Making the sale easier for your customers
When starting a new business, one of the most crucial tasks is to make it easy for clients to contact you to engage your services or purchase your product. If your business website relies on an open source WordPress installation, there are a plethora of free and inexpensive forms available as WP plug-ins.
However, you want to be sure to select a form builder that is dependable, robust, and easy to use for both your client and your web developer. Furthermore, turning the data gathered by your web forms into valuable information for your sales team can be a bit cumbersome without the right tools.
Custom forms with Gravity Forms
Meet one form builder to rule them all — Gravity Forms which was released in August 2009, and is in use on over one million WordPress (WP) sites. Gravity Forms allows you to build, design, and embed custom forms on your website through the use of their form editor.
Whether a simple contact form or a multi-page form to separate your order pages from your shipping and payment pages, Gravity Forms can meet a wide range of business needs.
Keep in mind that Gravity Forms is not compatible with the WordPress.com hosted service. You can only use Gravity Forms on self-hosted WordPress installations. Gravity Forms is licensed under the GNU general public license.
Three tiers of plans
With three tiers license plans, you can select the best fit to suit your business needs. The Personal License at $39 per year provides unlimited forms and entries on one site, and you can export entries as CSV files. At the Business License level ($99/year), you can use Gravity Forms on up to 3 sites and have access to basic add-ons that allow you to integrate third party services such as Emma and MailChimp.
It’s the top tier Developer License ($199/year) that opens up a multitude of benefits for your business, with access to more advanced Gravity Form Add-ons on an unlimited number of WP sites and WP Multi-Site. These advanced add-ons include communication tools such as Campfire and and Slack, as well as CRM solutions such as Agile’s Sales Marketing CRM, Capsule, and Zoho. Integrate your invoicing and payment system with add-ons for Freshbooks and PayPal Payments, and many others.
The Developer License includes priority ticket support, while all three tiers of Gravity Forms licenses offer auto-responders, entry export, spam protection, and 1 year of updates and support.
Connected Systems founder and WordPress web developer Rich Plakas states that Gravity Forms is “easy enough for beginners to get started with basic forms.” Plakas has used the PayPal add-on to accept payments for events, and stated that “support has been very good when we needed it.”
Don’t see your preferred solution in Gravity Forms list of add-ons? No worries, there’s the Gravity Form Zapier Add-On that you can install to integrate with the over 200 web services that Zapier is tied into including Salesforce, Basecamp, and Gmail.
Tommy Oddo of Oddo Design stated that he uses Gravity Forms on just about every client project. “As a developer, its drag-and-drop features cut my development time in half— compared to the old way of creating/coding/designing forms. My clients don’t realize it— but my use of Gravity Forms saves them a lot of money.”
Minimize lost leads
Sales teams can appreciate the integration of forms with CRM, although Oddo opines that “they will almost certainly need some assistance from a developer/designer.” Oddo explained the Gravity Forms integration through Zapier in this September 2015 post “Why and How You Should Auto-Send Sales Leads from WordPress to Your CRM.”
Paying $199/year for Gravity Forms may seem a bit steep for some SMB owners, but it can more than pay for itself through its efficiency and minimizing lost leads.
Affiliate program and commissioned sales
Need more incentive? Gravity Forms also offers an Affiliate Program – receive a 20% commission on every sale you generate as an affiliate – but it is temporarily closed and they are not accepting new affiliate applications at this time. Stay tuned to their Affiliate Application webpage for updates.
Loss of internet access is used as punishment for those who abuse it
(TECH NEWS) Internet access is becoming more of a human right especially in light of recent events –so why is revoking it being used as a punishment?
When one hears the word “punishment”, several things likely come to mind—firing, fees, jail time, and even death for the dramatic among us—but most people probably don’t envision having their access to utilities restricted as a legal repercussion.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening across the country—if you consider Internet access a utility.
In the past, you’ve probably heard stories about people awaiting trial or experiencing probation limitations being told that they are not to use the Internet or certain types of communication. While this may seem unjust, the circumstances usually provide some context for the extreme nature of such a punishment; for example, it seems reasonable to ask that a person accused of downloading child pornography keep off the internet.
More recently–and perhaps more controversially—a young man accused of using social media to incite violent behavior during country-wide protests was ordered to stay offline while awaiting trial. This order came after the individual purportedly encouraged people to “[tip] police cars”, vandalize property, and generally exhibit other “riot”-oriented behaviors.
Whether or not one reads this post as a specific call to create violence—something that is, in fact, illegal—the fact remains that the “punishment” for this crime in lieu of a current conviction involves cutting off the person involved from all internet access until a verdict is achieved.
The person involved in this story may be less than sympathetic depending on your stance, but they aren’t alone. The response of cutting off the Internet in this case complements other stories we’ve seen, such as one regarding Cox and a client in Florida. Allegedly, the client in question paid for unlimited data—a potential issue in and of itself—and then exceeded eight terabytes of monthly use on multiple occasions.
