WE DO ALL THE “VETTING”

SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

Whether you’re ready to launch your startup or you’re looking to transform your traditional business into a digital leader, the tools of the trade shape the way you can build and grow your business. If you’re just starting out….it’s bootstrapping time and keeping costs in check is your highest priority. If you are an established smaller business and you want to grow, then you need tools/platforms robust enough to scale.

Here is how this resource page works.

If I list more than one platform/tool, it’s based on affordability, scalability and advanced functionality. During the startup phase, FREE or close to FREE is the key word, but as you expect to grow, the tools/platforms will change—and obviously so will the price.

I update this resource page regularly, since—say it with me—“trends and technologies change!” Literally, technology is changing so quickly, that it’s next to impossible to keep up with it all for every business category. I’m always on the lookout for the absolute Best in Class and Most Popular marketing tools and systems that make my—and hopefully your life—easier. If you ever come across a tool or resource that has worked for your business, please let me know so I can evaluate it and then share it with our community of “Insiders”.

Our Insiders are smart people who want to:

BE IN THE KNOW

Stay connected with cutting edge strategies, tactics, tools, platforms and systems

Want credible reviews

Want to be a part of a like-minded community

If you want to leap ahead of the marketing curve, learn about the latest and greatest marketing tools, tips and resources, I’d love to have you join my newsletter group and subscribe to the podcast.

yes2 YES, I WANT TO BE IN THE KNOW

So quick disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

MY VITAL JUMPSTART TOOLS & RESOURCES

Time is money. I put this resource page together to help you shave off hundreds—in my case thousands—of hours of research and testing. If you look at nothing else on this page other than the Jumpstart Training Resources Section, you will be off to a great start.

HERE ARE MY CURRENT RECOMMENDATIONS:

WEB HOSTING

  • bluehost

    BLUEHOST

    Bluehost offers feature-rich affordable web hosting with 1-click WordPress integration. It’s ideal for first-time site builders, in part because it offers amazing customer service and tools that make it simple for first-time users to quickly understand how to do things. I use it myself – and I’m a happy customer. Their customer support is AWESOME!

BLOGGING PLATFORM

  • wordpress

    WORDPRESS

    If you think WordPress is just for bloggers, I’ve got news for you. WordPress is a highly customizable, richly-featured content management system – which means that if can manage your entire website. WordPress makes mobile optimization straightforward, it simplifies many SEO issues, and it can handle as much ecommerce as you throw at it.

LIST BUILDING

  • leadpages

    LeadPages – Opt-in Box without coding

    You need a landing page or an opt-in box? You need LeadPages. Reasonably priced, crazy easy to use, and so much added value. Fantastic reporting capabilities, all the data you could possibly want. I could go on, but you really should have clicked over by now. Every minute you’re not a LeadPages member, I really feel like you’re losing opportunities to gain users.

  • optinmonster

    OptinMonster

    If you’re new to the entrepreneurial game, you might be looking for places where you can save a few bucks. I get it. OptInMonster is cheaper than LeadPages, and you can get most of the same features. Not all, but enough to get you started. Enough to get some money coming in, and when you need to upgrade, you can do it. It’s a solid starter choice.

LANDING PAGE SOFTWARE

  • leadpages

    LEAD PAGES

    You need a landing page or an opt-in box? You need LeadPages. Reasonably priced, crazy easy to use, and so much added value. Fantastic reporting capabilities, all the data you could possibly want. I could go on, but you really should have clicked over by now. Every minute you’re not a LeadPages member, I really feel like you’re losing opportunities to gain users.

  • optimizepress

    Optimize Press

    Here’s another strong contender in the landing pages game. OptimizePress offers truly solid WordPress integration, and it’s particularly useful if you’re looking to create a membership-based site. If you’re not finding what you need at LeadPages – or it’s taking too much of your time to integrate and implement, check out OptimizePress.

  • unbounce

    Unbounce

    After a time, you may find that the landing pages that once served you so well – the ones that built you your beautiful list and got you those lovely subscribers – seems a little, well, simple. You’re not looking for complications, but you need some flexibility. You need more options – even if that means you’ll spend more time to get your landing pages up and running. That’s when you head over to Unbounce to check out ways you can tweak all kinds of things to test responses.

EMAIL MARKETING

  • mailchimp

    CONVERTKIT

    I have used a handful, okay, maybe two handfuls of email marketing and automation tools over my career and bar none, ConvertKit is by far the easiest and most intuitive email marketing and automation platform on the market. I recently switched to ConvertKit and I have been delighted at every turn–and I think you will be too! I’m a big proponent of segmenting your users based on interests and this platform makes a difficult process darn right easy.

  • mailchimp

    MAILCHIMP

    Mailing list management comes down to a handful of options, and MailChimp is one of the big ones. Design great looking messages in minutes, segment your lists, and get lots of fun statistics to play with once you’re up and running. And when you’re just getting started, you can use it for free. Once you go over 2000 subscribers, you’ll need to pay – but by that point you should have some money coming in to cover costs.

  • aweber

    AWEBER

    Another big name in mailing list management and I’ve used it many times in many different companies. More powerful than some of the freemium competitive versions, but with great power comes… a monthly price tag. The price is reasonable, however, and you may find the additional functionality helpful, depending on your industry and the size of your list.

  • hubspot

    HUBSPOT

    If you’re just starting out, Hubspot might be overkill. But if you’re already bringing in money, then investing in a marketing automation solution is a smart move. You can use a single interface to generate leads, welcome visitors to your site, close sales, and encourage your customers to spread the word to their friends. This is an excellent option for companies already enjoying $100K+ annual revenues and are looking to take it to the next level.

