23 Must-have Ecommerce Tools to grow your online business (Part 1) Dec 13, 2017Views: 360
(This blog is in 2 parts due to limited words allowed)
WHY READ THIS BLOG POST?
I’m going to share the Ecommerce Tools that I use on a daily basis, to help my clients grow their sales. I will also share tools that will improve your productivity, give you more focus, deliver better creative and enhance your knowledge. If you are feeling overwhelmed and like you’re sinking in time-consuming tasks, then these will help.
“The best investment is in the tools of one’s trade.”
Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States
Feeling a bit broken? Struggling to keep up with everything on your to-do list?
Worried that your site imagery is crappy and that your emails look like a 5-year old has designed them?
What about focus? Are you constantly flitting around Facebook and wasting time?
If that’s you down to a T, then fear not. I’ve got a set of tools that will help you get your **** together, even if you have no design skills, are the most disorganised person in the world and you are lost for sales ideas.
I personally use these ecommerce tools day-in, day-out to with my clients to become more efficient, more productive and serve my customers in a more professional way. These guys are all on a tight budget so it’s important we use the right kit and don’t waste money on stuff we’re not going to gain value from.
I will also share with you my personal tools that I use to keep my head in the right place and the stress levels down. It’s no joke guys. Stress can be a killer, both to you and your productivity levels.
Forget chasing your tail. We’re going to have you firing on all cylinders and rapidly increase your ecommerce store sales in the process.
What’s so great about these tools? And why should I use them?
OK, I’ve been around the ecommerce block a few times so I’ve tried and tested all sorts of software tools to make my life easier. Some are free, some expensive, some technical, some not so technical, some good and some amazing.
To save you the job of wasting time with the bad ones, I thought it would be useful to share my favourites with you so you can ‘cut to the chase’ to get better results, faster.
I know how stressful it is running your own business. I’ve personally been on the receiving end of the dreaded ‘BURNOUT’ until I got my act together. I took steps and found tools to make my life more efficient and focus on my mental health in the process. I don’t want you to be in the same position and I don’t want you wasting time on needless tasks that could be nailed in double-quick time.
Time is the most precious thing you have (along with your brain) so don’t waste it.
OK, ready to get started? Let’s crack on.
MY ECOMMERCE SALES & BUSINESS GROWTH TOOLS
What is it? The best software tool on the planet to collect email addresses and growing your business.
Building your email list is one of the most important things you can do as an ecommerce business owner. It’s your lifeblood, your source of income and the growth of your business!
An email address crushes social media in terms of cash return on investment. According to the ‘bigwigs’ at McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring customers than social media.
YES, that’s 40 bloody times!
SumoMe is the best tool that I’ve found to capture email addresses in a non-annoying way. It subtly uses pop-ups, header bars, a welcome mat and contact forms to grow your list. The guy who created it (Noah Kagan) is ex-Facebook and Mint.com, so he knows his onions.
It also comes with an amazingly effective share bar plugin that works like a dream. You’ll have people sharing your content all-day long. You can the FREE starter version of SUMO on their website.
What is it? A truly brilliant tool that will surprise and delight your customers.
I love this tool. It’s a little bit of an unknown but it’s a true gem that will give you the edge over your competitors.
Bonjoro is an app you install on your phone and also plugs into your site to sends you an update when you get a sign-up or an order (Nothing new there). The very clever part is the ability to send them a ‘super-quick’ personalised video message to thank them for jumping on board.
How cool is that?
People buy from people at the end of the day, so a personal welcome will make your customers feel like a million dollars. When they feel like that, they buy more from you!
How many other companies do that? Very few so you’ll be that brand that stays at the forefront of their memory. Get started with your free Bonjoro accountat Bonjoro.com.
FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
What is it? An brilliant app that will drive sales using social proof.
FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. Humans are strange creatures, we’re like lemmings. We follow the herd.
FOMO plugs into your site and notifies people who visit the site that ‘Mark from London’ has just bought ‘The Shiny Sparkle Fairy Dust Sneakers’.
The resulting effect is that your site looks busy, your shoppers see that the product they may buy is selling……. and fast!
Because the app uses random sales it also makes people aware of products that they may not have seen. Clever $hit!
Get your FREE trial of FOMO at getfomo.com
What is it? A super-effective email sending tool that will help you sell to customers on autopilot.
Active Campaign is my go-to email broadcast platform and I literally love it to bits.
Because it’s so clever it will grow your business on autopilot.
Yes, I know most ecommerce businesses use Mailchimp because it’s dirt cheap BUT you get what you pay for. Mailchimp has a huge user base but it’s waaaaayyy behind the curve on the functionality stakes. This is where ActiveCampaign is one of the very best and works like a dream for online retail.
