On this page you’ll find the online marketing tools and resources I’m using today to build my business and brand. These tools will help you leverage your time and will save you a lot of wall kicking moments trying to learn how to build a business online! While some are affiliate links*** (please read my affiliate disclaimer at the bottom of this page), many of these tools are free to use, and have been tried and tested with success, as I wouldn’t recommend something I don’t personally use myself or have found helpful.
TOP 10 ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE
1. Facebook Everyone and their Grandma is on Facebook now, so if you don’t already have a Facebook Profile, you need to get on there to start building your network. To up your business game, I also recommend a Facebook Page. Having a Facebook Page gives you the ability to create content that brands you and your business. With a Facebook Page, you can add apps and squeeze pages to capture email addresses, so you can build your list, promote your products and make money. Yehaa! One of the things I LOVE about Facebook is having the ability to stream live videos with Facebook Live right from your mobile device. It’s super easy to use, and I’ve found that FB Live videos bring a lot more comments and likes than regular posts. Also, if you want to call someone long distance, take advantage of Facebook Messenger where you can do a video chat (basically a phone call with video!) using WiFi or your data.
2. An email autoresponder to grow your email list. Have you ever heard the saying: “Your money is in your list?” Even if you don’t have a website for your business yet, you should at the very least have an email autoresponder. Why? So that you can keep in touch with your contacts on a regular basis. I’ve heard of many entrepreneurs (Ali Brown, Mastin Kipp), who started their businesses with a simple newsletter, which they then grew to extremely successful brands. I’ve used different email autoresponders over the years, and the one I currently use is AWeber. It’s simple to use, cost effective and there are a ton of different design templates to choose from. I highly recommend AWeber if you want to start building simple sales funnels to help automate your business (so that an email can go out, even when you’re sleeping!). I’ve also tried MailChimp, Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, and Infusionsoft. Other ones that come recommended are Convert Kit and Ontraport.
3. A Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) is a way to organize your customers, clients, and sales prospects. There are a ton of these solutions on the market. There are ones that you can download onto your computer desktop, and others that are cloud-based. I’ve tried so many over the years and to be honest, most work well, it’s just a matter of you getting used to the technology and back-end. In network marketing you need a system to keep track of all the people you need to follow up with. With a CRM, you can add notes about conversations and follow up dates, so that when you re-convene a conversation you aren’t starting all over and repeating what you said during your previous call. I’ve heard rave reviews for Fiitfu (Fortune Is In The Follow-Up) CRM, which has a FREE 30-day trial and was launched in May 2011. It’s web-based and specifically designed by network marketing professionals for network marketers and direct sales consultants. Fiitfu is great for keeping track of clients meetings, notes, invoices, follow up requirements, order history, sample costs and more.
(By the way if you like Fiitfu, use my Promo Code: MeghanMackintosh, to get 5% off after your trial!)
4. An online appointment scheduling software. If you’re building an online business like me, then time is of essence! One of the ways I’ve been able to save time, is by using an online scheduling software. I personally use Acuity Scheduling to make appointments with my clients, or to set up conversations with potential customers. One aspect of Acuity Scheduling that I really like, is the ability to create a questionnaire, so that you can qualify the person before speaking with them. With Acuity Scheduling clients can quickly view your real-time availability, self-book their own appointments, reschedule with a click of a button—and even pay online. There are free and paid based options for this service, so it’s one of the first tools I recommend to my clients, because it’s so cost effective and easy to use.
5. Professional Photos, especially a headshot. Not everyone talks or writes about this, but I think it’s huge if you’re an entrepreneur, and even more important if you’re branding yourself online as an internet marketer. First of all, you need a professional headshot (even if you don’t have a website). A headshot can be used on your business cards and as your profile photo on social media websites. If you decide to create a website, then you’ll need more photos, relevant to your personality and what you’re selling. Online marketing is a content game and an image game. You have to be consistent about content, but it’s just as important for people to feel like they “know, like and trust you”. Other than video, there is no better way for someone to get a feel for your energy, your interests and your style then by seeing what you look like. How you dress, if you smile, do you seem fun, are you authentic, and most importantly – are you the real deal?! These are keys to making it big online.
6. A simple design app to make gorgeous graphics for social media and your e-books. I am obsessed with Canva! This super easy design program has free and paid options and is used to create professional layouts, gorgeous graphics, banners, and posts for social media. I also use it to create my freebies and e-books. You can upload your own photos or use theirs. I seriously don’t know what I’d do without it! The best part – it’s free! (There are paid upgrades for specific images and designs, but you still get access to a ton of beautiful designs with the free version.)
