I have sold digital products and memberships since 2009, and I have tried a LOT of selling platforms in my search for the right way to sell my stuff.
The key to any software’s usefulness is really to make the functionality you need to use most easy and quick, while distracting you with as little additional functionality as possible. All I wanted was a way to sell my files or memberships that just worked, with minimal fuss.
Let me give you a quick recap of the ones I can remember…
- TradeBit — Small European player, which lets you sell digital downloads. Fairly clunky at the time, but has improved a bit over time.
- E-junkie — Also digital downloads only (could also be used for physical products I guess). Supports affiliates and coupons, but has a horrible Flash interface.
- NetSuite — Super-flexible complete business platform, but that also made it impossibly complicated and fiendishly expensive (I think we were paying almost $2000 per month!) Total overkill.
- InfusionSoft (with CustomerHub) — Infusion is a very powerful platform, if you use all its functionality, and is pretty easy to use. However, the CustomerHub membership add-on was ghastly to use, integrated poorly with InfusionSoft, and the whole package was pretty expensive (I paid $458 per month). (There are other, better membership add-ons.)
- Rainmaker — A specialized membership platform built on WordPress, and focusing on integrated content marketing. When I tested Rainmaker about 9 months ago, I thought it would answer my prayers, but the $99 monthly cost and lack of flexibility didn’t add up for me, so I dropped it after a few months (when I made my Ultimate Web Design course project free and open-source).
- WishList Member — A dedicated membership access add-on for WordPress. Affordable with a one-time purchase and it worked well. However, it was too limiting for me. A single license is tied to one domain, and I wanted to sell both membership and download products, ideally through a single platform.
- AMember Pro — I used AMember for most of my courses for several years, and I have to say it worked pretty well. Also a one-time purchase. I used it before they added WordPress integration, and if you know only want to sell WordPress-based memberships, then AMember or WishList would probably be fine.
So my journey was a constant zig-zagging from one platform to the next, often running two or more at the same time.
I found that each solution was either too complex, clunky, and expensive, or else did not give me all the functionality I needed. It has been a frustrating few years.
I must say at this point that everyone is different. What’s right for me may be totally wrong for you, or the next person. We each have our unique make-up of technical skills, types of products we want to sell, affiliate/no affiliate, marketing tastes… the list goes on.
My advice is to figure out what you really want and need, and then to take the time researching and testing, because your ideal package is probably out there.
A few weeks ago, I wanted to do a small private preview launch of my current project, currently named “Killer Content.” I knew I wanted to use an affiliate platform, but didn’t know which to try.
I knew my buddy Shane Melaugh from Thrive Themes runs a successful affiliate programme, because I’m very happy to be one of his affiliates. So I pinged Shane to ask him what he uses.
He said he probably wouldn’t recommend the system they run (I can’t remember what it was called), but added that, if he was in the market for a selling & affiliate solution today, he’d start by looking at Zaxaa. Apparently, it’s the talk of the street.
Note: The links to Zaxaa are affiliate links. That means, if you click them and eventually sign up for Zaxaa, I’ll earn a small fee from Zaxaa. My policy is only to act as an affiliate for products I can recommend 100%.
I’d never heard of Zaxaa, but was keen to check it out. And I’m glad I did!
Suddenly, it seemed I had found the right platform for me.
- Selling digital downloads — check!
- Ability to add one-time offers (instant upsells) — check!
- Selling memberships, with members’ areas integrated with WordPress — check!
- Simple affiliate platform — check!
- Integrates with MailChimp — check! (Also integrates with a huge range of other services and payment providers, as you would expect these days.)
Those are my criteria, and they’re not likely to match yours. I need those few features to be prioritized in my e-com platform, so they’re easily accessible and well executed.
Sure, Zaxaa comes packed with a lot of other features, and it’s likely I won’t ever need most of them, but the crucial difference is that the features I need to use most have been made easy and effective for me.
One thing that’s important to me is conversion-focused design. For example, Zaxaa gives you a choice of well-designed “Buy” buttons.
You get hosted checkout pages, which also look they’ve been well tested. Here’s an example. If you’d like to see it in action, check out my Killer Content preview offer (click the button at the bottom of the page, you don’t have to buy).
Setting up a membership product took literally minutes, following an easy video that showed me what to do step by step.
And it has all worked so well on my first test that I’m also using Zaxaa for my current client’s site, moving away from his legacy shopping cart.
I haven’t used the split-testing or upselling functions yet, but I’m sure I will. And I’ll be setting up my affiliate programme for “Killer Content” in the next week or two, so I’ll let you know how that goes.
Price? Just $77 per month (less if you pay annually). That’s cheaper than any comparable package I’ve seen.
Zaxaa seems to be my personal holy grail. If it’s helpful for you, great. If you’ve found something that works particularly well for your own needs, please add a comment and let me know.
To see for yourself just how much easier Zaxaa is than other platforms you may have tried, check out this short video…