A Real Legitimate Engagifire Review (yes, one exists)
I signed up for Engagifire yesterday (March 30, 2015) and gave it a fairly thorough test run. Here’s what I think (so far). This will be an unfolding story so be sure to bookmark this page and check back. Or better yet, post a comment and subscribe to the conversation.
update: April 4, 2015 – After some conversation with Tom and Ayoub, two of Engagifire’s founders, some significant changes have been made to the standard offering of the standard Engagifire offering. Check the updates at the end of this page.
And thank you Engagifire dev team, for listening to your customers.
update: April 1, 2015 – I spoke with Tom, one of Engagifire’s founders, and told him that I had written this review of the Engagifire software. I invited him to address some of my questions and concerns publicly in the comments. I hope he does so as it would bring some level of transparency to their marketing model.
additional note: All updates will be added to the end of this page.
Engagifire Sign-up Process
Signing up for Engagifire is mostly straightforward but slightly convoluted.
I purchased a single-site license for $27. They only accepted PayPal, so I had to update my PayPal information in order to make the purchase. That being done, I received an email (a receipt) from JVZoo.com with support information (from http://wishloop.zendesk.com), product and login details to access my purchase. Immediately upon first login, a change of password was required.
Once logged in (at JVZoo.com), I saw a green button at the bottom of the screen that said, “Access Your Purchase.” Once clicked, I saw a “thank you” screen and a big green button that said “Get Started Now.”
Once completed, I received another email with a login url (the app is hosted at wishloop.com) and additional login details. I was now able to use Engagifire.
I wrote down my login information in a safe place. I use KeePass (a free, open-source password manager) for that purpose on my desktop. On my iPad I use 1Password. Both KeePass and 1Password come highly recommended.
Using Engagifire to Create a Popup
I’ll say straightaway that Engagifire is a very impressive piece of software.
Using Engagifire is intuitive, simple and mostly painless. If you use WordPress (as I do), the first thing to do is click the “Integration” link at the top of the page. On the following page, click the “download now” link and download the Engagifire WordPress plugin to your computer. Next, in your WordPress dashboard, add a new plugin and upload the zip file. Then activate the plugin, go to the plugin’s settings and input your user ID found on the Engagifire integration page.
Now simply click on the “Campaigns” link and then click “Create New Campaign.” You can create one popup per campaign but you can create endless campaigns.
Now you get to make your first popup. I won’t go into too much detail here as this would become a detailed Engagifire tutorial. Creating and customizing popups is my absolute favorite part of using Engagifire. It’s downright entertaining (for people like me anyway). The options are extensive and the finished popups look polished and professional.
Choose from one of 35 pre-defined templates and start customizing. You can choose from a large database of included images (arrows, buttons, backgrounds, etc.). Click on the little gear icon on the bottom right of any element to see different settings to customize that particular element. You can embed video, create email subscription buttons, add links to external websites, utilize geolocation features (pro version only, an additional $67), insert social media icons, integrate PayPal, TeeSpring or Amazon, use custom html . . . the possibilities are vast.
I could go on about this process, but it’s intuitive and doesn’t need a lot of explaining. Let’s just say you can create pretty much any kind of popup you want with Engagifire and do it easily.
After you create your popup, click “save” then associate a domain name with that particular campaign. That’s it. You’ve created your first popup and are nearly done with your first campaign.
Setting up Email Subscriptions
This software does not work with Jetpack. Most popup software doesn’t so it’s no surprise. But since Jetpack is one of the most popular WordPress plugins around and one that a lot of people use for their website subscription service, it makes sense that opt-in software would include support for Jetpack.
note: Tom gave me suggestions for a workaround for getting Jetpack to work with Engagifire. I will try the workaround and add an update after I’ve tried it.
It does include support for MailChimp and most other email services. When you add an email subscription button to your popup, all you need is the html code of your form from your autoresponder (e.g., MailChimp) then you put it in the “html code” setting of the opt-in form.
Customizing Your Engagifire Campaign Settings
Choosing the Triggering Event
You can choose the popup trigger on this page and there are four options.
- after a number of seconds
- on exit-intent
- on page close
- when scrolling
Let’s say we choose the first option, “after a number of seconds.” We set it to 3, and then we test it out on our page. It works! Great. We close it out then navigate to another page on our site. It pops up again. What? Close it out. Navigate back to the home page. It pops up again. Wait a second. This is highly annoying for site visitors. There must be an option to set a time before that user sees that popup again.
