I explore and test a lot of marketing apps and programs. So many of these have been instrumental in helping me move my business forward, that it would be irresponsible of me not to share those resources with you.
Disclaimer: Some links are affiliate links, which means that I get a commission from any sales purchased through the link(s) at no additional cost to you. Anything listed, I have used. I don’t list any product unless I have tested it and feel that it may be useful to someone else.
Marketing Book Recommendations
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
by Michael Hyatt. Great book for getting step by step directions to improve your platform (the means of getting your message/product out there, be it blog, podcast, social media, or other platform). While a good read from cover to cover, I use it more as a reference source, referring to chapters as I need them.
The 4-Hour Workweek
by Tim Ferriss. Jam packed with many great ideas and resources, this book is as much a reference book as it is a book to change how you look at managing your time and resources. I get something new out of it every time I pick it up.
by Ryan Levesque. Ask details an online formula for discovering what your customers really want (which isn’t always what you think they want). I’m still perfecting my ask survey of my readers and customers (you can take my quick survey here).
Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn. There is not a more genuine soul on this planet than Pat Flynn. His weekly podcast is full of great information about different ways to produce passive income, grow your business, learn new things, and serve your audience better. He does this through interviews with not only top Internet gurus, but also regular entrepreneurs who are putting his teachings to use and making a living with smart passive income (that’s the kind of income that happens when you’re sleeping as opposed to trading dollars for work hours).
HostGator. I’ve been very pleased with my service at HostGator. They are easy to use and quick to respond to the few issues I’ve had (mostly in the “how do I…” area). WordPress is a one button click to install, and I love working on WordPress. (I have a real affinity for web services that involve animals, as you’ll see if you look over the rest of this services section.)
MailChimp. A well-respected and easy to use service that allows you manage your email list. With a few clicks you can set up your list and create a sign-up form to place on your website or social media. Creating a newsletter or email blast is simple, and there are a bunch of templates to choose from. Want to create your own template – super simple, and then you can use it over and over! Can’t beat the price: free for up to 2,000 subscribers (or 12,000 email sends/month). Upgrade to a paid account (starts at $10/month) to use some of the advanced features, including automated emails.
SumoMe. This is a cool little widget to add to your website which allows a signup bar to appear at the top of the window (and disappear too). You connect the signup with your eMail service (like MailChimp, but they support many others). The basic widget is free but there are upgrades and additional widgets that make collecting email addresses and driving traffic to your site super easy.
Social Media Management:
Meet Edgar. There are not enough words to describe how much I love Edgar. Besides being the cutest octopus on the web (I warned you about my affinity for web services involving animals), Edgar makes posting to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn seamless. Yes, there are other services where you can load up a queue of posts and even schedule them, but Edgar lets you REUSE your posts by allowing you to categorize them in a library. He then pulls from this library according to your schedule, cycling through the posts week and week, month after month. Check out the comparison to other services here.
Now I won’t kid you, Edgar comes at a price (starts at $49 a month), but when you consider how much time you save each month by not having to sit down and create a bunch of new posts, you realize he is quite a bargain. I’m probably the most passionate about this service, and it’s not even an affiliate link!
Canva. Ever wonder how to create those cool Facebook headers or graphics for your blog? A lot of people, myself included, use Canva. It’s free with some images and layouts that are only $1 each, so still a real bargain. My favorite part is that they have templates for all the major social media. It used to drive me crazy trying to figure out what size Facebook header was, which was different from a Twitter header, which was different from… you get the idea. You can upload your own images too, and add text, change colors and sizes, and so much more. There is a professional version that allows for some additional features, but you can still do a lot at the free level (which is what I’m currently using).
Pixabay. Looking for free images and graphics. Pixabay is the place. I’ve found lots of great images that truly are free to use under the Creative Commons agreement even for commercial use. Just because an image is on the internet, doesn’t mean you have the right to use it. Most of the images on my website are from Pixabay.
Other helpful apps or programs
Bit.ly. Need to shorten a URL from an unmanageable or even unreadable jumble of letters and numbers into something much shorter or even customized? Bit.ly is one of the many URL shorteners out there, and it’s the one that I use. It’s free. It provides a limited amount of analytics. Worth the two minutes it takes to set up an account.