It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child — well, it takes a village to raise a business, too.

On any given day, you’re using a village of resources to run your business. You’re managing your customers in one platform, deploying emails to your list from another. You’re editing a video for your newest course, rewriting your lesson plans, and making sure your orders have been processed correctly — all in dozens of different programs.

Just think about the amount of time and energy you spend hopping back and forth between applications. How many of these do you use in just one day?

  • Email: MailChimp, Aweber, Outlook, Gmail
  • CRM: Infusionsoft, Salesforce
  • Text editing: Microsoft Word, Google Docs
  • Blogging and website builders: WordPress, Github, Blogger, Wix
  • Video: Wistia, YouTube, Vimeo, iMovie, Movie Maker, Snaggit
  • Collaboration: DropBox, Disqus, GroupBuzz, Google Drive
  • Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Chat: Google Chat/Hangouts, AIM, Slack, Skype
  • Productivity: Evernote, Harvest, TimeCamp, Toggl
  • Payment processing: Stripe, PayPal, 1ShoppingCart, InfusionSoft

Makes you a little dizzy, doesn’t it?

Fortunately for you (and us!), there’s a fantastic trend among many of these programs: API integration. API stands for Application Programming Interface, a set of guidelines and instructions that allow web-based programs to interact with each other. Software developers can choose to make their APIs public so that other developers can connect with their products.

If you’ve ever noticed a Twitter feed embedded on a WordPress blog, or paid with Stripe on a sales page, you’ve seen the power of API in action. APIs forge connections in a world of otherwise siloed applications.

What does that mean for you? More ways to utilize your favorite tools. Stronger bonds between your village of resources. Time and energy saved.

We’re happy to say the integration trend isn’t going away anytime soon. Forbes quotes Twilio’s James Patron:

“APIs are going to be the driver for the digital economy and unless they [companies] are talking about APIs already, they will be left behind.”

Speaking of being left behind… Remember the old days of mail order catalogs? You’d get a catalog in your mailbox. Then you’d fill out an order form (by hand!) and send a check to the company. You’d wait and wait, then a few weeks later, your order would arrive.

It wasn’t that long ago that stores were hesitant to embrace online retail, believing that mail order would rule forever. But as technology changes, you have to keep up. Now, offering online shopping to your customers is a must. So is API integration.

And it will keep getting more important as technology advances.

When we started creating Summit Evergreen a few years ago, we believed in the power of APIs. And we still do. That’s why we built our product with the ability to connect with plenty of awesome programs. Summit Evergreen is a course creation platform that plays well with others and makes life easier for you.

Summit Evergreen currently supports integration with the following tools. Integrate your favorites with just a few clicks, and let the platform handle the rest:

  • Email services

If you use Infusionsoft, MailChimp or Aweber to manage your email subscribers, you’re in luck. Summit interfaces directly with those products, allowing you to connect with your existing email lists from within our platform. This means that after a prospect makes a purchase, it’s easy to add a “purchased” tag or put them in a different list in your email system. You never have to worry about promoting to someone who already purchased.

  • CRM

Summit Evergreen offers an open integrations plugin that lets you incorporate any CRM system you use. We offer built-in support for Infusionsoft, the CRM of choice for many of our customers. This makes it easier for you to manage your relationship with your customers, and to treat your high-value customers to special “students-only” offers — which makes for happier students and even better retention, results, and testimonials.

  • Payment processors

However you want your students to pay for your course, it’s a snap to set it up in Summit. Right now, we offer built-in support for Stripe, Infusionsoft, and 1ShoppingCart. There’s absolutely no reason for you to manually register your students, or for you to re-type anything. The payment processor automatically sends information to Summit Evergreen, your student chooses a password, and then they’re off to the races. This smooth customer experience reassures your students that you’re a professional, and improves your credibility.

Bonus: While not directly integrated into the platform, we also support Wistia, Vimeo, and YouTube for your video creation needs. You and your students can also comment on Summit Evergreen through Facebook, Disqus, or our own internal commenting system. (Pretty nifty!)

And we’re not the only company that sees APIs as the wave of the future. One of our favorite startups, Slack, is all about integration. Its key feature is an online chat software for workplace collaboration. But that’s not its most impressive function. Slack integrates with just about everything and anything you can imagine.

As WIRED reports:

“It ties in to many of the applications you use at work: Dropbox, Google Apps, GitHub, Heroku, and Zendesk to name a few. Once they’re all connected, it can keep track of most everything you do with them. The payoff is that it makes collaborating way easier than whatever you’re doing now.”

We’re so impressed by Slack, that we’ve been thinking about even more ways to hook your favorite applications into Summit Evergreen. Things like:

  • Allowing your students to log in to Summit Evergreen using their Facebook account, and accessing amazing demographic information.
  • Embedding Google Drive into your course creation dashboard, so you can edit your content simultaneously within Summit Evergreen AND your Google Doc.
  • Incorporating tools like DropBox, GroupBuzz, and Slack to make collaboration with your colleagues a cinch.

If these features sound good to you, please drop us a line (keith@summitevergreen.com) and let us know. The more interest we hear from our customers, the more likely it is that we’ll start exploring ideas like these.

We’re always on the lookout for ways to improve Summit Evergreen and make your life easier. And we’re committed to giving you a course creation platform that’s on the cutting edge. Whether we’re connecting with new APIs, adding helpful features, or making changes in response to your feedback, our goal is always to give you the best experience possible.

Whatever tool you’re using to build your courses, ask yourself: Does it play well with others?

It’s fast and easy to create your first online course. Start your free trial of Summit Evergreen by clicking here.

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