Want to be more productive in 2016? Me too.

This week's round up is a list of tools that are saving me time and making my life easier right now. I'd love to hear about yours...

Meet-Edgar
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I’ve just started using Meet Edgar for my social media scheduling and it’s brill. As with most scheduling tools, you can upload social media updates and schedule them to go out on particular days and times. The big difference with Meet Edgar is that you can create a ‘library’ of content in different categories (e.g. popular blog posts, events, guest content), which means you don’t need to keep uploading new content (although of course you can in you like!). While you can specify dates and times, you can let Edgar choose updates from your library and publish it for you.

Meet Edgar was created by social media expert Laura Roeder, whose blog is definitely worth a read. At $49 a month it’s more expensive than some other scheduling tools out there, but I think the time saving makes it worth it. 

leadpages
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I use Lead Pages to create landing pages, sales pages and pop-up windows. You get a choice of ready-made templates that you can customise with your own logo, brand colours and images. I created this landing page for my new pitching course in under ten minutes (why not sign up, by the way - it’s FREE!). To see how the pop-up windows work, click on the sign-up box at the end of this post.

Lead Pages has great analytics tools, so you can see how many people have clicked and opted into the pages you create. You can also split test and see how different designs and copy perform. I have the Pro version, which is $49 per month, but the standard version is  $25 and well worth the investment (in my opinion).

optimizepress
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I used the WordPress Plugin Optimize Press  to create the sales pages for my online programmes Soulful PR for Starters (closed now until 2016) and my Soulful PR group online coaching programme (enrolments open now for a January start). As with Lead Pages, you can choose a template that has everything you need e.g. bullet points, testimonials, price boxes and customise the page with your own logo, brand, colours images and fonts etc - I just prefer the 'look' of OptimizePress.

I’m not particularly techie, but I had no problem with the ‘drag and drop’ page builder. I also invested in Amanda Genther’s Irresistible Sales Page course so I have somewhere to turn if I get stuck.  I have the core package which is  $97. 

Infusionsoft-logo
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I use Infusionsoft sales and marketing software to manage my email list and a whole host of other things, including: delivering my free training courses how to write awesome press releases and pitch like a pro (sign up via email and you get a lesson, every day for five days), paid programmes like Soulful PR for Starters  and my email autoresponder series (the set of emails you get if you sign up to my list). 

The thing I love most about Infusionsoft is being able to 'tag' people according to how they engage with my content. For example, I've just created a list of the people who open my emails and click the links inside the most.  This means I can add value for people who love my content and avoid 'spamming' people who like it  but don’t necessarily want to hear from me all the time.

Infusionsoft also integrates with lots of other tools I use like Eventbrite (automatically collecting email addresses for anyone who books on my events), Leadpages and Wistia. I use a tool called Zapier (which automates tasks between web apps) to make the magic happen.

The set-up costs are considerable (over $1000 in my case), the monthly subscription is high $149 and it’s pretty complicated to use (I have a specially-trained virtual assistant to help me with mine) but, overall, I think the pay-off is worth it. If you're just starting to build your list, I'd recommend something like Mailchimp, which has many similar features and is much cheaper.

wistia-logo-full (1)
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I use Wistia to host all the videos for my online programmes. I like it because it’s customisable (with your own branding), great for social sharing (you can create shareable links for individual videos/projects) and has great analytics. I pay $25 a month for their basic service, but you can still grab a free trial.

Also worth a mention..

Fiverr (marketplace for creative and professional services). Best find: professional voiceover for my podcast

Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk - global marketplace for freelancers) Best find: my podcast editor

Canva (drag and drop design tool)

Unsplash (Beautiful copyfree images - ssssh!)  p.s. If you’re into design, read this.

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