If you are a marketer, agency, freelancer, outreach specialist, or any other business, the chances are that you will count on email outreach to start building relationships, to hustle, to pitch, to exchange ideas, to create a strong network of people.
In a time and age when building relationships is hard itself, you don’t want to sit there and spend hours and hours just “looking for emails”.
For one, there the helpful anatomy of an outreach email, and then there’s the actual work involved in cold email outreach.
In the world of social selling for sales reps, Marketers, Startup founders, Recruiters and anyone who needs email outreach or outbound research, there’s a need for a simple, effective, and a fast way to search for emails to reach out to the right people, and to build relationships fast.
Ultimate Resource KitNow, let’s get into the backbreaking job of actually finding a list of prospects and then sending out emails to them.
I’ve checked, used, and worked with plenty of tools that help you find anyone’s email, email outreach tools, and software that tries to makes cold email outreach easier. I’ve done that for years — for blogger outreach, to find guest blogging opportunities, and when we try to just build lists of prospects for clients.
Never before has there been a tool that’s really easy to use. My benchmark for figuring out if an email finding tool is easy to use or not (with the exception of fancy stuff like API and blockchain tokens) is when my virtual assistants or any of our Interns can get started and work with the tool in one hour flat.
Say a big hi to Snov.io — a brand new tool that helps you:
Find emails of prospects or others you want to reach out to on LinkedIn
Use domain search and access to email addresses along with names and job positions from various domains. Use them to find contacts and get connected.
Explore & dig deep into company information database our program uncovers! With this, you’ll contact just the right person in the right department.
Get an instant way to “verify” the emails you collect (what’s the point if those emails don’t work, right?)
Note: Snov.io is so easy to use that my virtual assistant was able to get cracking with and use in 15 minutes (not one hour).
Now, let’s dig in and I’ll show you just how easy Snov.io is to use. We’ll take a particular use case of trying to find CEOs of specific companies that I have a list of and automatically include these prospects in a list that I can use to send out outreach emails to later.
Create Account & Install the Chrome Extension
The first step to better use Snov.io is to install their Chrome extension (trust me, it’s one of the most valuable extensions I ever added to my extensions list on Chrome).
Just head out to their Chrome extension page, click through and install the extension to your Chrome browser. Once you install the extension be sure to create an account and login (and stay that way).
Once you install the extension, this is how it’ll look like:
Creating, building, & managing your Lists
Be it with your regular email marketing campaigns or for outreach campaigns with cold email.
It’s all about “lists”, isn’t it?
On Snov.io, you’ll obviously work with lists. Create a separate list for each project you work on to make it easier for you to sort and arrange your prospects (along with their emails and other information).
Building prospect email lists with Snov.io
Let’s take an example of trying to find prospects and their respective emails off LinkedIn. Snov.io quickly helps grab your prospects’ email addresses right off their LinkedIn profile.
The way the workflow for Snov.io is:
Deploy your search criteria on LinkedIn and find a list of prospects on Linkedin or visit a specific person’s profile.
Click on Snov.io’s Chrome extension
Snov.io will display names of people on the list that’s showing on the page you are on. Or, it’ll show you the name of that single person’s profile page you are on now.
Select the name (checkbox), select a list, and click on “save selected”. Then, click on “Go to List”. A new tab opens with Snov.io showing you all the information about that person (or the specific people you choose from that list).
After you build your prospect lists after easily collecting emails by using names of people, company names, LinkedIn, or several other options that Snov.io gives you, what you’ll end up with is lists.
Using “campaigns” tab on the top menu, start a campaign and send carefully crafted cold outreach emails that just kick ass.
Snov.io comes as a breather at a time when most email finding tools just die out and vanish or are scrappy and buggy.
Snov.io has a beautiful interface, loads super fast, is intuitive to use and is extremely efficient at what it does.
Give Snov.io a try and let me know what you think?
Google has a lot in its pretty pandora box, and you are losing out on a lot if you don’t use all that Google has to give you.
