Mark Bowley

Designer & Maker
😎
Helping no-code makers with design whilst building my own projects.
Does anyone have good tips or working practices in selling Webflow as a platform to consulting clients (startups, small-medium businesses) who would normally either want Wordpress or have no platform preference? 

There are obvious benefits to us as makers, but the benefits to them are less obvious vs the subs cost. A few questions come to mind:
  • What do they get for $16/mo cost vs approx $5/mo with Wordpress + hosting?
  • Can they add Pages with the Editor, or just edit existing ones?
  • Is the Editor easier for them to use vs Wordpress?

I really believe in Webflow as a tool, so want to get this right.
Any suggestions welcome.
Hey Mark, it’s a great question. 

A few things to consider are:

  • Speed to build the site as a clone or from scratch
  • Speed to update, make changes and build new sections
  • Webflow’s simple to use and learn interface for non-technical clients 
  • Webflow’s resources to learn the tool via webflow University 
  • Its ability to easily integrate with other noCode, lowCode and embeddable tools to add extra layers of functionality - Airtable, Zapier, Memberstack, Jetboost and Uploadcare to name a few...
  • Its powerful CMS which allows you to spin up relational content really easily, design for mental models of their customers and even generate ‘disposable’ landing pages
  • Copy pasting elements from pre-built element is literally as easy as ‘copying and pasting’
  • Development effort and cost (depending on complexity of the project) as well as ongoing maintenance should be significantly lower on operational cost
  • Easy to ‘design visually’ if the client has in-house design or branding teams
  • Enterprise-level security and robust servers
  • Fully integrated hosting
  • If they play the ‘yeah but word press is cheaper’, it may be cheaper to pay for the service but the maintenance is more expensive as well as the angst it causes non-technical people
  • Webflow reduces risk of ‘that techy person’ leaving an organisation, while it has to be learnt, it can be self-taught much easier than Wordpress as a platform

There’s also a few great articles if you literally search “webflow vs Wordpress” - even non-biased ones by non-Webflowers. I’m sure you’ve already done this though 😉

Clients can’t add pages in the editor, but I strongly suggest giving them access to the designer within their own account. If they break anything, the ‘restore’ roll-back function. I have built about 20 sites for clients and less than half of those are still on my account. 

If this doesn’t work, the editor still provides a heap of functionality for the users without giving them the keys to the car.

They’re all non-technical business owners and I hardly ever hear from them for technical support! Unless they want comprehensive & new sections of the site built.

I hope this helps mate!

Cheers
Mark Bowley replied
  ·  1 reply
Hey everyone, I've been quietly working on a project to help makers with design skills. I thought I'd post an update here as I think there it's uncovered some interesting maker learnings.

Back in May I realised many no-code makers need a bit of help with design, so I decided to work on something to help. 

My validation process has actually been fairly quiet - I focussed on 3 main areas in the background for a couple of months:
  1. Talking privately with no-code makers for research, then creating a prototype and getting feedback.
  2. A very basic pre-launch signup page on the back of my personal site (25 signups from June-July).
  3. Engaging consistently on #nocode Twitter and Makerpad's community (esp. on design).

Until yesterday I had nothing else public on this. 

Last week I sold 3 pre-orders of an ebook, just through talking to makers and showing a prototype. Sales is not one of my strengths either.

Yesterday I launched a public signup page at tinydesignlessons.com. There's not much on it yet, except an outline of what I'm doing and a form to let people join the mailing list. I tweeted one thread about it, and just 24hrs later my mailing list is at 82 and still growing 🤔 

To me this is new ground and interesting - to have an idea validated before I've done pretty much anything in public.

Key takeaway: Listen first, then create. You need less marketing than you think for your next idea.

Thank you for sharing your progress Mark.
Coincidently, I've been reading quite a few case studies of people who have tested ideas via pre orders. 
While I'm not at this stage personally, It's reassuring to know that people are validating things successfully this way.
Please keep us posted on how things pan out going forward, and what lessons you learn along the way. 
Have your read Running Lean by Ash Maurya? It's essentially what your are doing. Pretty meta-recursive as the book is basically telling you how he validated the idea for the book  by pre-selling before writing anything. 
Eventually came Lean Canvas as a result 
Kudos 
And as a designer, thank you for bringing some design inductees to the market community! 
Mark Bowley replied
  ·  1 reply
Does anyone know if you can export a Google Slide as a JPG using Zapier / Integromat or something? 
You could use this - https://www.makerpad.co/tutorial/dynamically-generate-google-slides to get your PDF from Template then use something like Cloudconvert in Zapier to convert it to an image?
Thanks Tom, yes I'd thought of that but I was wondering if there's any way to convert a Slide doc to JPG. 
I thought I'd post one of my no-code experiments from a few months back. I never published it anywhere before as it was just me trying things out.

It's a chat bot designed to help people understand immediate changes they make to improve their mood. I called it Moodbot.

Moodbot is basically a conversational questionnaire. It asks 10 questions on subjects that generally have an impact people's day to day mental wellbeing. I want to stress I'm no doctor, and it's not designed to replace professional help. I just wanted to demonstrate the potential and how this kind of standalone tool could be created quite simply.

Give it a try here bowley.link/moodbot

[Side note: this was created before COVID and lockdown, so some of the questions may appear out of tune with our current lives.]

I used Landbot.io for this, and it probably took about half a day to complete. 
Plenty of other use cases for a chatty bot like this - as standalone products, not just for leads on business websites.
dope - may be fitting to update it to relate to COVID moods specifically?
If you are thinking updating to COVID mood let me know. I can give you access to a brand new frontend we're releasing soon;)
Thanks both, I may just do that - maybe with some input from a mental health org, if I can. 

Austin Yang - thanks for the offer, that might be very useful. Also, are you offering any discounts for COVID assistance projects?
Austin Yang replied
  ·  1 reply
Hello makers,

I've recently built an automated workflow for creating and emailing certificates to people, from a spreadsheet data set. 

This is similar to a gift card workflow, but without payments attached. Instead of the automation being triggered by a purchase, it is done when a new row is added to a master spreadsheet - which can come manually or automated itself.

It can also be branded for different products (on a per-person basis) from just one base certificate template. This works because Airtable allows for images in cells, so you can add a logo to a data row and insert it in the final certificate output. Other spreadsheets allow for images too, but they don't seem to work with the automation and merge tags.

The tools:
  1. Airtable for the data (incl. logo of product the certificate is for)
  2. Google Slides certificate template
  3. Google Drive for storage of certificates
  4. Outlook / Gmail to email out a PDF of certificate
  5. Zapier drives the steps in automation

    There are plenty of good use cases for this: 
  • Online course attendance certificates
  • Webinar (educational) attendance certificates
  • Mentor scheme completion certificates
  • Bootcamp stage completion certificates
  • Community membership certificates

this is what we do for the bootcamp certification :)

new record is filtered list on Airtable (graduated) -> trigger create certification with data using Google slides -> email that to the graduate :)

what did you use it for?
Thanks Ben, thought you might.

Mine were for a client who asked me to make one for webinar attendance - theirs are more like educational events for VIPs.
Hi all, is anyone familiar with creating an automaton that results in mailing a PDF via Outlook? I have a client I’m building a merge setup for, but the PDF side of things (going from Excel > Word > Outlook) is proving difficult. 

I’d prefer to use other data & doc tools but then how do you get a PDF going out in Outlook? Could Zapier do it?