20 Tools for your online business…or how not to get overwhelmed while selecting the right tools for your digital marketing
I have a confession to make.
I’m a total nerd when it comes to trying out new shiny tools and apps.
We both know how easy it is to install 46 new WordPress plugins in one evening, right?
Perhaps you’ve signed up for a dozen new online apps that promised to fully automate your business overnight?
The truth is that, in most cases, you will experience a completely different effect.
What’s going to happen is that you’ll have to login to 20 different dashboards, update 100 plugins, and eventually pay someone to integrate and connect all you’ve collected so far.
In the meantime, you will hope that all the puzzles of your secret internal arsenal will somehow fit together, building you the outstanding business that you’ve dreamed of.
However, you DON’T need all these tools to make online marketing, and your business, work for you. You need quality over quantity.
I’m testing a lot of different things but have managed to narrow them down to a list of 20 that I tested and will ACTUALLY help you in your online business!
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Currently, there are more than 3,800 marketing tools that are just a few clicks away from your credit card (posts about it and how not to become overwhelmed – Is your website (and mindset) in a vicious “zero sales” cycle ?).
Different people use different tools. This is my personally tested TOP selection of the 20 tools for your online business that work very well for my business and clients.
Of the 20 Tools for Your Online Business these are five main categories:
- Essential Tools we use to build funnels
- Analytics Tools
- WordPress plugins (various purposes)
- Non-essential Business Tools/Services
- Useful/Personal Tools
If you’d like to add-on to this list of the 20 tools for your online business with some of your favorite tools and apps from your private toolbox or request a tool review, please do so in the comments.
Let’s get started!
20 Tools that will ACTUALLY help your online business
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Tools we use to build funnels
(and our clients love them as well)
Using their drag and drop editor is ultra easy, and they’re consistently releasing new features and templates. It integrates will with all major service providers without complicated integration steps.
There are more than 120 different page templates (landing page, webinar, sales, course….), and all are easily customized.
Thrive Landing Pages can be used in combination with your existing design/template, or you can even build your new web pages from scratch (for example: about, contact, services, products…)
Personally, I like their export/import functions because it’s easy to share funnels with other people and clients.
They aren’t a 100% perfect solution, because they are still missing some features. However, Thrive Landing Pages are very responsive to new feature requests, and that’s very important when picking plugins to use.
Check it out especially if you are already using tools like ClickFunnels, Leadpages or ConvertKit.
Again, plenty of templates, A/B testing, good stats, and more than enough different placements to use your opt-in forms.
One feature we’ve just started testing is dynamic displaying of opt-in forms, so for example subscribers see different message instead of regular opt-in forms. This type of interaction with your visitors will certainly improve their overall experience and engagement with your content.
Another thing we’ve started using heavily is – one click opt-in, so your subscribers don’t have to go through another opt-in form to sign up for a webinar (that’s just one example, possibilities are limitless).
The great thing about Thrive opt-ins is the possibility to have multiple segmentation options in a single form, so you can easily segment your visitors and subscribers right from the start.
Ok, now we’ve covered funnel pages and opt-in forms….
P.S. You can get everything from Thrive in a bundle or purchase their tools separately, it’s up to you. I always try to use as many one-in-all tools as possible to make them easier to manage. That’s why I’d recommend getting the entire Thrive Bundle, plus you’ll save money!
ActiveCampaign is “the glue” that connects Thrive funnel Pages (or any other funnel app) to opt-in forms with your email subscribers, and creates automated communication with them.
In case you haven’t heard of ActiveCampaign, you may have heard of other similar tools that include: Mailchimp, Aweber, and GetResponse.
Why I like ActiveCampaign more than any of the ones mentioned (yes, we’ve used then all), is simply because ActiveCampaign has a very powerful automation builder. There’s no custom coding or additional programming involved when building your email automation. Just use their drag and drop builder, and you’ll have a powerful email sequence in just a matter of minutes.
Another valuable part of ActiveCampaign is their CRM segment. Meaning you can manage and track all your existing customers in one place, similar to platforms like Infusionsoft or Ontraport but on a smaller scale.
The final selling point for me is the ability to track website activity for your leads and customers. This is a very powerful feature that will instantly help you identify hot prospects and hyper engaged clients. The best thing is that everything is done on auto pilot.
BONUS RECOMMENDATION: bucket.io
bucket.io is a revolutionary segmentation tool that’s soon to be released. It’s not on my official list simply because it’s not yet available to the public. Luckily, I had a chance to peek behind the curtains and all can say is WOW.
Team behind the product are industry leaders when it comes to funnels, audience segmentation, surveys and quizzes so expect all-in-one segmentation tool that’ll make your online marketing so much easier.
Don’t forget to visit their website and sign up for WAITLIST (little birdie told me it’s going to launched very soon, but only to a limited number of users…)
The Digital Marketing Calculator is a tool that helps predict outcomes of your upcoming marketing campaigns, providing you with much needed valuable information to ensure your campaigns are successful and profitable.
Based on the stats from previous campaigns and/or industry standards, the Digital Marketing Predictor calculates outcomes such as:
– Campaign profitability
– Return on investment
– Average customer value
– Average visitor value
Even if you don’t have a product, you will find it useful because you can experiment with possibilities of creating and promoting your one time product (e.g. your online course) or a monthly subscription product (e.g. your membership), and get a clear understanding of which pricing structure is best for you.