Data-driven marketing is smart marketing. It’s the kind of thing you do when you want to cut your losses even before you start spending. With data, you have a leg up on your competition. It makes you take the right decisions (almost every time).
It’s in Google’s interest to provide you with absolutely everything it can to make you informed, take data-driven decisions for your business, and get all the tools you need to make your digital marketing efforts that much more easier.
Ultimate Resource KitEach of the tools below are from Google’s generous war chest. Use them to stockpile your data and make decisions like a pro:
Test My Site
Chances are that your website sucks big time. I know because my website did, does, and will continue to.
I am no web designer or developer. I rely on WordPress and I leave it on my hosting company to take care of whatever they need to help load my website fast. I also use the best of the WordPress themes available to help reduce website bloat and maybe see if I can boost my website’s performance.
Use Test my Site tool from Google to see just how your website stacks up,, what might possibly be a few issues plaguing your website, are there are any issues with how your website renders on mobile (which is where the world is busy thumbing at).
Go ahead and test your site. You’ll get a reality check you won’t like.
As you can see, I now have some work to do.
Speed Scorecard & Impact Calculator
How fast does your website load? [If it doesn’t load fast enough, you should stop reading and go and do something about it].
Most businesses still struggle with slow loading websites. According to ThinkWithGoogle, the average page load speed for a mobile website is around 15.3 seconds.
More than 62% of your customers “will not” buy from you (now or in the future) regardless of anything fancy you do with your website or how elite your digital marketing campaigns are.
That worries me (and it should worry you too).
Speed of your website is directly proportional to your conversions. Speed is revenue. Speed is everything for your website.
Want a reality check? Google’s Speed Scorecard is what you should be treating yourself to. Add your own domain and add up 2-3 competitor domains to see how well you do.
Oh no, just how slow or how fast your website is doesn’t tell you much. That’s where the Impact calculator comes in to show you just how much money you stand to lose with a slow loading website.
Google Trends shows the relative popularity of a search query over time (and can be filtered by geography).
Relative popularity is the ratio of a query’s search volume to the sum of the search volumes of all possible queries.
The good thing about Google trends is that it removes the additional searches conducted by the same person (over a period of time), scales up the resultant numbers from 0-100 and shows you the results (only for popular terms).
Trying to look for something esoteric or something that has low search volume? You get a zero.
Whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, or an eCommerce store, it’ll help if you know just how popular a particular product is. Google’s Shopping insights harnesses Google’s massive search volume data across more than 7000 products (and counting) and provides you with an instant snapshot of shopping trends (limited to United States only).
You can see how products trend over time, explore how consumers use mobile or web to search for products (so you know which devices to target for any particular product) and a history of interest on that product given any region, city, or country. (with a city-level data across 16,000 cities in U.S).
Google brings in magic heat maps and graphs to show these shopping trends to help you make informed strategies for marketing.
If you want to sell online, you must understand customer behavior online first. Who knows that better than Google, eh?
As if to show off just how much they know about consumers (you and I) online, Google has Consumer Barometer, which is a storehouse of online research, country-specific data on consumer behavior, device preferences, and how they make purchase decisions.
Spanning across 45 countries across 10 broad product categories, Consumer Barometer from Google is an ever-evolving, always-updated repository.
Use the Graph builder, compare digital trends over time, and explore audience stories.
It can’t get better than this.
You might not think much of Google’s Display campaigns and you may not even use Google’s GDN, but did you know that you can get an instant snapshot of what all the marketers in the world are doing with Google’s Display Network?
Google’s Display Benchmarks Tool gives you deep data on ad performance across countries, ad placements, and ad formats.
You also get to see moving trends across time, snapshot reports, format performance, and how various placements on publications perform over time.
If you are actually running campaigns on Google’s Display network, all this information is pure gold and you’d know what ad formats to use and the placements you should be aiming for.
The time for video creation has come (so the video creation tools will rule).
You can’t run, you can’t hide, and you can’t get away by just typing.
