Essential Tech Tools for Running an Online Program

Essential Tech Tools for Running an Online Program

So you’re ready to add online programs to your list of offerings as a wellness professional.

First, be sure to check out our 5-step guide on How to Run a Group Program and Answer These 5 Questions to Get Clear on Your Niche so you can be sure to start out on the right foot.

Once you feel confident in your direction, it’s time to start taking massive steps toward your goal. A big part of staying organized, professional, and efficient is using the right tools.

To save you from wasting time/money and experiencing overwhelm, we have put together a list of basic tools you can use to get your online program launched and out into the world.

Note: For categories where there is more than just one good tool on the market, we are sharing multiple options. You will only need to use one tool from each category, and some tools have multiple uses, so they might eliminate the need for tools in another category.

Email Marketing Software

You're going to need a way to collect, store, and communicate with your email subscribers. Creating an email list should be one of your first priorities, so it's important you have a system to manage that.

MailChimp: this platform is free if you have under 2,000 subscribers in total, making it a great option if you are just starting out. It’s easy to use, and while it might not have all the functionality of other programs, it’s a great solution for most small businesses.

AWeber: some prefer AWeber to MailChimp because it offers more tools and more sophisticated templates. It’s a higher investment, as it costs $20/month even if you have under 500 subscribers, and prices increase as you grow.

Active Campaign: this is the Mac Daddy of email marketing programs. If you’re planning to use a lot of features or do a lot of email marketing, it might be best to start out with this tool. It’s the most expensive option if you get the version with all the features, but it accomplishes everything you could hope for with a tool in this category.

Lead Magnet & Program Creation Tools

Your lead magnet should be a downloadable PDF that appeals to the needs of your ideal client and gives them a taste of what you have to offer. Your full program may be delivered in PDF format too, but it will be more robust.

That Clean Life for Business: you need this tool if you’re going to be offering nutrition resources (like recipes or meal plans) as a part of your lead magnet or group program. Easily build meal plans, recipe books, automate grocery lists, and generate polished, PDFs with your logo and business information on them.

Canva: for DIY graphic design, this is the go-to tool. You might want to use both That Clean Life and Canva if you’re building a program that has things like swap guides, infographics, etc.

Market Research and Feedback Surveys

Getting to know your ideal clients and asking for feedback will require some kind of survey tool to collect and organize the information.

TypeForm: simple to set-up and enjoyable to fill-in, TypeForm is free for up to 10 questions or you can upgrade to create beautifully customized forms with unlimited questions and more format options.

Google Forms: 100% free, this smart tool allows you to build basic forms and see all the responses in one place. The surveys are simple and intuitive to fill in.

SurveyMonkey: while there are other solutions, SurveyMonkey is still the most widely used survey tool. It offers suggested questions, fun templates, and you can create surveys with up to 10 questions for free, or upgrade to their monthly plan.

Website/Blogging

Creating awesome, valuable content is key to getting people to know, like and trust you, so you'll need a place to keep all your posts and information.

WordPress.org: this standard, most widely used blogging tool offers plug-ins and customizations for virtually anything you can dream up. However, if you’re not tech-savvy it came be a huge undertaking to learn. The costs of purchasing a WordPress template, buying a domain, and installing plugins can add up.

Squarespace: this is a super-simple all-in-one solution for building a website yourself. It’s somewhat limited in its functions, but definitely a good option, especially if you’re just getting started and need an easy way to create blog content.

Accepting Payments

Getting paid is essential, so make sure you have a way for your online clients to make payments to you before you start selling anything.

Square: this program lets you process payments online and it integrates with most client management programs. You can process credit cards on the spot using a card reader and your smartphone, set up recurring payments, and store payment information for regular clients.

PayPal: the most ubiquitous online payment system, despite having consistently bad reviews. The main benefit of using PayPal is that it will allow clients to use more payment options including credit card or their bank account.

Client Management

Healthie: An all-in-one solution for interacting with your clients. This platform includes a video chat, lets you send invoices, processes payments, store documents (like recipes and meal plans), in-app chat, and more. This tool combined with That Clean Life for Business has been described as the “winning combination” by this lifestyle coach.

Practice Better: another option for an all-in-one client management system, Practice Better offers video chat, document storage, invoicing, payments, and more.

Document Storage

Keeping your documents in a secure place where clients can access them is key for scaling, as you won't be able to personally email your products to each client as you grow.

Gumroad: if you want to sell e-book style programs, Gumroad may be your best option as they specialize in letting creative entrepreneurs sell their digital products.

DropBox: if you simply need a place to store files that can be accessed by your clients via an automated email link, DropBox is handy and free to start out.

Online Courses

If your program runs in the style of a course, you might be better off to use an all-in-one solution for building online courses.

Teachable: This program lets you build beautiful online courses, manage students with forums, create blog content, design sales pages, sell subscriptions, offer payment plans, create affiliate programs and more. This is an all-in-one solution for running an online course that is super scalable.

What tech tools do you you love using? Did we miss any? Leave us a comment to let us know your experiences and which resources you think offer the most value to wellness professionals!

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