  • infusionsoft

    InfusionSoft

    Infusionsoft is not easy to learn, and it costs a pretty penny, but it is an amazing tool for CRM once you know how to use it well. It’s designed for growing businesses, and it’s more flexible than just a standard CRM, like Salesforce in many ways. My gut feeling is that InfusionSoft is great for a business that’s focused on growth – if you’re looking to grow into the millions, this is a solid choice.

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM)

  • insightly

    INSIGHTLY

    Insightly is a great choice for solopreneurs and small businesses – and pricing starts at just $12/user/month. You’ll be up and running in under 10 minutes, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have anyone technical on your staff. You might also appreciate the built-in project management capabilities – but you don’t have the marketing automation capabilities of Hubspot or the same level of flexibility offered by more expensive solutions.

  • zohocrm

    ZOHO CRM

    Once you’ve passed $200,000 in annual revenues, you might want to start looking for a more robust CRM solution. Zoho is a nice bridge between the low-cost, low-flexibility options and the big names like Salesforce. There’s a small learning curve, but this is an affordable solution for companies well on the path to growth.

  • nimble

    NIMBLE

    The social integration Nimble offers is extremely cool. You can see all of your sales teams’ social connections in one place, and really dig deep into those networks to drive leads to your site. The price is comparable with Insightly ($15/month/user), so you’re still not getting the most thorough reporting capabilities, but if you’re focusing on social, Nimble is an excellent choice.

  • salesfoce

    SALESFORCE

    If you’re a small business, Salesforce really isn’t for you. You can get 80-90% of the functionality you need from one of the other options, and figure out how to approximate the rest. But when you make the leap to mid-size business, it’s time to get yourself the customizable, flexible solution that Salesforce offers. But do beware that some of its offerings are a little outdated (text-only emails? Really?)

  • infusionsoft

    INFUSIONSOFT

    Infusionsoft is not easy to learn, and it costs a pretty penny, but it is an amazing tool for CRM once you know how to use it well. It’s designed for growing businesses, and it’s more flexible than just a standard CRM, like Salesforce in many ways. My gut feeling is that InfusionSoft is great for a business that’s focused on growth – if you’re looking to grow into the millions, this is a solid choice.

SHOPPING CART

  • gumroad

    GUMROAD

    If you’re an artist, writer, developer, designer – a creative type – and you’re looking to sell to people via your social channels, blog, etc., Gumroad is an easy-to-use solution. In fact, I am a believer and user of this interface. They can’t handle everything, so be sure to read closely and see if they’re the best match for you.

  • woocommerce

    WooCommerce

    WordPress integration, complete flexibility, and the base is free to install (there are add-ons – some of them absolutely necessary – that you’ll have to pay for). This makes Woocomerce a popular ecommerce solution, and definitely worth checking out.

  • paypal

    Paypal

    If you live on Earth, you know what Paypal is. And because it’s insanely popular, your customers probably already have Paypal accounts, so there’s not an additional obstacle between the two of you. Using Paypal also lets you accept credit cards.

  • shopify

    SHOPIFY

    Although they’re the new guy in town, Shopify has taken the ecommerce world by storm with its fully-featured ecommerce solution. Super easy to implement, and your startup costs are completely reasonable.

LOGOS & CREATIVE DESIGN

  • 99designs

    99Designs

    When you’re starting or relaunching a business, you’re going to need design work done. And if you don’t have an in-house designer yet, you might be looking for some affordable solutions. 99designs lets you invite designers to compete for your business. You set your budget, designers submit their work, and you can pick what you like.

  • fiverr

    Fiverr

    You can absolutely find diamonds in the rough on Fiverr. For one-off design jobs, you can almost always find talented people who are willing to work for a low price – obviously, the idea is that if you like their work, you’ll use them again, at higher rates.

LEGAL

  • legalzoom

    LegalZoom

    Hi, you’re running a business. Are you an LLC? Need an NDA? Looking for a contract to use with your freelancers? LegalZoom has you covered. Do not ignore all the paperwork that goes along with running a business. Leave it to the professionals – so that you can concentrate on making money.

EDUCATION

  • readyset

    How to Grow a Business Today

    Shameless plug…I know, but I do believe after 15 years of business building, this guide is a great template/blueprint to building a modern day marketing engine.

  • fbinfluence

    Facebook Training 101

    Facebook Influence (or fbinfluence) is a series of beginning training videos on what it takes to market successfully using Facebook. We all have our different approaches but I like this straight forward content. Facebook Influence is ideal for small business owners who are struggling to tap into Facebook as a source of traffic, leads, and customers

  • linkedfluence

    LinkedIn Training

    LinkedInfluence is an affordable, easy-to-implement guide that’s designed to give you a truly professional LinkedIn profile – and get you connected with the people who have the power to hire you. If you want your name to be in front of the decision makers – and if you want your profile to win them over in flash, this is the course that will do that.

  • pintrainig

    Pinterest Training & The Power of Pinning

    If you’ve been struggling to understand that connection between Pintrest and business marketing, this course is for you. With this course, you won’t need to spend hours trying to figure out the best way to use the power of imagery to bring in more business – you’ll learn exactly what to do and how to implement a proven plan for success.

  • youtube

    YouTube/Video Training

    If the idea of putting yourself out there on YouTube makes you nervous, I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU! But this course walks you through the process, step by step. It helps you get past the stage fright you might be experiencing and shows you how to make sure the videos you upload rank well. Amazing value – this course is the real deal.

  • podcast

    Podcaster’s Paradise

    If you’ve been thinking about jumping into the Podcasting game, don’t do anything else until you join Podcaster’s Paradise. And frankly, I even recommend it to people who’ve already started Podcasting and maybe aren’t seeing the results they want. This hyper-detailed resource answers every question you could possibly have – including answers to questions you didn’t even think of asking. Learn from the guy who wrote the book on entrepreneurial podcasting – literally.

