The Wrong Tools Waste Time and Money
I wish I would have known about the following tools when I first started. Looking back, I wasted a LOT of time – and subsequently money – using the wrong tools. But hey, “I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” right?
Some of the services below offer me referral / affiliate fees if you buy through my link. So I want to disclose that to you right here, right now.
And please know that I am endorsing the following products because these are the best tools I’ve found. The cash referral to me is just a bonus.
Best System for Managing Staff, Contractors, VAs, and Projects
BY FAR the best project-management software is Teamwork PM. It’s up there with my MacBook, Google Drive, and Screenflow for most-beloved and oft-used tools.
BY FAR the best software out there is Teamwork PM. Manage projects, VAs / Virtual Assistants, other contractors, staff… always know status of your / their projects… also makes it super easy to duplicate recurring projects or tasks, and for contractors / staff to track their time and bill you…. I seriously dislike Basecamp, MyProjectPlans, and all project management softwares I tried, until I found Teamwork PM. It’s amazing!
Best Marketing Education
There’s a LOT of Kool-Aid out there… UGH. Especially if you start looking around online. Everyone wants to teach you how to Get Rich Tomorrow, and create this illusion that “hey, you can do it too!”
The following education are the programs I personally have taken, and highly recommend because they got results for my clients and I…. more leads, more sales, more profit:
Fundamental Marketing Principles – the Bedrock
This single course is what propelled me from curious fringe-marketer to down-and-dirty competitor, suddenly winning bouts and getting results.. the one and only “Bobsled Run” from Perry Marshall. It ain’t cheap, but DAMN it’s a winner. I’m also proud to say I finished in 3rd place in my Bobsled Run.
Absolutely do NOT try Adwords without this book. It’s a crucial guide to not only avoid a gory failure, but to actually dominate your market. If you’re in a hard-core, ultra-competitive market (e.g. online weight loss), you’ll need to read additional books (e.g. Brad Geddes’ Advanced Google Adwords), but for everyone else, Perry’s Definitive Guide to Google Adwords will instantly make you a contender in Google Adwords.
Marketing Research & Keyword Research
Truly an unfair advantage… you’ll be glad you’re learning from Dr. Glenn and Dr. Sharon! (while your competitors wonder what the heck just happened…) Check their methods out here: marketing research.
Best Hosting Company
To buy hosting for your website, use BlueHost
I prefer BlueHost because:
- I can put unlimited domains on one hosting account; saves me a ton of money when I want to test different website ideas, split-test URLs, test different marketing and traffic ideas
- Super helpful, US-based customer service… which is really appreciated if you have an website emergency (e.g. get hacked – which will likely happen sooner or later)
Click here for BlueHost.
Best WordPress Themes
Get started with Thesis
Crazy potent theme, use OptimizePress. One of my all-time fav. tools.
Stunning visual editor, virtually unlimited customization. Very Fast, Very Customizable. Avoids a lot of coding. Takes some learning, and you should def have basic HTML chops, ideally some CSS too… use Headway Themes
Best Email Marketing Software
Start with something easy, affordable, and quick-to-use… get started with Aweber
I have graduated to Infusionsoft. More on that below….
Optional in beginning; mandatory once you’re running.
Setup Google Analytics; use an @Gmail.com account to login, ideally an @Gmail.com account that isn’t your personal account (create a new @GMail.com account if necessary).
Go to http://www.google.com/analytics (and once you’ve got it started up, install your tracking script to your Thesis cpanel in WordPress)
Website Management Software
Also known as a “CMS” – Content Managment Software – look no further than WordPress.
Used by zillions around the globe for a good reason – it’s stable, easy-to-use, and there’s a thousand-and-one tutorials online (and on YouTube!) if you ever hit a snag. Tons of themes and plugins available.
Download and install for free from inside your hosting cPanel… if you’re like me, that’s inside your HostMonster cPanel.
The King of the Jungle
CRM + Email Marketing + eCommerce + Direct Mail
Take all of your contacts / prospects / customers and put them in Infusionsoft.
Then take all of your product and services for sale and put them in Infusionsoft.
Then take all of your online (email) and offline (snail mail) marketing sequences and messages and put them in Infusionsoft.
Then setup all of your automatic billing for customers too.
And if you have an affiliate program set it up here too.
Not for the Faint of Heart
Lastly, hire a consultant to set it all up for you. It can be a bitch if you don’t. Like a Ferrari, it’s not something you pop the hood for fun. Most small business owners get an account, get overwhelemed, then quit. What a shame.
The Right Consultant
Make sure that consultant is a marketer, not just a techie. Or else you’ll get a disjointed franken-kid. But the right consultant and you will nurture propspects while you sleep and be shocked with the automatic sales that happen.
Expensive as Hell
This behemoth is expensive as hell at $2,500 up-front plus $300/month (that’s $3,600/year) – but like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
I love Infusionsoft so much I actually own TWO accounts.
Hope that helps!