Amy Porterfield: Well hey there, Amy Porterfield here, welcome to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. Thanks so very, very much for tuning in.
In this episode we’re talking about tools, software, and resources to help you build your business. As entrepreneurs, one major area we have to pay close attention to as we grow our businesses is this area of tools and software.
We all have to ask ourselves which specific resources we need to invest in to stay consistent, get momentum, increase engagement, and ultimately increase revenue.
Here’s where there’s slightly a trap for most of us. We’re so eager to grow quickly, especially in the early years that we tend to invest in too many tools, too many pieces of software, too many gadgets.
One of my little secrets is that I’m insanely organized, probably to a fault. When things are out of order I catch them really easy when I see that something’s kind of messy. The other day I opened up one of my drawers in my office that had a lot of little gadgets.
I had a little tripod for my iPhone to make video and a microphone I’ve never used and another piece I’ve never used to make video. I noticed that I’m collecting a lot of random gadgets for video but I’m not using them.
This is precisely what I’m talking about because we’re so eager to make something work. If you guys follow along with my podcast you know I’m so eager to make video work in the sense of getting more comfortable and confident on video, doing it more often.
Out of this little bit of desperation to jump on the video bandwagon and do it regularly, because I’m not comfortable (I’m getting better but I wasn’t at the beginning of this year), I guess I started to horde some gadgets to make it easier. Then I never even used the gadgets.
I bet some of you can relate to this. In the area where we might be struggling or we’re trying to get better we start to grasp at everything we can in hopes it will make it easier and make the transition more smooth or whatever it might be for you.
If you can relate keep on listening because we’re going to get into the tools and software and overall resources you genuinely need versus those you think you need to have and start to horde all of them.
This episode is for all online marketers who are creating content and selling their knowledge, skill, insight either via online courses or services like coaching and consulting. I’m specifically going to drill down into my top recommended tools and resources for three different stages of your business.
There is something for everyone here. If you’re just getting started, if you’re starting to get things going or are starting to see a little momentum or even if you’re ready to kick things into high gear and scale your business, there is something for everyone.
To keep things really simple and manageable we’re talking today about what you really need without blowing your budget. I’ve created a freebie so that you’ve got a resource for this episode. I’ve listed all the tools I’m going to recommend in this episode plus some extra that I’m actually not going to get into but I think are really good contenders.
The way I did the handout is a little bit different than I’m doing this episode. I put the cheat sheet together in categories: The tools to keep you organized, the tools to create content, the tools to do webinars, and the tools to create courses. I’ve broken them up a little bit differently in case you are in a place right now that you think you really need to create a webinar and want to know my top recommended tools. You can go straight to that.
That’s not how I’m doing this episode so that’s why I thought this was an extra special giveaway because now you can get the content in two different ways: You can listen throughout this episode or you can grab the freebie.
In order to grab the freebie all you need to do is go to http:// www.amyporterfield.com/141download or you can just text the phrase 141download to 33444. If you text the phrase 141download you can get the freebie texted to you right away.
I recently picked up the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries. I know, I know, I’m a little late to the party because Lean Startup has become a must-read for many entrepreneurs.
But I wanted to bring it up here for today’s episode because Ries talks about a few concepts I think are relevant to this conversation. First of all, his definition of startup: “A startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”
In a nutshell, this is so true especially for those that are in their first few years of growing their business. I love this definition because Ries doesn’t mention how much revenue you’re making or how many employees you have.
That’s not how he defines a startup. Instead, he’s really focused on the extreme uncertainty. At some point in growing your business I’m sure you’ve experienced it.
I have a quick story for you. I have a good friend who had built a service-based business. She was wildly successful. She was at the top of her game in her service-based business for many, many years. She made a really good living.
Over the last year she decided she wanted to transition and instead of being in a service-based business she was going to get into the online marketing game. She was going to sell her knowledge, her insight, and her skill inside online courses.
She was making a huge shift. Although she knew online marketing enough for her service-based business, getting into it and selling courses is a whole different ballgame. She has been feeling incredibly uncertain.
