Our idea was to make marketing automation accessible to everyone. This is our story:
On the morning of May 1, 2012, I was in my car, driving west on I-70 through the Flint Hills in the eastern part of Kansas — it was the second of a two day drive from Atlanta to Denver, where I’d be relocating my family and my business just three weeks later.
At 11:00 AM local time, my phone made that weird robot noise, reminding me to dial in for a conference call with my team at Zero-G Creative, the small business web marketing agency I started in 2006. I was going to be walking our crew through a diagram I had put together in my hotel room the night before, which outlined the framework for a suite of marketing automation tools I wanted to build for WordPress.
Let’s back up a bit, prior to that…
I had been talking to small business owners about creating marketing efficiencies and automating processes via WordPress for more than a year and my company had been building tools and plugins to help our clients make the most out of their web investment. We were creating the “missing links” between their website and other online and offline marketing initiatives that did not previously exist — there was nothing within WordPress. The only options were proprietary, unaffordable (by small business standards) solutions like Hubspot or Pardot.
Three months prior to my cross-country drive, I gave a talk on WordPress-based automation at WordCamp Atlanta, and there were audible gasps from the audience when I showed them how they could use a custom page template in WordPress to create an email newsletter for use in popular email systems like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact. It was a trick I had been using for quite a long time, but an auditorium full of marketing professionals and WordPress enthusiasts hadn’t seen anything like it before.
We continued building small automation-related tools for our clients and by the time I cruised into Kansas on the morning of May 1, we had a beta version of a WordPress plugin that would allow you to create a newsletter in WordPress and send it directly to MailChimp via API, we had a neat little plugin that made it easy to insert tracking codes, conversion codes and other scripts into your website without editing theme files and we had the framework drawn for what would be the first (crude) version of the lead tracking software which would ultimately become the cornerstone of our ORBTR offering.
What I had realized — and was finally able to articulate that morning in Kansas — was that there was a lot of potential in the little tools we were building and that it would actually be possible to build a fully-functioning automation system based in WordPress.
That was day one for ORBTR, and after nearly two years of hard work our team unveiled the first public release of ORBTR on March 15th, 2013 at WordCamp Atlanta.
We’ve released more than 20 updates to ORBTR since, adding lots of functionality and third party integrations, all while staying true to our initial vision of creating, simple, affordable and powerful tools for small business owners — and all available through their existing WordPress websites.
Today, small organizations all over the world are using ORBTR to power their sales and marketing efforts. We are tracking well over a million individuals who browse our clients’ sites.
This is still only the beginning for us. Our team is excited for the future and sharing the journey with the consultants, marketers, real estate agents, nonprofits, manufacturers and entrepreneurs who use our software.
Thanks for being a part of our story.