๐ŸฆŠ Sendfox vs Mailchimp review, lifetime deal & pricing

There are a bunch of email marketing tools out there from different Email Service Providers. The most famous is probably Mailchimp. New in the field of email marketing is Sendfox. Created by the Sumo group owned by Noah Kagan.

In this review we’ll walk through both platforms and how much dough you’re getting for your cash.

First the obvious part

Mailchimp has been around for years. Sendfox has been around for… months. You’ll immediately see the difference in user experience and options.

Sendfox Dashboard

Mailchimp Dashboard

Mailchimp gives you some ideas what you can do with their software. Sendfox does have a small step-by-step guide to get you started with your account.

The biggest difference is probably “cool” graphics ๐Ÿ™‚ The visuals definitely help you get a better overview of how you are doing. You can zoom into a list or look at all the emails you’ve sent to your audiences.

Mailchimp Audience Growth

If you click on the “View reports” button you can see how all your different lists performed.

Mailchimp Campaign Engagement

So Dashboards-wise Mailchimp is a clear winner.

Basic functionality of an ESP

Automation, campaigns, list building. I see those as the core functionalities of any Email Service Provider. Let’s compare those between Mailchimp and Sendfox.

At first glance Mailchimp is a winner here too

Lot’s of options here. Send them updates when they:

  • subscribe to your list
  • you created a new blog post
  • when someone has its birthday
  • etc.

Mailchimp also has a special tab for e-commerce.

I think these are great options if you have an online store. Who wouldn’t want to:

  • reward your best customers
  • send a thank you note to a first time customer
  • reactivate abandoned carts
  • etc

Probably the most basic form of automation is welcoming someone to your list once they’re subscribed. Easy to do in Mailchimp:

But once you want to send multiple emails, a series, you have to pull your wallet out.

And plans start at… 29.99

You can only use the automated series or e-commerce automation when you’re on a plan. You can’t buy credits for this or use the forever free plan.

Sendfox pricing & lifetime deal

Here’s where Sendfox has the clear advantage. They have a lifetime deal. You only pay 49 USD and can send an unlimited amount of emails to up to 5,000 subscribers. I don’t know how long this deal will last though. It’s still available at the time of this writing.

OK, so yes you do have to pay. It’s not free. But you only pay $50. That’s the same as 2 months of the cheapest Mailchimp plan.

Before you can figure out what’s working for you with email you need a lot more than 2 months. So I think this is a great deal.

Even when you get more subscribers, you still don’t pay a monthly fee. You just pay an extra $10 once for every 1,000 extra subscribers.

The reason Sendfox is doing this (I think) is because they want to create a funnel towards their money making (subscription based) tool: Sumo. Sumo (which I mentioned in the first paragraph) is a list building tool.

Sendfox has more automation options

For a small (one-time!) fee. Creating a new automation with Sendfox is easy. Just click the automation link and click “Create Automation Series”

This will open up a window that ask you which list to watch for the automation.

 

Once you choose the list you can add an email based on the trigger that someone was added to a list. You can add an infinite amount of emails in stead of just one at Mailchimp.

Just click the envelope and add your first email.

Don’t forget to set the delay to 0 hours. You don’t want people to wait at all when they first signup. You want to give them the email they subscribed to immediately.

If you have a drip campaign you can just set the delay for your next email(s) to 24 hours after the last one was sent.

Mailchimp only allows 1 automated email with their free plan

With Mailchimp you can only send one email based on a trigger. You can’t create a real (automated) drip campaign. You can of course have a few campaigns ready and change the recipients you send it to but that’s a pretty big detour.

I do like their UX here. You can see everything that’s important about the automation here. You can see what still needs to be done before you can start the Automated Series.

Sign me up Scotty: These are the signup options Sendfox and Mailchimp offer

Sendfox currently has 2 options. Either you create an embeddable form or you direct your audience to a landing page hosted by Sendfox. Mailchimp also offers a popup form and they also have 2 integration partners to collect signups with.

