What is “Franken-tech?” (Hint; it’s not where an aspiring monster goes for a college degree!)
You know Frankenstein, right? The monster who was short on words and long on various ill-fitting body parts. And, of course, it was a stroke of lightning, not genius, that gave Franky life.
Well, Franken-tech follows a similar scenario, but with all sorts of technology “parts” stitched together instead of organic tissue.
Which brings me to your online business… and it’s overall health:
Do you rely on multiple apps, tools, software and resources, all from many different vendors, to run your online business?
If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Sadly, so do most marketers. And while that initial approach jolted your online business to life, the long-term outlook utilizing Franken-tech should indeed worry you. (But not just for the reasons you think or the ones that are in plain sight).
Let’s look closer at a few of those worries. First, with every tool comes another interface and dashboard to master. That’ll put the brakes on your online promotions big-time. And don’t forget that monthly “ding” to your credit card for using these services. Are you ultimately getting your money’s worth?
And what if you have a webmaster or designer building your pages and managing your online “stuff?” More costs with no guarantee that what services they deliver will convert into more sales.
Let’s unpack the real opportunity cost here: your time investment PLUS that of your team and/or outsourcers. Now, multiply that time investment by the number of different apps and tools you use. Are you beginning to see the time-suck black hole grow ever larger?
The sad fact is this… it’s estimated the Franken-tech approach could actually run you thousands of dollars a year. Not to mention the loss of revenue from poor performance or marketing systems, as well as both human and technology resources that don’t play well together. (Or at all for that matter.)
When things don’t work as intended, inertia or disinterest take hold and your online business begins gathering dust.
So, ask yourself this: are you willing to wait until your prospects and customers are at the torches and pitchfork stage to THEN decide to make a change?
Sure, there’s the ol’ fallback argument of “if it’s not broken, why fix it?”.
That’s not exactly the rallying cry of a growth-minded business that wants to dominate its marketplace. Especially when you consider that a key driver of that growth is often the automation of key marketing functions.
So, sit down, strap in and let’s examine your online business under the microscope …
Step #1: revisit your original intent for purchasing your marketing software and tools.
When starting your online business, you likely prioritized an initial set of necessary components. For me, it was a shopping cart, email software and helpdesk software. And yes, I chose three standalone software solutions.
Of course, I quickly outgrew those initial needs. My solution? Buy even more pieces and parts! In fact, I had an ongoing battle with a cumbersome page builder of optin and sales pages.
As I look back on it now, those original choices served their initial purpose. But I either outgrew them or grew frustrated with their obvious limitations.
To alleviate my frustrations, I brought in outsource help to build and manage my web pages. And while that sped up completion, it also added more monthly costs to my bottom line.
What makes sense NOW is to take stock of your systems. Ask yourself these three questions:
- What attracted me to these technology and software choices initially?
To jog your memory, here are some likely elements impacting your decision: features, benefits, price and colleague recommendations just to name a few.
- How well are those original choices and decisions serving me today?
Keep in mind that something “not breaking” sets the bar rather low.
- What’s stopping me from upgrading to a better solution?
In my case, it was delaying and avoiding change. Yes, I chose short-term pain over the long-term gain. (But I did wise up as you’ll see later.)
Once you gain insights and answers you’re ready for the next step …
Step #2: Channel your inner Terminator and hunt down ALL Franken-tech costs.
Ever see a Terminator movie? You must appreciate the tenacity with which a Terminator pursues its target. Nothing stands in its way until its mission is complete.
And while that single-mindedness is admirable (and yes, fictional), how realistic is it for us mere humans be as “dialed in” as a Terminator? This is an even greater challenge considering all our distractions and competing priorities.
Set a deadline! Be accountable for your Franken-tech cost review and analysis. Make that deadline important. LIke getting-paid-by-a-client important. Because making time for your Franken-tech review right now yields real dividends (financial and otherwise) moving forward.
Franken-tech costs in plain sight: monthly fees
Some costs are easy to spot, like multiple and ongoing monthly fees (and/or annual licenses) for access to your growing marketing software collection.
