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Thrive Themes Vs Clickfunnels – My Story

OK, so you want to build a sales funnels and you are maybe thinking of using either Clickfunnels or Thrive Themes.

Well, if you will, please let me share my experience with you as a sales funnel builder and website designer based in Edinburgh with over 10 years experience. You may be surprised with what I have to say.

First off, and to make it easy, both Clickfunnels and Thrive Themes could be the solution you are looking for if you are a small business or even a large organisation. However, which one you choose depends on which level you are at in the online marketing game.

Why do I say this?

Well, to put it simply, both are excellent products or services, but where one offers all the bells and whistles you would need if you are already successfully selling your online products and need to ramp it up, the other offers less features to sell your products and services, but instead provides a simpler to use solution along with fantastic website design features, which are perfect if you need to build your online presence yourself.

Why and when to use Clickfunnels

Clickfunnels is a fantastic bit of SAS (service as a software). Russell Brunson has really hit the mark with his product and to be completely honest, it was Clickfunnels that reignited my passion and drive for creating sales funnels again as it made it all so easy to do.

Why use Clickfunnels?

Before Clickfunnels, building sales funnels was pretty much a marketing nightmare. Even for someone like me who is experienced in website design and online marketing, trying to add the functionality that Clickfunnels offers into your online sales funnel was extremely difficult and very expensive.

For example, if you wanted to build a sales funnel, you had to integrate lots of different platforms, hire development teams and designers to stitch it all together and add a few bespoke bits of programming which would cost you tens of thousands of pounds.

  • All the individual pages
  • The shopping carts
  • The autoresponder sequences
  • The merchant accounts
  • The CRMs
  • The 3rd party platforms

You would get it all working, but then in the future, if you needed to change even the smallest thing, you would often have to contract an expensive developer to do it for you.

Clickfunnels changed all that.

Now, you can build complex, feature rich and conversion optimised funnels using proven strategies very easily and do almost all of it from the one platform.

Of course you still need to connect to a few service providers, like Stripe or PayPal for payment options, or your chosen email automation service like Mailchimp or shopping cart like Shopify , but Clickfunnels does it so simply and effectively it’s often at the click of one or just a few buttons. No timely and costly developers required here.

When to use Clickfunnels

It might be easier to start by asking when not to use Clickfunnels. Don’t get caught in the hype and the impressive sales techniques of Russell Brunson and buy into Clickfunnels when you don’t really need it. The analogy of using a sledgehammer to break a nut is perfect to describe Clickfunnels for most businesses.

If you have only just started out in online marketing and don’t have a very large list of contacts or a very structured and multi tiered pricing structure for your products then Clickfunnels will be too much for your needs and you will be wasting £75 per month and maybe even £227 per month on features you just don’t need.

You should only use Clickfunnels if you have the following:

  • A large list of contacts to push through your sales funnels
  • A large marketing budget to buy visitors to direct to your sales funnels
  • A well structured multi tiered pricing structure for your products/services
  • You have a great sales script and killer sales copy
  • You know what you are doing

Why use Thrive Themes

Whilst Thrive Themes doesn’t offer the bells and whistles functionality when it comes to building complex sales funnels as Clickfunnels, it does offer much more in the way of website design and simplified online marketing.

This is important if you are just starting to build your online sales empire and want a product and service that doesn’t cost much yet offers almost everything you could ever need to grow your business by attracting visitors, gaining new leads, making sales and nurturing client loyalty.

After more than 10 years designing websites and building and running online marketing campaigns for myself and my clients, I would confidently say that ThriveThemes is one of the best products and services that revolves around WordPress on the market, maybe one of the best bits of software on the market too.

So what does ThriveThemes offer that Clickfunnels doesn’t?

  • ThriveThemes is completely WordPress compatible
  • ThriveThemes let’s you build pages From scratch
  • ThriveThemes allows you to target opt-in offers based on content category

And most importantly

  • With ThriveThemes you OWN ALL THE PAGES
  • With ThriveThemes you OWN ALL THE CONTACTS

The problem with Clickfunnels is you are in bed with them 100%. If you stop paying them you lose ALL YOUR FUNNELS AND PAGES! But, Clickfunnels keep a list of all your contacts even after you have deleted them!!! I’m really not sure how that works with GDPR compliance.

This is what the Clickfunnels page on the subject states, which isn’t much to go on:

Upon archiving a contact, the contact data, along with any associated data will be retained in the ClickFunnels database.

Click here to be taken to the ‘archiving Clickfunnels contact page’.

With Thrive Themes you can do almost everything that Clickfunnels does, using the WordPress CMS (Content Management System) and build beautiful fully responsive well search engine optimised websites.