There was this maxim in the world of digital marketing, as we know it:
“All brands are publishers”
I think those days are long gone. Today, that maxim should read:
“All brands are video producers”
Video is so big now that you’d literally be wiped off the face of the web if you don’t produce video in some format. Pick simple options such as slide decks animated as video or go as far as creating a full range of course or resource libraries with video — this way or that, video is going to be mandatory for you to create if you hope to make any impact with your digital marketing (and also digital advertising).
Ultimate Resource KitBut we all know what that one word “Video” can do to the best of us, don’t we? I thought I was confident until video came along (now, I am the one on Facebook groups asking questions and posting tweets trying to motivate myself to shoot a single 2.5 minute video).
As I went about looking for various options for video creation tools, I found many. Out of those, here are some notable video creation tools (all free)
If you are a Mac user, you don’t really need to go anywhere beyond the good old iMovie on Mac and on iPhone.
Regardless of which device type you use, iMovie helps you record yourself (or quickly grab an existing video and images to edit) and package a complete video if you wanted to.
You could even do little things like Logo reveal (using a combination of Keynote animations and iMovie).
On the iPhone too, just click and open the app, start recording yourself, and package it together within the app.
SoapBox By Wistia
Wistia, for a while, has been one of the most popular video hosting companies along with their industry-leading video lead building tools, storage, and video analytics.
Recently, Wistia launched a new product called Soapbox which allows you to create unique screen sharing videos while allowing you to show yourself alongside the screens you share.
Soapbox for Wistia is also a Google Chrome extension. Once you have it installed, click on Soapbox, choose your screen, and start recording. All recorded videos can be shared instantly (You’ll need Soapbox Pro if you want to download videos and use them elsewhere, like Youtube).
Loom is the perfect screen recording tool you could ever get your hands on. It’s a Google chrome extension, it’s completely free to use, and it’s as easy to record (with your voice over) with loom as it’s easy for you to use email. Click on the chrome extension before you record, choose whether you want to capture just your screen, or cam, or both and start recording.
As soon as you finish recording, the video is automatically processed and saved on the cloud. You also have the option of trimming and editing the video (along with options to add text to provide more context to your video).
Loom also integrates with Gmail, Slack, and other tools.
Do you love Slack? Are you and your team usually huddling in Slack?
Sometimes, it makes more sense (and more impact) when you send in a video message rather than type a big wall of text. That’s when Standuply makes sense.
Alex Kristinev, founder of Standuply, explains it better:
“Install Standuply slack bot which brings /video slash command. Then you just type /video in a channel or in a DM with a person to send a video message in a corresponding place. Google account and create a private video channel on Youtube for your account.
All your videos are stored there, and you have the full control. Also having them in a private video channel means nobody will see them unless you share the link to the message.”
Dubb happens to be a ridiculously simple, no-frills, and free to use video creation tool (available as a Google Chrome Extension). You can also integrate Dubb with Slack, use it with Microsoft Outlook, and use the Mobile app to record yourself using your iPhone (Android coming soon).
Dubb works just like Loom (above) does, minus the trimming or editing options. As such, I can see just how powerful and simple Dubb can be if you are into sales, marketing, and other client-facing roles.
Renderforest is an incredibly easy way to create logo reveals, quick intros, animated videos, promotional videos, video ads for Facebook, and so many other varieties. See the gallery for inspiration or just pick a template and start adding assets to get your videos up and ready.
Your videos with renderforest are possible even without any assets (such as images) by using their, slideshow, typography or music visualization video templates.
What are your favorite video creation tools? Am I missing any important ones? Tell me about it.
Some marketers and businesses have mastered the art of creating inviting, click worthy, and truly beautiful CTA buttons. Here’s a list of some of them:
Sleeknote is a fantastic tool you can use to boost your lead generation efforts with sleek, beautiful, and effective lead generation pop-ups, slide-ins, in-line forms, trigger-based pop-ups and so much more.
The folks at Sleeknote call them “in-site messages”, so be it.
You just have to love their homepage with a lovely layout, product images in the background, social proof, and the call to action that just stands out.
As if the CTA prominence wasn’t enough, there are two buttons which are both inviting — one for a “free” demo and one for a “free trial”.