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

  • sniply

    Snip.ly

    If you thought that this was only a content curation tool made for social media, you’d be way wrong. This tool helps you share other people’s content and then use a Call-To-Action to bring them back to you. One of my favorite pull marketing tools. Listen here to learn more from the Founder!

  • heyo

    HEYO

    This software is perfect for creating mobile-optimized campaigns with Facebook integration. You control your own outcomes with the help of an easy-to-use interface – with absolutely no coding. Simply pick your template, tweak it to your own needs, and publish it for public use.

  • shortstack

    Shortstack

    Use this app generator to create engaging social media campaigns, promotional material, contests, and more – and integrate them with your various social channels. Get started for free, and expand your plan as your business grows.

TWITTER TOOLS

  • manageflitter

    ManageFlitter

    Trying to manage multiple Twitter accounts across different time zones can be confusing. ManageFlitter puts you back in control, and gives you useful reports so that you can track the effectiveness of your campaigns.

INSTAGRAM TOOLS

  • schedugram

    ScheduGram

    Manage multiple Instagram accounts, incorporate web uploads, and schedule posts for complete control.

Social Media Management

  • hootsuite

    Hootsuite

    Hootsuite simplifies social media profile management. Schedule posts and engage and interact with followers from a centralized platform.

  • bugger

    Buffer

    Need to schedule and manage posts for multiple sites and accounts? Buffer makes it easy to consolidate your social sharing on your own schedule – and the backend analytics let you see the results of your interactions.

  • rignite

    Rignite

    Monitor and engage on social media with a single tool. Use the reporting information to adjust your campaigns and improve results in real time.

  • sproutsocial

    Sproutsocial

    Another solid option for social media management, with easy-to-use tools and collaborative software that lets you work across multiple social media outlets, and detailed analytics to keep your data analyst happy.

LIVE WEBINAR PLATFORM

  • gotowebinar

    GoToWebinar

    Set up and run webinars on your own, without any help from IT, at an affordable price. Get audience feedback with polling and surveys, and let attendees ask questions and give feedback in real time.

RECORDED WEBINAR PLATFORM

  • easyweb

    Easywebinar

    EasyWebinar
    Want to run a hybrid event – part automated stream on demand, part live interaction? Go for it. WordPress integration, easy to use, unlimited attendees, lots of options, and terrific analytics.

  • evergreen

    Evergreen Business System

    Create as many Automated Webinars and use on as many domains that you own as you like for one low price with no monthly fees. Yeah, that’s what makes this cool. One time purchase. Yes, you have the option for live events for a monthly fee, but this tool is packed with features.

  • stealth

    StealthSeminar

    Create completely automated webinars that look and feel like live streaming events – and follow them with a live Google Hangout. Users can view your webinars from various platforms, including the iPad, and you can send out email and SMS reminders to attendees.

MEMBERSHIP SITES

  • wishlist

    Wishlist Member

    Ready to create a members-only area of your site? This WordPress plugin offers lots of flexibility and integrates many shopping carts and payment processors. Control exactly who can access what – and when, via an easy-to-use interface.

VIDEO CREATION AND PUBLISHING

  • easyvideosuite

    Easy Video Suite

    Customize and optimize your videos, and take advantage of incredibly helpful analytics that show you exactly how users respond to your content. Record via webcam, capture your screen, and create a polished finished product, then track how well it converts. A solid tool for any marketer.

SCREEN RECORDINGS

  • telestream

    Telestream

    Live and on-demand digital video tools and workflow solutions to help you make professional videos that you can incorporate into live and recorded webinars and other sales tools.

  • camtasia

    Camtasia

    Record onscreen activity, narrate your PowerPoint presentation, and shoot video from your webcam. Record, edit, and produce complete online video courses using this powerful software solution.

VOICE RECORDINGS

  • p

    Pamela for Skype

    Record Skype calls, take notes, play audio files during your calls, email your recordings, and more. I use Pamela to record all my Skype calls for the Marketing IN THE KNOW Podcast. Windows only.

  • ecamm

    ECAMM

    Ecamm lets Mac users record Skype and FaceTime calls. A side-by-side split screen mode lets you see exactly what’s being recorded, and add-on tools let you enhance video quality and put your prettiest face forward.

VOICE EDITOR

  • au

    Adobe Audition CC

    Use this robust sound editing program to import and edit your audio, remove background noise, and let the sound of success shine. You’ll need to spend time getting up to speed, but Adobe offers quite a few tutorials you can watch.

  • audacity

    Audacity

    It’s kind of amazing that software with this many features is available for free, but there you go. Record, edit, and upload audio files via a simple but powerful interface. You’ll find a lot of the same features you see in expensive software packages, so be sure to see if Audacity meets your needs before you spend money on something else.

PODCAST HOSTING

  • libsyn

    LIBSYN

    A reasonably-priced podcast hosting company that lets you create a personalized app for your podcast and provides plenty of statistics for you to analyze. This is where I keep my podcast files.

  • turbopodcast

    TurboPodcast

    If you are already podcasting or thinking of podcasting, let me share something with you that may save you tons of money, headache and time: Focus on delivering quality and valuable content to your listeners while leaving the editing and production to the pros. These guys at Turbo are not only superb at what they do, they do it quickly and cost-effectively.

  • gmr

    GMR Transcription

    GMR Transcription is a valuable and time-saving resource for the busy professional who needs transcription. I use GMR for transcribing my podcast and I couldn’t be happier with the quality. My team doesn’t have to worry about scouring and editing the documents once they come back and for what they deliver, the service is fantastically affordable!