Nope. No option. I searched high and low in the settings (there aren’t many) and there is no option to limit how often the popup pops up. This is a major fail.
update: April 4, 2015 – After requesting a refund due to the the lack of this feature, I received an email from Tom stating that the basic version of the software now has this feature included. This is great news and demonstrates the willingness of the Engagifire team to listen to their customers. Nice.
While this triggering event option does work on my iPhone 6 Plus (running the latest iOS version), the arrows image I added to the popup that are supposed to be pointing up to my “get it now” button (which work perfectly on a desktop browser) are pointing down to nothing in particular. This is strange, buggy behavior and doesn’t do a whole lot for my confidence in Engagifire.
Setting the option to “on exit intent” triggers the popup whenever your cursor gets near a new tab or near the X to close out the browser. If you choose this option, however, the popup doesn’t work on at all mobile devices (at least in my tests) since there’s no mouse cursor that signals “exit intent.” I don’t really like “on exit intent” anyway because I’ve found that when I go to close out a page, I often do it so fast that I only catch a glimpse of the popup. I’ll see it momentarily but not long enough to read it — just a quick flash and it’s gone.
Using “on page close” limits the popup from triggering until you actually attempt to close the page. But again, it doesn’t work on my mobile device (iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS) in either Safari or Mecury. Another reason I don’t care for this option is that often the dialog box asking a site user to stay on the page covers the popup.
The “when scrolling” option works fine but again,
there is no way to keep the user from getting spammed on every page of your site.
Choosing Where to Place the Popups
You can choose to include your popup on certain pages and exclude your popup on certain pages. That’s a nice feature and quite nice of the Engagifire team to include it on the standard version of their software.
Engagifire Business Model
I’m not sure why I bought the software because usually I review things carefully before purchasing. I basically was “sold.” I bought into the hype and didn’t really do my due diligence. Things I typically look for when purchasing anything online:
- a comparison chart of the different versions and features included
- an “about us” page that actually tells something about the business, the founders, etc.
- reviews from credible sources
Engagifire has none of the above. It’s OK for now, because even the basic version of the software performs quite admirably out of the box (phew). However, for me, the lack of the aforementioned items is typically a red flag.
A comparison box showing features of the different versions would be nice so consumers can make a fully informed decision on how much money they will need to spend for advanced feature. I don’t know exactly what the more expensive versions of Engagifire include, because as I said, there’s no comparison chart.
There’s no “about us” page. Engagifire.com is just a very long single page with a very long sales pitch. And it’s convincing. It convinced me even with the obvious red flags. And the product is cheap. $27 for a single site license? Heck. Dinner for two at Red Robin is more expensive than that. It’s easy to get caught up in the possibilities that the software can offer (the page is slick) without realizing there’s no comparison chart for the different versions, no contact information, nothing about the company, the founders, the business model . . . nothing! You know nothing about any of this until after you hit the “buy now” button. Then you figure it out as you go and hope for the best.
The business model is all about creating hype. It’s about convincing people to buy based on promises of increased conversions. There are virtually no unbiased reviews on Engagifire anywhere on the Internet because everyone writing reviews of the product are affiliates. That’s why I’m writing this legitimate Engagifire review. I’m not an affiliate and I want people to understand what they’re buying before they buy it. But you’d think the founders would want that too. Transparency legitimizes business.
The sales techniques and business model leave a bit to be desired and might cause potential customers to wonder if Engagifire is in it for the long haul. Not only that, the purchasing process is convoluted and clunky. The entire model (pushing sales based on hype instead of transparency, rapid growth fueled by aggressive affiliate sales, lack of information about the company, the founders, product features, the business plan) should give potential customers pause.
note: I’ve been impressed with Tom’s responsiveness to my concerns.
Engagifire Customer Support
I wrote to the support desk the day I bought the software. I had a response within a couple hours from Ayoub. He seemed friendly and helpful. He attempted to show me how to set up the software to work with Jetpack, but what he told me didn’t work (most likely because of Jetpack’s proprietary form code).
I wrote back to Ayoub the same night upon discovering the problem of the popup boxes appearing on every page. It’s now after 10PM the following day and I have not heard back from Ayoub. I will update this page as soon as I hear back from him on this topic.
note: See update at the end of this page.
Positive Things About Engagifire
Engagifire appears to be a high-quality product with some very amazing capabilities. It’s astonishingly easy to use (simple drag and drop), produces fantastic-looking popups and has a ton of features. It’s the most sophisticated drag and drop, best-looking SaaS (Software as a Service) I have seen to date.
