Here's your handy dandy cheat sheet to get you all set up with the tools that will make your life and business way Way WAY easier.
Full disclosure: some of these tools feature affiliate links. I get a small commission if you end up signing up with some (not all) of them.
(i.e. Squarspace, Wix, etc.)
Templated builders such as Squarespace and Wix don't play nicely with third-party apps like your preferred ESP (Email Service Provider). They require many backend hacks to move data to your ESP.
Trust me. I've hacked my way through these CMS'. It takes a lot of workarounds to get the right data to your Email Service Provider in order to automate your processes.
WordPress has 5,000,001 plugins that you can add to your site to customize it to the nth degree.
Customization is the end-all-be-all of websites for some people.
Need help getting a WordPress site exactly the way you want it? Check out my friend, Janelle at Ellanyze.
OR if you need something quick and super simple, my friends at Jottful have easy sites ready and waiting for you.
This is a given for most, but sometimes a gentle reminder is all you need to get on this powerful FREE tool.
MOST importantly, don't forget to tag the links you're posting to refer traffic to your site.
For example, if you have a link to your website on a directory page, make sure you tag it so you know how well that directory is performing for you. If you don't, you'll see a lot “Direct” traffic sources on your Analytics page and will never know which sites are directing traffic to you.
for your Wordpress site
Worried you don't know WordPress well enough to design beautiful websites?
We live in the future! Everything is easier now.
Drag-and-drop page builders are a thing and they are AMAZING.
I have used Divi Theme Builder and Beaver Builder and love them both. They both integrate with ActiveCampaign (and almost every other ESP).
A good email marketing strategy starts with a form. People will GIVE you their information if you make it easy for them.
ActiveCampaign has forms you can embed, but to make them pretty, you'll need a little bit o' CSS magic (which isn't for everyone).
Divi also has their own form builder called Bloom which can easily help you build beautiful forms.
HOWEVER, I use a tool that lets you design Lead Magnets AND forms, all in one platform. It's called Beacon.
i.e. Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc.
The most popular ESP is Mailchimp. It's free to start out which makes it as attractive as Idris Elba.
Every growing business has to make a decision on what tools and services they are going to invest in. Don't skimp on this one.
Email marketing has the power to generate millions of dollars in revenue. I would know. I've led a team that has done just that.
It's a powerful when you know how to use it and you have an ESP that will help you get there.
BONUS: ActiveCampaign has a Chrome extension. You can track your contacts right from gmail and/or add notes, deals and update information.
Have I mentioned how much I love it? Because I do. I love it.
If you're ready to invest in email, I'd start here.
Not ready to pull out the big guns on your email program just yet?
That's totally fine. We all have to start somewhere.
Mailerlite is a respectable option for a freemium email service provider.
It's free for the first 1,000 contacts and then pretty inexpensive from there.
It also provides some stellar automation support (much better than Mailchimp).
Zapier is one of those tools that I wish I had known about YEARS ago.
It connects apps on apps on apps together to let all of your info talk to each other.
In their free version, you can run up to 5 “zaps”. These are your little robot taskmasters that send information back and forth between your apps.
Upgrade for $25/month and your life upgrades as well.
It's like have a tiny, invisible assistant doing all of the things for you for only $25/month!
Quit sending 500 emails back and forth with someone to make your next appointment. Send them your Calendly link and they can book a time with you that works for them.
Seriously. It saves SO MUCH time.
Upgrade for $10/month and you can create several types of appointments for all of the different things in your life.
Facebook has their own content scheduler that also integrates with (and auto-publishes to) Instagram.
Yes, it's true. Yes, it's totally free.
If you're a power Instagram user, this is a must.
Make your email signature look like you didn't forget to take a shower this morning.
(I see you.)
Grab a professional-looking signature with your email opt-in link, social media buttons and all of the other fanciness with my fave email signature generator.
Did you know that the CAN-SPAM act requires a physical address on all of your emails?
Yep. It's true.
Don't worry. You don't have to list your home address.
Grab a virtual mailbox and they'll SCAN your mail to you. You have to give them permission with a notary to do that but, again, WORTH IT.
Any tech tool you wish you'd have for your business is on AppSumo as flash deals.
It's where I got my appointment scheduler for a lifetime price that would make your eyes bulge.
I've gotten cloud video editing tools, DepositPhoto credit packs, and lifetime deal on my social media management tool.
It's actually become a bit of a problem for me (and my bank account).
The tools that can make your life one million percent easier aren't out of reach just because they're out of your budget.
If you've looked into webinar tools, you've probably already been shocked by the price tag.
I picked up LiveWebinar for a song. It integrates well with several email service providers (and Zapier) and is very inexpensive compared to other similar tools.
It's $14.99/month for up to 100 attendees and it also doubles well as a video-conferencing tool.
If you're fed up with Zoom, Jitsi is an open-source, free video conferencing tool.