Butterfly Marketing Software by Mike Filsaime
Name: Butterfly Marketing Software
Creator: Mike Filsaime
Purpose: A complete membership, affiliate and viral marketing software solution
I’ve already completed a review of the Butterfly Marketing Manuscript, which is the book from Mike Filsaime that details the strategies behind Butterfly Marketing. I think it’s a great book and frankly, Mike’s ideas are genius, I really think he came up with online marketing 2.0, taking some of the best strategies that have worked offline and making them work even better online.
In this review I do not intend to cover the strategies behind Butterfly Marketing. This is a review of the Butterfly Marketing software, the program you can use to implement Butterfly Marketing strategies and the system I use to manage Blog Mastermind.
Since I have now properly implemented Butterfly Marketing on a live site, I can offer you my feedback on the complete package.
Mike Filsaime made a big splash in 2006 when he released his Butterfly Marketing product, which grossed over a million dollars in sales in a week.
When the product was initially released it was a home-study package with a manual, interview CDs and several additional guidebooks and resources on things like conducting a product launch, outsourcing and running a “Firesale” – all information Mike produced by interviewing experts. The real key value in the Butterfly Marketing package though, was the software, the first time anything like it had been released online and one of the best ways to implement what Mike taught in the Butterfly Marketing Manuscript.
The software is essentially a membership site combined with an affiliate program (so all members are affiliates too), with a few nice extra features such as one time offer and thank you page tools. The software can be used as a distribution vehicle for a free or paid membership site, or just to deliver an information product like an e-book or MP3 audio series. People sign up as members, are given the resource they requested or purchased within a secure membership area, and are provided with a set of promo tools to use to sell the product as an affiliate. The one time offer can be inserted in the sign-up process as a means to sell a product on the “back-end” of the opt-in process.
All these functions are part of the overall Butterfly Marketing strategy, which I have talked about in length before in the manuscript review. If this is the first time you have heard about one time offers, or thank-you pages, or anything to do with Butterfly Marketing, I suggest you read the Butterfly Marketing Manuscript review first, so you can see why having a software package to implement all these concepts is so powerful. It will help you to understand the overall “Butterfly Marketing” concept as a whole.
When the package first came out it was $997 until it sold out. Later in the year the price was raised to $1497 and the program was made available again. Then Mike decided to release just the manuscript, the book without the software, for $97, but he had a one time offer in the back-end process after buying the book, where you could get a digital version of the full package (rather than having it shipped to you in hard-copy) and a copy of the software for $497, the cheapest price yet to get the software.
I believe you can still buy the software by taking up the one time offer during the purchase process for the manuscript, which you can order from this page (the one time offer comes as you go through the purchase process for the book) –
Once again I have to state my standard disclaimer about technology – I no longer install or manage software myself, I have programmers who are much better at it than me set things up and I provide the content and explain how I want things to work. As a result I can’t really talk with authority about the really technical aspects of the software, only the areas I use and interact with can I comment on.
Nick, who installed Butterfly Marketing for me, said it’s not the cleanest program and the code used to make it work is far from perfect. From my point of view it does what I want it to do. It’s simple and is an easy way to have a password protected membership system with multiple membership levels set-up.
It integrates fine with my autoresponder of choice – AWeber (read my AWeber review here) and I use Paypal (my Paypal review is here) with it to take payments. The software also integrates with other email autoresponders and payment systems, so provided you use some of the more popular services you shouldn’t have any problems integrating.
The back-end admin panel for Butterfly Marketing is not well designed in terms of aesthetics and some functions leave a lot to be desired. For example, searching for names of the people who made a purchase an affiliate has referred is not easy, and you would think that is a straight forward function you need to have. The admin system used to handle affiliate management isn’t great and I’m finding myself doing a lot of manual tasks to get things done.
I’m pretty sure I’ll end up paying out affiliate commissions for a few people I have refunded since there is no way to automatically remove affiliate commissions after I issue a refund for a customer with Paypal. Little things like this are just not handled well by Butterfly Marketing and while you can work out manual solutions to most problems, it would be nice to have the software do it all for you.
All that being said, as a whole it certainly functions well enough and as I found out when I did my initial research into membership software programs, there isn’t anything out there that has a membership system so well integrated into an affiliate program, which is the main reason I chose Butterfly Marketing.