QUANTITATIVE TOOLS

  • google

    Google Analytics

    Web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. Totally free, and you have to use it, because Google made it, and it’s incredibly useful and all your competitors are using it.

  • clicky

    Clicky

    Everything Google Analytics does, but even easier, plus extra features, including real-time site user activity tracking. First site free.

  • kissmetrics

    Kissmetrics

    Great name huh? Web analytics package that lets you concentrate on the metrics that matter so that you can make smarter business decisions.

  • chandoo

    Chandoo

    Chandoo wants to make you awesome at Excel. The site offers free tips, tools, tutorials, and more all designed to make you an Excel guru so that you can work with your data on your own and not rely on complex software tools. For those who want Excel flexibility, this is a great little tool to start a KPI dashboard for minimal cost.

QUALITATIVE TOOLS

  • qualaroo

    QUALAROO

    Analytics tell you what people are doing, Qualaroo helps you understand why. A great tool to conduct on-site surveys so you can gain a better understanding of your user’s/visitors needs and interests.

  • surveyio

    SURVEY.IO

    Customer surveys – but without the in-depth analysis tools.

  • surveymonkey

    SURVEY MONKEY

    Easy online survey development that you can put to use immediately. Smart analytics let you understand your results quickly and use them to improve user experiences.

BUYER BEHAVIOR

  • hotjar

    Hotjar

    From heatmaps to user polling, this tool is the Swiss army knife of marketing tools. The code is easy to install and they have a nice freemium version to get you started.

  • crazyegg

    Crazyegg

    Generate a heatmap of where users click on your site. This information can help you optimize and refine your site to improve conversions.

  • clicktale

    Clicktale

    Customer experience analytics with some very cool options: watch a movie and see exactly how real visitors interact with your site. Are they hesitating before they click? Scrolling all the way to the end? Leaving early? It’s almost like looking over a user’s shoulder (and inside his brain) as he goes through your site.

  • sessioncam

    Sessioncam

    Another customer experience analytics tool that captures video of user interactions on your site. Very similar to ClickTale; see which interface you prefer.

BUYER/USER EXPERIENCE

  • usability

    Usabilityhub

    Test landing pages, product pages, and overall site design and ease of use. Free plans are available, and the paid options are very reasonably priced.

  • usertesting

    UserTesting

    If you want to see your site in a whole new light, UserTesting will show you a video of a user talking out loud as he moves through your site. Pricy, but potentially highly insightful.

TESTING & EXPERIMENTATION TOOLS

  • leadpages

    LeadPages

    You need a landing page or an opt-in box? You need LeadPages. Reasonably priced, crazy easy to use, and so much added value. Fantastic reporting capabilities, all the data you could possibly want. I could go on, but you really should have clicked over by now. Every minute you’re not a LeadPages member, I really feel like you’re losing opportunities to gain users.

  • optimizely

    Optimizely

    Optimizely is a website optimization tool, providing A/B and multivariate testing. Optimizely enables users with and without technical expertise to make dynamic changes to their websites whiling testing the variations to live traffic.

  • unbounce

    Unbounce

    After a time, you may find that the landing pages that once served you so well – the ones that built you your beautiful list and got you those lovely subscribers – seems a little, well, simple. You’re not looking for complications, but you need some flexibility. You need more options – even if that means you’ll spend more time to get your landing pages up and running. That’s when you head over to Unbounce to check out ways you can tweak all kinds of things to test responses.

KEYWORD PLANNER

  • google

    Google

    A free tool Google AdWords users can use to find and refine keywords for ad campaigns. You can also find plenty of information about how to use it effectively.

  • keywordtoolio

    Keywordtool.io

    More keywords are better, so here’s another tool to add to your arsenal. This free keyword finder can help you suss out keywords that Google might not uncover within its own keyword tool.

SEO TOOLS

  • ahrefs

    AHREFS

    Search engine optimization tool for monitoring and analyzing backlinks to a specific site. Make your marketing decisions based on data, not gut feel.

  • moz

    MOZ

    Moz is reknowned in the industry and a leader in its space. Inbound marketing gets a lot easier when you use their analytics. Measure, monitor, and evaluate just about everything related to SEO.

  • semrush

    SEMRUSH

    Comprehensive online marketing toolbox with tools that let you find relevant keywords, audit and optimize your web site, track your ranking over time, and see how your competitors’ keywords are performing.

  • seomofo

    SEOMOFO

    The main purpose of the SERP Snippet Optimization Tool is to allow webmasters and content publishers to strategically construct page titles and meta description tags that will result in aesthetically-pleasing or eye-catching listings in Google’s organic search results. Using this tool, you can optimize the content of your titles and snippets to maximize your click-through rate (CTR) from Google.

CONTENT/SEO TOOL

  • buzzsumo

    BUZZSUMO

    Track content across social networking sites and rank it based on shares to determine what people are talking about in your industry and create content that will meet their needs.

Advertising/Outbound Tools

    • google

      Google

      Directs highly targeted pay per click traffic to your site. Set your own budget – but better keywords cost more. You can learn how to use AdWords quickly, but writing ads that convert well is an art form.

    • buzzstream

      BuzzStream

      Use BuzzStream to build genuinely useful links on your site. This tool helps you manage link opportunities and the communication needed to follow up on them, as well as monitoring the backlinks you establish.

    • wordstream

      WordStream

      Tap into keyword data that comes from across multiple sources and use the information to boost your SEO and PPC campaigns.

    • picreel

      Picreel

      Track visitor activity across specific pages on your site, understand exit intent, and increase conversions. I use it primarily for exit intent and understanding user behavior. Cool tool.