Viral loops make doing referrals easy. It’s one of the best referral marketing tools you could use for your business today.
The home page brings in contrasting design, amazing graphics, and calls to action that are subtle and effective. The CTA buttons stand out against the blue background and social proof comes reeling in right below those buttons (even before you start scrolling).
With a simple headline that gets the job done to a subheading that adds value to the headline itself, Viral loops has a lot going for its carefully crafted Call to action buttons.
As Dustin Robertson — Dustin Robertson, the Chief Marketing Officer at Drip — likes to put it,
“Drip is the CRM that Salesforce didn’t build. “
Drip is undergoing a complete rebranding and changing its focus to be the best ECRM (ecommerce Specific CRM) in business. It’s well on its way.
Drip’s homepage is now all colors, and communicates just one thing straight: Know what your customers are up, graduate from typical email platforms, and make more money with Intelligent Marketing automation.
While the colors, the branding, and the image of two “real” people goes a long way to make it all real, the call to action takes all the risk away with a “Try Drip Free” button or “Get a Demo”.
Pastel makes it easy for you to add sticky notes to your website designs or landing page designs (while you are at it) and get instant feedback from your team members or your clients.
Pretty straight-forward, right?
Their landing page is simple, colorful, attractive, and effective. The illustration itself tells you what Pastel is all about. But in case you mistook that to be a whiteboard for educational institutions, the headline tells you all.
The subheading makes it easy for you to know what it does for you (and the 10 seconds is appealing).
Notice the “Play a quick demo” link? It’s right there even before they ask for the ubiquitous email.
Talking about the call to action, an email address (one-field) is all that you’d need to give away to start using pastel and save hours of to-and-fro communication game with team members or clients.
Asana is a powerful, popular, and truly a robust project management tool for yourself or for teams (we use Asana for our agency work to manage clients and projects).
Using an incredibly simplistic and clear landing page (as a home page) there’s no need to over-convince you to help you to manage your projects and tasks.
While it’s rare to find a three-word headline, Asana doesn’t need more than “Move work forward” to get the point across to you. The subheading makes it much more clearer.
It’s a freemium product so dropping your email in and “Getting started” is as easy as reading this is.
Land on the page and you’ll know exactly what it is, what it does, and there’s nothing on the background to distract you.
Another one of those three-word headlines that still communicates. While I personally think that the CTA button for this example could have been in another color, no one can argue with the sheer seductive power of “free”.
Convertfox combines the best of livechat, email marketing, and team collaboration to help you engage with your website visitors, customers, and then keep those relationships alive (with a mix of chat and email).
Simple, Minimalistic, and On Brand, the Convertfox homepage could give professional landing pages a run for their money. Clear and simple language lets you know what Convertfox does, in less than a second. The use of white space, product image to the right, and
The simple “Get Started” CTA button sits there, waiting for you to close more deals.
What are some of the best CTA examples you’ve come across? Share them with me here.
There’s a charm about running a virtual business. It’s cost-effective and just smart to run a business that way instead of putting up large offices and hiring people full-time, just because you want to get the “feeling” that you are in charge.
Jason Fried advocates this in his book ReWork and I see absolute sense in saving cash for large offices on the Central Business District and work off your garage instead.
For that to happen, however, you need a mindset overhaul. You have a need to be smart about, and you need the right tools.
Here are a few Tools To Run Your Virtual Business even better than how a few normal businesses are managed:
Hubstaff is the only tool among all the others in this list that actually allows you to track time, mouse clicks, keyboard movements, and more. It helps you make payments to your contractors or your full-time staff (if you still insist). Hubstaff helps you to keep track of what your employees do as against what they “say” they do.
Track and monitor each employee does, stay informed about app usage on computers, the websites they visit, the things they do, etc. Also track time, activity levels, and a lot more. Make payments effortlessly as the time comes.
Enough said. You can try it out for free and see what your employees really do.