7. A Website (like this one!) is your storefront and a place where people can buy your products and get educated. It’s also one of the best ways to grow your email list. The # 1 must-have on your website is an email opt-in form, so people can sign up to your newsletter list. The best way to do this, is to offer a free gift (video, PDF, audio, etc.), so that someone gives their email address to you without hesitation. You’ll want to integrate your email autoresponder with the website sign up form, so that you can pre-write a series of emails in advance that will go out to your new reader/subscriber.
8. A Mentor or Coach is one of your biggest assets when you’re first getting started online. Many famous athletes and top business owners have coaches. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google has said that the best advice he’s ever received was to get a coach. Coaches help you define your vision for future success and can propel you to a higher level of achieving your goals and dreams. Coaches can also stop you from self-sabotaging behavior, since you’ll likely go through many ups and downs when running your business. I have my own coach who is part cheerleader and part truth teller. I studied and took courses at The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), and would be more than happy to coach you on your own entrepreneurial journey. Feel free to learn about my coaching here and receive a free 30 minute initial consultation if you’re interested.
9. Time, Money, Commitment, Passion, Consistency and Laser Sharp Focus. When you first get online it can be overwhelming because you may not know where to start. It can take months to get yourself into action before producing any real money because you’re learning a ton of new technologies and skills. If you don’t have the time to figure it out on your own, then you’ll need to get other people to build your systems for you and that will take money. From there it’s all about commitment and going all-in. You need to ask yourself if this is something you really want to do. What is your “Why?” and reason for doing this. If you don’t have a powerful passionate reason, then it will be hard to stick to it, because online marketing is something you do on your own schedule. As an entrepreneur, you need discipline for continued education and content creation. Once you decide that you’re going to build your business online, you must be consistent to get traffic, so you aren’t lost among the millions of websites out there. Finally you need to focus and get to work. You need to take action and start. It’s okay to research and take courses and learn as much as you can in the beginning, but you also need to get rid of distractions, so that you start seeing success. One key success principle is to get good at failing and okay with other people’s judgments. If you don’t put yourself out there or take action to move your business forward, then you’re stuck in the researching and learning stage. You need to get out of that stage and be open to failing. It doesn’t matter the outcome, because when you decide that you’re ready to take a chance at success (or failure), you’ll learn a whole bunch of new lessons that will grow you as a person, as well as your business!
10. A Social Media Presence!
After Facebook, these are my favourite Social Media platforms…
Instagram I love Instagram! I find that I use Facebook and Instagram the most when it comes to social media. Here it’s all about branding and colours, and pretty photos. You can also use video with Instagram stories, which is a fun way to capture a moment in time and share with your audience. (Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours!)
LinkedIn originally started as a place to put up your resume and connect with work colleagues. I think it gets overlooked because Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat are social media sites that you go to for fun or to pass the time, Since having my own business, I’ve realized the huge benefits of LinkedIn for growing a more professional network. In network marketing, your job is similar to that of a recruiter, especially when you’re looking for that next star business builder. With LinkedIn, you can see someone’s past work history to find out if they might be the type of person who would enjoy working in network marketing. You can also find out who might be looking for a new job, because that’s when activity happens on someone’s LinkedIn account. If someone is changing their LinkedIn profile, they’re doing it, not because it’s fun to do, but because they want to create a better profile, so they can leave a good impression on a potential employer. Another way of using LinkedIn is to get email addresses for people. When I first started my email newsletter, I went to Facebook (because that’s my social media site of choice), and I tried to find my friends’ email addresses. That’s when I realized that Facebook changed everyone’s emails to a Facebook email, so most people don’t have their proper emails up on Facebook anymore. With LinkedIn, you can find emails very quickly, and they’re usually the emails people prefer for professional correspondence.
YouTube The first thing I got good at when it came to my online marketing business, was YouTube! I took a ton of courses on how to rank my YouTube videos, and am an expert in YouTube SEO. The longer your channel is around and the more videos you have, the higher you will show up in search. I find that everyone loves YouTube, and I definitely recommend to my clients to start their own YouTube channel if they have video to share. After Google and Facebook, YouTube is the most popular website on the internet. Since it’s now owned by Google, it’s even more relevant for SEO because Google wants traffic to its site. Video marketing is one of the best ways to brand yourself on the web and get massive exposure fast. Everyone knows the story of the Ontario kid who uploaded a video on YouTube, which went viral, and now he’s one of the most popular singers in the world. Okay if you don’t know that story – it’s Justin Bieber!
