I’ve spent a lifetime doing what I do. As I go about my daily work, I stumble across tons of tools that small businesses can use. Now, not all tools are built for everyone.
You got to pick, and then make decisions.
Of the entire lot, these are the best ever. Here’s the big list of digital marketing resources:
Domain Name Registrars
Namecheap: Don’t bother with any other registrar.
Hover: They are really good at what they do.
Nuage: A new way to buy and manage domains
Managed WordPress Hosting
There are only three best choices in the entire industry (don’t bother checking, I did).
Flywheel provides the fastest hosting in the world currently. You can migrate for free and they have a “tiny” plan (which is one of the few differences between this one and WPEngine). They provide SSL certificates for free and have options for CDN. Malware cleanup and protection, fast hosting, a simple Interface to manage your websites, a staging area for experimenting with your websites, and more.
WPEngine is the next best managed wordpress hosting solution and they a notch slower than Flywheel (but speed also depends on the plan you pick and the kind of content on your site).
Regular Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, and Dedicated Servers
Great customer service and excellent interface to manage your hosting and/or domains from. It’s not a “Godaddy”, if you know what I mean?
1and1 guys have been around for a long, long time. Trust worthy, reliable, and inexpensive.
You get hosting for a full year, free of cost.
WordPress Themes, Unbounce Landing Page templates, and More
StudioPress Themes & The Genesis Themework: Neatest, cleanest, fastest, SEO out of the box, and completely bloat-free. Now, it’s StudioPress sites — everything you get from StudioPress neatly packaged into a single offering for a low monthly fee.
Social Media Management: Build, Amplify, and Connect
HootSuite: I use this internally for our own social networks and for those that I help manage for clients.
Buffer for Business: Another awesome tool for complete social media management.
IFTTT: A smart way to automate parts of social media. We hear that IFTTT is not just about social media anymore though.
TailWindApp: Make your Pinterest Management easier and save time.
Social Monitoring & Reputation Management
Canva: You need visuals for everything today. There are some obvious cases in point such as banner ads, Facebook Ads, and other advertisements. You also have logos that you’d need.
Then, there are blog post feature images, other blog images, and social media visuals.
Content marketing requires its own dose of graphics such as those constituting Infographics, assets for videos, presentations, slide decks, and more.
In some advanced cases, you’d also need charts, graphs, and embeddable graphic assets.
Nothing comes closer to the sheer versatility of Canva when it comes to create all of those graphics, images, and other assets you’d need for digital marketing.
Start with their free forever plan, of course.
If you want to explore further, here are even more tools for graphic design that you can use.
Website Building Solutions
Tilda: A fantastic new find to help develop classic and very good looking websites.
Mozello: The cheapest responsive website builder out there. Signup and use it now.
Wix: It’s a popular choice but you’ll be severely limited by their available templates.
SquareSpace: It’s a classy website builder. Be warned of the closed ecosystem though.
Duda One: Love the ease of use of this platform. Cannot integrate with other third-party tools and services. At least, none that I know of.
Strikingly: Build websites in a snap. Drag. Drop. done. Sell products and services with Ecommerce options available.
Weebly: It just evolved and grew into a mature platform with “Carbon”. Build responsive websites by dragging and dropping. Today, it also has a complete suite of marketing tools built-in.
SmugMug: A complete photo sharing, photo hosting, and ecommerce solution built for photographers.
Video for Lead Generation
Renderforest provides free tools for creating professional intros, animations, slideshows and music visualizations in minutes.
Lumen5 : Lumen uses artificial intelligence to pick up what’s important from a blog post or any other web-based link that you’d feed into it.
It then whips out scenes based on that content. You have the choice of editing how those scenes play out. Also, take the time out to create your into and outro for the video, pick music (they have tracks you can choose), and also choose the right colors for your brand.
Did I mention that it’s completely free?
“Promo is the only service that gives you access to millions of premium video clips and hand-picked music complete with lifetime licensing.”
Slide.ly helps you create movie quality videos that are breathtakingly beautiful and result-oriented. You videos to reduce your CPC, for brand awareness, and for lead generation.
Take a look at their example videos and you know what I am blabbering about.
Sezion for personalized Video: What can you do with video, you ask?
Every time you book a time slot with your prospective client, how would it be if you can send in a personalized video (with the client’s name on it?). You can even go as far as integrating personalized video within your sales cycle
Say hello to Sezion. Create videos for any (or more) of the following use cases:
— Stay engaged with your customers
— Create videos that your social media followers will love.
— Engage with your email list.
— Send out personalized thank you emails for every lead registered on your website.
— Personalize videos for your eCommerce store.
Animoto For Simple Business Videos: Animoto has been around for quite a while. It was a simple way to create videos by mashing your family vacation photos or the entire series of chosen photos while your kid was growing up.
It wasn’t until Animoto for business was created that it piqued my interest.
Animoto comes equipped with a marketing video builder and this quickly helps you create social worthy videos from a few images.
The marketing builder is a complete drag-and-drop interface giving you control over voice-over, text, and how the video finally turns out.
Vizia For Video Lead Generation: Vizia has been built from the ground up by educators, for educators. Since video is also an incredibly powerful educational tool, it’s the number one choice for people who are involved with online educational courses, academia, and corporations that focus on training.
Using Vizia, you can incorporate multi-choice quizzes, collect feedback, and ask questions. More important, from a marketing standpoint, you can turn your passive viewers into active participants and also open up a dual channel for communications and improve your content by using the feedback you receive.
Vizia gives you simple –but powerful – tools to generate leads from your video content. You can use embeddable CTAs from within your videos and make your content share-worthy.
Vizia helps you turn your viewers into leads. It’s another thing that it was built for course creators. As a marketer, you are only limited by your imagination to generate leads for your business with video.
