Last week, we talked about 5 tools that create the foundation of any online service business.
Today I’ve brought to you 5 more tools that many people use but that are absolutely not necessary to your success! This episode is going to be extremely valuable for you if you’re feeling FOMO as you get more integrated into the online service provider community.
The first tool we’re discussing is landing page software.
Landing page software gained huge traction when leadpages came on the map. These tools make it quite easy to build a freebie opt-in or webinar registration. There are decent templates available and they integrate with many of the email marketing providers.
So, why don’t you need this tool? Well, quite simply it’s because website builders are way more robust than they used to be. And many of the email marketing platforms also have great forms for opting in for freebies and webinars.
I would always recommend using WordPress + Beaver Builder or another page builder tool over a page builder tool. It’s also a less expensive option as it doesn’t require a recurring expense.
Our second tool is those all in one products that do landing pages, sales pages, checkout, content delivery, A/B testing, funnels, memberships and more.
These systems are well marketed and have great followings. They work, let’s get that right, so why exactly do I not recommend them?
My philosophy is to use the best right tool for the job. Because these tools do so much it is difficult for them to be the best at exactly what you are looking to accomplish online in your business. These tools put emphasis on what the developers or marketers determine is “most important.” If you were a brand new business owner, then these tools could give you an initial boost. But from everything I’ve seen most businesses outgrow the all-in-one products and move towards the best right fit products.
I truly believe that there is not one tool that is a magic bullet – so that’s probably a lot of what makes me distrust all in one products!
In last week’s episode, our second tool was an EMS, or email marketing system. The system that I often see the online gurus say is “better than” an EMS is chatbot tools. So, instead of growing a list of email subscribers you grow a list of Facebook users within your chat bot.
I will say this until I’m blue in the face! A chat bot will not replace an email list anytime soon. When clients come to me asking me to implement a chatbot strategy they have developed…my first response is to look at and optimize their email marketing strategy.
A chatbot can bring clients out of the woodwork, no doubt. Chatbots are on this list of tools that you truly don’t need because there are other equally effective techniques with less overhead and maintenance that can help your potential clients pull the trigger and engage in your services.
I put chatbots in the nice to have category. The businesses that I’m seeing doing really well with chatbots are those that have gone through the growing pains of setting up their tech stack and are ready to add a layer of connection. I guess what I’m saying here is that chat bots are not a base level tool – they are more of a growth level tool and it’s crucial to have your base and its support system before you start the growth layer.
Tools four and five are customer service tools and proposal creation software.
I am talking about them together because, depending on your type of business, you’ll probably be far more interested in implementing one of these over the other.
Businesses that come to me looking for customer service tools are often providing a one-to-many service like course creators and membership site owners or they are online shops with customizable features. Businesses that come to me looking for proposal creation software are most often consultants, designers and freelancers.
Customer service tools…
As a consumer, I’m a huge fan of these and I use them quite regularly. I used them recently when we bought the custom kippot for Camryn’s Bat Mitzvah. I had a number of questions and the shop owner had installed the tawk.to customer service agent onto his website. This was a convenient way for me to get my questions answered – truth is though, I would have happily sent him over an email if there wasn’t a widget on the site.
And that’s kinda the point – it’s again a nice to have rather than a crucial piece of software for running your business. There are a lot of variations of customer service tools but as long as you’re clearly listing your email address, and in some cases phone number, on your website, these tools are only really effective at scale. I also believe that having a customer service tool alone isn’t going to benefit you as much as having it tied to your CRM in some way.
Which incidentally leads me to the proposal creation software…
This is another nice to have and not critical component of any one business.
I have been in business for over 8 years and I have sent out hundreds of proposals. Each proposal is better than the last because I now have a repository of proposals, language and, pricing structures that I can use when I’m creating them… and I’m sure you’re in the same boat (that is, if your business is one that sends proposals, but I digress.)
Proposal creation software makes creating proposals super easy after you have created that repository of language and pricing snippets. This software often tracks sending, allows for signatures and often integrates with your CRM, Project Management and payment processing tools. Everything that we can automate in our businesses where there is a tangible benefit should be automated.
Here’s the nugget as to why I do not believe proposal creation software is a necessary tool for most businesses 🡪 you have to go in and create the proposal regardless and most of the time you’ll be able to pull up a past proposal and your snippets and pull something together with minimal inconvenience.
The software just isn’t doing quite enough for most of my clients and the businesses I’ve had the opportunity to work in to justify the overhead.
So, there we have it: Five tools that you think you might need in order to operate a thriving online business but truly can do without.
Again these are: landing page software, all in one funnel and sales tools, chatbots, customer service tools and proposal creation software.
I would love to know if you agree with this list – pop over to Instagram, I’m @techofbusiness and share your thoughts.
And, I want to thank all of you who have booked Tech Audits with me recently – I love helping you gain clarity on how tech can truly support your biggest hopes and dreams in your business. Hop over to https://techofbusiness.com/audit/ to book an audit for your business and we’ll see what tech is working for you, what tech is weighing you down and most of all how to leverage tech more in your business.