My three marketing stacks… The tools of my trade!

If you've ever wondered what someone uses as their shopping cart or their product delivery plug-in… You're wondering with their marketing stack is.

That term of “marketing stack” refers to the email system, the CRM, the shopping cart, the product delivery system, your content management system, even your theme.

I seem to confuse people on a very regular basis when they ask about my marketing stack….

Because on three separate sites that are all profitable, I have three separate marketing stacks!

Why?

Mainly because I'm always testing different options to see if anyone gives me a competitive advantage.

I don't trust the sales copy on software products… I'm more interested in installing, configuring and running traffic through to see what actually happens!

In this post you will learn the three different marketing stacks that I'm using and will conclude with my recommended marketing stack for different situations… Because I don't believe there is one all in one option that is best for everyone.

#1 – My main site that sells individual downloadable products:

On this first site, I am planning on getting rid of Digital Access Pass the developers who updated don't offer very good support it's very clunky. I will be changing over to the Active Member 360 plugin by the active campaign team that is running successfully on the next site.

#2 – My Membership site…

This is an awesome stackThat was recommended by an integration specialist at http://www.IntegratePro.com as a simple yet bulletproof option when I left click funnels

My one challenge is that thrive cart is still in beta and it's very limited in customization and design.

Eventually, I think it will become an actual competitor for Sam cart, but right now the freedom to do split testing and customizations to the design in SamCart is 10 X better.

#3 – Stand alone high ticket product site: One digital product for $497

This works very well and I love that they check out on my site with MemberMouse… On the other sites, like SamCart or ThriveCart The user physically leaves my website to a different domain and I do believe that can be challenging for conversions.

Also with MemberMouse, you can do dollar trials and one click upsells's and even split test pricing, Which is important for optimizing your funnel.

I think you might be able to get more ‘clickfunnels-like' functionality out of SamS cart, but you will also pay 5x as much per month.

What I really like about SamCart is the variety of checkout page customizations (without having to get into the code), the ability to add order form bumps and the ability to split test different upsell funnels…

What marketing stack do you recommend?

Right from the start you will notice some very strong consistencies in all three…

I recommend building your funnel on WordPress with Thrive Themes and personally use that exact setup on every site I run.

In fact, I even created a free, 1 hour 30 minute tutorial that shows you exactly how to build a funnel on WordPress with Thrive Themes

Seeing that I run three different cards on three different sites, this is where the big divergence happens.

For most people, I think that Member Mouse is the best option.  It is a simple and effective option for selling your own digital products or membership from your website.

With a low  $20 per month fee, it is the least expensive option that offers you the ability to run one dollar trials and one click upsells's… Both are extremely important for running a six-figure membership funnel and for building an optimized funnel you can market with Facebook ads.

SamCart is definitely the most robust offering you the ability to add order form bumps, up to 5 one click upsells, downsells, split test upsell funnels, fully customize sales pages and run an affiliate program.

The challenge with Sam cart is that for all that functionality you need to pay $97 per month. This is not a beginner option, but for an advanced marketer with a series of upsells and order bumps… And the desire to test them in different funnel shapes, Sam cart is a win.

Thrive cart is the new kid on the block… Many of the functionalities that Sam cart offer are available in thrive cart.  The problem with thrive cart is how new it is.

The development team is consistently working on big new integration projects such as the affiliate program module, but they're ignoring the little details like the ability to customize your checkout page. For my brand the inability to make my checkout page look like my sales page is very frustrating.

For ease-of-use, I do think thrive cart is winning!

Finally we have email and product delivery…

If you're using active campaign, the active member 360 plug-in that they've developed forward press is great. Unfortunately, bboth active campaign and the active member 360 plug-in are confusing!

they are coded by developers seemingly for developers. They work, but the process of setting up a follow up sequence in active campaign feels five times more difficult than accomplishing the same goal with Aweber. This is annoying.

Digital access pass has terrible support, is clunky and is a major security vulnerability. I honestly wish I could've written this post without even including them, but my goal here was to be honest and this is the honest truth. Avoid at all costs.

Member mouse works! They have found a fantastic balance between functionality, ease-of-use, and elegance for your customer experience.

For advanced marketers running multiple product offerings, multiple membership levels, testing multiple different funnel structures all the same time… It is not as good of an option as SamCart.

But I believe that is close to 5% (maybe 1$) of all Internet marketers who fit the criteria that ‘need' SamCart.

In building your marketing stack and launching your business online, speed of implementation is key.

The faster you can get your funnel up and running…  And move on to driving traffic, the closer to success you are.

Drowning in the details is the biggest problem for new Internet marketers and Internet entrepreneurs.

This is why I really like the simpler setups for people getting started, like Aweber with MemberMouse.

For businesses bringing in multiple six figures per year selling their own digital products or memberships, There can be advantages to the advanced functionality found in Active Campaign and Sam Cart.

I wish there was one answer for everyone that makes this post super simple, but that's not the reality.

If you have any questions for me, leave me a comment below… Or if you're using another marketing stack that you're in love with, let me know what that is in the comments!

About the Author Miles

Miles is a full time internet marketer who sells information products and a niche membership program with his wife, Melanie. Together they have created a lifestyle business that allows them true location independence and this blog where you get to see behind the scenes and see how they have built their online business from scratch.

Leave a Comment:

11 comments
Everet says April 28, 2017

Hi Miles, are you available for consultation? I love your stuff, and am in a similar niche as you and your wife. I’ve started my business, but am having difficulty getting it really going, and would really value your advice.

