business resources

I get a lot of people asking me about the tools I use to get the best possible results from social media advertising, particularly Facebook and Instagram Ads.

This is that list.

Some are free, a few are paid, but all are used by me personally to grow my businesses online.

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links to paid offers. That simply means that the company pays me for referring people to their service. It will never cost you any more (in some cases it could actually cost you less thanks to offers and deals we have with the providers). Either way, I never recommend anything that I don’t personally use and stand by.

Facebook Ads Tools

Facebook Ads Manager – This is the basic free tool that you use to set up Facebook and Instagram Ads. It doesn’t offer as many benefits or features as Power Editor, but it’s a good place to start if you haven’t run ads before. It’s also the way that I use to review and monitor ads using the ‘Reports’ tracking. Access Ads Manager here…

Power Editor – This is Facebook’s own free advanced tool for creating Facebook and Instagram Ads. It allows you to create big campaigns quickly, plus gives the ability to duplicate campaigns so that you don’t need to build everything from scratch (like you do in Ads Manager). If you use Power Editor, you’ll also get the latest updates to the ad platform first. This means that when a ninja new feature is rolled out, you’ll have it before all the Ads Manager advertisers. If you’re not creating ads through Power Editor, you’re missing out on a lot of clever stuff. Access Power Editor here…

Facebook Business Manager – This is for the advanced business owner/advertiser to enable them to run multiple pages and ad accounts from one place. It’s ideal for people like me who run an agency. You can add your whole team and then decide which assets they can have access to and at what level of access they require. Advanced FB marketers only (but still free to use for everyone). Create your Business Manager account here

Image Sourcing

Free Images from Pixabay – This is probably the premium site to get free images online. These are images that don’t require you to credit the photographer (in most cases) and don’t require you to pay for the images. Their selection is a little limited, in the sense that many of the images look like stock standard stock shots, but you get what you pay for (or rather what you’ve paid nothing for). A good place to find background images. Incidentally, this resource is what you’re searching when you look for an image in the WordSwag app I mention below. Click here to visit Pixabay

Flickr Creative Commons – You may already know of Flickr as a huge repository of images. What you may not know is that many of the photographers in their community have chosen to give you the right to use their images. You just have to make sure that the images you use have a Commercial Creative Commons license that explicitly gives you permission to use and/or edit them. Obviously, you have to follow their guidelines, but this is gives you access to a huge number of images for you to use for free. Click here to see the collection…

Image Editing

Canva – I really like Canva. It’s a straightforward, easy-to-use image editing tool that enables people with no graphic design skill to produce great looking images. I use Canva for pretty much all of my LGS ads and for some of the ones I run for clients. If you can’t outsource image creation right now to a competent designer, then Canva is a brilliant fall-back tool. It doesn’t do some of the more advanced stuff that something like Photoshop can do, but what do you really expect for a free tool that already nails most graphic design things you’ll need? Click here to get started

Social Media Post Creation Tools

WordSwag – I love creating Instagram and Facebook posts on the go. This is a brilliant little free app (no ads or anything) allows you to either search Pixabay for images to use or lets you use your own images, and then put text over the top. You can also change the colour of the image, the text and even add your own branding to it. I use this to create all my Instagram meme posts. In fact you can probably see some of them on my Instagram window over in the sidebar of this site, on the right. Click here to get WordSwag now

Lead Generation

LeadPages – I absolutely love LeadPages. It allows you to create very good looking opt-in and sales pages to grow your list and make sales respectively. You can use their tried-and-tested templates, or you can create your own page from scratch with their fancy drag-and-drop page builder. What makes LeadPages so valuable is actual two things: It lets you split test pages so that you can work out exactly which combination of images, videos and calls-to-action really work. It also uses the data of all its users to work out which of their templates convert the best, meaning that you can start with one of their templates, knowing it already converts well across all industries. Start creating your landing pages here

Email Marketing

ActiveCampaign – Whenever you run a campaign, or write a post, you should be thinking about how you can generate an email subscriber from it. However, you’ll need somewhere to put those subscribers. You’ll also need ways to collect them, segment them and put them into email sequences that both nurture them and sell your products or services to them. ActiveCampaign is the solution you need. We’ve tried most of the big email autoresponder services and none can match AC for its ease-of-use or low price. Try ActiveCampaign for FREE here…

Copywriting

Swipe Worthy – Every so often, you find a little gem of a website that gives you one very specific benefit. This is that site for me when it comes to copywriting. It contains a host of examples from many top marketers and copywriting experts. You can search for the best examples from different niches and all types of advertising and then model them for your own campaigns. Start exploring the swipe file now…

The Gary Halbert Letter – This is a fantastic resource for anyone writing ads, sales copy or opt-in pages. It’s an archive of the newsletters of the late Gary Halbert – copywriting genius. There are an awful lot of great tips, strategies and methods here that you can use to make your content far more engaging. And it’s all online for free (at the time of writing). Click here to read Gary’s best stuff…

Tracking Tools

Google Analytics – The industry standard when it comes to tracking and measuring your website’s success. This will give you all the data you need to make smart decisions about your site. You’ll be able to see what’s working and what isn’t, and then take action based on the numbers. You can get a free Google Analytics account here…

Pretty Link Pro WordPress Plugin – Have you ever wanted to share a link with someone, only to realise that the link is super long and ugly looking? If you’ve ever done any affiliate marketing, you’ll know that the affiliate links are usually horrible looking. Wouldn’t it be better if you could create a link from your website that looked neat, tidy and trustworthy? Pretty Link is the answer. It’s built for WordPress users only, but if that’s you, then this will make your life a lot easier (and neater): Get Pretty Link for WordPress here

WickedReports – There are several things that you should be tracking in your business if you want to make more money without (necessarily) spending more. These include things like: The best day to email your list to make the most revenue, your Average Order Value (so that you can work on increasing it) and your Lifetime Customer Value from different lead sources (so that you can focus only on what makes the most cash fastest). You can track all of that and more using the amazing WickedReports. Get a FREE live demo when you click here.

Social Sharing and Listbuilding

Edgar – When you’re creating content (especially ‘evergreen’ content that still applies years after it was created), it’s important to make sure that you’re sharing it on social regularly. Doing it manually is a pain in the arse. Using tools like HootSuite means that you have to schedule everything at the start of each week, which is time consuming. I like to do the work once, and then get the results of that work over and over. That’s what Edgar does for social sharing. Find out more here

SumoMe – A completely brilliant tool that allows you to, among other things: Create email subscription forms that grow your mailing list; create heatmaps for your site so that you can see exactly how people interact with your site;  add good-looking and functional sharing tools to your site (like the floating share buttons on the left of this page). It’s the Swiss Army knife of website plugins and you’d be crazy not to use it. You can get yours for free here

Organising Your Business

Basecamp – I’m a huge fan of Basecamp and have even converted several clients to its wonders. The latest version of Basecamp is pretty remarkable, in that it allows you to keep absolutely everything in one place, set tasks on grouped To Do lists, keep each of your departments organised (if you have them), get the whole team chatting and Ping individuals in private chats. It’s like a combination of Slack, Asana and Whatsapp. You can get a trial and save $50 on Basecamp by clicking here.

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