She has been sending me little texts saying, “Oh my gosh! I’m doubting every single decision I’m making. I can’t sleep at night.” She is in yoga class at 4:30 a.m. Her mind is spinning and there are a lot of great opportunities coming her way but she’s not sure which one is a good one. She wants to know what she should do.
I’m talking extreme uncertainty to the max. I told her if she weren’t feeling that way I would be nervous. You should be feeling extreme uncertainty when you’re starting something new.
No matter how great you were at something else, getting into the online marketing game and selling online courses based on your knowledge is a different beast than what most of us have ever been used to.
I remember I would spend every single day uncomfortable in my first few years of business. The silver lining here is that it gets a whole lot better. I don’t feel that way every day now. However, I make sure I still find those opportunities to feel that way so that I know I’m pushing myself and I keep moving forward and reinventing myself and trying new things.
I think it’s important that we feel that. It’s great when your business starts to grow and you don’t have to feel that way all the time. And my dear friend is feeling it every single minute of her life right now. But the advice I gave her was something Tony Robbins told me a long time ago. You have to dance with the fear.
You have to just feel it, dance with it, let it be part of your daily activity. You keep moving forward as you’re uncertain. You keep doing everything you need to do as you feel the fear and just surround yourself with people that believe in you.
This is what I told her, “I believe in you,” and I named some other people that are in our industry that really believe in her. We know she’s going to just crush it. Let us hold that for her. We’ll hold the belief that she’s going to do amazing. She doesn’t need to believe it right now. She just needs to dance with the fear.
My advice is that if you’re feeling that extreme uncertainty just know that it’s good. I’m glad you are if you’re in your first few years of business. It’s normal. You also have to dance with it. You also need to surround yourself with at least one or two people that will believe in you no matter what so that they will keep moving you forward.
These people will be honest with you if they see something really weird. They will ask you why you are going that direction and ask what’s going on. These are the people that know you, love you, and will give you honest advice. They want you to succeed.
Those are the people you want to surround yourself with. They are hard to find but you need just a few, one, two, or three max and I think you are golden.
Getting back to the Lean Startup book and what Ries was saying. Part of that extreme uncertainty is not knowing what you really need in your business. That’s why I wanted to bring it up here. Not knowing what tools or resources to invest in might be part of your issue right now and I wanted to address that in this episode.
The second thing I wanted to bring up is that according to Ries one of the five principles of the lean startup is that the fundamental activity of a startup is to turn ideas into products, measure how customers respond, and then learn whether to pivot or persevere.
Your role and mission as a business owner is to get your product out to market, listen to your customers, and refine. It is not to overcomplicate, over gather (something I was doing with all of my little video gadgets), or over think.
That’s why I’m such an advocate of creating online courses. It’s one of the most lucrative ways to do exactly what Ries recommends. In the startup stage you are doing a lot to get your course out to market.
You are listening to your customers to find out what’s working and what needs to be refined and what needs to be tweaked. Then you are refining and optimizing as your business becomes more sophisticated. Building on what you know is actually really working.
We’re going to talk about those different stages of business and we’re going to get into the tools that you need. But I want you to consider the word “lean”. No matter where you are in your business, if you live by the motto that you’re going to keep things lean I really do believe that makes a world of difference.
I think you would be amazed if you looked inside my business knowing I have a multi-million dollar business and realize I only have two full-time employees, some great 20-hour a week employees, some contractors that I go back to again and again.
My designer is not my own. I wish she was but it just doesn’t work out that way. My programmer is not my own. They are contractors we keep going back to again and again. There are very few tools that we use and I’m going to talk about the ones that I must have.
There is definitely not a lot of software that is running this business. There are not a lot of tools. There really aren’t a lot of gadgets if you don’t count my weird little videos things. I don’t have a lot of equipment to make things run.
I think my priciest piece of equipment in my business is my podcasting equipment. When I first started my podcast years ago I went through the program Podcasting A-Z, Cliff Ravencraft’s program. It is a great program that I highly recommend.
He actually recommended the equipment. I set it up and have been using it since Day 1. It was probably a few thousand dollars. It was pricey but that’s the most pricey piece of equipment I have.
