4 Must-Have Digital Marketing Tools for Beginners
Please note: This post contains affiliate links. See disclosure here.
If you are new to the world of digital marketing, all the terminology and hype can be overwhelming.
I know. I’ve been there.
As a business owner, and as someone whose business focuses on helping other businesses increase their visibility, sales, and client base, I’ve explored a lot of the options out there.
When I first came to the online space, I didn’t know a funnel from a funnel cake, and I certainly couldn’t tell you the difference between a squeeze page, a website, and a lead magnet. I hadn’t even heard of some of these things.
But, after doing a bunch of research, learning from some of the experts, and test driving a handful of platforms myself, I found my way out of the paper bag and wanted to pay it forward.
Whether you’re a brick and mortar business, a tech startup, an online service provider, a solopreneur, or someone considering the leap into self-employment, these tools can help you get started, grow, and scale!
So, without further ado, here are some of the most popular and effective digital marketing programs and tools out there.
Have you heard the buzz about funnels? They are a great alternative or addition to traditional websites to help you stake out the online real estate for your business.
With a website, users arrive at a home page and then must click or scroll to buy the product or find the information they’re seeking. If it’s not readily apparent, perhaps they just browse around move on with their day. Or, they see a shiny object that piques their curiosity on another section of the site and click away from the sales page altogether. In these scenarios, your potential sales are taking a detour.
Funnels, on the other hand, create a streamlined web experience to guide online traffic through a series of pages focused on the specific product or service being offered. It cuts the distractions to prompt visitors to take action. The more steps they take, the further “down” the funnel they progress.
If you’re already familiar with funnels, you’ve probably encountered Russel Brunson. He is a key player in the digital marketing world, and his company, ClickFunnels, has a lot to offer for those wanting to guide their traffic through this distraction-free framework.
If you’re like me and want to read up on a new product, service, or media guru before you commit to a purchase or subscription, there are two FREE books (you just pay shipping) that provide an inside look at Russell’s approach to increasing online traffic, conversion, and sales.
First, Dotcom Secrets is endorsed by top marketers like Tony Robbins, and it’s jam-packed full of marketing tips, tricks, and insights to fast-track your growth, not to mention Russell’s doodles that make good on the claim that this is a “playbook” to drive traffic to your site.
Second, Expert Secrets is an equally visual playbook for attracting people who will pay for your advice and expertise. Part confidence builder, part strategy guide, this freebie is applicable across industries to start the momentum you need to become the go-to guru in your field.
You may not need every play in the book, but there’s something for everyone.
Then, of course, there is the actual software, ClickFunnels, which offers landing pages, funnel templates, and hosting. You can try it free for 14 days or sign up for a monthly membership if you’re ready to rock and roll straightaway.
If you need some coaching and accountability to get things launched, check out the One Funnel Away challenge. Digital marketers and business owners everywhere RAVE about it, and for good reason. (Seriously, this program has everything!) Whether you’re making your first funnel or your 40th, ClickFunnels provides all the materials you’ll need to successfully complete the challenge (including a workbook, daily video missions, and coaching from some of the top names in digital marketing—plus free bonuses, because that’s how ClickFunnels rolls).
If you’re starting with no product, no list, and/or no traffic, then this could very well be the best $100 you spend for your business.
If funnels aren’t your thing and you want to go for a traditional website (or if you want to use both—the sky is the limit, really), there are two things you need: the site itself and the host for it (i.e. where it “lives” on the internet).
WordPress is among the most common and user-loved website platforms available. WordPress.org (different from WordPress.com) is a free open-source platform for self-hosted sites. This means that anyone can use the platform to design a site with custom or community sourced themes and a wide range of plugins.
You just have to bring your own domain name and use a hosting service of your choice (like SiteGround or BlueHost) to host your site. Most business owners choose to go this route because they are in complete control of their site and can customize or update it as needed.
But, if you’re a personal blogger or someone with a small side gig (excluding e-commerce), WordPress.com offers something a little simpler that you can have up and running almost instantly. The dot com version of the software provides the domain and hosting, and they will handle all of the updates and backups.
The trade-off here is that there are limits to the level of customization, and ultimately, WordPress controls the site. The free version has ads that will appear on your site, but you can upgrade to a paid plan to get a custom domain and avoid displaying WordPress’s ads to your users.
So, once you’ve staked out your corner of the internet, you need a way to invite and attract people to your cyber-stuff.
If you’ve explored digital marketing before, you may have heard the advice that you’re only as good as your e-mail list. E-mail marketing is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to generate revenue for bloggers and small businesses. It’s the cornerstone of most digital marketing efforts, backed by the rally cry of “Build your list!”
So, what do you do with this magical e-mail list that’s going to transform your business? ConvertKit is one of the leading user-friendly e-mail automation and management services on the market. It has the versatility of some of the more robust “enterprise” level systems, but delivers it with a lower cost, easier to navigate layout.
The visual automation interface is intuitive, even for those who are not tech savvy, and you can also manage your emails, subscribers, and automation sequences all from the same place. ConvertKit is great for those just starting out with an email list because it doesn’t overwhelm users with too many bells and whistles like fancy templates or complex sequence triggers.
It also has a smaller price tag than some of the other e-mail management systems out there. For just $29 a month, you can send unlimited emails to up to 1,000 subscribers. The return on investment for email marketing is incredibly high, so if you follow through with the implementation, your ConvertKit subscription will easily pay for itself, even as you graduate into higher subscriber levels.
Once you have a place to send your prospective clients or customers and a way to reach them, you’re ready to start selling your products and services!
If you sell products (physical or digital), WooCommerce is a fabulous customizable e-commerce option. Not only does it integrate seamlessly with WordPress (the self-hosted version) sites via plugin, but it also took literally just a few clicks to get my products from my WordPress directly on my Facebook page! I was amazed at how easy this was and haven’t considered an alternate e-commerce provider since.
Besides being user-friendly, WooCommerce has incredible features, like the ability to sell both physical products–shipped, picked up, or delivered–and digital products that can be downloaded upon purchase. There is also built-in payment integration with popular providers like PayPal and Stripe, and you can offer different sizes, colors, and product options for each item.
WooCommerce is also owned by WordPress, so it has multiple extensions and integrations to grow with you as you expand your product line or start selling in multiple locations. And there is worldwide support through the WordPress.org community forums. Good support is always a win for digital marketing.
Digital marketing can be daunting if you succumb to the overwhelm of buzzwords, bells, and whistles. But, if you have the right infrastructure and resources, you can skyrocket sales and leads. Now that the world has become fully immersed in the online space, you need to have an online presence to be competitive in a crowded market.
These are just some of the amazing platforms available, of course, but they’re great starting points whether you’re ready to dive in head-first or just dip your toe in the pond.
Happy digital marketing, everyone! If you want to stay up to date on the latest tips, tricks, and offers from The Pocket-Sized Professor, you can join our e-mail list here.
All product/service reviews or promotions are sincere and reflect my own point of view. However, if you buy something through one of the affiliate links, I’ll get a small commission to help me feed the carrier pigeons that work hard delivering new content on my sites. There is no extra cost to you for using these links, but if you do decide to make a purchase, feel free to let us know in the comments so the carrier pigeons can send you a thank you note. They’re saving up for new messenger bags.