Don’t you love it when you find a tool that saves you loads of time or money or enables you to do something you previously thought was out of your comfort zone?
And don’t you hate it when you find out about these tools way down the line and realise how much time and money you could have saved if only you knew about them earlier?
That’s why I decided to put together this list of the 5 tools I can’t manage without. I’m not an affiliate for any of these tools so I have no vested interest in promoting them other than to make your life easier.
When you are thinking about starting your own business you usually end up subscribing to a bunch of email newsletters. You’ll grab any free guide, any free webinar training and any free insights from the top coaches and gurus in your field which means you are then on their mailing list until you unsubscribe. This quickly results in thousands of unread emails in your inbox. The best way to manage your subscriptions that I have found is Unroll.me. Unroll.me allows you to unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer want to subscribe to in one sweep and ‘roll up’ those you are still interested in but don’t necessarily want cluttering up your inbox. You receive a single email from Unroll.me at whatever frequency you request (I choose daily) with a snapshot of each of your ‘rolled’ up subscriptions. Once a day I open the email from Unroll.me, quickly scan through the email snapshots and click on any that interest me, ignoring the rest. I love unroll.me and the best bit is it’s free (just don’t unroll me if you’ve already subscribed to the BGGB Magazine!).
Aweber is the email autoresponder I use to send out emails to the subscribers of my magazine and people that sign up for my free gifts and courses. In Aweber there are two types of message you can send. Broadcast messages are messages you send as one-off messages. My magazine goes out as a broadcast message. Although they are one-off messages you can still schedule them to send at a later date if you want to. Follow up messages are messages that go out in a particular sequence. This sequence is automated and is what makes Aweber an autoresponder. So when you sign up to get my Amazing Business Plan on a Page you get a series of automated messages for you to confirm your email address, download your free gift and receive a bonus gift a few days later. This whole email sequence is automated. Once it’s set up I don’t need to do anything else.
Aweber isn’t free. I pay $19 a month. There are other tools available such as Mailchimp which is popular and free to use up to 2000 email subscribers and Infusionsoft which offers much more advanced tools and has a price tag to match. If you are starting out and are unsure whether you want to use Mailchimp or Aweber you can sign up to both and see which you prefer by taking advantage of the free trial offered by Aweber.
Skitch is a fantastic screen grab tool that allows you to take screen shots and then edit them. Check out the example below. I was able to take the screenshot, edit it, then drop it straight into this blog post, all without leaving the WordPress editor. And skitch is free. What’s not to love?
Where would I be without Canva? Canva is where I create most of my graphics. It’s perfect for creating the quote posts (also called memes) that you see on Facebook pages and graphics such as the one at the top of this post. You can also use it to create Facebook timeline covers, Twitter headers, infographics, e-book covers and more. Canva is free unless you use one of their images. I tend to use images of my own or from stock photo sites such as dollarphotoclub.com but if you do want to use one of Canva’s images they cost just $1 each, or 11 images for $10.
4. Microsoft PowerPoint
You are probably wondering why I included PowerPoint in this list but it’s because I use it pretty much every day. If you’re used to using PowerPoint in a corporate environment you’ll know it is a powerful tool for creating presentations and slideshows, but what you might not know is that it’s actually great for creating attractive e-books and PDFs, brochures and leaflets. If you’re not a graphic designer and don’t have graphics software to create beautiful materials for your business but want to have a go yourself PowerPoint does the job perfectly well. You can even create an attractive template in Canva then import it into PowerPoint. That’s how I create most of my documents.
Now, I recently migrated from Windows PC to Macbook and my Mac-junkie friends assure me that Pages will do the same thing. I’m yet to be convinced so after some deliberation have opted to purchase MS Office so that I can continue to use PowerPoint, for now at least.
If you’ve created a PDF document and want to showcase it with an attractive 3D cover you might think you need to hire a graphic designer to do that for you, which isn’t going to be cheap. You can of course hire someone from sites such as Fiver or People Per Hour which will probably cost less than hiring someone locally but you can also have a go yourself. Myecovermaker enables you to create covers to showcase your information products at a cost of just $4.95. You can create 3D book covers, CD and DVD covers and project an image onto a computer screen. Some basic cover images are even available for free. Like this one. I’ve uploaded the image at the top of this post, which I made in Canva and turned it into this cover. The whole process took me less than 2 minutes and cost me nothing.
So these are the 5 tools that I found to be the most useful when I first started marketing my business online. There are many more that I use and I’m sure you have some suggestions too so please let us know which tools you have found to be invaluable in the comments below.