Having an affiliate program embedded within your membership system means you can utilize your best asset – your existing customers – as a marketing tool and create a mutually beneficial relationship (customers can get paid for helping spread the word). Provided you blow your customers away with the value you offer, your current clients are the best promotional tool you ever have, evangelists who can genuinely and authentically recommend what you offer because they have used it. Butterfly Marketing makes this process seamless.
That is the single biggest reason why I chose this software over all other membership systems available. Most membership software I investigated as alternatives to Butterfly Marketing either had no affiliate program built in (meaning I would have to have a third party solution creating yet another sign-up process for my members, something I wanted to avoid) or the affiliate program was very weak, only providing members with a basic affiliate text link.
The affiliate system is quite simple and you can use it to offer all kinds of media for your affiliates. For example I provide banners, text links, forum and email signatures, blog articles and full emails, all embedded automatically with the affiliate ID of my members, providing easy cut-n-paste solutions for affiliates to promote with. You can provide as many different media for your affiliates as you can come up with. It’s such a simple way to empower your affiliates and one of the strongest features of Butterfly Marketing.
I have my system set up so affiliate resources are provided on a single page called “Promo Tools”, there is another page called “Earn Money”, which explains how the affiliate program works and there is also an “Affiliate Earnings” page that details how many sales the affiliate has made. All these sections blend seamlessly with the other features of the membership area, including the member resources, the support area and any other areas you want to offer your members.
It might seem obvious to have your members automatically become affiliates, but before Mike Filsaime produced this software it was not something that could easily be implemented at a low cost.
The biggest problem with the software as I see it is how difficult it is to get to work how you want it to work without seriously modifying things. If you are not a good programmer, familiar at least with HTML and preferably PHP and MySQL too, or you don’t have tech people to help you, it will be quite difficult to get the software to do what you want it to do straight “out of the box”.
Thankfully I have access to three guys who all know their HTML, CSS, PHP and server management and nearly every modification I wanted to see made was possible with a little tweaking. This process led to some serious frustrations though, so the disclaimer needs to be made – don’t use this software if you don’t have the technical resources to make it work.
Another problem is integration with other software. For example I’d like to have a single sign-on process for my members to have access to a members forum, which right now is not possible unless you hack both the forum software and Butterfly Marketing to get them to talk to each other. The same goes for any other software you might like to integrate.
It would be great to see some plug-ins added that offer the ability to combine common software programs within Butterfly Marketing, so it would be possible to enhance membership features without creating extra layers of registration process.
Right now I know of no better software program to sell information products online or run a membership site with an integrated affiliate program that does a better job than Butterfly Marketing. It is far from perfect and I have plenty of features I’d like to see improved, but for the time being there simply are not many options out there unless you are prepared to have something coded from scratch. This is not an option for most small business Internet marketers, which is why Butterfly Marketing is so appealing.
I personally see this is a huge market opportunity and if a real software company decided to take on the membership+affiliate management area and come up with a well supported and intelligently designed program (from a marketer’s perspective), I can see Butterfly Marketing replaced as the best solution – there certainly is room for improvement.
Butterfly Marketing is ultimately a program created by an Internet marketer using a team of outsourced programmers. It is not produced by a dedicated software company and as such lacks some of the polish you would expect if it was. However it’s because of its background coming from a marketer that it works so well as a marketing tool and doesn’t have layers of confusion or excessive features that would hurt performance. It does what you need it to do if you are prepared to hack around in the code. It’s far from elegant, but it is powerful.
I plan to continue to use the software until something better comes along and all my future product releases will be distributed via Butterfly Marketing simply because it makes marketing sense to use it. There is never a reason not to have an affiliate program or a one time offer or any other of the sound marketing tactics that Butterfly Marketing gives you the tools to implement, because they all help you make more money. If you have the tools available you should use them.
Once you have the software working it’s not hard to replicate it for each new product you release, so as in my case – Butterfly Marketing is the central tool powering an entire online business – and I’m not the only Internet marketer making use of this product and earning good money doing so. There are hundreds of testimonials from people doing six or even seven figures a year all powered by Butterfly Marketing, so I have to give kudos where it’s due. It’s not perfect, but what you get is effective, functional and right now it’s the best option out there.
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