. It is never as “drag’n’drop” as they say. Beaver Builder comes closest at the moment, but its user-friendliness, as great as it is, can’t make up for great graphic design and UX skills. These make a huge difference in the appearance of your website and how it is perceived by your website visitors.
PS: I like your image on the front page of your website. good choice. The images further down the page are a bit too iStock-ish for my taste, I get in doubt as to whether they are real people or models.
“It is never as “drag’n’drop” as they say. Beaver Builder comes closest at the moment, but its user-friendliness, as great as it is, can’t make up for great graphic design and UX skills.”
Amen. Beaver Builder/Divi for a non-designer is like giving a katana sword to a kid. It’s gonna be a bloody mess.
Oliver Nielsen says
True. But they’re getting there, these various tools. By taking design choices for the user – limiting choices in the right places, while still offering a good balance of flexibility. Alex Mangini wrote a fine piece on it, that I largely agree with.
Thanks for chiming in Regev!
Evernote, Google apps and Keep, LastPass, Dreamhost!!, FB and Messenger, Instagram, pixabay.com, GIMP, WP are my essential toolkits 😉
Oliver Nielsen says
Which tools do you use for marketing?
Hi Oliver we have missed you ;-), great post and just totally spot on, but what do you leave out as for the 10 new shiny’s I try I get one or 2 that are brilliant!!
Are you doing anything with Headway?
Will follow this thread with interest as you start to define your best marketing tools 😉
Tried GoDaddy Wp managed hosting and was a total nightmare, I could not even load images over 2mb in size, but sure Rainmaker is different 😉
Oliver Nielsen says
Hi Paul, good to hear from ya:)
Which shiny tools do you use and wouldn’t want to be without? I’m curious, do tell!
PS: Not doing much with Headway these days, as I’m busy producing the next online course;-) Meaning, I don’t do freelance web design assignments, and Rainmaker only accepts Genesis themes, so I just don’t have the opportunity to be using Headway – keeping an eye on it though:)