Todd Brown (from Marketing Funnel Automations) and his team are doing a great job of making my life easier with ConversionFly app when it comes to tracking funnel performance. I love the fact they are rolling out new features on a regular basis.
If you are new to analytics and performance tracking, this app may seem overwhelming, due to a ton of awesome features. Luckily it has a very intuitive interface, enabling step-by-step tracking.
Why would you need it?
Do you want to know how your funnel pages are performing?
How different traffic sources are affecting overall sales?
What is the profile of your buyers?
If ConversionFly still looks too complicated or you don’t have a funnel yet, start with the next one…
I use this one primarily to record visitor’s behavior (you can see a screenshare video recording of your visitors to identify bottlenecks in your funnel pages), and track heat maps (most (un)popular web page locations).
Plus, you can create basic funnels and track conversion numbers too. It does not have all the options that ClickFunnels offers, however, it can still serve to track funnel numbers. I create funnels there as a backup option just to compare with ConversionFly for any big discrepancies.
The Third tool on my 20 tools for your online business list is used to track analytics and is of course…
Yes, whatever other tools you use to track analytics, never disregard the good old Google Analytics.
If you‘re on a tight budget and need to track your funnels somehow, you can simply set GOALS in Google Analytics + UTM parameters. It’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds.
I mostly use Google Analytics to track overall website metrics, and trends when it comes to entire website traffic. I have to admit there’s ton of stuff I don’t know about Google Analytics. So even if you dive into just the basics you’ll be able to know your numbers better.
Next are the 5 Essential plugins your WordPress site needs…
There are few WordPress plugins in my list of 20 tools for your online business (except the Thrive Bundle) that have to be installed right from the start, and could serve you well when working on your online marketing.
8) Yoast SEO
Yoast is a no brainer for me when it comes to effectively applying SEO on your pages and posts. Even the free version is very powerful because you can see your blog posts SEO potential and what could be done to improve it.
Even if you aren’t focused on SEO at the moment, using Yoast can help maintain the “search engine friendly” status of your pages.
I use this plugin when I need to create a very basic and simple affiliate link for partners to promote a product or service. It’s not fancy, but works when you want to share your sales page with someone and track their sales.
You can even set up a very basic dashboard page for partners to track their stats.
In case you are planing on having a big public product launch with a ton of affiliate partners, this won’t be the tool to use.
I use this one to create prettier links (mostly for affiliate offers) and to track click rates. Sometimes you just want to know how many people have downloaded your PDF, and this is the ideal plugin for it.
This one is currently an alternative suggestion for surveys and quiz creation until previously mentioned bucket.io becomes available. They have some pretty neat features, conditional logic, and dynamic content display. So it’s more than a good enough solutionto use for your surveys and forms.
Using this tool to add live countdown animations to your email sequences. Provide an urgency factor to your promotions for a great boost in sales with this neat tool.
Non-essential Business Tools/Services you’ll love
13) Teamwork PM
Project management tool we use to handle all my projects and clients.
Are you a coach or consultant?
Use it! Simply create every new TW project as a coaching client, and you’ll have an easy to follow system in no time.
If you have a Facebook group community, this is a must have tool to track users and their engagement. You’ll have an amazing insight into your FB groups that you can use in many ways. Try rewarding your most active members, plus use the data to re-engage with inactive ones.
They have a free access version, so my suggestion is to at least try the free version.
15) Call Loop
If you’d like to add an SMS reminder to your follow up sequences, then this is the service to use. SMS reminders are a very common element when it comes to webinar funnels.
Manage your social media accounts easily. It has way more features than Buffer or Hootsuite, plus it’s so much more than just a post scheduling app.
This year we’ve put together a huge content creation and distribution plan, and BuzzBundle will help us find relevant conversations on the internet where our content can be presented as a great value.
Use this one to schedule coaching or strategy calls. It integrates with my Google Calendar, and that’s all I need.
Useful / Personal Tools
Simple time tracker app that can be installed on all devices.
A few months ago I’ve decided to start tracking my activities in more detail, and this little helper has been working like a charm.
Now I can see exactly how to optimize my time and activities better.
App that also tracks usage of different programs/websites/tools. It’s running in the background so at the end of your week you’ll see how much time you’ve ACTUALLY spent working.
I dare you to install it!
You need to digitally sign a contract with a client? Use this app.
So that is my list of 20 tools for your online business that I have found are essential.
Don’t worry, this is all I have for you for today.
There are plenty more useful apps that can be used to your advantage, and you’ll read about them very soon.
To get the best out of this article, start with one tool out of the list of 20 tools for your online business that you need the most in your business at the moment, and implement it now.
This is the order I always follow when starting out a new project or venture:
1) Build (Funnel and opt-in tools, Email automation)
2) Track (ConversionFly, Hot Jar)
3) Review (Grytics, Google Analytics)
4) Optimize (Teamwork, Toggl…)
It’s not necessary to install all the tools and plugins at once, but focus on one segment at the time.
Which tools are you using in your business?
I’m always interested to experiment with new ones (especially when I have to do some other important task 🙂 )
I dare you to share your FULL list of tools in the comment below…