Did Cox correct their plan, allocate more data, throttle this user, or reach out to explain their concerns, you may ask?
No. Cox alerted the user in question that they would terminate his account if his use continued to be abnormally high, and in the meantime, they throttled the user’s ENTIRE neighborhood. This kind of behavior would be unacceptable when applied to any other utility (imagine having your air conditioning access “throttled” during the summer), so why is it okay for Cox?
The overarching issue in most cases stems from Internet provider availability; in many areas, clients have one realistic option for an Internet provider, thus allowing that provider to set prices, throttle data, and impose restrictions on users free of reproach.
Anyone who has used Comcast, Cox, or Cable One knows how finicky these services can be regardless of time of use, and running a simple Google speed test is usually enough to confirm that the speeds you pay for and the speeds you receive are rarely even close.
In the COVID era in which we find ourselves, it is imperative that Internet access be considered more than just a commodity: It is a right, one that cannot be revoked simply due to a case of overuse here, or a flaw in a data plan there.
How to personalize your site for every visitor without learning code
(TECH NEWS) This awesome tool from Proof lets you personalize your website for visitors without coding. Experiences utilizes your users to create the perfect view for them.
What if you could personalize every step of the sales funnel? The team over at Proof believes this is the next best step for businesses looking to drive leads online. Their tool, Experiences, is a marketer-friendly software that lets you personalize your website for every visitor without coding.
Using Experiences your team can create a targeted experience for the different types of visitors coming to your website. The personalization is thought to drive leads more efficiently because it offers visitors exactly the information they want. Experiences can also be used to A/B test different strategies for your website. This could be a game changer for companies that target multiple specific audiences.
Experiences is a drag-and-drop style tool, which means nearly anyone on your team can learn to use it. The UX is meant to be intuitive and simple, so you don’t need a web developer to guide you through the process. In order to build out audiences for your website, Experiences pulls data from your CRM, such as SalesForce and Hubspot, or you can utilize a Clearbit integration which pull third-party information.
Before you go rushing to purchase a new tool for your team, there are a few things to keep in mind. According to Proof, personalization is best suited for companies with at least 15,000 plus visitors per month. This volume of visitors is necessary for Experiences to gather the data it needs to make predictions. The tool is also recommended for B2B businesses since company data is public.
The Proof team is a success story of the Y Combinator demo day. They pitched their idea for a personalized web experience and quickly found themselves funded. Now, they’ve built out their software and have seen success with their initial clients. Over the past 18 months, their early-access clients, which included brands like Profitwell and Shipbob, have seen an increase in leads, proposals, and downloads.
Perhaps the best part of Proof is that they don’t just sell you a product and walk away. Their website offers helpful resources for customers called Playbooks where you can learn how to best use the tool to achieve your company’s goals be it converting leads or engaging with your audience. If this sounds like exactly the tool your team needs, you can request a demo on their website.
3 cool ways bug-sized robots are changing the world
(TECH NEWS) Robots are at the forefront of tech advancements. But why should we care? Here are some noticeable ways robots are changing the world.
When we envision the robots that will (and already are) transforming our world, we’re most likely thinking of something human- or dog-sized. So why are scientists hyper-focusing on developing bug-sized (or even smaller!) robots?
Tiny robots could assist in better drug delivery, as well as conduct minor internal surgeries that wouldn’t otherwise require incisions.
We’ve all heard about the robot dogs that can rescue people who’ve been buried beneath rubble or sheets of snow. However, in some circumstances these machines are too bulky to do the job safely. Bug-sized robots are a less invasive savior in high-intensity environments, such as mine fields, that larger robots would not be able to navigate without causing disruption.
Much like the insects after which these robots were designed, they can be programmed to work together (think: ants building a bridge using their own bodies). This could be key in exploring surfaces like Mars, which are not safe for humans to explore freely. Additionally, tiny robots that can be set to construct and then deconstruct themselves could help astronauts in landings and other endeavors in space.
Well, perhaps the most important reason is that insects have “nature’s optimized design”. They can jump vast distances (fleas), hold items ten times the weight of their own bodies (ants) and perform tasks with the highest efficiency (bees) – all qualities that, if utilized correctly, would be extremely beneficial to humans. Furthermore, a bug-sized bot is economical. If one short-circuits or gets lost, it won’t totally break the bank.
Something scientists have yet to replicate in robotics is the material elements that make insects so unique and powerful, such as tiny claws or sticky pads. What if a robot could produce excrement that could build something, the way bees do in their hives, or spiders do with their webs? While replicating these materials is often difficult and costly, it is undoubtedly the next frontier in bug-inspired robotics – and it will likely open doors for humans that we never imaged possible.
This is all to say that in the pursuit of creating strong, powerful robots, they need not always be big in stature – sometimes, the tiniest robots are just the best for the task.
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