Twitter I have to admit that I haven’t “tweeted” in awhile. Twitter is not my forte, but it can be extremely beneficial if you learn how to use it. My friend Scott Stratten from Un-Marketing got his start on Twitter and now (according to Forbes) he’s one of the top social media influencers in the world, so it is definitely powerful!
Pinterest I’m one of those in and out Pinterest users. Sometimes I’ll try it and get addicted, other times I relax off of it for months. Apparently it’s great for lead generation, but for that aspect of it, I haven’t completely figured it out. I use it more for fun, and for putting up my many interests as well as vision boards.
Google+ I don’t use Google+ to often, but when I do, my content gets amazing SEO on Google. In fact, if you put in the Google Search bar the keyword: Network Marketing, two of my articles (which I shared on Google+) come up on the first page of Google! That’s the power of Google+.
I’m also on Snapchat! Find me on Snapchat at: megmack29 – I use Snapchat mostly for doing goofy faces with my nieces!!
TECHY TOOLS TO HELP YOU START YOUR BLOG OR WEBSITE
WEBSITE SETUP & SECURITY
Bluehost If you want to start blogging, you’ll need to host your website somewhere. There are a ton of web hosting companies out there! For the past 4 years, I’ve used Bluehost and highly recommend them. To make things easy, I also buy my domain names there. That way, everything is in one place! Bluehost makes it super simple to set up your website and there are lots of video tutorials online to help you out.
Genesis Framework by StudioPress Once you get your website domain and hosting sorted, you’ll need to choose a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress.org. Then you’ll want to choose a framework for the design of the website. I like using the Genesis Framework by StudioPress, because it has state-of-the-art code and smart design architecture, which means search engines (like Google), find your content and website easily.
Restored 316 If you want to start a blog with a beautiful looking theme, then I highly recommend Restored 316. Lauren (the designer) has quite a few designs to choose from. All my websites are currently on the Style Theme. By the way, you need to get a Genesis StudioPress framework first, and use a Restored 316 theme for your “Child Theme”.
Strikingly is the website builder that I use to create the majority of my sales pages. It’s so simple to use (drag and drop!) and the websites come out with gorgeous design and mobile-friendly. You can use it for free to create a website with the Strikingly name at the end OR you can pay an extra monthly fee to use your own domain names. I’ve made websites with both! Here are some of the sales pages that I’ve created with Strikingly, to give you an idea of how they look once designed, and if you’re intrigued by any of my offers, that’s awesome too (and a testament to how incredible this website builder is!)
Sucuri One of the biggest time savers in my business is having a way to protect my website from malware and hackers. I’ve had my websites hacked before and it’s no fun, because you have to go into the back end and figure out what’s been changed in the code. I tried to play around with my HTML a few times before I got frustrated with how long it took, so I signed up for complete website security with Sucuri. I’ve had an amazing experience with them and now have complete peace of mind knowing that my website is protected.
PopUp Domination This is a really cool way to get emails from people, since it literally pops up as soon as someone visits your website. It can increase your email opt-ins substantially.
Contact Form by vCita This contact form is pretty neat because it pops up on the right hand corner of my website with the words “Contact.” If someone decides they want to contact me, they can just put their mouse over the word Contact and the little box comes up. I saw it on a few websites that I visited and it really caught my attention, so I figured I’d put it on mine as well.
Facebook Like Box This is a great plugin for your website to help you get “fans” to your Facebook Page. It’s a sidebar widget and easy to upload and use.
SEOPresser This is a plugin that you can add to your WordPress to make sure that your posts are SEO friendly. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is extremely important because it will help your website show up on the top pages of the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.).
BRANDING MUSTS-HAVES TO STAND OUT AS A LEADER
99designs.com is my go-to place for logos and design work. Basically different designers compete to work on your design brief, so if you don’t have the technical chops for Photoshop, you can get a designer to create you a logo, a business card, or a website, etc. It’s a pretty fun process and an amazing deal for the design work that you get.
