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5 top tools to grow your biz
Here’s a question for you… are you using easily available online tools to run your biz more effectively?
Asking because as a small online business owner trying to build her online empire (and working with many clients who are trying to do this same), the question of what are the top tools to run your business, is forever being discussed.
I’ve been in business for four years now and tested quite a few of them. So today I’m sharing my top 5 tools to grow and run your online business.
These are the useful tools that I use to run my business each day (there are more of course but these are my top 5). And importantly, you don’t need to be techie to use them which we like.
If you’re running an online business, then there’s a high chance that at some point you’ll need to consider video hosting options.
The most common options are: YouTube, Vimeo and Wistia.
I used to use Vimeo but got frustrated with the buffering and slow loading times of the videos. So I moved to Wistia.
I’m now a huge fan of Wistia. It’s a little like the Porsche of video hosting. It costs a little but it’s well worth it because it gives viewers a beautiful, high-end viewing experience.
Plus Wistia takes video hosting a step further with the inclusion of analytics and in-built video marketing tools.
Wistia support is also exceptional as is their regular newsletter which is full of useful tips on how to use video to build your business.
This isn’t to say that YouTube isn’t useful. If the video you’re creating is primarily targeting reach as opposed to traffic, YouTube may be ideal.
You can use both Wistia and YouTube together, which is what I do and it works well.
I don’t know about you but I do A LOT of typing. Or I did…
Voxer is an app that is all about communicating faster. It allows you to send voice memos, texts, videos, pics and gifs from your iPhone, Android or desktop.
Since using Voxer, I’ve reduced the amount of typing I’m doing because speaking is so much faster than typing right? (I’ve written about this previously.)
I use Voxer to sharp shoot questions with my clients and to facilitate communication with my virtual team. They all love it, as do I.
Choosing the right email provider and knowing when to move on from your current one, is an important consideration for many online business owners.
I have personally tried MailChimp, Getresponse and Infusionsoft in my business. Plus, working with hundreds of clients who are running online businesses, has meant that I’ve seen and heard how many other email providers work in practice.
All things considered I recommend Active Campaign. Here’s a few reasons why:
- It’s user friendly.
- Has great automation capabilities.
- The company is invested into developing the platform.
- Has good support.
- And it suits most businesses regardless of the stage they are at.
In other words it can grow with you as your business does.
If you are selling online then you are going to need some sort of a shopping cart to process payments.
Some email providers like Infusionsoft come with an ecommerce solution and therefore don’t require an external shopping cart.
However if you were using something like Active Campaign, then you would need to have shopping cart software that allows you to accept customer payments and then distribute that information to your payment processor, like PayPal, for example. That’s what a shopping cart essentially does.
The “hosted” shopping cart is software as a service (SaaS). The merchant (i.e you) pays a recurring monthly fee for access to the software.
Here’s a list of why SamCart is a superb shopping cart solution for online marketers:
- It’s easy to use and set up.
- Has customisable, professional looking mobile optimised order forms.
- Gives excellent reporting with a beautifully designed dashboard.
- Allows for upsells, downsells and “order bumps”.
- Has split testing capabilities.
- Has an affiliate centre for your products.
- Integrates with PayPal and many other payment software including Stripe.
Since using SamCart in my business I have seen the average profit per sale increase by the use of order bumps and upsells.
If you’re creating online courses or need to host training materials in a protected members only area, then you’re most likely going to need a membership site.
There are tons of membership site options available. Choosing the right one for your business depends on several of factors including what you need it for (and what you need to integrate it with) and what stage of business you are in.
For example, if you’re just starting out an ‘off the shelf’ solution might be a good option. These are typically self hosted platforms that are plug-n-play in that they don’t require a complicated setup or the need to spend money to get someone to customise it for you.
I use Access Ally for the membership site for my programs. I moved to Access Ally in January this year after being frustrated and experiencing many issues with the platform and membership management plugin my programs were hosted on before.
When choosing which membership site to move to, I wanted to give my students a high-end quality learning experience.
Access Ally has gamification elements like progress tracking and is beautifully designed. If you like pretty things that function well and an environment that facilitates learning, it may be a good option for you. However, at this stage AccessAlly only works with certain email providers e.g. Active Campaign, InfusionSoft and Ontraport.
Getting set up on AccessAlly was hiccup free. I worked with Kimberly Gosney, one of Access Ally certified partners, to customise my site into the format I wanted and it was well worth it.
So there you have it, tools to make your business (and life) a little easier.
What about you? What tools are you using in your business?