 

Sendfox obviously doesn’t offer the popup list building option because they have / are Sumo.com. Probably the number one Sumo.com USP is the popup / welcome matt list building option. Free to use until you start getting some real revenue.

Mailchimp offers these signup (form) options:

  • Landing pages
  • Embeddable forms
  • Popups
  • Integration partners

Which one should you choose?

Look, Sendfox has clearly been made to be a tool to use with Sumo. If you’re a small business who’s looking to grow their list and doesn’t do a lot of crazy stuff with email my advice would be to go for Sendfox. The lifetime deal is great value. There’s no other ESP that offers UNLIMITED emails for a single payment of $49 to up to 5,000 list subscribers.

The free version of Mailchimp isn’t great. Yes you can use pre-built templates. Yes, the graphs are a great addition. But in the end you just want to send emails that get opened and make you money.

Mailchimp free is too limited to really do that. So you’d have to buy a subscription. But then the question becomes: is it worth 30 bucks per month? If you’re just starting out with email marketing and your list is smaller than 2,000 people: probably not. If you already have thousands of list subscribers you can’t use the $29 month plan. You’ll almost pay double. The question then becomes: can I get enough value from Mailchimp. Can I make a 4x – 10x on my investment? Because you’re also investing time into setting up and managing your campaigns.

If not… Keep building your list with Sendfox and pay nothing every month. Enjoy the Sendfox lifetime deal (don’t know for how long) here. It will save you thousands of Dollars over the years. Once you’ve managed to get a large list and you want more options like abandoned cart emails, welcome emails, automation you’d otherwise have to programme yourself in order to send emails with Sendfox… That’s the moment you should choose Mailchimp.

7 Things a Small Business Can Do To Get Great SEO Results

Being a small business is hard. There’s no way you can compete with the big boys on super competitive keywords with huge search volumes. You can still win the SEO war if you choose the right battles though!

I’ll walk you through a 7 step process that will make sure you rank for the right keywords and gain traction in search engines.

1. Keyword research

Everything starts with the keywords you want to be found on. You want to find keywords that have low competition but high enough search volume so when you start to rank at least you’ll get some clicks.

Don’t focus on what you think people search on. Use tools that KNOW what people search for.

I’ll walk you through a few different Keyword Tools so you can make a selection of (at least 50) keywords that you want to rank on.

You can use these tools for free. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or have been in business for years. The only difference is that if you’ve been in business for a while you should check how you rank for the keywords you found before creating (more) content.

Check for search volume on your keywords

Go to Google’s Keyword Planner and start filling in a few keywords your audience searches for. (If you don’t have a Google account, register one for free)

Let’s say you have a Flower store in downtown Athens, Georgia. I don’t live there so I just checked out its Wikipedia page to get familiar with the city. Roughly 125k people live there.

Most of your sales will go through your store downtown, but you want to get more online orders too.

I chose GA as the location to start with. I want a bit broader perspective first before we dig in to Athens. Problem is: Athens isn’t that big a town so we need data from another big city (We’ll use Atlanta) so we can cross reference and calculate search volume for Athens.

Next I fill in a couple of search terms to check out the flower business. I’m not a florist so I have no clue.

Next I click “Get results” to see if and which keywords have search volume.

Yeah. So, flower delivery is a lot bigger than buy flowers. Put keywords on your list that have a minimum of 100 searches / month.

Below the 3 keywords I entered I also get keyword suggestions. Now here it starts to get interesting because I get keywords that I didn’t think about.

Florist is interesting, same as corsage and carnation. Carnation brings me to funeral. Corsage to wedding. So I do another search.

Here are at least another 10 ideas I can use. Bridesmaid, bridal, flower arrangements.

Keep playing with the Keywords Planner for another 10 – 15 minutes to get enough ideas. Once you’re done, try Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool.

Wordstream combines Google and Bing data. If you’ve missed a few keywords with the keyword planner, Wordstream should be able to substitute that.

You should be able to get a list of about 50 keywords with these 2 tools. Focus on both broader terms like bridal bouquet and funeral flowers and more local phrases like “order flowers online athens ga”.