Second to that would be my MacBook Pro. I update it every few years. I get a new one and then my husband, Hobie, gets my hand-me-downs, which he loves because he doesn’t really do much on the computer. He likes to take it to the fire station and check out sports on it. He likes that he gets nice hand-me-downs.
That’s pretty much all I do in terms of investing in my business with equipment and tools and resources. I just wanted to share that with you because I think it is a lot more lean than most people would think.
If you’re listening you probably know online marketing. You know what it means to build a business online so you might not be surprised. But you should see my dad. My dad asked, “What does your business look like? What’s going on?”
I explained to him what I just explained to you and he asked, “That’s all you have? That’s all it takes?” That’s why people love to say they can work from wherever in our industry. You really can.
I wouldn’t record my podcast on the road because I want really good quality audio. But, of course, I can do everything else. You want to really embrace the idea that you can have a lean business.
I want you to think about two things when we’re talking about a lean business. The #1 thing is to watch your budget. My business partner, Devin, recently went through our credit card statements from our last three months and looked at every tool we’re paying a monthly fee for.
He highlighted a few and then we came together and he asked if we really need the tool and how often we’re using it. There were some we weren’t even using at all that we could cancel right away.
Right there we started to save some money. I’m moving my business into more automation and less launching. I’m going to talk about that in a future episode as we kind of get things more secure in the business in terms of automation.
One thing I’ve noticed is why not work a little bit harder at keeping the customers we have and keeping the costs down and keeping a lean business versus having to go out and try to find new customers.
We all know it’s really more expensive to get a new customer versus keeping the customers we have and keeping our costs down. I just saved a whole bunch of money by wiping out a few tools we weren’t even using anymore.
I want you to go through your credit card statements and do that before the next 30 days just to make sure you’re not spending money on stuff you’re not using.
The tools and software that have the monthly statements, if you’re not using them, ask yourself if you’re going to use them in the next 60 days. If the answer is “No” you probably don’t want to keep that tool. That’s something to think about.
The next thing I want you to think about is that as you move forward with a lean business with minimal tools, focus more on getting the job done so that you can actually start implementing more. As my friend, Todd Herman, says: “Fewer ideas, more implementation.”
I think that is so key to a lean business. I’ve noticed that my friends who have a business and are very overwhelmed and scattered also struggle because they have so many great ideas.
You have probably heard me say it if you follow my podcast, I actually don’t have a million great ideas. I’m not super creative. I have a few good ideas and run with them. I go deep with those ideas.
For those of you who are constantly thinking of great ideas, one of the things that probably gets you in trouble is that you want to act on all of your great ideas but you’re probably not implementing at a level that you want to be.
To keep a lean business you need to have fewer ideas and more implementation. I do think that’s the secret to success in many cases and I just wanted to share that with you.
We are going to get into all of these tools. But before we do I wanted to share a quick word from our sponsor.
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Let’s talk about the main event here, what many of you have questions about. Which tools should you be spending money on based on where you are in your business?
As I was preparing for this episode I asked myself if I could start all over again how would I approach things differently in terms of the tools, resources, and software and all that good stuff. The way I laid out this episode is exactly how I would approach things in the different stages of your business.
One more quick note. There are a lot of different tools out there. There are a lot that I could recommend and they are really sophisticated. I think being in the business for over six years now it’s amazing how far some of these tools have come.
When I started six or seven years ago I would use tools that were good, and I thought they were great, but now looking at them because we know technology changes so quickly, they are outstanding. The things that some of these tools can do kind of blows my mind sometimes.
There are a lot of different options to choose from. I am an affiliate for most of the tools I’m going to mention in this episode and the extra tools I put in the freebie. I am an affiliate because I’ve used the tools, I believe in them, and I’m a huge fan. I just want to make that clear right now.
I didn’t put a cheat sheet together just to make money from affiliate deals. I use these tools and when I use them and recommend them I always go and say, “Hey, I’d love to be an affiliate,” and we have that partnership. I just wanted to put that out there for you.
Remember to check out the freebie at http://www.amyporterfield.com/ 141download because I think you will use it as a go-to source over and over again. Even if you don’t use it right away just save it somewhere on your computer and go back to it when you’re ready to drill down into those different categories I mentioned in the very beginning.