When to use Thrive Themes

ThriveThemes is a great option if you are in the process of building your own WordPress website or want to redesign your WordPress website.

The themes they provide are simple to edit and look good upon installation. They provide a very simple option to build the home page so that it looks exactly the same as in the demo, which if you are experienced with WordPress themes is not often the case and usually require a lot of work to get them to look good. 

On top of that, ThriveTheme’s offer their Architect, which allows you to build not only fantastic looking blog posts, pages and optin pages from scratch, but also amazing looking home pages in a drag and drop style builder.

It’s also great if you want to start building sales funnels and grow your contact list, like subscribers and online clients.

They also provide many more prebuilt sales funnels than Clickfunnels that save you a lot of time in having to design and build your own, which isn’t the case with Clickfunnels where you need to pay for most funnels and even they aren’t that good. Architect then makes editing those pages and funnels much simpler that Clickfunnels and once again offers a lot more design features that don’t come with the basic Clickfunnels membership. In fact, maybe practising what they preach, with Clickfunnels you seem to be upsold and upsold time and time again to get the extra features needed for a good looking and functioning funnel whereas with ThriveThemes you get all this for a one off price of £175 approx per annum.

However, if online sales funnels are your main marketing priority and you drive a lot of traffic to your website to convert visitors into subscribers, subscribers into customers and then, and this is the important bit, upselling them and downselling them, then you probably want to use Clickfunnels.

You should use Thrive Themes when:

  • You want to design your own WordPress websites
  • You want total control over your sales funnels
  • You want to own the sales funnels you build and the content
  • You want total control of ownership of your contacts
  • You don’t want to pay per on a subscription
  • You don’t want to be restricted with the number of funnels/pages/you can build
  • You don’t want to restricted by the number of visitors who can go through your sales funnels every month 


Adword marketing

Google Adwords provide accurate metrics showing how many people search for certain keywords and phrases every month. It calculates an equivalent of a month’s traffic to your website. It’s a very powerful tool for driving instant leads to start the engagement process.

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.

John Wanamaker

As with most online advertising, Google Adwords, Facebook and Twitter can measure the cost and success of your campaigns instantly and to the penny.

Every single aspect of your marketing campaign is measurable, right down to the number of clicks, number of impressions, click through rate (CTR), number of conversions, conversion rate, cost per click (CPC) and cost per acquisition (CPA). So, with all this in place, it is very easy to measure your ROI.

So, an advertising campaign is –

  • measurable
  • cost-effective
  • maximum relevance
  • highly targeted, based on
    • location
    • mobile device
    • language
    • auto-tagging

Google adwords

97% of Google’s total revenue comes from advertising (Google Investor Relations) that offers businesses on average a return of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Adwords (Google Economic Impact Report). It has over 1.2 million businesses advertising on its search network (AdGooRoo via Perry Marshall) and the Display Network serves 180 billion impressions each month. That works out at about 6 billion a day (comScore) reaching 80% of global internet users (Google Benchmarks and Insights).

It can only make sense to get involved, right?


Yankee Candle Company reports that remarketing allowed it to increase conversion rates by 600% while cutting cost per conversion in half (Adwords Blog) is one of Google’s biggest advertisers, as ranked by dollars spent in Q3 2012, according to research on more than $1 billion dollars’ worth of Google Adwords spent via WordStream, a company that specialises in Google search ads. is Google’s second-biggest advertiser spending £95,000 a day5

And is only focusing on the ‘questioning’ and ’researching’ phase of the client journey. Most businesses will have many other stages on the customer journey where they can connect with their clients and begin a relationship.

If is spending £95,000 per day advertising to people who are simply enquiring, imagine how crucial connecting with people at this stage in the buying cycle could be to you.

And remember, there are many other stages in the buying cycle where you can connect with potential clients, or add value to your existing clients, who may be looking for other services that you could be supplying them.

Cool Diamonds

And it’s not only large companies who are succeeding with online advertising. Cool Diamonds is a prestigious London Jeweller’s. There is no doubting the success that advertising with GoogleAdwords had for Cool Diamonds, both in terms of brand recognition and in the numbers being driven to their site. In 1999, was achieving some 13,000 hits per month. Nowadays, that figure is in excess of 5 million.


Amazon spent an estimated $55.2 million on Google Adwords advertising in 2011 (breaking down Google’s 2011 revenues).That’s more than $150,000 per day for every single day of the year. And the strange thing about that relationship is that Amazon is one of Google’s major competitors.

