I recently became aware that I had spent over $3000 buying 84 products through AppSumo, the first being back in 2011 and the most recent being January 2020.
All too often it’s easy to overlook the impact that these products can have on a business so I decided to do some deep-dive analysis to discover what impact these tools have had on my business.
I looked at the tools I still use, as well as considered the tools I’ve either stopped using or never really applied because I didn’t know how to apply them to my business.
The result was hugely positive and proved to me that there was massive value in buying through AppSumo. (As a side note, I originally wrote about my experience with AppSumo on my blog. You can read my first post here.)
My business now runs almost exclusively on tools I purchased through AppSumo. I thought it would be useful to look at the tools I use on a regular basis in my business and how I use them.
How to Grow a Business Using AppSumo
The curse of the subscription model
In late 2018 I analyzed the subscription-based tools I was using in my business. I realized that canceling them would save me over $10,000 a year in recurring subscription payments.
After listing these products and their functions, I turned to AppSumo to see which tools I could immediately replace. As it turned out, there were several tools I had already purchased that were a perfect fit.
That still left several tools that needed replacing. For these I made a list of the types of tools I needed. Whenever a new AppSumo promotion fit one of those needs, I purchased the tool.
This iterative replacement process helped me avoid unnecessary business interruptions. In the end, replacing my $10,000 annual subscriptions on AppSumo was pretty seamless.
Powering my day to day work with AppSumo
My business model is relatively simple and hasn’t changed much in 15 years. I create written and video content and use that to promote my free community, coaching courses, and email list.
As with most online companies, the lead acquisition side of the business comes down to research, content creation, and content distribution.
Nothing too radical there.
No matter what business you are in, from SAAS startup to being a local butcher, getting your message in front of your potential clients is important. AppSumo consistently promotes tools that help us accomplish that larger goal.
Here are the AppSumo products that power my business:
Serpstat – Keyword research and off page SEO – Purchased January 2018
My first stop when I’m writing a new piece of content is Serpstat. I use this tool to discover easy keywords to help me rank for relevant topics.
I also use it to check how well existing content is performing so that I can show some SEO love to the content that isn’t ranking as well as I’d like.
Once I’ve done my research it’s time to plan and create the content.
StoryChief – Content Calendar and Writing Tool – Purchased May 2018
I use Storychief as a content calendar and writing platform where I can plan the content for the next quarter in advance and then work on each new article when I want.
I am using it to create content as well as to make sure my articles are readable and SEO friendly.
RelayThat – Social Media Image Creation – Purchased March 2019
RelayThat is a graphics tool that quickly lets you create images in different sizes.
I find it really annoying that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin all like their images to be different sizes.
Relay That allows my team to create an image once and then change the size. It also allows you to standardize your branding, making it easy to keep images on-brand without a lot of additional work.
Depositphotos – Stock photos – Purchased September 2014 and every time it appears on AppSumo
Is there anyone who hasn’t purchased a pack of 100 stock photo images from Depositphotos?
Hardly a week goes by that I don’t grab a stock image from Depositphotos. I use them in articles, videos, and as cover images for courses.
It’s so much easier than using Google image search (oh, and there’s no chance of copyright violations).
PromoRepublic – Social Media Calendar & Content Distribution – January 2020
Promo Republic is one of my most recent purchases. I used it to replace a $49/month service I was using for the same function: as a social media calendar and publishing tool.
Once you publish a post, Promo Republic allows you to schedule the post to be reposted on several channels multiple times throughout the year — which has become a key part of our distribution strategy.
Switchy.io – Link Shortening and Link Retargeting – December 2019
Switchy is a simple link shortener… and so much more. I wasn’t aware of how useful this tool would become when I bought it. Turns out, I use it every day.
For example, I distributed a link to a new article to multiple channels. By creating a series of unique links I can see which channels bring the most clicks and which need some work.
Switchy also allows me to add a retargeting pixel to each link so that I can run retargeting ads to users who click through but don’t convert on the landing page. It’s a powerful tool.
Mailshake – Email Outreach – January 2017
Mailshake allows you to bulk send personalized emails to a list of email addresses. Most people use it for outreach. However we find it incredibly useful for sending unique offers to small segments of our list — offers we would otherwise send through our Email Service Provider. We prefer using Mailshake.
For example at the end of the month we can send personalized emails to any subscribers who has visited our sales page 3 times but haven’t purchased. (Interested in learning more about email outreach? Here are some of our favorite tools, plus how to find and validate email addresses to improve your efforts.)
Once again: a simple tool that can produce powerful results.
Bonus: WP Scheduled Posts
Use WP Scheduled Posts to fill up your content calendar and publish content on a consistent basis!
Krisp.Ai – Background Noise Reduction – August 2020
Krisp AI allows us to eliminate background noise from any videos we create. I don’t know how it works. But it works.
It frees us up to create videos anywhere from noisy offices to coffee shops, without the fear of background noise percolating through and distracting from our video.
Wistia – Video Hosting – April 2014
Wistia is our choice video player and video storage tool. In almost 6 years we’ve never had a problem and this is definitely one of my favorite AppSumo purchases. Originally a free “purchase,” we upgraded to the $25 PM plan, which we are still on.
The equivalent package, without our AppSumo deal, would cost us around $125/month.
Textmetrics (formerly Webtexttool) – On-Page SEO January 2018
Like Storychief, Textmetrics allows us to fine tune our on-page SEO. It sits in WordPress and guides us along SEO best practices, giving us clear next steps when we need them. Textmetrics also provides useful weekly reports that show my team how our content is performing.
The regular report keeps our content performance metrics top of mind.
ShortPixel – Image Compression – May 2019
Shortpixel is a plug and forget tool. Add it to your site and it compresses your images to improve your site’s load speed.
It just works.
Keyword Hero – Keyword and Organic Traffic Analytics – February 2018
Keyword Hero has proved its value many times over. It does one simple task: it sits in our Google Analytics account to tell us what the <Not provided> organic keywords are.
Google lists many keywords as <not provided>, and Keyword Hero converts 80%-90% of these to actual keywords. For example I checked yesterday’s stats and Google is showing 60 <not provided> keywords. Keyword Hero reduced that number to 10.
Tubebuddy – YouTube Analytics – August 2016
Tubebuddy syncs with our YouTube account to guide our team, based on metrics, about the type of video content we should be creating. It also tells us how well our current videos rank and how we can improve those rankings through specific tweaks.
It’s another tool that just sits behind the scenes and works for our business. When you log into YouTube from another account, you miss it a lot. The input is incredibly valuable.
When I first started buying products through AppSumo, I never imagined spending so much — or really, saving so much. Every tool listed above, along with many others, have had very positive effects on my business.
I didn’t feel the need to go into the many non-daily tools that keep my business running. But tools like Book Like a Boss or Bookafy, for example, were one time purchases that allow me to add greater professionalism and better results to my business.
Even the tools that I only use for a week or two tend to exceed their cost with real business value.
My recommendation to anyone reading this would be to audit your existing tool suite. Which subscription applications can you exchange for an AppSumo Plus account, or one-off lifetime deal purchases through AppSumo?
You might be as surprised as me by the savings.
Mark Thompson is the founder of Serious Marketers Only, a community and resource center for Online Marketers.