Let’s get to it. We are going to start at the top in Stage #1. In Stage #1 you are new to the online marketing game. Here is the dilemma for anyone in Stage #1. You are just getting started. You are totally overwhelmed by all the software and tool recommendations out there.
You’re not really sure what you need right now, especially because you are on a super tight budget. That’s the dilemma. My solution for you is that when you’re just getting started your main focus should be on building your platform, and creating consistent content because great content is the foundation of all of our businesses.
You are also going to start to grow your email list. It’s going to be very slow in Stage #1 because you’re going to experiment and try some things and you’re just learning about your audiences. But I do want you to start putting the pieces in place to create a list-building opportunity in your business.
Remember, because “lean” is the theme of this episode, there are just a few things you need in Stage #1.
Most of you are laughing right now. You want to move past the fact that we need a website. Some of you still don’t have one. I think Host Gator is a great recommendation to get your WordPress.org website up and running and hosted and that’s where I would start.
It’s inexpensive and reliable. So many of my peers recommend it. If you do not have a website start there.
Drip – Email Service Provider
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty, the good stuff. The first thing you need is an email service provider. A lot of you already have one but you’re not loving the one you’re using. Back in the day I always recommended MailChimp. It was free. I also recommended AWeber, which is inexpensive.
I started out with AWeber for a few years before I moved into the tool I’m using now. But I mentioned in the intro that the tools and resources have come a long way. The trend I’m seeing right now is that you could get an email service provider for $1 or really inexpensive that has some features to it that are incredibly valuable that you can grow into as your business grows.
Let me tell you what I’m talking about. I have recently been exploring Drip. Drip is owned by LeadPages. You all know I am a huge fan of LeadPages. I’ve started to explore Drip as an email service provider because the company has been talking to me about their features and their goals to make the tool even better, which they have done over the last year.
I love it because you can do segmenting. You can create your funnels. There are a lot of drag and drop features inside Drip. If you’re just starting out I say to start with a tool you can grow into so that you don’t have to switch tools once you hit 1,000 subscribers and realize you can’t do anything with the tool and want to get more sophisticated.
You can get more sophisticated as you grow into Drip. You can do things with Drip that you could never do with some of the more simple tools I used to recommend. I’m a huge fan and highly recommend it. They have some really great deals.
That’s one thing I forgot to mention. Inside my freebie if the company has offered me a deal, such as getting started for $1 or free or a really great discount, I have included the details in the cheat sheet and you definitely want to grab the cheat sheet if you’re thinking about signing up for one of the tools and want a special deal. They are in the cheat sheet as a heads up. I highly recommend Drip.
The second thing you need is a way to collect names and emails. LeadPages is my tool of choice and has been for years. I recommend it to everybody. I recently recommended it to a family member so you know if I’m recommending it to a family member then I definitely would tell all of my students to use it as well.
LeadPages allows you to create opt-in pages really easily using drag and drop. Most of you know about LeadPages by now. I think it is a must have in everybody’s business if you’re doing business online.
You know I believe the energy of your business is directly tied to your email list. When you have an email list you get to control the amount of communication and how you interact with your audience. You get to build a real, genuine relationship.
You can’t just rely on social media or getting featured on Huffington Post or any of the other media outlets. You’ve got to have an email list. One of the easiest ways to do that is to integrate your email service provider with LeadPages…So I think LeadPages and Drip go hand in hand.
Tripod and Lighting
The other two things I think you need in Stage #1 when you’re just getting started are kind of new. You may even laugh that I’m going to say this but I think you need a good tripod and good lighting.
Six months ago I would have never even thought to include that in this early stage. But even over the last week I’ve seen changes in video on social media that I think, from Day #1 as you start to grow your business, you’ve got to put a focus on content creation with video.
I say that because just this week Instagram unveiled their live platform. Now you can get on Insta Stories and go live. At the time of this recording that live video gets deleted the second you jump off. That is different than Facebook Live. It lives on after you do it in a replay.