Books to Whet Your Appetite

    • readyset

      Marketing in the Know

      Shameless plug…I know, but I do believe after 15 years of business building, this guide is a great template/blueprint to building a modern day marketing engine.

    • startwithwhy

      Start with Why

      I had a chance to get to know Simon when he was launching this book. Wow, what an incredible guy and insight into how companies can really become leaders in their space.

    • crushit

      Crush It

      Gary Vaynerchuk is a stud. He oozes credibility because he walks the walk. This is a great book for everyone thinking about starting a business.

    • thelongtail

      The Long Tail

      What can I say? This book showcases the pioneering term of the Long Tail and what it means to live so far down on the tail of keyword search. A must read.

    • leanstartup

      The Lean Startup

      Believe me, I wish that I had read this book a decade ago. What a smart entrepreneur who really gets the word: bootstrapping.

    • mindset

      Mindset: The New Pyschology of Success

      Forget ability and talent – it’s your mindset that matters most. Learn how to apply scientific principles to the messages you send yourself and others about the work you do.

    • aheadcurve

      Ahead of the Curve

      This book has helped me stay ahead of the curve in marketing, in business, in investing…you name it. It’s a financial/technical look on business and market cycles, but it’s well worth the read for a marketer who really wants to understand the bigger market picture.

Jumpstart Training & Education

EDUCATION

readyset

How to Grow a Business Today

Shameless plug…I know, but I do believe after 15 years of business building, this guide is a great template/blueprint to building a modern day marketing engine.

fbinfluence

Facebook Training 101

Facebook Influence (or fbinfluence) is a series of beginning training videos on what it takes to market successfully using Facebook. We all have our different approaches but I like this straight forward content. Facebook Influence is ideal for small business owners who are struggling to tap into Facebook as a source of traffic, leads, and customers

linkedfluence

LinkedIn Training

LinkedInfluence is an affordable, easy-to-implement guide that’s designed to give you a truly professional LinkedIn profile – and get you connected with the people who have the power to hire you. If you want your name to be in front of the decision makers – and if you want your profile to win them over in flash, this is the course that will do that.

pintrainig

Pinterest Training & The Power of Pinning

If you’ve been struggling to understand that connection between Pintrest and business marketing, this course is for you. With this course, you won’t need to spend hours trying to figure out the best way to use the power of imagery to bring in more business – you’ll learn exactly what to do and how to implement a proven plan for success.

youtube

YouTube/Video Training

If the idea of putting yourself out there on YouTube makes you nervous, I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU! But this course walks you through the process, step by step. It helps you get past the stage fright you might be experiencing and shows you how to make sure the videos you upload rank well. Amazing value – this course is the real deal.

podcast

Podcasting Paradise

If you’ve been thinking about jumping into the Podcasting game, don’t do anything else until you join Podcaster’s Paradise. And frankly, I even recommend it to people who’ve already started Podcasting and maybe aren’t seeing the results they want. This hyper-detailed resource answers every question you could possibly have – including answers to questions you didn’t even think of asking. Learn from the guy who wrote the book on entrepreneurial podcasting – literally.

Vital Business Tools & Platforms

WEB HOSTING

bluehost

BLUEHOST

Bluehost offers feature-rich affordable web hosting with 1-click WordPress integration. It’s ideal for first-time site builders, in part because it offers amazing customer service and tools that make it simple for first-time users to quickly understand how to do things. I use it myself – and I’m a happy customer. Their customer support is AWESOME!

BLOGGING PLATFORM

wordpress

WORDPRESS

If you think WordPress is just for bloggers, I’ve got news for you. WordPress is a highly customizable, richly-featured content management system – which means that if can manage your entire website. WordPress makes mobile optimization straightforward, it simplifies many SEO issues, and it can handle as much ecommerce as you throw at it.

LIST BUILDING

leadpages

LeadPages – Opt-in Box without coding

You need a landing page or an opt-in box? You need LeadPages. Reasonably priced, crazy easy to use, and so much added value. Fantastic reporting capabilities, all the data you could possibly want. I could go on, but you really should have clicked over by now. Every minute you’re not a LeadPages member, I really feel like you’re losing opportunities to gain users.

optinmonster

OptinMonster

If you’re new to the entrepreneurial game, you might be looking for places where you can save a few bucks. I get it. OptInMonster is cheaper than LeadPages, and you can get most of the same features. Not all, but enough to get you started. Enough to get some money coming in, and when you need to upgrade, you can do it. It’s a solid starter choice.

LANDING PAGE SOFTWARE

leadpages

LEAD PAGES

You need a landing page or an opt-in box? You need LeadPages. Reasonably priced, crazy easy to use, and so much added value. Fantastic reporting capabilities, all the data you could possibly want. I could go on, but you really should have clicked over by now. Every minute you’re not a LeadPages member, I really feel like you’re losing opportunities to gain users.

optimizepress

Optimize Press

Here’s another strong contender in the landing pages game. OptimizePress offers truly solid WordPress integration, and it’s particularly useful if you’re looking to create a membership-based site. If you’re not finding what you need at LeadPages – or it’s taking too much of your time to integrate and implement, check out OptimizePress.

unbounce

Unbounce

After a time, you may find that the landing pages that once served you so well – the ones that built you your beautiful list and got you those lovely subscribers – seems a little, well, simple. You’re not looking for complications, but you need some flexibility. You need more options – even if that means you’ll spend more time to get your landing pages up and running. That’s when you head over to Unbounce to check out ways you can tweak all kinds of things to test responses.