The last tip I want to give you is to check the “people also search for” box at the bottom of the page when you perform a relevant search. You’ll get new ideas there too, like “gift baskets”.

Check the competition on the keywords found

Now that you have a list of keywords with some volume you should find out how high the competition is.

The easiest way to find competition is by Googling: intitle: “your keyword”

Here are some results. You’ll immediately see where you want to focus your efforts first. There’s less search traffic but you’ll rank 1st page in no time.

Funeral:

Wedding:

Corsage:

Do this for all your keywords and write the number of results down in the Spreadsheet you’re keeping with all your keywords.

You’ll see a pattern. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t create pages on keywords with a lot of competition. I’m just saying that it’s easier to rank on keywords with lower competition. They might also have a higher search volume.

Once you’ve created pages for all the keywords you want to rank on, you should start rank tracking them. I Use Wincher. It costs 5 USD/month for 100 keywords and I think that’s pretty good value.

When you start tracking your rankings you’ll immediately see where you’re ranking and how the pages (and the keywords you’re targeting) are comparing to each other.

Wincher also gives you suggestions after a while. So they might give you a couple of great keyword suggestions you can use on your website. Use that to add even more pages.

2. On-page SEO

There are a couple of really important things you can do ON your page for SEO purposes.

The three most important on-page SEO tweaks are:

Your titles (unique for every page).

Your “meta description” tags (should be very descriptive about what’s on the page and should really entice people to click on your link.

Heading use (h1, h2, h3, etc)

Besides these three things there is of course the rest of what’s on your page. The real content.

3. Content creation

I’ll give you an example.

What would you show on a page for people who search sunflower wedding (besides the 3 things I just mentioned)?

  • What is a sunflower?
  • A picture of a sunflower?
  • The price (range)?
  • If you sell them?
  • Bouquets that contain sunflowers?
  • The option to order a sunflower bouquet online?
  • Pictures of previously created sunflower bouquets for weddings?
  • Testimonials of wedding couples / attendees who adored your sunflower bouquet?
  • Etc. etc.

See where I’m going? There are not a lot of people who search for “sunflower wedding” and just want to see a picture and a bit of explanation. There’s usually (almost always) a question behind the question. Help them answer that question and you’ll help yourself rank higher.

Do you know what pogo-sticking is?

It’s something Search engines look at when ranking pages. It’s when someone returns to the Search engine result page after he just clicked on a result (we think is relevant)? If that happens, then your page is not giving off good vibes to Google.

Use these 10 tips to create high CTR titles

So besides thinking of great unique titles for your pages (here are 10 tips by the way to create great titles):

  1. Numbers (lists)ย in your title work great
  2. Create unique titles for every page
  3. Important keywords at the beginning
  4. Make it compelling & easy to read
  5. Add modifiers like best, easy, cheap
  6. Use the year in your title like 2019, …
  7. Have titles for seasonality (fall sale)
  8. Don’t stuff your title with keywords
  9. Make your title about your page
  10. Don’t create titles for machines

Besides creating enticing meta description tags (Download Yoast SEO plugin to be able to fill in description tags in WordPress).

You need to satisfy the searchers’ demand.ย 

Do a search for all the keywords you entered in your spreadsheet. For each keyword, look at the SERP (Search engine result page) and see how it looks.

What are you seeing?

Pictures? Videos? Maps result? Try to figure out how you can differentiate your website / webpage from the rest so you too can rank for this term.

Next: click on all the web pages in the top 10. See what they talk about. What they don’t talk about. Make your page 10x better than theirs. YES, TEN TIMES BETTER!

A lot of searches for your service, wether you sell flowers or something else, will be local. Florist near me. Florist Athens ga, etc. etc. Those are all “local” searches.

4. Local SEO

In order to rank for a lot of these terms you need to register yourself for Google My Business (GMB).

Check if you aren’t already registered and claim your listing if you are already listed.

Make sure you choose the right category for your listing. If you’re not sure, search for a competitor and click on their map result.

Florist is easy of course, but there are a lot of categories to choose from.

Once you’ve created your listing it is OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE that you use the same name, phone number, url, etc. on all citations (you’re going to build which I’ll talk about later).

