Useful Tools And Resources For Online Marketing
There are some tools out there that are absolutely essential, some that will save you time and let you work more effectively, some that are just really cool…and some that are complete and utter crap.
“Shiny Object Syndrome” is something pretty much everyone falls for at one point or another – so, to help you avoid that pain and all that wasted time and money, we’ve compiled a list of some of the main tools that we personally use in our business…we recommend you check them out.
Yup, that just happened…we put Google on our recommended resources list! Seriously though, Google is your best friend, especially if you’re new to online marketing. You wouldn’t believe how many questions we get from team members who could easily have found the answers they needed from a quick online search. So make Google your first stop if you ever get stuck on anything!
If you want to make money from online marketing, there’s no two ways about it – you need a good autoresponder. AWeber is easily one of the best out there and is the one we both started out with because it’s so simple to use.
One of the top 2 autoresponders out there along with AWeber. Great user interface, flexible, easy to use and, like AWeber, comes with a free trial. Highly recommended!
If you’re setting up your own website or self-hosted blog you’ll need a good, reliable hosting company. Unless you’re already pretty experienced, you’ll also want that company to have great Customer Support. Hostgator provide all of this, as well as excellent value for money, which is why they are the most popular hosting service used by internet marketers.
Whatever you’re marketing online, you will eventually need to start building your own sales funnels. Power Lead System (PLS) not only provides all the tools you need to start building your own custom funnels if you’re on a limited budget but also has an amazing compensation plan for anyone who wants to promote the PLS platform as an affiliate.
Our very own Yellow Brick Road sales funnel was put together using the PLS framework…we definitely recommend both Power Lead System and our Yellow Brick Road marketing system if you want to learn how sales funnels work and want to put one to work for you.
Definitely one of the top 3 investments we’ve made since starting out online. ProStyler is by far the most flexible, easy to use WordPress theme out there that we’ve come across, and so dirt cheap it almost feels criminal…!
Created by Mike Formby, Craig Crawford and Robert Phillips, ProStyler is a template that’s so flexible you’ll probably never have to buy another WordPress theme again…plus the Support is amazing if you ever get stuck on anything.
To give you just one small idea of what you can do with it, this whole site was designed using ProStyler…and we’ve never made a site before in our lives. Whether you want to build your own website, blog, membership site, or even build sites for local businesses, this theme is by far the simplest and most versatile one we’ve come across.
Facebook has so much information on its 1.5 billion users it’s scary. But frickin’ amazing if you’re looking to a market to a specific audience. Facebook doesn’t just know your age, gender, country, marital status etc…
It also knows what websites you visit, where you’ve bought from, how much you’ve spent online in the last 30 days, what your hobbies are, what you’re most passionate about…in fact it probably knows most people better than they know themselves!
Most of that information is not available to most independent marketers though…unless you have Social Interest Freak.
Long Tail Pro is firmly established as one of the best keyword research tools out there. If you’re relying on organic search results to get traffic to your site, you’ll need to find the right keywords to use – generally you’ll be looking for low-competition, long tail keywords that still get a decent number of monthly searches.
Long Tail Pro removes the pain of having to use Google’s Keyword Planner and, if you upgrade to the Platinum version, even tells you how much competition there is for the keywords it suggests!
Camtasia is a video creation and editing software…but also so much more a the same time. Any kind of animation you need to do, even animated banners and GIFs, you can do with Camtasia. It’s got a very user-friendly interface and, once you get your head around it, there’s pretty much nothing you can’t do with it.
All of the videos inside Stark Training Zone were edited with Camtasia.
Screw 95 is an awesome affiliate marketing course produced by top-performing affiliate Jay, AKA “The Lazy Ass Stoner”. This is a down-to-earth, zero-bullshit course on how to produce successful affiliate sites, get them ranked at the top of the search engines and earn from them. Highly recommended if you want to learn affiliate marketing from an expert and you can’t stand hype!
Easy Sketch Pro ROCKS! Doodle/sketch videos are proven to convert like crazy and Easy Sketch Pro is incredibly easy (and a lot of fun) to use. The latest version also allows you to integrate directly with autoresponders and social media, as well as including features like sketch-to-video…super-cool!
Udimi is a quality-controlled solo ad marketplace where you can go to find solo ad vendors – people with huge lists that they will email on your behalf.
Buying solo ads independently can be a risky business, depending on who you deal with, so having a moderated marketplace like Udimi means you never have to worry about being ripped off by dodgy vendors and you can even filter sellers by specialty/niche, price, number of recommendations, delivery timescales and various other factors.
Udimi also pay 15% commissions for any business you refer to them, which can quickly add up with repeat orders…
Clicks With A Kick is a solo ad broker where you can buy however much quality traffic you need and pay just for the clicks that you receive to the page you want to promote. The great thing with CWAK is that you can order as much or as little traffic as you like, and they also write the email swipes for you..awesome if you’re not quite confident enough to be writing your own sales copy yet.
They also have an affiliate program that pays 10% on any orders made by people you refer to them…sweet!
When you’re building a serious marketing business and especially when you’re looking to track conversion rates and gauge your Return On Investment from any paid advertising campaigns you’re running, you need a robust and reliable tracking mechanism that will give you full analytics and a complete picture of what’s working and what isn’t.