EMAIL MARKETING

convertkig

CONVERTKIT

I have used a handful, okay, maybe two handfuls of email marketing and automation tools over my career and bar none, ConvertKit is by far the easiest and most intuitive email marketing and automation platform on the market. I recently switched to ConvertKit and I have been delighted at every turn–and I think you will be too! I’m a big proponent of segmenting your users based on interests and this platform makes a difficult process darn right easy.

mailchimp

MAILCHIMP

Mailing list management comes down to a handful of options, and MailChimp is one of the big ones. Design great looking messages in minutes, segment your lists, and get lots of fun statistics to play with once you’re up and running. And when you’re just getting started, you can use it for free. Once you go over 2000 subscribers, you’ll need to pay – but by that point you should have some money coming in to cover costs.

aweber

AWEBER

Another big name in mailing list management and I’ve used it many times in many different companies. More powerful than some of the freemium competitive versions, but with great power comes… a monthly price tag. The price is reasonable, however, and you may find the additional functionality helpful, depending on your industry and the size of your list.

hubspot

HUBSPOT

If you’re just starting out, Hubspot might be overkill. But if you’re already bringing in money, then investing in a marketing automation solution is a smart move. You can use a single interface to generate leads, welcome visitors to your site, close sales, and encourage your customers to spread the word to their friends. This is an excellent option for companies already enjoying $100K+ annual revenues and are looking to take it to the next level.

infusionsoft

InfusionSoft

Infusionsoft is not easy to learn, and it costs a pretty penny, but it is an amazing tool for CRM once you know how to use it well. It’s designed for growing businesses, and it’s more flexible than just a standard CRM, like Salesforce in many ways. My gut feeling is that InfusionSoft is great for a business that’s focused on growth – if you’re looking to grow into the millions, this is a solid choice.

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT (CRM)

insightly

INSIGHTLY

Insightly is a great choice for solopreneurs and small businesses – and pricing starts at just $12/user/month. You’ll be up and running in under 10 minutes, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have anyone technical on your staff. You might also appreciate the built-in project management capabilities – but you don’t have the marketing automation capabilities of Hubspot or the same level of flexibility offered by more expensive solutions.

zohocrm

ZOHO CRM

Once you’ve passed $200,000 in annual revenues, you might want to start looking for a more robust CRM solution. Zoho is a nice bridge between the low-cost, low-flexibility options and the big names like Salesforce. There’s a small learning curve, but this is an affordable solution for companies well on the path to growth.

nimble

NIMBLE

The social integration Nimble offers is extremely cool. You can see all of your sales teams’ social connections in one place, and really dig deep into those networks to drive leads to your site. The price is comparable with Insightly ($15/month/user), so you’re still not getting the most thorough reporting capabilities, but if you’re focusing on social, Nimble is an excellent choice.

salesfoce

SALESFORCE

If you’re a small business, Salesforce really isn’t for you. You can get 80-90% of the functionality you need from one of the other options, and figure out how to approximate the rest. But when you make the leap to mid-size business, it’s time to get yourself the customizable, flexible solution that Salesforce offers. But do beware that some of its offerings are a little outdated (text-only emails? Really?)

infusionsoft

INFUSIONSOFT

Infusionsoft is not easy to learn, and it costs a pretty penny, but it is an amazing tool for CRM once you know how to use it well. It’s designed for growing businesses, and it’s more flexible than just a standard CRM, like Salesforce in many ways. My gut feeling is that InfusionSoft is great for a business that’s focused on growth – if you’re looking to grow into the millions, this is a solid choice.

gumroad

GUMROAD

If you’re an artist, writer, developer, designer – a creative type – and you’re looking to sell to people via your social channels, blog, etc., Gumroad is an easy-to-use solution. In fact, I am a believer and user of this interface. They can’t handle everything, so be sure to read closely and see if they’re the best match for you.

SHOPPING CART

woocommerce

WooCommerce

WordPress integration, complete flexibility, and the base is free to install (there are add-ons – some of them absolutely necessary – that you’ll have to pay for). This makes Woocomerce a popular ecommerce solution, and definitely worth checking out.

paypal

Paypal

If you live on Earth, you know what Paypal is. And because it’s insanely popular, your customers probably already have Paypal accounts, so there’s not an additional obstacle between the two of you. Using Paypal also lets you accept credit cards.

shopify

SHOPIFY

Although they’re the new guy in town, Shopify has taken the ecommerce world by storm with its fully-featured ecommerce solution. Super easy to implement, and your startup costs are completely reasonable.

LOGOS & CREATIVE DESIGN

99designs

99Designs

When you’re starting or relaunching a business, you’re going to need design work done. And if you don’t have an in-house designer yet, you might be looking for some affordable solutions. 99designs lets you invite designers to compete for your business. You set your budget, designers submit their work, and you can pick what you like.

fiverr

Fiverr

You can absolutely find diamonds in the rough on Fiverr. For one-off design jobs, you can almost always find talented people who are willing to work for a low price – obviously, the idea is that if you like their work, you’ll use them again, at higher rates.

LEGAL

legalzoom

LegalZoom

Hi, you’re running a business. Are you an LLC? Need an NDA? Looking for a contract to use with your freelancers? LegalZoom has you covered. Do not ignore all the paperwork that goes along with running a business. Leave it to the professionals – so that you can concentrate on making money.

Social Media Tools

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

sniply

Snip.ly

If you thought that this was only a content curation tool made for social media, you’d be way wrong. This tool helps you share other people’s content and then use a Call-To-Action to bring them back to you. One of my favorite pull marketing tools. Listen here to learn more from the Founder!

heyo

HEYO

This software is perfect for creating mobile-optimized campaigns with Facebook integration. You control your own outcomes with the help of an easy-to-use interface – with absolutely no coding. Simply pick your template, tweak it to your own needs, and publish it for public use.

shortstack

Shortstack

Use this app generator to create engaging social media campaigns, promotional material, contests, and more – and integrate them with your various social channels. Get started for free, and expand your plan as your business grows.

