If you are someone selling your online course, one of the first questions that comes to your mind is what platform should I use? How will I connect it to my website? My email? How will it all fit in together? If you find yourself thinking that, you are thinking about your Tech Stack!
There are newer and better software are coming out almost every other month and it is a tough decision to make.
But the choice of a tech stack depends on your growth. Do you know why?
You can find at least 2 main reasons.
When you're growing, your tech stack requirement will also grow and you might want to add some, replace some and so on.
It also raises a question - can you afford it? Software that offer so much punctualities do cost so much more too. That brings us to our second point - being sustainable. You can possibly afford a great tech stack only if you're growing. If you're not, try to get the maximum out from all the more economical options.
Here I am going to tell you about a slightly advanced tech stack for the growing course creators and it is a real life example - a tech stack used by one of my clients.
These are the basic function, but not limited - to this tech stack.
Clickfunnel has a cult like following in the recent times. At times also known as Funnel hackers, clickfunnel community has some ninja tactics to make sales happen. I know this first hand as I have participated on One Funnel Challenge and it was truly a wonderful learning experience.
Some of the options like Order Bump, one click Upsell and Downsell and the psychological approach in building pages(funnel steps) and how they flow from one to another makes Clickfunnel a sales machine if used properly. [ Well there is Convertri which is quite similar to CF if want another option]
So if you are a growing course creator, you can create a low value (low ticket item) course to sell but add order bumps, upsells and all that on the way to create a higher price offering at the end of your sales funnel. So instead of selling one course, you can sell a couple in one go when you capture your prospect.
In fact, you can also create member's area in Clickfunnels, send emails through clickfunnels and carry out the whole process of the whole stack using clickfunnels. It is a powerful tool. But let's say sales is what it does the best.
Clickfunnel or Convertri or any such funnel software aren't necessary. Even a simple website can do that job for you. But if you're an ambitious entrepreneur these tools can definitely help you.
There are quite a few platforms that help you to deliver your course. Thinkific is one of them. One reason I'd suggest Thinkfic because how premium it looks when you apply one of those themes to your courses.
It is also very easy to create your course. And it integrates well with many other supporting platforms.
If you are looking for other options, look for Teachable, Heights platform, Podia, Systeme and so on.
Someone filled out their email address but left without purchasing. That is when the email automation tools become active and go after that person to remind them with gentle emails, persuade them with discount, scare them with scarcity and so on. And you do that with the help of a marketing automation software like Active Campaign, Infusionsoft, Ontraport, Klaviyo, MailChimp, MailerLite or similar.
Active Campaign is very popular and used by many course creators. It can send emails as well as SMS. It can look out for so many events and initiate so many more actions based on those triggers.
But the best part is its ability to integrate with other systems. For example, it has native integration with Clickfunnels, which means, you can connect Clickfunnels and ActiveCampaign with a few clicks.
So if someone makes a purchase on Clickfunnel, you can send a confirmation mail the way you want to design it. You can also add them to another email automation campaign to send further communication, either to sell at a later stage or to check their progress and such, all through automation. So if you set it once, and if it was set properly, you don't have to maintain it very frequently.
Now that we are using all these different pieces of software, how do they all know what is happening and are on the same page. What do I mean by that?
So someone purchased your product on clickfunnels. So how does Active campaign knows which product they bought in order to send the correct email? Oh well, I've mentioned that Clickfunnels and Active Campaign has a native integration.
Now how does Thinkific know which course someone bought on Clickfunnels so that it could enrol the right person to the right course? There is no native integration between Clickfunnels and Thinkific. That is when Zapier comes into picture.
Zapier is the saviour when softwares don't talk to each other. Zapier is so popular because it has thousands of app integrations and it is very easy to integrate when you get the hang of things.
In this case Zapier will pick up information from ClickFunnels when someone makes a purchase and pass it on to Thinkific and enrol the person to the right course.
It all starts from Clickfunnels as it is the place where our sales process happens. So let's find out Clickfunnel integrations.
You can see there are numerous apps that gets integrated with ClickFunnels. Unfortunately at this time Thinkific isn't part of this list. [ Kajabi, a similar platform is in the list though]
But we can see Active Campaign is the first in the list. So our option is to connect Clickfunnel and Active campaign together. You click on Active campaign and fill out API credentials and they are connected.
Now it is time to see how to bring the products into the equation, because a customer purchases a product and that is the main thing we need to know and we need to track to complete the sales process and to complete the product fulfilment process.
So we go to the products page inside your funnel step.
You will see the list of products. You click on edit to go further into its settings. This is where we create our first signal to tell Active campaign to mark the contact with the product he/she purchased.
Within the product settings, go to "follow up actions" and turn on the toggle that says "Trigger Follow-up action".
Then it will bring up available integrations. Since we have connected with active campaign, it will show that option. Once you select it, further integration options will be listed out.
You can see action on submit can be "Add to List", "Add to list with tag" and so on.
Let's select "Add to list with a tag".
What happens is that, when a contact makes a purchase, they will then be added to an Active Campaign list along with a tag. Either this tag or the list can be used to trigger an Active Campaign automation.
To give you an example, let's say the customer bought a $7 dollar item. So we put them to "$7 clients" list and give a tag saying "purchased $7 product"
We can start an automation when "contact subscribes" to this list. We can also use the tag to trigger this automation, if we want it. We can move them to another list based on their actions. Here they can be moved out of the list of non-purchasers as soon as they made the first purchase.
Now we need to think how to connect a contact with Thinkific based on his purchase. For that we need to think what solid information do we have in our hand that can be passed on to Thinkific.
Even though the contact is purchasing a product created on clickfunnel, the actual product (which is your course) is in Thinkific. The "product" you created on Clickfunnel is actually a Name of the product and its price. So we need to give this abstract product a physical (in this case a digital) form. This happens when we connect the name and price mentioned in Clickfunnel to the actual videos, pdfs and such that are part of your course.
So far what we know is that, if a person purchases, through the follow-up action a tag is created in Active Campaign. We are going to use that information. We are going to pass that information to Thinkific. Now the question is how.
When two software don't talk to each other Zapier comes in and make them talk.
We use the solid information that we have - the tag that gets added to a contact while making a purchase and use that information to enrol the user to the appropriate course listed on Thinkific account.
You have to go to Zapier, select the first app as Active campaign, connect your active campaign account and select the Trigger as "Tag added or Removed from Contact" and select "Tag added" option and pick the appropriate tags from the list. Now that becomes our trigger.
Next question Zapier ask is that what should it do when that trigger triggers. Well, if that happens, you have to enrol that contact to the course their purchase entails. So connect your Thinkific account on the next step and select the course and set the action as Enrol the user.
So all of this are now connected and the integration is almost finished. Now it is time to test everything. Here is an article to learn how to set test payments and test the automations.
This is just one example of tech stack, though a real life example. You don't have to use it. Maybe your requirements are different, maybe you don't have the budget. Well, talking of budget, here is how much it can cost you.
Clickfunnel starts at US$ 97 a month
Active Campaign starts at $12 a month for 500 contacts
Thinkific start for Free and if you want to upgrade it is US$ 39 a month
Zapier starts for Free upto 100 tasks and upgrade at US$ 20 a month
So in short, if you aren't making at least US$200 a month, this stack cannot be sustainable. But the good news is that there are so many more economical tech stacks suitable for course creators like you.
ClickFunnels >> Thinkific >>Active Campaign >> Zapier is just one of the many tech stacks a course creator can use. There are so many options out there. The choice depends on your requirements, you budget and your technical abilities.
In case you have any questions regarding this tech stack, leave them in the comments.