New & Improved Asana
Did you check out the new Asana yet? It’s all new – complete with a new logo, a new color scheme inside the tool itself, and many more features. The popular project management tool just pops. It pops so well that you feel like working all over again.
Asana integrates with Harvest App, Google Drive, and more. It also has “recurring task” feature, reminders that go down to the “time” a task is due, and tasks can be neatly divided into sections. Asana also features task conversations that’ll help solve your email dependency for getting tasks done.
Trello is, will, and always has been an amazing tool for project management and collaboration. Working with boards and cards that you move about from doing to done, it’s a fresh approach to work compared to the other schoolbook like tools. Trello for business is even more loaded.
Not everyone knows how to use Industry leading products such as Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator. Yet, visuals rule the web.
You’d need tons of visuals for all sorts of content – say blog posts, social media updates, email marketing, and other documents you’d want to create including eBooks, whitepapers, and others.
You’d also need graphics, icons, and illustrations for various parts of your website.
Marketers will also need easy to use tools for creating advertisements, banners, and other such digital assets.
For marketers and time-strapped business owners, fiddling with Photoshop isn’t an option. Here’s a run down of tools you can use
Canva has soon emerged as the leading tool to create a wide array of graphics for the web. From Facebook cover photos to Twitter updates, and from Infographics to invitation posters, Canva has most things covered. Featuring a drag and drop functionality along with an ever growing repository of images, vectors, and icons, doing graphcis with Canva is as easy as using your mouse.
If you are a marketer looking to create ads and banners, look no further than BannerSnack. Pick up templates for your ads or banners and drag/drop objects to create your ads quickly and efficiently. You can use the free library of images and assets or bring in images from the Creative commons. If you’d like a better quality, you can also find images and illustrations from Deposit Photos, iStockPhoto, or Photolia.
Serif’s PagePlus is the only tool that you’d have to download – yeah, the good, old downloadable software – but it’s well worth the effort if you’d like to create documents of any sort. Go ahead and create Brochures, postcards, ePuB covers, Kindle Book Covers, flyers, and possibly every other document you’d ever need for your business.
Affinity Designer for Mac
One of the best apps on the Mac Store for art and design in the year 2014, Affinity Designer for Mac helps you develop designs really fast. Zoom off at about 60 fps, apply effects in real time, and work with objects and graphics as complex as you like while Affinity never runs out of memory or the capability to handle tasks.
Design Rails (Beta)
Need a logo real quick? How about minutes instead of days or weeks? And get this: how about a logo at no cost to you? Design Rails is a cool app that taps into its database of varied iconography, typefaces, color schemes, and layout styles to get you the logo that you are likely to fall in love with.
WithOomph – reminds us of Social Oomph – is another cool discovery for getting your logo done with nothing but a business/brand name and a keyword. If you do like one of those logos that come out, almost instantly, you may purchase your logo files (PNG, PDF, and EPS) for a mere £25. They also have screen-printing and other printing options available.
Sta.Sh Muro by Deviant Art
Imagine getting to a URL and getting almost anything done in terms of graphic design? How about some quick photo editing? Instead of waiting for Photoshop to load forever for quick edits, you might as well use Sta.sh Muro by Deviant Art. We haven’t used this one yet (so your feedback is welcome).
Think of WordSwag as a graphic designer in your pocket, at the palm of your hand. Available as an App in the iTunes Store, WordSwag has more than 290,000 images (sourced through Pixabay). Create your visuals quickly, add image filters if you need to, pick your own backgrounds, add text, and share on social when you are done.
PicMonkey lets you edit and touchup photos, design visuals, and create a collage if you like to. Turn photos into illustrations, use text masks to combine images with text, and even go retro if you like. A pro version is available for ads-free editing and more features.
Which of these tools do you use? Do you know of any other graphic design tools for non-designers that business owners and marketers can use?
Graphics — everything Logo to package design; from corporate identity to social media graphics — are critical for your branding.
But not every business owner has an eye for detail or the creativity to see their logo or branding ideas come to life.
Despite having these tools at disposal, there are several instances when you might want to consider something like Crowd souring your Logo design.