It’s a New Year and instead of making resolutions, I “clean house.”
I don’t know about you, but I used to have major issues with “shiny object syndrome” as an entrepreneur… you know, the latest and greatest software, tool, training, or whatever else you can think of comes along and you have to have it. I don’t even want to think about the amount of money I poured into those shiny objects over the years.
The problem is that as entrepreneurs, most of us are too busy to then actually follow through and use the software, tool or training because we simply don’t have time to deal with it. Then the end of the year comes and we realize that we have been paying for something (or multiple things) that we simply have not used.
In an effort to help you avoid shiny object syndrome, here are the key tools and trainings I use to run my business:
Digital Marketing Training – DMHQ
Let’s face it… we don’t know what we don’t know. And if you have a team? They probably don’t know either.
Whether you are a business owner, marketing executive or agency owner, DigitalMarketerHQ (DMHQ) is for you. Created by the folks at DigitalMarketer, it allows you to train your entire sales and marketing team, automate the training process and is a great tool for on-boarding new employees.
DigitalMarketerHQ provides training in 8 core disciplines your marketing team must have… and a portal in which to manage their training and monitor their progress and success.
- Conversion Funnel Optimization
- Content Marketing Mastery
- Paid Traffic and Customer Acquisition Mastery
- Email Marketing and List Building Mastery
- Social and Community Management
- Search Marketing Mastery
- Marketing Analytics and Data Science
- Testing and Conversion Rate Optimization
I am such a believer in what DigitalMarketer teaches, I became Certified with them back in 2015. I use DMHQ to train my outsourced contractors as well as my clients!
Not ready for DMHQ? Check out DigitalMarketer Lab. DM Lab has over 15,000 members and gives you 36+ execution plans to kickstart your digital marketing.
Graphic Design (Do it Yourself)- Canva
When it comes to graphic design for my own company, I am a bit of a do it yourself-er. That is why I love Canva and their easy to use interface. They provide pre-sized templates for some of your most commonly used graphics (i.e. Twitter posts, Facebook ads, etc) and also allow you to create custom size graphics as well. Whether you need to make an infographic, poster, flyer or social media ad, Canva makes it very easy to create your own images. They have both free and paid accounts (I pay for the business version) and their drag and drop interface is easy for any user.
Graphic Design – Pug Shop Design
Not able to draw a stick figure? That’s ok. If you are ready to outsource your graphic design to a reliable, affordable and incredibly talented team, then talk to the folks at PugShopDesign.com. They provide unlimited graphic designs for a low rate. I refer all of my clients to them for graphic work as I know they will be treated well and will walk away with a completed design that they love.
Landing Page Software – Leadpages
There are a lot of different landing page companies out there and I think I have played with most of their systems at this point. I decided to stick with Leadpages due to the ease of their templates and the speed in which I could create a page (honestly, most of mine are completed at 11:30 at night when I finally “have time”.) Their templates can be rather constrictive, but now that they have released their beta drag and drop builder, there is a lot more flexibility.
I also like that I can pull the pages into my WordPress site so that they url is my url and not theirs (nothing against them… I just want my url to show)
Membership Software – Memberium
Membership sites have become incredibly popular in the last few years, allowing you to provide a portal for your free or paid courses. Memberium provides the best membership plugin that connects Infusionsoft & WordPress. The membership site lives within your WordPress site and completely integrates with Infusionsoft, allowing self-automated membership sites.
Overwhelmed by the thought of building a membership site? Contact me and I can help. As a Certified Implementation Partner with Memberium, I can assist you in everything from the planning to the actual build.
Online Meetings/Webinars – Zoom
Zoom provides Web and Video Conferencing at reasonable rates. The user interface is easy to use and I don’t have issues with it freezing up like I have with other systems. I use it primarily for virtual client meetings and training sessions, but also for webinars. They have both free and paid accounts.
With the newly announced integration with Infusionsoft via PlusThis (see below), my use of Zoom is going to greatly increase!
Proposal Software – Proposify
Proposals have always been a chore for me. They are income producing, so they are high on my list of things that need to be done, but it has always been a long process for me to create one. Proposify is an online business proposal software the streamlines your sales process and manages the entire process from creation to close. It also integrates with Infusionsoft (see Sales & Marketing CRM) which means I can track all of my potential clients in Infusionsoft and create automated systems based on what stage the proposal is in. I never have to remember to follow up (that rarely happened) and proposals no longer fall through the cracks. Their system is user friendly and there are drag and drop templates to help get you started. Proposify offers a free trial for you to demo their software.
Sales & Marketing CRM – Infusionsoft
infusionsoft is the all in one sales and marketing CRM for small business. The CRM lets you find everything you need to know about your leads and customers in one place. With it’s small business marketing automation, you can create automated follow-ups that increase engagement while minimizing your workload. The e-Commerce module lets you sell online easily as well as create discounts, subscription plans and sell products or services.
Infusionsoft helps your business:
- Capture more leads
- Improve conversion rates
- Master e-commerce
- Manage the sales process
- Save more time with sales and marketing automation
To learn more about Infusionsoft, watch a demo here.
Scheduling Software – AppointmentCore
AppointmentCore allows you to automate your appointment setting process to save time. One of my greatest challenges was scheduling calls with clients. All of my clients are virtual and many are in different time zones. AppointmentCore made it possible to automate that process and I no longer spend time sending emails back and forth to determine a good time.
They provide a 30 day free trial.
Tool Box – PlusThis
Here are just a few of the many feature I use from their toolbox:
- Automate Event Check In
- SMS Messaging
- GoToWebinar Integration (and now Zoom integration too!)
- File Box Uploader
- Split Test Emails
- Countdown timers
- Smart Links
- and more!
There are so many add on tools, you need to see the list yourself on their website.
WordPress Hosting – Siteground
I switched to Siteground two years ago after a very bad experience with another hosting provider. My site on the previous hosting company was hacked 3 times… the third time so badly that Google blacklisted my site and I had to pay quite a lot of money to get my site cleaned and relisted with Google.
My experience with Siteground has been exceptional. They provide amazing tech support through their online chat (you can call them, but I am an online chat kind of girl). Their pricing is reasonable and my site is much more secure.
Take the time to review the systems you are using. Are you using them? Do they fit the needs of your business? Do they integrate with the other systems you use on a daily basis? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, it may be time to do some housecleaning of your own.
Prior to purchasing any systems or training in the future, take a moment to analyze the situation. Is this something your business really needs? Is there someone who will be able to take ownership to implement it? Or is it simply the next big thing and you are suffering from shiny object syndrome?
Do you have a system that you can’t live without? Share in the comments below.
Author’s Note: These are recommended resources that have earned the respect of Lisa M. Schulteis through her personal and professional experience. Lisa M. Schulteis and ElectraLime Marketing®, LLC do not accept responsibility for any purchases you make, business you conduct, or relationships you may initiate with any person or company listed within this directory. The nature of directory publishing is that listings may become inaccurate as time passes. Please direct any bad links or changes in information you may learn of to our Lisa by emailing her. I appreciate it. Lisa M. Schulteis may receive compensation from some of the entities listed for referrals, as their “thank you” for sending you their way. However, she NEVER recommends any service or product solely for the reason of receiving commissions (and neither should you) – her reputation is on the line.