Insta Stories, as of right now, are totally deleted. I think that’s the weirdest thing. I wish they lasted at least 24 hours. The way I think about it, if I’m going to get on there and go live and put the effort and time into it you could at least save it for 24 hours so other people can see it.
Right now that’s not how they’re doing it. I’m seeing so many changes with social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and all of these different things. They are making some big plays for video that I say get on the bandwagon now. Don’t wait any longer.
I use a good tripod from Manfrotto. I link to it in the cheat sheet. I’ve used it for six years now and it goes to four different levels. It’s super easy to bring anywhere you want to bring it and I can stand up to use it or sit down. It’s perfect.
If I’m going to do video I have to set myself up for the easiest way to do it. I told you I had all of those gadgets I’m not using. I’m going to stop that addiction right now. But I always go back to a tripod I’ve had for six years. I also use something called a Diva Ring Light.
Diva Ring sounds so bizarre. The gentlemen listening right now are obviously thinking it’s not for them. Well, it is! They need to change the name but the Diva ring allows you to have some really nice soft lighting when you can’t use natural light in your house.
I love to make videos in the afternoon where I can stand in front of a window. That’s the best light I can get. But at night I don’t stress myself out. I make sure I have the Diva Ring light.
There are tons of other lights you can get. I’m just saying not to put yourself into the situation I was in and literally my first few months of doing business I would stack a few books and put a lamp on top and take the lampshade off.
When I go back and look at some of those videos the lighting is horrendous. I don’t think that needs to happen anymore. There are too many good options out there.
I link to the Diva Ring and the setup that I use inside the cheat sheet and you can check that out.
Stage #1, again, we’re keeping it lean. I’m talking about having your website, email service provider, a way to collect names and emails, and a way to quickly do video without a lot of gadgets. I just use my smartphone and keep it really simple in that respect.
If I’m going to do a video that I need to edit just a little bit to cut off the beginning and end I just use iMovie on my smartphone. Of course I’m not editing the videos I’m putting on FB Live or Insta Stories because they are obviously live.
You don’t need a lot of equipment to edit stuff in the early days for video because I’m talking social video. That’s what I want you to get really comfortable with.
I’m starting to see traction but feeling very overwhelmed. Here’s the dilemma. I’m starting to get some traction with list building and am also generating a little bit of revenue, mainly with my one-on-one services.
I’m only one person and I’m overwhelmed. How do I move from trading time for dollars, which is exhausting, to shifting into a more scalable and profitable online business model?
My solution, I’m sure you can guess, one of the smartest decisions you can made at this stage in your business is to create an online training course. Not only will it set you up as the expert but will also allow you to move from one-on-one services, which is insanely hard to scale, to one-to-many.
If you’re ready to add a bit more firepower to your marketing tool kit and begin creating online training courses you need some tools to get you there.
Now that you’re making a little bit of money with your one-on-one services it’s time to invest some of that money into your business. If you’re creating online courses I definitely recommend Screen flow for your Mac or Camtasia if you’re on a PC.
I love Screen flow. It is the tool I have literally used from the beginning. I record my online courses. You hear my voice, you see my slide deck, I record with Screenflow, and I edit all of my videos in Screenflow for my online courses as well.
I’m not talking direct to camera, I’m talking on a slide deck where I’m teaching something. I use a Yeti mic. Again, I link to it in my cheat sheet. I love a Yeti mic for creating courses. I think it works really.
At this stage I think you need a way to collect money beyond PayPal. As you move through the stages you’re getting more sophisticated. If the only way you collect money is through PayPal you definitely don’t look pro.
It’s important as you become more sophisticated in your business that you look legit. I know you are legit in your business but you’ve got to play that part as well. At this point if you’re going to start selling online courses or online live workshops or whatever you are selling online, when you are collecting money I want you to send them to a sophisticated order form.
I suggest SamCart. SamCart allows you to create an order form that looks really good. You can take payment plans, one-time payment, and different credit cards.
You can put some testimonials on the order form and that always boosts the trust factor.
SamCart has a feature that if you’re taking monthly payments and one of the payments fails they will go out and try to recharge the card or get the correct information from your customer (if a card has expired) to get the right information and charge the card accordingly.