Improvely is a professional platform that allows you to accurately measure things like your EPC (Earning Per Click) and lifetime customer value so that you can know with confidence whether a particular campaign is worth scaling up or not.
With search engines like Google taking “social proof” more and more into account when deciding how to rank web pages, it’s absolutely vital to get your content distributed across all of the major social networks. For a small monthly charge, OnlyWire enables you to syndicate any new content you publish across numerous social media platforms at the click of a button, which can have a huge effect on ranking your site in the search engine results…a massive time saver.
Whether you use video marketing or not, chances are at some point it’s going to be very useful for you to be able to record what’s happening on your computer screen to show to others. Screencast-O-Matic is a free software that allows you to do exactly that. Even the paid version costs peanuts, and allows you to remove the S-O-M branding and record longer videos, and includes a few other cool editing features as well. Highly recommended, especially if you want to record marketing videos and you’re on a tight budget.
If you’re doing any kind of design work or manipulating images for any reason – making logos, banners or anything else…check out Paint.net. It might not have all of the functionality of programs like Photoshop but it’s 100% free and, once you’ve got your head around it, you’ll be amazed at all the stuff you can do with it…
At Fiverr you can find people offering pretty much any kind of service you’ll need for $5, from logo design and voiceovers, to backlinking and social bookmarking. You generally get what you pay for though, so it can be worth spending a little extra with vendors if you want better results. Just make sure to filter your searches there by High Rating rather than Recommended to make sure you get a seller with plenty of satisfied customers…
If you ever use images in your business, you need to make sure you’re not breaking any copyright laws. There are plenty of places you can buy royalty-free pictures…but at Pixabay you can find images you can use for FREE – cool! 🙂
There are times when you’re going to need to distribute traffic between several links – for example, split-testing lead capture pages to see which ones convert best. FreeRotator works great, it’s amazing value for money and even has a bunch of other cool features built in that you can use as well.
SEO For Firefox is a free plugin for Mozilla Firefox browsers – once you install it, it will tell you the Page Rank, Domain Authority and numerous other valuable metrics of any sites you want that show up in the results for any searches you do on your keywords. Extremely helpful when you’re doing keyword research and you need to know if a keyword you’re thinking of targeting is worth using or not…
Whenever you’re setting up a sales funnel you need to monitor conversion rates at every stage so you know what’s working and what isn’t, so you know what needs tweaking and improving. For that, one of the the things you need to be able to track is how many clicks you’re getting to your pages and where they’re coming from.
Although there are better, more professional platforms out there with greater reporting capabilities and functionality (such as Improvely for example), Linktrack is an easy-to-use, reliable, low cost service that does the job just fine if you’re starting out and are on a budget (even zero cost if you’re prepared to compromise on some of the features).
Social bookmarking can be a handy way to improve your site’s ranking if done correctly. Social Monkee has various (very reasonably priced) membership levels which allow you to get up to 300 backlinks per day to any web pages you submit.
We wouldn’t recommend this for direct links to your main site, but more for Tier 2 or Tier 3 backlinks (i.e. links pointing to pages that point to your main pages) as the quality of the links is not exceptional but, for the price, this is a useful resource to have and is a lot quicker and more cost-effective than buying low quality Fiverr backlinking gigs every day…
Cooltext is a great free resource for designing text-based logos. It has a huge number of fonts that you can manipulate and add effects to, like animation, drop-shadow, colors etc, and download. Very handy for things like YouTube thumbnails for example…
Majestic SEO is one of the most well-known and widely used link intelligence tools on the market, allowing you to get information like backlink profiles and referring domains for any URL. And the best part is…a large part of its functionality is completely free to use.
Open Site Explorer by SEOmoz is another link analysis tool that allows you to get a full link profile for any URL at the click of a button. Information you can get includes the overall number of backlinks to a URL, number of referring domains, anchor text distribution and also allows you to compare two domains side-by-side. SEOmoz’s MozBar is also a very cool toolbar that you can download from the site (for free) to instantly get SEO metrics for any web page or site you visit.
Tools4Noobs offers a number of useful free tools, one being a YouTube video embed code generator…the embed codes provided by YouTube are not actually valid XHTML so this embed code generator can come in quite handy sometimes.
Linklicious is a very easy-to-use crawling and indexing service which basically forces Google, AHREFs and Majestic to crawl and index your pages and recognize your backlinks. If your backlinks aren’t getting recognized, what’s the point in building them, right?
Copyscape is a free tool that allows you to check for plagiarism of any of your web pages. All you need to do is type in your URL and click the “Go” button – if anyone has copied your content and posted it elsewhere on the internet, Copyscape will find it.
Canva is a cool site where you can put together your own custom designs for things like Facebook posts, banners, blog graphics and a ton of other stuff. Their image library contains loads of professional, slick-looking images and graphics that you can use, even if you’re just using a free account.
Whenever you update content on your website or blog you’ll want to make sure it’s getting indexed by all of the major search engines and directories. Mass Ping is one of many pinging services you can use to accomplish this.
Another handy free resource…if you ever want to know how many shares any of your pages have received on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and Delicious, just type your URL into the HowManyShares search bar.