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Specialists don't mess around when it comes to how they run their business and they aren't afraid to use the right tool for the job - especially as they know the impact of using the right product or service at the right time.
Without these tools and products, I couldn't run my business. These are my favorite recommendations to give to my clients and other specialists. I have used every one of these products at some point or another and I only add tools that I back up to this page. Some of these are not affiliate links, just tools that I use and love.
I use several tools to research the key pieces of brand foundations. You must know who your ideal clients are, what their choices in the marketplace are, and what makes you different from those choices for those potential clients. The only way to do this is through research. I use the following tools for research:
- Google - for looking up competitors and reading reviews. Yes, I really do recommend Google. Sometimes the simple answer is the best.
- Facebook - to dig into ideal client data and reviews. Facebook has key insights based on their ad data they freely share.
- TESS - to check if the name I want is trademarked. Checking the trademark is a must for business name, program names, and product names.
When it comes to attracting clients, research is one of the most powerful tasks you can do (that many forget). I use the following tools to make sure that I'm attracting the right clients.
- Google Trends - for looking at trends in the market.
- Google Analytics - for looking at what my current website visitors are reading and for figuring out where I can make improvements.
- Frase - for content research. It helps you answer questions, format your content, and provides in-depth content briefs. It drastically cut down on my time creating content and allows me to create more answers to questions in a shorter time-frame so I can get back to working with my clients.
- MarketMuse - an alternative to Frase. More info coming soon.
- CrawlIQ AI - a new tool that uses AI to dig deep into your ideal clients.
- SparkToro - another tool to dig deep into what your ideal clients want and search for.
Brand Visual Expression
Once I know how a brand should feel based on the foundations, I use the following tools to develop the brand expression visually to show off that brand in the best light possible:
- Pinterest - for inspiration and mood boards. It's amazing how well something can come together with just a bit of time on Pinterest.
- Adobe Color - for brand palette inspiration and ideas.
- Coolors.co - for brand palette inspiration and ideas.
- Pixistock - for diverse feminine stock photos that can be sorted by niche and color, as well as stylish Canva templates.
- Canva - for creating professional looking graphics for social media.
- PowerThesaurus - for anyone who is doing any copywriting (and that goes for the copy on your website down to your social media posts). Think of this as your elementary school thesaurus on steroids...
Your website is one of the key assets for your business. I use the following tools and software to build and maintain the websites that I create for myself and others.
- GoDaddy - for purchasing website domains (though not hosting or page builders).
- Siteground - for affordable website hosting with great support. I highly recommend for new businesses.
- BigScoots - for quick, reliable website hosting with amazing support and more advanced features. I use BigScoots for myself and my clients.
- This Fiverr Gig - for speeding up a WordPress website. They add all the right tools and do a great job speeding up websites (I've used them myself several times).
- ThriveSuite- for building powerful, easy to use, and simple websites. It's not only beginner friendly, but even as an advanced user it has everything you'd need to create a premium site.
- Brizy - for a simple drag and drop website builder that packs a powerful punch. Most of my client sites are built using Brizy.
- Termageddon - for protecting yourself legally. This is an auto-updating legal page builder. Never worry about your legal pages again.
- NitroPack- for speeding up your website so you can load faster and provide a better user experience on your website.
- Pagespeed - for seeing what Google thinks of your page speed.
- GTmetrix - for seeing what your page speed actually is. I always use both GTmetrix and Pagespeed for each website I create.
When it comes to experts, you don't have a physical product to show off. Instead, you have to show off your expertise and content is one of the best ways to show it.
- CoSchedule Headline Analyzer - for coming up with strong headlines to get more clicks.
- HappyScribe - for getting transcripts of podcasts and videos.
- ContentFries - for taking videos and cutting them down to size for a variety of platforms.
- Resources for storytelling - for getting more information on how to find and tell great stories.
- Descript- for editing videos the easy way.
- BigVu - for creating videos using a script and adding captions for more engagement.
Social media is one of the key strategies for digital marketing. I use the following tools to create and publish my social media content:
- Be.Live - for going Live on Facebook (and YouTube). You can put things up on the screen, play recorded videos, do presentations, and everything from one spot, AND download high quality recordings after the fact (something you can't do on Facebook).
- ContentStudio - for posting content across multiple platforms.
Email and SMS
Email is one of the best ways to keep in touch with people who are interested in your content. I use the following tools:
- sendinblue - for sending emails. I love the deliverability and it can be used for transactional and campaigns.
- Elevateer - for a customer relationship management. Not only can you send emails and text messages, but it also has scheduling, surveys, membership, and other management tools built in.
- Co-Schedule Email Subject Line Tester - for ensuring that your emails are getting opened. No opens means nobody converts from your email list.
- Twilio - for sending text messages to a client list and for a dedicated phone number.
I've been in the blogging space for over 10 years at this point. While blogging is really different today, podcasting today is where blogging was ten years ago. Podcasting is great because it's easy to consume.
- Podbean - for publishing your podcast.
- Blue Snowball - for good quality audio. If you're podcasting, you need a good microphone. This one is the one that I use (it also has a more expensive big brother that is highly recommended) but this one has served me well over the years and I get great audio from it.
If you can make it easy for people to buy from you, everyone wins. You want to make your buying process as easy as possible. These tools can help:
- ThriveCart - for all your shopping cart needs. Not only do they provide affiliate programs, but they also allow you to custom design your check out pages, include places for upsells and downsells, and integrate with nearly everything (including Zapier).
- Zapier - for automating where it makes sense. So many products and tools work with Zapier so it's a natural choice when it comes to making software play nicely together.
Part of giving my clients the best experience means that I need to use first-class tools. I use these tools to make sure that my clients are well taken care of, as well as taking care of my own business.
- Nifty - for an all-in-one project management tool. I use Nifty for my project management. Not only does it track milestones, tasks, calendars, and files for my own projects, but I also track my client projects this way as well. I love having everything in one place plus I can add as many people as I want as a guest to a project, so adding a client's team is effortless.
- Trello - for making simple lists for free. I no longer use this because I've upgraded to Nifty but it's a great free tool with a lot of resources out there.
I'm all about continuing to improve myself and my productivity. These tools help me make the most of my time so I can spend it with my clients and family instead of spinning my wheels.
- MindMeister - for mind mapping. I use this to plan my content, site structures, trainings, pretty much everything!
- AppSumo - for finding software with lifetime licenses so you don't have to keep paying monthly. I'm obsessed and get most of my software through AppSumo.
- iWorker - for hiring extra help for your business. This is a socially conscious company that finds and sources VAs. I've hired some amazing VAs through them and I highly recommend! Your first five hours are free too!