Conversion optimizer

And, do you know what else is great about Google Adwords? It even shows you how to optimise your own keyword service. According to Google, campaigns that use the Conversion Optimizer achieve a 21% increase in conversions while decreasing CPA by 14% on average (Google Conversion Optimizer).

Edinburgh + venue/event/conference/meeting room

For example, we performed a basic search for keywords that had ‘Edinburgh’ and other words such as ‘conference’, ‘venue’ and ‘meeting room’ and found there are approximately 4,000 searches per month in the UK. That’s from a selection of just 44 different search phrases per month.

So, with just those few keywords, Google guarantees to deliver 11 clicks per day, or 220 per month through to your website.



This is only the advertising budget suggested by Google. There are a lot of tricks to keeping the cost down and yet staying high in the search rankings, and we provide this expertise free of charge to our clients.

How can I reduce ad spend and increase ROI using Google Adwords or Google pay per click?

The key contributors to the cost of your pay-per-click campaign are Quality Score and Ad Rank. You can continually improve your Quality Score and Ad Rank thereby increasing your conversion rates and reducing your cost per click. Not only will the ideas we are about to share improve your CTRs, Quality Scores, ad positions, impression shares and lower your cost per click, it will also help you improve your conversion rates.

A fantastic opportunity to win new business

Ad Rank

A value that’s used to determine your ad position, where ads are shown on a page. Ad Rank is calculated using your bid amount and Quality Score.

Understanding Adwords Ad Rank

Ad Rank determines your ad position – where your ad shows on the page in relation to other ads.

The main components of your Ad Rank are your bids and the quality of your ads, keywords and website, as measured by what we call Quality Score. We also incorporate the expected impact from your extensions and other ad formats when computing your Ad Rank. When estimating the expected impact of extensions and ad formats, we consider such factors as the relevance, click-through rates and the prominence of the extensions or formats on the search results page. So, even if your competition has higher bids than yours, you can still win a higher position at a lower price by using highly relevant keywords, ads and extensions.

Your Ad Rank is recalculated each time that your ad is eligible to appear, so your ad position can fluctuate each time depending on your competitors at that given moment.

Quality Score

The exact calculations used for Google’s Adword Quality Score are top secret. However, we do know what parts affect it and can make educated guesses as to what level. It’s important to fully understand what influences the cost of Google Adwords to maximise ROI. It is Quality Score that defines the Ad Rank and it is the combination of those two elements which greatly impacts on the cost of your pay-per-click campaign.

Think of it in the same way as your credit score affects the cost and rates of mortgages and loans when applying for them, except, this time, your Quality Score affects the cost per click and performance of your ad. We, at Virtual Global, perform the same job as the Experian team of advisers who help people get on top of their finances.

Google explain it like this –

The 1-10 Quality Score reported for each keyword in your account is an estimate of the quality of your ads and landing pages triggered by that keyword. Having a high Quality Score means that our systems think your ad and landing page are relevant and useful to someone looking at your ad.

It is used to determine your cost per click (CPC) and multiplied by your maximum bid to determine your ad rank in the ad auction process. The formula for the Google Search Network is as follows:

Ad Rank = CPC bid × Quality Score

And your Quality Score depends on multiple factors, including:

  • account-level Quality Score
  • ad Group Quality Score
  • keyword-level Quality Score
  • ad-level Quality Score
  • landing page Quality Score
  • display network Quality Score
  • mobile Quality Score

However, without going into each element in detail, there are some golden rules for running Google Adwords campaigns.

High conversions (click-through rate)

High conversions are great because they influence your Quality Score and mean you are getting more traffic. Write ads that are eye-catching and entice people to click on. For instance, free delivery, dazzling variety. Tell people! Showcase the products, services or offers that make you stand out.

Match your ad to your landing page.

There is nothing worse than running a search in Google, clicking on a link and ending up on a page that has nothing to do with your original search. Make sure your landing page matches exactly what your Google Adword is suggesting or stating. Google will reward you for it and so will your visitors.

Keyword relevance

Match your keywords to your ad and your landing page. Your keywords MUST appear in the Google Adword and the landing page in the most important areas like title tag, h1 tag, url and others too. Keep lots of short lists of more relevant keywords for specialised landing pages and Adwords.

A/B split test adverts.

A/B split test your Google Adwords campaign. It’s as simple as writing two adverts. They can be similar or completely different. After a few days or weeks, check to see which advert has converted the fewest click-throughs or leads and then replace that advert with a new one that you hope will outperform it. You then continue improving on adverts by competing them against each other at the same time reducing your costs and increasing your position in the results.

Enormous opportunity

There will be thousands of specific keywords that will help initiate a relationship with a potential client, partner or journalistic. They may then become involved with your company at many levels and across multiple mediums.