TWITTER TOOLS

manageflitter

ManageFlitter

Trying to manage multiple Twitter accounts across different time zones can be confusing. ManageFlitter puts you back in control, and gives you useful reports so that you can track the effectiveness of your campaigns.

INSTAGRAM TOOLS

schedugram

ScheduGram

Manage multiple Instagram accounts, incorporate web uploads, and schedule posts for complete control.

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT

hootsuite

Hootsuite

Hootsuite simplifies social media profile management. Schedule posts and engage and interact with followers from a centralized platform.

bugger

Buffer

Need to schedule and manage posts for multiple sites and accounts? Buffer makes it easy to consolidate your social sharing on your own schedule – and the backend analytics let you see the results of your interactions.

rignite

Rignite

Monitor and engage on social media with a single tool. Use the reporting information to adjust your campaigns and improve results in real time.

sproutsocial

Sproutsocial

Another solid option for social media management, with easy-to-use tools and collaborative software that lets you work across multiple social media outlets, and detailed analytics to keep your data analyst happy.

Product Creation & Distribution Tools

LIVE WEBINAR PLATFORM

gotowebinar

GoToWebinar

Set up and run webinars on your own, without any help from IT, at an affordable price. Get audience feedback with polling and surveys, and let attendees ask questions and give feedback in real time.

RECORDED WEBINAR PLATFORM

easyweb

Easywebinar

Want to run a hybrid event – part automated stream on demand, part live interaction? Go for it. WordPress integration, easy to use, unlimited attendees, lots of options, and terrific analytics.

evergreen

Evergreen Business System

Create as many Automated Webinars and use on as many domains that you own as you like for one low price with no monthly fees. Yeah, that’s what makes this cool. One time purchase. Yes, you have the option for live events for a monthly fee, but this tool is packed with features.

stealth

StealthSeminar

Create completely automated webinars that look and feel like live streaming events – and follow them with a live Google Hangout. Users can view your webinars from various platforms, including the iPad, and you can send out email and SMS reminders to attendees.

MEMBERSHIP SITES

wishlist

Wishlist Member

Ready to create a members-only area of your site? This WordPress plugin offers lots of flexibility and integrates many shopping carts and payment processors. Control exactly who can access what – and when, via an easy-to-use interface.

VIDEO CREATION AND PUBLISHING

easyvideosuite

Easy Video Suite

Customize and optimize your videos, and take advantage of incredibly helpful analytics that show you exactly how users respond to your content. Record via webcam, capture your screen, and create a polished finished product, then track how well it converts. A solid tool for any marketer.

SCREEN RECORDINGS

telestream

Telestream

Live and on-demand digital video tools and workflow solutions to help you make professional videos that you can incorporate into live and recorded webinars and other sales tools.

camtasia

Camtasia

Record onscreen activity, narrate your PowerPoint presentation, and shoot video from your webcam. Record, edit, and produce complete online video courses using this powerful software solution.

VOICE RECORDINGS

p

Pamela for Skype

Record Skype calls, take notes, play audio files during your calls, email your recordings, and more. I use Pamela to record all my Skype calls for the Marketing IN THE KNOW Podcast. Windows only.

ecamm

ECAMM

Ecamm lets Mac users record Skype and FaceTime calls. A side-by-side split screen mode lets you see exactly what’s being recorded, and add-on tools let you enhance video quality and put your prettiest face forward.

VOICE EDITOR

au

Adobe Audition CC

Use this robust sound editing program to import and edit your audio, remove background noise, and let the sound of success shine. You’ll need to spend time getting up to speed, but Adobe offers quite a few tutorials you can watch.

audacity

Audacity

It’s kind of amazing that software with this many features is available for free, but there you go. Record, edit, and upload audio files via a simple but powerful interface. You’ll find a lot of the same features you see in expensive software packages, so be sure to see if Audacity meets your needs before you spend money on something else.

Podcasting Resources

PODCAST HOSTING

libsyn

LIBSYN

A reasonably-priced podcast hosting company that lets you create a personalized app for your podcast and provides plenty of statistics for you to analyze. This is where I keep my podcast files.

turbopodcast

TurboPodcast

If you are already podcasting or thinking of podcasting, let me share something with you that may save you tons of money, headache and time: Focus on delivering quality and valuable content to your listeners while leaving the editing and production to the pros. These guys at Turbo are not only superb at what they do, they do it quickly and cost-effectively.

gmr

GMR Transcription

GMR Transcription is a valuable and time-saving resource for the busy professional who needs transcription. I use GMR for transcribing my podcast and I couldn’t be happier with the quality. My team doesn’t have to worry about scouring and editing the documents once they come back and for what they deliver, the service is fantastically affordable!

Keyword & SEO Tools

KEYWORD PLANNER

google

Google

A free tool Google AdWords users can use to find and refine keywords for ad campaigns. You can also find plenty of information about how to use it effectively.

keywordtoolio

Keywordtool.io

More keywords are better, so here’s another tool to add to your arsenal. This free keyword finder can help you suss out keywords that Google might not uncover within its own keyword tool.

SEO TOOLS

ahrefs

AHREFS

Search engine optimization tool for monitoring and analyzing backlinks to a specific site. Make your marketing decisions based on data, not gut feel.

moz

MOZ

Moz is reknowned in the industry and a leader in its space. Inbound marketing gets a lot easier when you use their analytics. Measure, monitor, and evaluate just about everything related to SEO.

semrush

SEMRUSH

Comprehensive online marketing toolbox with tools that let you find relevant keywords, audit and optimize your web site, track your ranking over time, and see how your competitors’ keywords are performing.

seomofo

SEOMOFO

The main purpose of the SERP Snippet Optimization Tool is to allow webmasters and content publishers to strategically construct page titles and meta description tags that will result in aesthetically-pleasing or eye-catching listings in Google’s organic search results. Using this tool, you can optimize the content of your titles and snippets to maximize your click-through rate (CTR) from Google.