And, like me, it probably didn’t hit you right away. That’s because you probably added software components over time. I pursued a whole parade of different pop-up software as if it was the Holy Grail of lead generation. Reality check — it was a piece of the puzzle, not the ENTIRE thing.
As a refresher, here’s a list of different software components that often charge recurring fees:
- Shopping cart or eCommerce platform
- Email software
- Page builders and templates
- Online Helpdesk
- Membership portal software
- Online video storage fees
Once you’ve properly inventoried the different and sundry software pieces and the corresponding individual and cumulative costs, what comes next?
Ahhh, I know what you’re thinking, you’re already coming out ahead because you’re not paying for all those different pieces. Some are free, hallelujah! But are they really? Consider my next point and you may curtail that celebration …
Franken-tech costs hiding from plain sight: opportunity costs
It’s great you found free software. Booya! You saved some coin. However, how frequently is the software updated? If you have issues, how responsive is their support team? (And that includes customer service and technical support.)
What’s the software developer’s underlying motive for giving away free software? (Besides watermarking and slapping their logo on everything.)
And it’s not just your time invested with support-driven functions. There’s also the education and training component of learning how to use the app/tool/software. And just when you get the lay of the land, software updates happen and – BOOM – things may look and work differently and that requires more unanticipated time to invest in integrating and learning.
To better illustrate both the value and the risk of opportunity cost, I turned for inspiration to Michael Gerber, the author of the entrepreneurial masterpiece “The E-Myth.” His mantra in the book yielded this gem:
There is a difference between working IN your business and working ON your business.
When you take the 10,000-foot view and see the true opportunity cost, you are working ON the business. And, if you’re like me, you discover that sizable time investment would be far better allocated elsewhere rather than constantly feeding your Franken-tech software beast.
All of which brings me to the final step …
Step #3: Weigh the evidence and the cost: Franken-tech vs. an all-in-one online platform.
You know what always got under my skin about my Franken-tech monster? Tolerating multiple and radically different user interfaces from all the different apps. Even worse, many of those were designed by techies and engineers, and not marketers like you and me.
With Franken-tech, you’ve also got integration issues and challenges. Even when the software I owned did connect to other apps, when either app would update, often that connection would break. So, chalk up even more time troubleshooting and fixing problems.
I’ll say this – I didn’t beat myself up too much about Franken-tech and neither should you. Because often, timing is everything.
When I started my online business way back in 2003, all-in-one platforms that provided robust marketing capabilities were hard to find or ridiculously expensive. And online marketing was still new so lots of innovations were still yet to come.
Along the way, I would shift software providers because often a particular software would be good at one thing and bad at another.
For example, my first shopping cart software had email software capability but the whole experience was clunky for the user/marketer formatting the emails. Once I sent a broadcast the problems continued thanks to low deliverability for prospects and customers.
That clunky experience also applied to my post-purchase upsells and other offer pages. The page templates were crude and inflexible. When they did work, I made money. But it took time. A lot of it, actually.
On the helpdesk side, I went from a $300 annual licensed software to a 100% free solution simply because of ease of use. (Of course, that free solution got infected with malware which proved my earlier point about free apps costing you in more ways than you know.)
All of this leads to a natural and expected outcome: the shift away from Franken-tech to a single-source solution to handle the multiple and demanding needs of your online business.
As I begin the migration of my sales and optin sites and pages to Kartra, here’s what already put my mind at ease …
One interface. One login. One source for support. And that connects you with responsive support. (Average response times can be a matter of hours on business days.)
And it’s not just that Kartra does a variety of marketing functions – or that it does them well. The big takeaway is that Kartra does them intelligently. Analytics means more than a bunch of numbers. Kartra comes with a built-in marketing AI (artificial intelligence) in a sense. That gives you (and me) the ability to market to each prospect or customer individually because their behaviors determine the ensuing marketing actions.
So, when you add it all up, there are multiple dividends and ROI from a monthly fee and time savings perspective.
Can Kartra slay your Franken-tech monster?
Take a look and see the advantages of an all-in-one marketing software platform for your online business.
Truth be known, I dig monsters. I just prefer they appear on the movie screen, or my TV and mobile devices, and not devouring my online business one pixel at a time.