Here’s a bunch of my favourite tools for automation, marketing and productivity.

None of these are picked up on a whim – they’re thoroughly researched and used before they make this list.

Some of them are referral links which result in either expanding my tier of use, or money. Given I’m not charging for info on this site yet, I hope that’s cool with you 🙂

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Email Marketing Automation – Active Campaign

My personal favourite CRM & marketing automation system.

As far as building automations, I haven’t found a tool that makes it so simple (except maybe Drip – but Drip doesn’t have a CRM which is pretty important for designers).

Tight integration between automations and CRM are an absolute win. This means you can fire off automations when deals in your CRM change state. Or automatically progressing leads through sales stages when something happens (like a proposal being accepted)

Pricing is damn nice too.

Personalized Videos – Bonjoro

This tool makes it dead simple to record personal videos for your clients and leads. It’s the perfect blend of automation and personalization.

Nothing I’ve done has received such positive feedback. People love receiving personal videos.

And it’s fast. You get a notification on your phone, click the button, talk to the phone for 30 seconds and click go. That’s it.

There are so many use cases, but I use Bonjoro to send people videos when they sign up for a paid account, cancel a paid account (to get feedback), make affiliate sales and more.

Accepting Payments – Thrive Cart

We use this to manage subscriptions for both software, maintenance plans, one-off payments and just about anything you can think of selling.

It’s one of the best cart and subscription tools I have ever found, and the fact you can get it without monthy fees is crazy.

Right now it’s on a lifetime deal. Similar tools that aren’t as good currently cost $150 a month.

I bought two accounts. Highly recommended.

Email Newsletters – Revue

This is the tool I use to send our weekly newsetter (The Web Business Weekly). I tried various tools before settling on this one. It makes sending a curated newsletter dead simple.

Newsletters are an amazing, easy way to stay top of mind with your audience.

To show you how, there’s a 3 part YouTube series on sending newsletters with Revue here

You can sign up for free for your first 50 subscribers.

Email Productivity – FollowUpThen

I use this multiple times a day. It’s the most simple system I’ve ever found to remind yourself to follow up on ANYTHING.

You simply “cc” or “bcc” a special address like to bounce the email back into your inbox in… you guessed it… 7 days.

cc = automatically email the person with a reminder, bcc = just bounce back to me

I use this for staying on top of new prospects, snoozing emails and more.

It’s free to get started. I pay for the premium version so I can use response detection – this cancels follow ups if the person replies.

Business Automation – Zapier

You’ve probably heard of Zapier by now. It automates SO many things for us these days that it is definitely a “can’t go without”.

If there is any manual data entry repetition in your business, like adding people in your CRM to project management, you should be automating it with Zapier.

I even use it for scheduled reminders to come into my Trello board, and to post regular things to social.

Typing – TextExpander

This will change your life. It maps commonly used text to special shotcuts on your keyboard. e.g. you could type “.e” to type out your email address, or “.w” for your website to save you doing it every time.

That might sound like it’s not worth it, but saving a few seconds here and there adds up quickly. I even use it to sign off emails, for links I use regularly and entire support responses.

It saves me SO much freaking time

Screen recording – Loom

Allows you to quickly and easily record videos without leaving your browser. I use it to do lots of things like instruct team members, demonstrate/teach clients or just send personal messages.

You can record your screen, webcam or both. Very easy to use and so fast. As soon as you hit stop it gives you the link to post and starts doing the processing in the background. It’ll email you when the video has been watched, and allows comments right beside the video.

Other tools

Feedly – for finding and curating posts for social and newsletters

Calendly – the cleanest and easiest booking tool

Buffer – for scheduling social posts. I like keeping things simple where possible, and buffer does this

Rebrandly – for link redirects. Most links on this page go through Rebrandly

Castos – for podcast hosting. It has the simplest process I found. Read more about my podcast process here.

1Password – Password generation and management. Much simpler and cleaner than LastPass.

Content Snare – our own tool that can be used to request files from clients or as a client portal