CONTENT/SEO TOOL

buzzsumo

BUZZSUMO

Track content across social networking sites and rank it based on shares to determine what people are talking about in your industry and create content that will meet their needs.

Analytics, Optimization & More Tools

QUANTITATIVE TOOLS

google

Google Analytics

Web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. Totally free, and you have to use it, because Google made it, and it’s incredibly useful and all your competitors are using it.

clicky

Clicky

Everything Google Analytics does, but even easier, plus extra features, including real-time site user activity tracking. First site free.

kissmetrics

Kissmetrics

Great name huh? Web analytics package that lets you concentrate on the metrics that matter so that you can make smarter business decisions.

chandoo

Chandoo

Chandoo wants to make you awesome at Excel. The site offers free tips, tools, tutorials, and more all designed to make you an Excel guru so that you can work with your data on your own and not rely on complex software tools. For those who want Excel flexibility, this is a great little tool to start a KPI dashboard for minimal cost.

QUALITATIVE TOOLS

qualaroo

QUALAROO

Analytics tell you what people are doing, Qualaroo helps you understand why. A great tool to conduct on-site surveys so you can gain a better understanding of your user’s/visitors needs and interests.

surveyio

SURVEY.IO

Customer surveys – but without the in-depth analysis tools.

surveymonkey

SURVEY MONKEY

Easy online survey development that you can put to use immediately. Smart analytics let you understand your results quickly and use them to improve user experiences.

BUYER BEHAVIOR

hotjar logo

Hotjar

From heatmaps to user polling, this tool is the Swiss army knife of marketing tools. The code is easy to install and they have a nice freemium version to get you started.

crazyegg

Crazyegg

Generate a heatmap of where users click on your site. This information can help you optimize and refine your site to improve conversions.

clicktale

Clicktale

Customer experience analytics with some very cool options: watch a movie and see exactly how real visitors interact with your site. Are they hesitating before they click? Scrolling all the way to the end? Leaving early? It’s almost like looking over a user’s shoulder (and inside his brain) as he goes through your site.

sessioncam

Sessioncam

Another customer experience analytics tool that captures video of user interactions on your site. Very similar to ClickTale; see which interface you prefer.

BUYER/USER EXPERIENCE

usability

Usabilityhub

Test landing pages, product pages, and overall site design and ease of use. Free plans are available, and the paid options are very reasonably priced.

usertesting

UserTesting

If you want to see your site in a whole new light, UserTesting will show you a video of a user talking out loud as he moves through your site. Pricy, but potentially highly insightful.

TESTING & EXPERIMENTATION TOOLS

leadpages

LeadPages

You need a landing page or an opt-in box? You need LeadPages. Reasonably priced, crazy easy to use, and so much added value. Fantastic reporting capabilities, all the data you could possibly want. I could go on, but you really should have clicked over by now. Every minute you’re not a LeadPages member, I really feel like you’re losing opportunities to gain users.

optimizely

Optimizely

unbounce

Unbounce

After a time, you may find that the landing pages that once served you so well – the ones that built you your beautiful list and got you those lovely subscribers – seems a little, well, simple. You’re not looking for complications, but you need some flexibility. You need more options – even if that means you’ll spend more time to get your landing pages up and running. That’s when you head over to Unbounce to check out ways you can tweak all kinds of things to test responses.

Advertising & Outbound Marketing Tools

ADVERTISING/OUTBOUND TOOLS

google

Google

Directs highly targeted pay per click traffic to your site. Set your own budget – but better keywords cost more. You can learn how to use AdWords quickly, but writing ads that convert well is an art form.

buzzstream

BuzzStream

Use BuzzStream to build genuinely useful links on your site. This tool helps you manage link opportunities and the communication needed to follow up on them, as well as monitoring the backlinks you establish.

wordstream

WordStream

Tap into keyword data that comes from across multiple sources and use the information to boost your SEO and PPC campaigns.

picreel

Picreel

Track visitor activity across specific pages on your site, understand exit intent, and increase conversions. I use it primarily for exit intent and understanding user behavior. Cool tool.

Books

BOOKS TO WHET YOUR APPETITE

readyset

Marketing in the Know

Shameless plug…I know, but I do believe after 15 years of business building, this guide is a great template/blueprint to building a modern day marketing engine.

startwithwhy

Start with Why

I had a chance to get to know Simon when he was launching this book. Wow, what an incredible guy and insight into how companies can really become leaders in their space.

crushit

Crush It

Gary Vaynerchuk is a stud. He oozes credibility because he walks the walk. This is a great book for everyone thinking about starting a business.

thelongtail

The Long Tail

What can I say? This book showcases the pioneering term of the Long Tail and what it means to live so far down on the tail of keyword search. A must read.

leanstartup

The Lean Startup

Believe me, I wish that I had read this book a decade ago. What a smart entrepreneur who really gets the word: bootstrapping.

mindset

Mindset: The New Pyschology of Success

Forget ability and talent – it’s your mindset that matters most. Learn how to apply scientific principles to the messages you send yourself and others about the work you do.

aheadcurve

Ahead of the Curve

This book has helped me stay ahead of the curve in marketing, in business, in investing…you name it. It’s a financial/technical look on business and market cycles, but it’s well worth the read for a marketer who really wants to understand the bigger market picture.