They have some really cool features on SamCart. I’m a huge fan and I use SamCart. SamCart put three of my different templates I personally designed in my business (I didn’t design them but you get the point) inside their library.
You can choose an order form that looks like mine if you’ve ever seen my order forms and you like them. They are really clean and professional. SamCart has a lot of cool features. If you’re going to be taking money online you need a good order form and that’s what it’s all about.
The other thing you want to start thinking about is how you’re going to house your content. If you’re going to create an online course you need something like Zippy Courses that allows you to put your course content behind a protected wall so that people need to use a login to get your content.
If they’re paying for something then there should be a login for sure. Zippy Courses is a great solution. Also, if you’re just starting out, Course Cats is another great solution and WishList Member. We actually use WishList member in our business and have from the get go.
I’m starting to see a theme that I keep saying. There are some tools I’ve used from the very beginning. I used Screenflow from the very beginning. The tripod I use is the one I had from the first day I made video. I have used WishList member from the very beginning.
I actually would like to try out some different platforms for my online courses. But when you have thousands of people inside your course it’s really tough to switch to a different platform. That’s why we haven’t. But I have listed some others that you can check out and definitely do your homework to find the best platform to use to house all of your content when people pay for it and log in to get it.
Those are some of the course-creation tools I would highly recommend.
Content and Communication Organization
There is another thing I want you to focus on when you’re in the stage of overwhelm and are starting to make some money but you’re feeling stressed out. A lot of the reasons you’re feeling stressed out is because things are very disorganized in your business.
I already warned you that organization is my thing. I like to get things really organized in terms of how I organize my content online, inside my business, how I communicate with my team. It’s an area I really pay attention to.
Let me give you some of the tools I think are no brainers when it comes to keeping your communication with your team organized and your content organized within your business.
I really like Slack for communicating with my team. That means my team is on Slack and I’m on Slack. We can do instant messaging to each other. It’s organized in different categories.
If you have a question for me about B-School, a program I promote at the beginning of every year with Marie Forleo, we have a channel called B-School. If my team has a question for me about the bonuses I’ve created that we’re giving away this year for B-School she would go into the channel and instant message me and we would communicate about it.
A different channel might be customer service if we’re having a challenge with a customer and they need extra support. We have about 20 different channels. That way we keep it organized.
The one thing I will say is that these are quick little conversations you have and they are not big project conversations. That’s for another tool I’ll tell you about in a minute.
Another thing with Slack is that I try to only get into Slack during certain business hours. I’m probably not even in Slack until 10 a.m. I might be in it from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where people can ping me. After 2 p.m. I might go and just focus on content creation again.
I don’t want to always be pinged by my team because that means I’m context switching and am paying attention to them then jumping back into my podcast, paying attention to my team again and jumping back into something else. You don’t want to do that.
I tried to get really specific about the hours that I’m going to be in Slack but I think it’s a great tool. My team probably uses it more amongst themselves than with me. That is always great as well.
The other tool I absolutely love is Asana. It has taken me a while to totally embrace a project management tool. But I realized if I really want to stay focused on the main projects I’m working on Asana is the best way to go.
Asana is a project management tool. Every project we do, whether it be a Webinars That Convert launch, a B-School bonus promotion, or a new course, every single one of those projects has its own project inside Asana.
Every single task is listed in categories and then assigned to people with due dates. The communication around those projects happens inside of Asana. If Chloe has a question about an email I wrote for a promo she will communicate in that task under that comment so that it’s linked back to something. Talk about organization. I do love Asana.
Other Tools – Evernote, Google Docs, Dropbox
A few other tools you likely already know about but I want to point out in case you’re not already using them: Evernote is a great tool to use to keep all of your content organized in terms of writing an email or a sales page.
I actually use Google Docs for all of that but I know that Evernote has more sophisticated features for creating the content and getting it all organized. But I still feel Google Docs is a good contender to that because you can share Google Docs.
People can work in Google Docs together. There are a lot of similarities between Google Docs and Evernote in that sense with creating content.