If I can get it to do what I want it to do (namely, use it with Jetpack email subscriptions and set a cookie so visitors don’t get continually spammed), I’ll keep it. It really is quite impressive software, so kudos to the developers for their efforts.
Negative Things About Engagifire
Engagifire doesn’t integrate with Jetpack (from what I can tell) and
cannot be set to stop popping up when users visit different pages within your website.
The sign-up process is convoluted and PayPal is the only accepted method of payment. The developers have chosen a business model which revolves around aggressive affiliate sales and is not completely transparent.
update: April 1, 2015 (new update coming later tonight; please bookmark and check back)
Today, I got an email update (sent to all Engagifire users to inform them of new functionality in the program) from Tom , one of Engagifire’s founders. Since I hadn’t yet heard back from Ayoub, I asked Tom about Jetpack integration and about stopping the popup box from spamming my visitors. He gave me a possible workaround for Jetpack, which I was grateful for, and he also said that the feature I wanted (the ability to stop the popups from popping up continually) was included in the elite version of Engagifire, which costs another $47 on top of the $27 I had already spent (total of $74).
He also addressed my concerns about their business model being unsustainable.
I would agree that this is unsustainable. But in all honesty it’s not supposed to be. This is a sales funnel we’ve created for our launch. And our chief source of traffic during the launch is affiliates, who of course have an incentive to hype up the software. We do not have a budget nor time for SEO or large scale paid traffic at this point – we are a small company without VC backing — so this is the most feasible way for us to get the software off the ground. In time we’ll add all the legitimizing aspects you speak of and will move to a subscription model and different sales process. Incidentally if you look at similar software – such as Bounce Exchange or Picreel – you’ll see they charge large monthly subscriptions.
I think that’s a pretty reasonable answer. We’ll see if it holds true.
He also talked a bit about the features being hidden from buyers.
Again, separating features in this way is not a long-term strategy; when we move to a sub-model the features will all be more up-front. But you’d have to pay a monthly subscription to access them all, so rest assured the launch deal is excellent value.
Perhaps the launch deal at $74 is excellent value. If Engagifire sticks around, I’d say it is. As I’ve said multiple times, the software is intuitive, useful and a pleasure to use.
I mentioned to Tom that the $27 deal is not an excellent value at all; in fact, the software is broken. Purposely crippled. Nobody would buy a car without brakes. You could get in the car, listen to music, admire it . . . but you wouldn’t take it out on the freeway. And you wouldn’t pay more than double to get brakes, a necessary feature for proper function. You’d tell the salesman that he should have told you beforehand that the car didn’t have brakes.
The market is generally quite familiar with the sales funnel approach, whereby not all features are part of the front end package, which is significantly discounted.
Perhaps the market is familiar with the approach, but I’m not. I’m used to buying fully functional products (as far as the necessary features go) and then if I want additional, advanced features, I’ll pay more. The $27 software package looks pretty, but it doesn’t have brakes. Users of the software simply cannot stop the popup from appearing continually, thus rendering it useless. No website owner would subject his viewers to such invasive, in-your-face marketing. It would drive customers away. Anyone purchasing the $27 software is basically forced to spend an additional $47 to get fully functional software.
Often, free trial versions are crippled like this. That makes sense. A consumer is test-driving software (for free), so it’s intentionally crippled. Photo editing software might have a watermark on the resulting images. Video editing software might have a fully functional trial version that ends after 30 days. But once a consumer pays for the software, even for the standard version, all necessary components should work.
I was hoping that Tom would agree that this feature should be included in even the basic version of the software (otherwise why buy the standard version?) and he may yet do so. Time will tell.
I’m disappointed. I wanted to continue using the software (because it’s impressive) but I couldn’t bring myself to spend additional money due to my dislike of the marketing scheme.
update: April 3, 2015
Today I got an email from Ayoub (and later from Tom) telling me that the standard version of the software now can implement a time for the popup to be inactive for specific users. That is, I can stop the popup from spamming my visitors, actually making the $27 version a usable version! I’m actually a little surprised and applaud the developers for listening and responding to customer feedback. Based on the annoying sales model, I was less than sure of a professional response so this comes as a very pleasant surprise.
This is great news and after some additional testing, I will most likely upgrade to the more advanced “elite” version of the software. The elite version has some features I would like very much (most notably the smart targeting) and I do believe the software is worth the asking price.
I guess I’m just a bit stubborn, and perhaps old-fashioned. I don’t like the current “sales funnel” model or “multi-step” model or whatever it’s called. Tell me the real price. Explain the features. Let me decide.
Kudos to Tom and team, not for listening to my whining, but for making the standard version usable.