There are 3 main ranking factors to rank in the local pack. The local pack is the “3-pack” with maps results.ย  See below.

The 3 ranking factors are:

  • Proximity
  • Numbers / quality of citations
  • Number / quality or reviews

Proximity to the searcher

Proximity is easy. The nearest florist / store will get prevalence over others. You’ll walk / bike / drive a bit further for a florist than for a pizzeria but in the end the closer the better. You can’t influence your proximity to someone who’s searching, but you can expand your “area of influence” by expanding the service area in GMB.

Number / quality of citations

If you only have a listing on GMB and are found nowhere else on the web… Well, that’s quite strange. So you should build citations on important directories. I also mentioned that it’s important to be consistent with the information you provide. Use the EXACT same info you inputted on GMB. Uppercase when uppercase was used. A space when a space was used. The exact phone number.* You can find a list of 20 of the top directories to build citations here.

*For phone numbers I have a tip. On all the external directories use a different phone number. Add it to your GMB listing as a secondary phone number. That way you can avoid sales calls from these directories but still build consistent citations.

Number / quality of reviews

Google doesn’t know how good you are until your customers leave reviews. There are a lot of studies where the number of impressions your local result got skyrocketed after reviews where added.

Ask your best / most loyal customers to add a review on Google.

It’s hard to send them a link to your listing or to automatically open the review form for your listing. I have a work around though and I’ll add it here within a few days.

5. Marketing activities

In my beginner guide to opening an online store I mentioned these 3 Tracy & Wiersma strategies:

As a small business you really only have one option. The Customer Intimacy strategy.

Tell your story. Tell people why you started your business. People love stories of other people. People don’t like stories about companies. Use that to your advantage. This is the best David vs Goliath strategy you can use.

And the best platforms to tell your story on are Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Don’t be scared to “show yourself”. People love authentic unscripted pictures / movies about you, your life and your store.

Interact with other (online) stores in your area. Work together so you can outrank the big guns like Amazon.

6. Link building

The citation building is already a form of link building. You only need to do some leg work. Just fill in forms. All the mentioned directories offer free listings. So it won’t cost you any money to get listed and get links.

You need links from other websites pointing to yours in order to rank higher in the search results. Both in the “normal” organic listings as the “local pack”.

A small business owner usually has a small area where he / she sells his products / services. Based on the area where you provide your services you should also base your link building on. If you live in Athens GA, don’t build links from California if you’re not providing services there. The more you can get links from local businesses the better.

7. Know your numbers

If you don’t know where your traffic is coming from, you don’t know how to grow. If you don’t know what your best selling flower (enter other product name here) is, you don’t know how many to purchase, how to price them, how to make a margin.

Everything starts with knowing your numbers. That’s the case with your business as is with your online presence.

Install Google Analytics on your website to keep track of what your visitors are looking at and where they’re coming from.

If you liked these tips, share this Infographic!

Embed this Checklist on your website with this code

In WordPress, click on the “Text” tab next to the Visual tab and insert this code.

Sendfox SPF, DMARC & DKIM records

Sendfox is a new Email automation tool from Sumo group. They’re still very much in the building stage and don’t have all the great stuff other automation tools like Convertkit and Mailchimp have, but Sendfox is great for small business owners because you only pay ONCE and email FOREVER.

Sendfox has set up their DKIM records.

You don’t need to do anything DKIM wise. They have a public and private key on their server and in their email signature. So no negative points there…

The DMARC record you have to add yourself though.

Take this screenshot as an example.

Add a _dmarc DNS TXT record to your domain with

v=DMARC1; p=none

as the data in the TXT field.

Sendfox doesn’t actually send from your domain but from a Sendfox server. That’s why you don’t need to add extensive records.

The SPF record is also set by Sendfox

Their server is authorized to send emails on their behalf. I am wondering when this will change though. Because they are very much dependent on the quality of the emails sent by their users.

If they allow a few spammers to join Sendfox their servers (and domain names) might get blacklisted fast. So I hope they have a good defence against spammers.