I also use Dropbox. I’ve got this great video at http://www.amyporterfield.com/ 72. There is a freebie in that episode where I walk you through how I set up Dropbox to organize my online course content. I’m not joking guys, it’s one of my most popular freebies I have.
It has spurred me to want to create a mini program all around productivity, efficiency, and getting organized in an online business. I have gotten so many suggestions for doing that and it’s something I’ve started to work on. It all started with me showing my students how to organize Dropbox when you create a course.
It might sound like, of course, you have a bunch of files. No you don’t. It’s totally different. If you’re curious about how I use Dropbox to stay insanely organized go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/72 and get the freebie in that episode. I think you’ll find it really valuable.
The last thing I’ll say with organization is “1password”. You might want to use Last Pass. There are a lot of different ones. I use 1password because it’s what I’ve always used.
If something’s working for me I’m not just going to jump to another tool because it’s new or other people are using it. If it works for me I just stay focused and keep using the same tool so I don’t have to learn another one. 1password is something I’ve used for years. I think it’s amazing.
You do need one tool to keep all of your login details secure and easily accessible. I think wasting time trying to find a dang login is just so wasteful. We don’t need to do that. It’s just not worth it so get a tool to keep yourself organized with all your logins.
That’s Stage #2. You are starting to make a little money. You’re getting a little overwhelmed and you don’t want to trade time for dollars anymore. That’s where I say to focus on course creation tools to get your course up and running and get insanely organized at that point.
When moving into Stage #3 you want to make sure things are really organized and streamlined in your business so you can just focus on scaling. Stage #3 is when you are ready to scale quickly and make the big bucks.
The dilemma here is that your list is growing, you have an online program that is perfect for your ideal audience, and you are slowly starting to see the money come in to a point you are feeling really good about it. You are even thinking about bringing on some new, amazing team members.
The challenge is that you want to make more money before you make the change. How do you turn all of the hard work you have done in Stage #1 and Stage #2 into a more profitable business?
The solution is it’s time to scale what you’ve worked so hard on creating. You need the tools and systems to help you run the ship. Sell more with less effort and leverage your current position to scale and automate faster.
At this stage in your business, one of the smartest decisions you can make is to learn how to deliver valuable and insanely profitable webinars to sell your programs and services. Once you learn to do webinars I genuinely mean it when I say, “The sky’s the limit.”
YouTube Live and GoToWebinar
At Stage #3 some of my students will have already been doing webinars. The tools I recommend are to take things to the next level. If you have a really tight budget in Stage #2 and you want to do webinars I suggest starting out with YouTube Live.
YouTube Live allows you to do webinars live for free. Once you start making money I want you to invest in some tools so you can do it better. My solution for doing live webinars better is with GoToWebinar. Again, I’ve been using it since the days at Tony Robbins.
I’ve been using the tool for a long time and it’s really, really solid. I love the features of chat and giving presentation rights to one person over another. I love how my team can get in there during GoToWebinar and support those that are participating in my webinar while I run the live webinar.
There are some really streamlined, easy-to-use features inside GoToWebinar. It is definitely my tool of choice for live webinars. At this point you might want to get into automation of your webinars as well.
I think the best tool out there is EasyWebinar. EasyWebinar allows you to automate quickly and has a lot of features to give you that personal touch while still being automated. EasyWebinar is definitely a good contender out there.
At this point you might want to think about using something like ClickFunnels and Deadline Funnel. These are two tools that I actually haven’t implemented in my business yet.
I’m usually don’t recommend tools that I’m not using. However, we did some customization in my business and we used some tools that are specific to Infusionsoft. I think I forgot to mention that I use Infusionsoft as my email service provider.
For my students just starting out I recommend Drip over Infusionsoft because Drip is a whole lot cheaper and I don’t think you need all the bells and whistles of Infusionsoft when you’re just starting out.
Because I use Infusionsoft I’m able to use a few tools that allow me to create automated webinars and give specific deadlines to each person that enters my automated webinar. I like the urgency and scarcity for each person that enters into a webinar with me.
People get to watch the webinar, they get all of my promo emails, there’s a deadline for the bonuses expiring. That’s something that Deadline Funnel will do for you.