Jayson Gallop Based in Toronto, Jayson has shot for magazines such as Fashion Magazine, National Post Business, Chart and Report on Business. He’s also photographed celebrities including Avril Lavigne, Leslie Feist, k-os, Emiley Haines of Metric, Istvan Kantor, and the Raveonettes. He’s well-known for fashion, portraits, art and travel photography.
Sara Elisabeth Photography Based in Toronto, Sara was one of my clients and she’s also a fantastic family, kids, personal branding, and headshot photographer.
Amy Schildknecht Based in Las Vegas and known as “Internet Amy,” she’s a super talented photographer and online marketer.
NETWORK MARKETING COURSES & TRAINERS TO HELP YOU MASTER THE SKILLS
Network Marketing Training is essential to success and making money in the industry. I’m constantly learning new skills by reading books, listening to audios, watching videos, attending events, and masterminding with top leaders and other successful entrepreneurs. I’m super passionate about sales, marketing, and leadership and I really enjoy soaking up every little bit of content, even on the beach! (Yup I’m a big nerd!)
I’ve cherry picked some of my favorite trainers and resources, so that you can learn something new every day.
“There’s a special place in Heaven for women who help other women.” ~Josephine Gross
Savvy Network Marketing Women Sonia Stringer is known as “The Women’s Business Coach,” and she teaches heart-centered sponsoring and selling strategies for women in network marketing.
Dani Johnson is known for teaching people how to make money quickly. She offers events and great content on her website for network marketers. Her “Script Book” is famous for helping people develop the posture, attitude and skill set to become a master recruiter.
MLM Woman is a resource with fresh ideas, articles, and inspiration to help you build your network marketing business.
NETWORK MARKETING TRAINING
Michael Oliver’s Natural Selling Sales Training has successfully helped tens of thousands of people worldwide take the fear and tension out of approaching and talking with people about their business.
Network Marketing Pro by Eric Worre has been changing the way people perceive the network marketing industry for the past 7 years. He has a huge following online because of his daily online video training. He is the reason why I decided to join the industry. I was looking for training for my corporate sales and marketing career, and I came across his videos and network marketing training. After watching him for a few months, I realized that network marketing and MLM is the real deal and that it’s possible to make money in this industry, and that it’s not some crazy pyramid scheme.
Richard Bliss Brooke is passionate, direct and intense in his teachings. I saw him speak live and he resonated with me because he has a no BS approach with a skill for story telling. If you procrastinate a lot, he’ll definitely knock you out of that state into action.
Brian Tracy has such a soothing voice I could literally listen to him for hours. He’s a professional speaker, best selling author, entrepreneur, and success expert with proven techniques and strategies for greater success in sales, time management, self-development, personal wealth, business and leadership.
Tyler Perry is an actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, producer, author and songwriter! He started with stage plays before becoming one of the biggest players in Hollywood and the highest paid man in entertainment (Forbes 2011). Tyler Perry used to have something called Inspirational Corner on his website, where he gave advice and his thoughts on how to become successful. He’s recently updated his website, so it’s no longer there, but you can still watch his videos on YouTube by searching for Tyler Perry Inspirational Corner. He’s a fantastic storyteller, very uplifting and I often go back to his videos over and over to replay his messages.
Tony Robbins is uber rich and famous for helping people all over the world change their lives. He’s a best selling author, professional speaker and seminar leader dedicated to motivating people to achieve their peak potential.
***Please read my Affiliate Disclaimer***
Some of the online marketing tools I’ve listed above, I’m an affiliate for. Not all of them, but definitely some of them. To be an affiliate means that I will be compensated if you decide to purchase a product or service based on my recommendation. All of my recommendations are based on my belief in the product and my positive experience with it. I would never promote something that I have not used in my own business. Before you purchase any of the online marketing tools above, please do your own research and due-diligence, so that you understand exactly what you’re buying. Never purchase anything that you can’t afford and be sure that you’re really serious about marketing on the internet before you try things out. A lot of times when people get started with online marketing tools, they buy a whole bunch of products, but don’t do anything with them, or they get overwhelmed with all the information. I know I’ve bought things in the past on the internet because the copy and sales letters were so good, I couldn’t resist. Often times I buy products just so I can study how they are packaged and how they are sold, so I can implement the marketing strategies and techniques in my own business – basically a way of researching the competition. Remember all of the above are my personal suggestions and I don’t want to be held accountable for you wasting time and money, so please be sure to take the time to do your own research and only buy what is important for you on your internet marketing journey. Have fun! It’s definitely a ride!