VideoScribe For Explainer Videos: Not all videos have to be the same. You can, in fact, bring back the love for explainer videos without doling out cash by the kilo.
Head off to VideoScribe and use the tool to make as many videos as you like. Go ahead and explain concepts, ideas, thoughts, and even convert the content of your blog post or white paper into another explainer video.
VideoScribe gives you everything you’d really need (including pre-built templates), royalty-free music tracks, royalty-free images, and full functionality to customize your masterpiece the way you want it for your business.
BidSketch: Ruben literally Bootstrapped his company BidSketch to make it easier for freelancers, coaches, consultants, agencies and companies to create professional looking templates easily and quickly.
No more fussing around with Word docs and anything else that you manage to hack together. If you are wondering how Bidsketch makes a difference, the team at Bidsketch researched 27,000 proposals worth $270M to create a marketing proposal template and they are now giving it away.
The insights from their research even got covered on Inc.com
Great onboarding experience, better looking templates, works on the cloud, and aims to make sending proposals easier. Connects with your CRM of choice and does a lot.
Shopify is the big daddy of self-hosted ecommerce platforms. It’s easy to get started with it and you can launch your store regardless of where you are in the world. They also have an option to connect with your WordPress site, PoS, excellent templates to sell your products and services. Read my Shopify Review here
Next only to Shopify, BigCommerce connects you to your ecommerce dreams. Just like Shopiy, you can get started easily and also connect your store to eBay, Amazon, and Etsy.
DIY Mobile Apps
You don’t need developers for building mobile apps (unless you need extreme customization). Pick from any of the following tools and you are good to go.
Swiftic (known earlier as Como): With over 1 million+ mobile apps already created on the platform, Swiftic is one of the most popular mobile app builders out there. Whether you want to dabble with mobile commerce, coupons, loyalty programs, online scheduling, and table reservations.
You also get myriad ways to promote your app with about pages, click-to-call, collections, catalogs, events, user reviews, and more.
AppMachine: You want to know how easy it is to build an app? Put the URL of your website on AppMachine and get a mobile app, in minutes. We should warn you that you’d still have to customize the output a bit but making your app can be as easy as that. AppMachine comes with 35+ pre-coded “building blocks” to make your app building as easy as drag and drop.
TheAppBuilder: TheAppBuilder takes a dual approach to DIY mobile app development as in you can either use the online toolkit to produce your own mobile app or take the help of TheAppBuilder’s staff to get your mobile app designed. TheAppBuilder gives you a “Sandbox” style credentials to allow multiple users, client access, and customization.
GoodBarber: GoodBarber allows you to build iOS and Android apps giving you complete customization options for you to tweak every inane detail. Loaded with preset templates, more than 600 Google Fonts, and beautiful icons, your mobile app for business is as easy as typing out an email.
AppMakr: Recently acquired by Infinite Monkeys, AppMakr is a mobile app builder you can use with no coding experience. Create as many apps as you want and include features that work for your business including video streaming, push notifications, in-app shopping, events calendars, and a lot more.
Content Delivery Networks
CacheFly: Get the power of global servers and nodes with Cachefly. Works with any website.
CDN Networks get you blazing site speeds for about (or less than) $10 per month.
Best WordPress Plugins
WpGuard: WordPress is vulnerable and everyone knows that. But you see? You have a business to run and that means you’d have to use a plugin like WPGuard to help protect your side and manage the nasty, technical side of it all.
Read about more awesome WordPress plugins you should use for your marketing.
WPS Hide Login: Allows you to hide the login page of your WordPress site. Read on how to use the plugin and boost the security of your wordpress site.
Online Community Building: Going Beyond Forums
WordPress Wonders: Empowering Your WordPress
Divi Builder: One of the best things that ever happened to WordPress has been the Divi Builder 3.0. You can now build entire websites with it or maybe just customize the theme you are using.
SumoMe: One of the best tools built for building your email marketing list with notification bar, welcome mat, and many other awesome tools built within the SumoMe Suite.
Project Management Tools
Hubstaff: Track Time, Control your project output, see what your team is upto
NutCache: Complete solution for project management, including billing and invoicing.
Asana: Love their new branding. Easy and completely flexible. Free for limited members.
Podio : A good way to organize your projects.
Basecamp : The classic, simplistic, and easy to use project management too.
Trello : Takes a beautiful card-based approach to getting things done.
HubStaff: 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.
Asana: Did you check out 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: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.
Nutcache: A clean & crisp project management and collaboration tool that aims to get your teams do tasks and complete projects faster.
Nutcache features project management tools, time tracking, collaborative boards, expense management, reports, file sharing, invoicing, and even payment gateways.
Next to HubStaff, it’s the best all-inclusive project collaboration software I know if.
Basecamp: It’s still the classic one. It’s simplistic, devoid of anything fancy, and boasts of more users than any of the others combined. However, it might not be for everyone.
Basecamp stays grounded with just the features you need such as Google Drive collaboration and more.
Email Outreach Tools
Once you set your mind to cold outreach, you are getting into the realm of a hustling marketer or business as against the passive kind. Outreach is what you do when you decide to step out of your boundaries and actually connect with others, as you were meant to be.
Instead of depending on the passivity and anonymity of the online medium, you decide to put your face up for the world to see you.
Tools for Finding Email Addresses
Once you send the right kind of emails out and find the right people, the sky is the limit. Get book contracts, speaking assignments, feature on blog posts, and more. You can also do guest blogging, appear on podcasts as a guest, or start a podcast, or co-author a book, or whatever it is that you want to do.
The key is to find emails of the exact person you want to reach out to, and you’d have to do it fast and efficient. Here are a tools to help you do email outreach like a ninja: