Best Apps for Automating Your Business
Business is hard enough as is. Searching for software shouldn't be another task on the pile.
You’ve got clients and employees to manage, projects to deliver on time, on top of freaking out about how you’re going to keep new inbound leads filtering into your business on a regular basis.
You don’t have time to spend years learning how to master complex sales software. Your business needs new inbound leads TODAY, which means the apps you use should be easy to use to deliver a rock-solid return on your time investment.
I’ve been there. Freaking out that I wasn’t going to be able to pay the people who were working for me, spending late nights chasing after clients, living in utter terror that one day the leads would dry up and I’d have to give up my dream of running a business.
It took a lot of hard work, research, and trial-and-error, but I’ve gained the peace of mind that comes from having systems in place that bring in a steady drip of inbound leads every day. It’s not as hard or as expensive as you might think, but it does take the right combination of solutions.
You could do what I did, and hit your head against a wall until you’ve figured it out. But please don’t. I don’t think anyone should have to do that, so I’ve compiled the core five apps (and how to use them to grow your business) I use every day into one handy list for you.
1. Get a Squarespace website that makes it easy for your visitors to get in contact with you.
Your website is your cash register. It’s the front face of your business. Make no mistake, people will judge you based on first impressions — so if your website is hard to use (or just doesn’t work), those prospective sales will flock to your competitors instead.
Being stuck with a terrible website sucks and it can feel overwhelming and hopeless. I once had a client come to me for help because he was so embarrassed by his website that he said he felt like he was walking around without pants on.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The best route to getting a great website is to hire a professional (*cough*, like a Squarespace Authorized Trainer), but it is now possible to DIY a good website using Squarespace.
Squarespace is a rare piece of software in that it expertly manages simplicity with giving you the complete toolkit that you need to build a successful website. Make no mistake, Squarespace is about good looking websites, but underneath the hood they’re also high-performing, SEO optimized systems that provide the marketing tools you need to convert visitors into sales.
2. Start using email marketing the fast and easy way with ConvertKit.
Based on some of the articles out there, you’d think you need a PhD in email in order to start sending out effective newsletters.
Email marketing is a science, sure, and there’s definitely lots of ways to get better. However, done is better than perfect here, and you’re leaving a HUGE opportunity on the table if you’re not engaging in email marketing right now.
The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. Other forms of advertising are great, but email continues to deliver the best ROI. Up to 40x return for every $1 spent in some cases.
If somebody gave you $40 every time you gave them $1, wouldn’t you want to start doing that right now?
They’re not exaggerating.
Enter, ConvertKit. In my opinion, it expertly balances the simplicity of writing a text email to someone you know, with the powerful automation features available to make that process scalable to hundreds (or thousands) of people.
Simply put, if you can write an email, you can handle ConvertKit. That’ll help you start putting together an email list now and it’s a platform that will let you put together complex automations down the line if you want.
3. Create an online learning center that establishes you as a leader in your industry using Podia.
I’m a firm believer that education is the ideal way to establish a relationship with new clients. When you provide a website visitor with something of legitimate value, you set yourself apart from the sea of other websites that do nothing but crow about themselves.
When you make education a part of your marketing strategy, you instantly have a plan for setting yourself apart and fostering a meaningful connection with your prospective clients.
All it takes is sharing some of your knowledge for free, and creating something tangible (like a PDF, eBook, or short course) for visitors to take with them once they leave. That sets you up as a memorable advisor who they’ll return to for more answers…and potentially, to work with you.
Podia is a fantastic app that allows you to easily share your knowledge with others (as either free or paid contet), but it also equips you with the tools you need to market what you create.
Once you’ve used their slick interface for putting together your content, you’re also able to create landing pages that automatically deliver your content when a visitor signs up.
After they download your content, you’ve got their email address, so you can follow up with them through your email marketing.
I use Podia to power my own Learning Center and the results have been tremendous. On average, I get one lead per day because of the resources I make available for free.
4. Deliver stunning proposals and seal the deal with Proposify.
For most people, the proposal-writing process is akin to visiting the dentist — you know you need to do it, but it takes a real weirdo to get excited about it.
I'm that weirdo. I think proposals are really exciting and important.
The moment you’re putting together your proposal, you’re at a critical stage of getting a new client. If you take too long, or if your proposal is too confusing, all the hard work you’ve put into nurturing a relationship goes down the drain.
Proposify changes the game by making it easy to send gorgeous proposals to your clients. No more using CTRL + F to find every listing of your client’s name to change, Proposify auto-updates your proposals with all of your client data. Plus they can sign right in their browser, which keeps them speeding through your sales pipeline with zero friction.
It’s really quite slick. During my time using Proposify, my close rate has more than doubled.
5. Get paid fast using Invoiced.
It’s no good going through all the rigamarole of attracting, converting, and selling to your clients if you don’t have a plan for getting paid.
Paper invoices are so 5 years ago. These days, clients expect paying to be a fast and seamless experience — like checking out on Amazon. Unfortunately, a clunky invoicing process often leads to huge delays between you and getting paid. This is bad for everyone involved, because it can lead to project delays that cascade indefinitely.
I ran into this problem myself when I was first starting out in business. It would often take WEEKS from when I issued an invoice to actually recieve payment. And I was the one spending countless hours hounding clients to pay up.
It’s not that my clients were unwilling to pay, it just wasn’t convenient for them. My business didn’t have an online payment portal, or an automated reminder system (often times, people just forget…).
Invoiced solves all of this by making it easy to issue invoices, and even easier for clients to pay online. The results for my business were astonishing — practically overnight, we shrunk our average turnaround time on invoices to two days or less.