You don’t need Infusionsoft and customization and tools that I’m using. You can just use Deadline Funnel. So many of my peers that I trust absolutely love it. I highly recommend it. James Wedmore is one that I’m thinking about. He speaks about it so highly and I’ve talked to him about it extensively.
I 100% believe Deadline Funnel is a great tool if you’re doing automated webinars and you want to create that scarcity and urgency.
When you get a little bit more sophisticated and are in Stage #3, ClickFunnels is another tool to use in order to start putting your campaigns together in a way that’s really streamlined, sophisticated, and will convert at a high level for you. You’re not just piecing things together yourself, you have a tool that’s allowing you to put the whole thing together.
I love that tool. I’ve gotten to speak to the creators of that tool and think they are doing great things so I wanted to point out those two as my last tools that I recommend in Stage #3.
There are a lot more tools I could recommend as you get more sophisticated but I don’t think most of my students are there just yet. I think you’re moving there quickly. I also don’t want to inundate you with all of these tools that you feel totally overwhelmed with, at least not in this episode.
I’m going to list a few more of the Stage #3 tools I would recommend in my freebie at http://www.amyporterfield.com/141download but I just wanted to point out the tools that will elevate if you want to sell more online and webinars are the way you want to do it.
When you’re ready to invest in up leveling your webinars that’s where I say use GoToWebinar, EasyWebinar, and then something like ClickFunnels/Deadline Funnels. They are similar in ways and totally different in other ways so you just want to research both of those. I’ll link to both of them in my freebie so that you can check out both and see which one would work for you depending on where you are in your business right now.
I actually lied, I had one more tool that I listed for you, SnapEngage. SnapEngage is a live chat feature you can add to your sales page. I haven’t really talked about sales pages in this episode but when you’re selling online you are going to need to send people to a sales page.
One of the tools I love to include on a sales page is SnapEngage. If someone has a question your team can be standing by and if someone posts a question on your sales page your team (maybe a customer service rep) will get a ping on their computer and they can answer in real time.
There’s nothing like real time responses when someone is looking at your sales page and thinking about buying. Over the last few years we have used SnapEngage and it’s worked incredibly well.
During a live launch when I have some down time I will turn on SnapEngage on my computer and I am personally answering questions for those that just came from my webinar, came over to my sales page, and now they are checking things out.
It adds a really nice personal touch if the course creator is actually there on the sales page answering questions live. It’s a nice feature for sure and that’s one you can check out.
Stage #3 is more sophisticated and more expensive but definitely worth it when you’re ready to invest a little bit more in your tools and resources to get a bigger bang for your buck.
There you have it. I know I just covered a lot of tools and resources. But remember, lean is the theme for this episode. Keep things lean and don’t dive into any new tools or resources until you need them.
That means you move your way through the different stages and as you move on to new projects I want you to go to this cheat sheet I have for you. Remember, there are deals and special discounts that you can take advantage of.
Use the cheat sheet as your go-to source when you need it. Save it on your desktop so that you can go back to it again and again. All you need to do is go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/141download. Remember, I’ve added some extras on there that I didn’t actually mention in this episode so you’ll see a whole bunch of resources when you need them.
The final thing I’ll say is that this is the episode that ends 2016. We’re moving into the New Year in our next episode. Before we get there I wanted to take a minute to thank you.
I know you have a LOT of opportunities for amazing podcasts out there. The fact that you listen to mine means the world to me. I think my most favorite thing I get to hear when I’m out in the real world is when someone will say, “Amy I listened to one of your podcast episodes and took action. Here’s what happened. I’m so excited about the results.”
I’m on Cloud Nine when I hear that. Thank you so very much for letting me be a little part of your business and thank you for tuning in. I absolutely love to create the content for this podcast and I can’t wait to share with you what we have in store for 2017.
From the bottom of my heart thank you so very much for tuning in.
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Fresh Books is offering a 30-day unrestricted, free trial to all of my listeners. To claim it go to http://www.freshbooks.com/amy and enter Online Marketing Made Easy in the “How Did You Hear About Us” section.
Okay, let’s go ahead and together ring in the New Year. I can’t wait to see you in the next episode. Bye for now.