Thanks,
Everet

Reply
    Miles says May 1, 2017

    I don’t do any consultations… Just the YouTube channel vids and some Q&A videos there when I do YouTube Live vids.

    Reply
Charlotte says May 1, 2017

Hi Miles, absolutely love your stuff, so refreshingly honest and so helpful too. I’m just about to set up my first funnel from scratch. I want to have FB ads going to an automated webinar and selling a high ticket program for 497. I was thinking about clickfunnels but after your review and already having hosting & some themes, I would prefer the DIY method (I quite like techie stuff, although Im not a developer). I’m happy to go with Thrive themes, but I’m wondering what to use for the order form page – do you use Membermouse for that? Does it look ok? Was it easy to set up so that people receive log in details to the program once they have paid? I’m just trying to figure about the order form page so that I can make sure (a) they automatically get log in details to protected content, and (b) they get put onto a ‘customer’ email list. I was also planning to use active campaign, assuming that aweber wouldnt allow me to have different follow up email sequences according to whether they watched the webinar / left early. Any help would be really appreciated. Many thanks, Charlotte

Reply
natzad@gmail.com says July 30, 2017

Dude, I love your content!

As someone who’s been selling $7 PDF’s and such in the IM/MMO space for a few years, I’m done with the hamster wheel of launching all the time.

I’ve been thinking about something evergreen with paid traffic and BOOM I come across this site. Perfect timing.

Thanks for everything you’re doing for new and experienced marketers alike. I’ve already subbed to your YT channel and am about to friend you up on FB too.

I know you’re not doing any IM coaching or consulting but really, your content is worth as much or more than I’ve paid thousands for already. Thanks so much dude, fan for life.

Cheers,
Nate

Reply
    Miles says August 2, 2017

    Right on Nathan! Glad we’ve connected and happy to hear you are liking the content… Finding that passion inside you and turning it into a business makes this all work in ways that are so much more fun and rewarding… And the cashflow potential in even seemingly small niches is quite good these days!

    Reply
Dan Ashton says September 11, 2017

Hi Miles – thanks for the post, it’s one I keep coming back to. I’m using MemberMouse and Thrive Themes on a couple of sites, Clickfunnels for some other digital products and I’m wanting to move to a new solution and away from CF. I’m also not that keen on MemberMouse – I find it a bit clunky and it seems to lock members our sometimes.

Anyway, I’m thinking Thrive Themes, SamCart, WP Courseware for my LMS and ActiveMember360 to protect some specific Thrive Themes content and the WP Courseware content.

(I was going to go with DAP until I read your post).

Does that sound workable to you?

Reply
    Miles says September 11, 2017

    If you are going to use ActiveMember 360 with Activecampaign, I think ThriveCart has a better integration than SamCart… Thrivecart can trigger automations where SamCart only adds tags.

    So you can have an automation for new sale, refund, delinquent payment, etc… These automations can add/remove tags as needed but they also can fire off specific follow up sequences and more… Like emailing you or your customer support team a notification of a delinquent payment, at the same time it removes their access and emails them… So you know to call them or whatever.

    Thrive Cart makes AM360 an even more robust system!

    Reply
debra@notebookingpages.com says October 19, 2017

Thank you for all the awesome content and videos!!!

I’ve been in online business for nearly 12 years. I currently run 2 successful membership model websites (1 includes a digital downloads shop) and 1 SaaS site. All 3 sites have overlapping niches. I’ve upgraded my stack multiple times over the years, but looking now for my CF alternative mainly so I can cross-promote the products of each site via order bumps, OTO, etc.

My main membership site has an incredible army of affiliates that have worked with me for almost 10 years now so it’s imperative that my move takes them into consideration. They would actually promote all three sites, so I’m looking for something that I can use for this purpose. Currently each membership site has its own affiliate plugin (using AffiliateWP & WP Affiliate Platform).

The stack I’m considering: Active Campaign, ActiveMember360, Thrive Themes, Thrive Cart.

My question is regarding what to do with my affiliates in this stack. I know ThriveCart comes with built-in affiliate tools, but I’m wondering if I might be better off going third party with something like iDev. According to iDev website they have integration with ThriveCart.

Any thoughts?

Reply
    Miles says October 19, 2017

    You are on the right track and I think if you run all of the products through one thrivecart account their affiliate platform may work well but you may need something extra if you want cross-site cookie tracking. So if an affiliate sends a click to Site A and they go to Site B, a function that picks up the cookie from Site A and applies it to site B, for example. Honestly, at that level, I’d recommend you connect with my friend Dave at http://www.integratepro.com (just go to his contact form)

    He is the guy who came up with the idea for and also setup my thrivecart + ActiveCampaign + AM360 stack, based on my frustration and challenges with Clickfunnels. There was some custom stuff he did too that made the process (and my life managing the program since) much easier!

    He is a solid guy, a real pro for integrating multiple sites/cms/carts etc. and can hand-code solutions when needed… He is willing to get on Skype for a chat for people I send his way, so name-drop me when you reach out and see if he has any ideas beyond what you are looking at or if he thinks you are on the right track.

    Also, I interviewed him in a couple vids if you want to vibe him out and learn about his philosophies, first: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrz00t_S1p0

    Reply
      debra@notebookingpages.com says October 20, 2017

      Awesome! I’ll check out those resources. Everything you do is so super helpful. Looking forward to gleaning from your podcast too.

      Reply
        Miles says October 21, 2017

        Cheers Debra! Happy to be of service!

        Reply
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