For any wannabe Diy’er, having the right tools to do the work, makes perfect sense. Likewise having the right sales and marketing automation tools for your small business must make sense too.
But what are the right sales & marketing automation tools for your business?
Probably the question I get the most emails on is some variant of “What’s the best solution or app for x?”.
- What’s the best email marketing system?
- With what are you building your landing page?
- What’s the best shopping cart?
And, of course, there’s no one right answer for everyone. What suits a full-time online marketer with a team behind them isn’t the same as what suits a small solo business with limited time. And in which to do their marketing. Also, your personal preferences play an influencing role too.
But, what I can tell you about are the marketing automation tools I use in my small business.
The Marketing Automation Tools I use in My Small Business.
These are the ones that I’ve tested, and I feel they are the best to help me run my business without being too complicated. Or, too time-consuming. I also recommend them to any company I work with.
And, they might well be a good fit for you too.
I run this and my other sites on WordPress. Of course, there are other free tools to build websites. Some, like Wix or Squarespace, is much easier to use than WordPress.
But WordPress scores on two critical points.
Firstly, there’s a vast range of marketing automation tools built to integrate easily with WordPress. That’s whether it’s tools to get email opt-ins or share content on social media. So, in my opinion, the best tools that get the best results, work on WordPress.
Secondly, there are many freelancers, agencies and other helpful bods who can help build a website in WordPress for you. That’s if you need their help. The choices are much more restricted when it comes to other systems.
For my primary site here, I use the Astra Pro theme for my blog. I then built my templates, homepage and other landing pages on my website using the Elementor page builder plugin.
For the opt-in, registration, login forms and any polls or surveys, I use Gravity forms. Popups, scroll-mats, banners and the like on my site I use Elementor built-in popups function (which I sometimes combine with Gravity forms). Both are straightforward tools to use for creating and implementing a whole series of opt-ins and popups. And it has the advantage of linking to my email system.
For my online courses and courses, I set up for clients the solution is LearnDash. LearnDash The #1 choice of companies, major universities, training organisations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses.
Of course, the other essential tool you need to run an online business is some type of shopping cart so that people can pay you money (I find getting paid is a pretty essential component of any business.
Many people start with just a Paypal button to buy from them, and that’s a great and simple way to get started. But if you want something that will get you more buyers, is considerably quicker to set up, allows proper invoicing and record-keeping, handling of taxes then, you’ll need an adequate shopping cart platform.
The tool I use is WooCommerce. Now, WooCommerce is free, and the free version is excellent in most cases. But, if you need extra power then, you add additional features which you pay. For example, I also use Woo Subscriptions, among others as a paid extra. For credit card payment handling I use Stripe, it’s quick and easy to set up, and I’ve found nothing to beat it for online payments.
My key sites, including this one, are hosted with WPX. It’s not only high-performance hosting, but it’s also great value too. And, their customer support is excellent.
But there are plenty of less expensive hosting options if you are starting or have low volume traffic to your site. You can always upgrade to a premium host later.
Email Marketing is probably the most crucial component in an online business. I don’t know of any successful online companies that don’t focus heavily on email marketing.
Making a recommendation is pretty simple: I use ActiveCampaign. It provides advanced email marketing with excellent integration with CRM systems, accounting systems and a whole host of others. And unlike Infusionsoft or Ontraport, their Lite plan starts at pretty much the same pricing levels as simple systems like Aweber or Mailchimp.
An excellent alternative to Active Campaign that many people like is Convertkit. It’s got similar automation, tagging etc. and some people think it’s a bit easier to use than Active Campaign. It hasn’t got quite so many features. Or integrations (for example you can’t get a tightly integrated membership system like Memberium). But if you don’t need them and you want a system that’s perhaps a bit easier to use, Convertkit would be a right solution for you. I use, ActiveCampaign.
And that’s it. Those are the core tools I use to run my online business. If you’re a solo business like me then they could well be a good fit for you too.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links and I’ll get a commission if you buy through those links, so make sure you do your due diligence rather than just relying on my recommendation. Though all of them are tools I use, and you can see them in action on my site and my marketing.
If you want some help in setting this up and implementing a strategic approach to your sales & marketing, then schedule a call to see if there is a fit between us. We’ll have a short 15-minute conversation and if there is a fit we’ll take it from there.
P.S. Sorry I forgot until I wrote the last paragraph, for online appointment scheduling I use Calendly, it integrates with my calendar and my CRM.