Each keyword is a potential interaction with a potential client. Each keyword allows you to attract someone’s attention. The Google Adword sparks the conversation off. The landing page keeps their attention and they may respond to a call to action, like sign up to your newsletter or download your ebook because they are interested in you and want to keep in touch. This ‘permission marketing’ gains someone’s trust by offering value that is a win-win for both parties.

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.

Seth Godin

E-mail marketing

This is taken straight from the Lloyds Bank website

67% of UK adults now go online to both research and purchase goods and services*. With more online shoppers than any other major country**, Internet use among UK consumers will only continue to rise. Tap into this growing audience and strengthen your brand by taking advantage of cost-effective digital marketing opportunities.

*Research from the Office of National Statistics
**According to Ofcom Research

They also state-

research shows that when companies embrace online skills, they increase turnover and become more efficient. And when UK organisations prosper, we all benefit from a stronger economy.

They suggest Email Marketing

As do I. Always.

Here is their paragraph on it from their site. They even suggest the software to use. Mailchimp is free up to a large volume of contacts. They normally hook you in to buying a feature that you just know would make all the difference to your campaign. If you needed any assistance with these I would be more than happy to help.

Market your organisation via email

Keep your target customers updated on your latest products/offers and drive traffic directly to your site by sending out emails on a routine basis. Sending can be automated by using a third-party email marketing service, such as Constant Contact or MailChimp.

†Please note that these are just examples of the types of advertising/marketing platforms available and Lloyds Banking Group does not endorse the services they provide.

We have the writers, the social media managers, blog managers, onsite seo managers , your account manager, there to answer any questions you might have, your own secretary, available to do anything you need.

The pros, cons and PERILS of Twitter automation

I decided to change my own style of marketing for the new year and move towards a much more personal approach.

For almost 10 years now I have relied predominantly on inbound marketing techniques to attract visitors and convert them into clients. It’s worked very well, however, I always knew that there was a risk of losing everything as very often it relies on third party entities such as Google. And there begins my story of woe.

If you are at all involved in SEO or online marketing you will have heard of Google’s algorithms and how dangerous they can be to companies and organisations.

As an example, back in 2013, the same time my own SEO troubles began, Interflora was literally wiped out of Google natural search positioning after they broke Google’s SEO policies by placing 150 advertorials on  regional news sites. They were out of the search engine for 11 days and probably had to beg for forgiveness whilst they were losing millions of dollars and pounds in revenues every day.

I have never received a ban or warning from Google, but suffered at the hands of their algorithm change in the summer of 2013 which took me months to recover from.

Like most businesses, I now also use social media as a method for connecting with people and potential clients. However, just like with Google natural search I am just as much at their mercy and could be BANNED at any moment if I don’t follow their strict policies.

The perils of Twitter automation

This was Techcrunch’s headling back in 2013 when Twitter started to clamp down on companies who were using automation to follow and unfollow people –

Twitter’s Bulk Follow Clampdown Could Claim Another Victim, Follow/Unfollow Service ManageFlitter

They go on to say –

Among the more recent changes afoot at Twitter, the company recently announced that it would no longer allow third parties to use Twitter’s API for bulk-following or unfollowing Twitter accounts — spammy behavior, by many estimates.

Here is Twitter own guidelines on follow/unfollow automation-

Twitter – Automated following and unfollowing

You may not use or develop any application that allows for the following or unfollowing of user accounts in a bulk or automated manner. Using block as a means to unfollow users is also not allowed. Accounts and applications that engage in this practice will be suspended. Please also review our Following rules and best practices to ensure you are in compliance. Also note that applications that claim to get users more followers are prohibited under the Twitter Rules.

You can report people who use this practice here, but it is best to email them directly, which also takes a bit of digging to find the right persons emails address.

Whilst I like automation software, it’s what the digital age is all about after all, there are limits as to what is good and what is bad.

Here are a few good articles from reliable sources to help you decide-

Social Media Week – To Automate Your Tweets Or Not? That Is The Question

Should you, or shouldn’t you, automate social media posts? On one hand, it could save you loads of time and effort. but, on the other hand, it can seem impersonal, and possibly come back to haunt you. So what’s the final verdict? Can you still get high levels of engagement and more followers with social media automation?

Hootsuite – The DOs and DON’Ts of Social Media Automation

With every technological advancement designed to make our lives easier, our dependence on technology for day-to-day tasks grows. Technology helps us do things with greater efficiency, and when it comes to social media, it’s only natural to find a way to automate our social media efforts.

So, maybe 2016 is time to start thinking about your morals and ask your conscience if it is doing the right thing or not, especially when it comes to Twitter automation.

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