I’m writing this post out of pure necessity. I get asked weekly about my thoughts on the Rainmaker Platform. Much of this thanks to the StoryBrand Workshop. Which, I can’t speak highly enough about StoryBrand. Everyone needs StoryBrand. That’s a simple review.
Rainmaker…not so simple.
People arrive on my Shultz Photo School website from various small biz / marketing interviews and then notice I’m running that site (and this one) on the Rainmaker platform. And they ask if it’s the right website platform for them.
There’s already an endless supply of very (very) long Rainmaker Platform reviews and comparisons. I’m going to take a different approach. Because whether Rainmaker is right for you or not depends on the answers to a handful of questions.
Are you already familiar with WordPress?
If the answer is yes, then you should consider Rainmaker, which is built on WordPress. You can think of Rainmaker as essentially custom paint job version of WordPress with all your main plugins built in. All said, Rainmaker will feel very familiar if you’re coming from WordPress.
If the answer is no, it’s not a deal breaker. But there’s a lot of other options. Keep reading.
Are you just wanting a virtual business card?
If all you want is a place for your biz to be represented online (homepage, about page, services page) and you don’t want to publish content thereafter, Rainmaker is overkill. Rainmaker is geared towards content creators (bloggers, course creators, membership program creators, podcasters, etc).
So if you just want an online sign for your biz, consider WIX. Much cheaper, and it’ll do conventional websites (and more).
Are you a content driven business?
Blogger? Vlogger? Podcaster? Rainmaker is built more for your type.
Do you want to create membership sites or online courses?
Now you’re really starting to speak Rainmaker’s language.
If you said yes to the first WordPress question, you know what an absolute pain in the rear it is to strap together 20 different plugins to make an online course or membership site work. Or maybe you don’t. Well let me tell you…it’s a pain.
Rainmaker will allow you to create unlimited courses at unlimited prices and sell them to the world. It makes getting paid easy (I use Stripe and PayPal, but it also currently integrates with Braintree and Authroize.net).
And yes, you can even set up good looking sales pages for the course or membership site. Technically, it’s all there. But…
Do you want to constantly be at the leading edge of the curve?
Then don’t buy Rainmaker. Rainmaker touts itself as an “all-in-one” solution. Sounds nice. And for many, that’s what they want.
But if you’re going to want the latest and greatest tools to increase sales (landing pages, checkout pages and software, etc), conversions (again landing pages, plugins, etc), efficiency (I long for the day CoSchedule will integrate), etc….then DO NOT buy Rainmaker.
Rainmaker will not accept WordPress plugins.
And while it has a few integrations, it doesn’t have many. Not even Zapier, which could go a long way for those who are willing to embrace duct tape.
You see, Rainmaker wants to be duct tape free. And it is. Until you want it to do more than simply “work.” You eventually want to maximize profit. Which….
Are you making over 500k per year on your website?
If so, get a custom solution built and pay someone a monthly retainer to keep it updated, secure, and running smoothly.
Don’t get me wrong. Rainmaker can absolutely handle your volume. But by the time you’re this deep, you’re going to see many tools that you want to use…that won’t (at least not yet) shake hands with Rainmaker.
For example, my Shultz Photo School team uses CoSchedule to manage a lot of content for various courses, our membership program, blogging (including guest blogging in the near future). Rainmaker has a calendar function. It’s seriously about 1% the power of CoSchedule. And CoSchedule would become even more powerful if it integrated with Rainmaker (you see, it integrates with regular ole WordPress blogs).
Or take SamCart. It immediately increased my checkout page conversions by 65% over Rainmaker’s checkout. But no native integration.
The bigger point here is that there will ALWAYS be new and wonderful tools from specialty shops who are hyper focused on niche solutions. These specialty shops have entire teams of people fascinated with their one tiny niche. Rainmaker has a team focused on everything. So they’ll always be behind the leading edge of everything. All-in-one solutions of any kind in any industry will always be less than best of breeds.
Said another way: It’s impossible to be the best (great) at everything. It’s very difficult (still almost impossible) to be good at everything. It’s possible to be mediocre at everything.
Personally, I feel strongly that Rainmaker has the potential to be great at content delivery. Blogging. Online Courses. Membership sites. Podcasting. Good old content marketing, which is what the founder of Rainmaker knows the best.
Why would I join Rainmaker if I make under 500k with my website?
- Because you need to focus on your core business, not your website.
- Because you need to get started quickly with the least amount of pain possible.
- Because you don’t need a best of breed solution yet…you just need a strong one.
- Because you still need great website security and performance, and you won’t get that self-hosting
- Because you need to focus on your core business, not your website. (Yes, I said this first and last).
You see, when you’re making 500k or over with your website, you’ve mastered the core of your business. You’re doing that part well. Now your ready to add in a customized best of breed solution, and pay a pretty penny for it, in order for those small % increases in conversions to add up. When you’re at this level, even a small % increase can mean an additional 6 figures per year.
Can I still stay with Rainmaker even after 500k/year?
Sure. It can handle your volume. And in many industries, 500k/year is nowhere near scaled. If you’re still scaling, then keep working the big levers. Work on your core biz, not your website.
Of course, my point is that at this mark, you can afford to hire your website stuff out and keep focusing on what you do best.
Many will still wonder if it’s worth the trouble to switch. *hand raised*
And to that, oh how I wish that Rainmaker would open up its front door to more 3rd party solutions. The day Rainmaker chooses to focus more on its core strength (content delivery) and integrate with other wonderful solutions…is the day I’ll simply delete this entire post and end it the way I did with StoryBrand in the opening paragraph.