This system allows you to create email campaigns that target small pockets of customers depending on what they’ve purchased. So, for example, if you had a customer who bought a new camera, you could enter then into a post-purchase welcome sequence that would offer them how-to videos and blog posts on how to use it. You can also follow-up with an email to sell them additional accessories which means ……..more $$$! (ching, ching, ching)
It has a simple drag-n-drop campaign builder which makes it easy to set triggers and actions based on time and behaviour.
If you’re serious about growing your sales and customer loyalty on autopilot (whilst you sleep) then you need this tool.
Take off the heavy lifting a get ActiveCampaign.
Sign up for your FREE 14 day Active Campaign on their website.
What is it? The best survey tool on the market to get information from your customers.
To deliver the best possible service to your customers, you need to learn more about them. This means sending them questions and short surveys to collect more info to get a better understanding and build the intelligence you have on them.
IMPORTANT: More information means more sales! (Remember that)
You can’t build your business on just an email alone. You need to build a profile of your customers over time and Survey Monkey is the perfect program for this.
You can easily create surveys and polls to send to your customers in just a few minutes.
Survey Monkey integrates with your Active Campaign so all of the information collected can feed straight into the system to, you guessed it, build a profile of your customers. You can also use it on your Facebook page and collect information there (which is vital).
Sign up for your FREE account on their website.
MY CONTENT PRODUCTION TOOLS
What is it? Like an English teacher in your pocket. A FREE app to correct your grammar.
I write quickly (like I talk) and sometimes I just miss words out or get my grammar all over the shop. Grammarly is a FREE app that helps you to correct any blog posts, email copy or sales letters for spelling and grammar. Yup, it’s a total whizz and makes your writing less like The Beano and more like Ernest Hemmingway.
Get your FREE download of Grammarlyon the App store, Google Play store or via their website
What is it? The Best Note & Archiving System on the planet!
Imagine being able to create a ton of notes, reminders or to-do lists and always being able to find them. Now, add to that the ability to upload photos, save web pages, make audio recordings and scan documents and store them in the same place.
Sound good eh? Welcome to Evernote.
Evernote is the ultimate filing system on steroids. I use it to make create lists of content ideas, write blog posts, clip web pages that I can read off-line and add voice memos to my notes. You can even tag every note you upload which means you’ll also be able to easily find it using the app’s search function. And yes, it searches the whole document, not just the filename like your computer does.
Pro Tip: I find it easier to write blog posts in Evernote and then copy and paste over to Grammarly for final editing.
Evernote is cloud-based so you can access the same notes on your laptop, tablet or phone and the standard version is FREE. Goodbye Word and Google Docs.
What are you waiting for? Get Evernote downloaded on the App store, Google Play store or on their website.
People Per Hour
What is it? The place to find affordable, skilled help (so you don’t burn out).
Not so long ago I was unfortunate enough to experience ‘burnout’. It was not pleasant at all because I couldn’t function, couldn’t work and couldn’t even get out of bed for quite a few days. It was a depressing experience and not pleasant.
My burnout was caused by my own determination trying to do everything myself – perfectly. After that experience, I vowed never to try to do everything myself, ever again.
PeoplePerHour is an extremely affordable way of finding the people you need who can support you and your business. They are skilled, experienced and low-cost. You can find designers, copywriters, web developers, pr specialists or just people to perform the tedious admin tasks.
Check out PeoplePerHour.com and find some freelancers to help you take care of the simple tasks.
MY SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOLS
What is it? A tool where you can manage all your social accounts in one place.
I don’t know about you but I get fed up with having to log in to all of my social media accounts to replicate pretty similar posts and then update them. I was frustrated by this until I met my mate, Buffer!
Buffer is the most efficient way to manage your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest you’ll ever find.
Simply create your post, upload an image and select the social accounts where you want to post it. Buffer will then post at the best time or enable you to schedule when you want it posted.
It tracks all interactions so you know what is and isn’t working plus (big bonus) you can also re-buffer stuff (or line it up to go out again).
PRO TIP: Social media is a noisy place so I would recommend you re-send any posts or tweets that aren’t time sensitive every 2 weeks. More eyeballs means more traffic!
Buffer also has a browser extension so you can share and ‘buffer-up’ articles without the need to copy & paste the link. That means you can be a ‘sharing ninja’ – which people love!
This app also has Pablo, a FREE image creation tool that you can use to make your posts look dead pretty. Lovely jubbly!
Buffer is FREE for the standard plan, has a mobile and tablet app and you can get started in minutes.
What is it? A URL shortener that tracks the popularity of your clicks.
If you are posting URL (webpage links) on Twitter, Facebook or in your emails you’ll want to track how many clicks they get and what links get clicked to see if what you’re doing, is actually working. Google analytics only tracks on your own site and won’t track the source if the visitor’s browser has cookie blocking on it.
You can track which of your links are clicked by using Bit.ly. Simply create a FREE account, paste your link you want to track and it will give you a shortened version. Job Done.
That will now track every click and also give you extra characters to play with on the tweeting front.
See Part 2 for more tools.
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