I know, I know, everyone wants to talk about their “15 favorite tools to do this” and “21 tools to do that”! Those lists are so exhausting.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good system that streamlines and saves time. But lists of a bunch of tools only overwhelms me. I can’t possibly implement all of these tools and have things working better in the end!
So instead, I’m serving up just THREE can’t-go-without tools I use to keep my marketing plans on track. I use these both for marketing my own business and all of the businesses we work with. We’ve got a lot going on around here so intentional use of our web tools is crucial for not only keeping me in line, but also my entire team.
Once you’ve got a plan in place for your content marketing, whether it be for a blog, an email newsletter, or social media, it’s time to execute.
How do you keep everyone on your team, not to mention YOURSELF, on track with your vision, goals, and content needs so this plan actually happens?
Thankfully, we live in a world full of web developers, dedicated to making apps to assist us in our productivity and organization.
But before we jump into these options, remember the best practices in marketing are continuously evolving and changing. Therefore, your systems and processes will be too. This can be daunting for some that don’t like change. If that’s you, make sure you’ve got someone on your team able and willing to adapt in this marketing ecosystem.
There are thousands of web app tools to help us. I’m not going to give you thousands. But I will give you THREE that I find to be absolutely indispensable and how I and my team use them every day.
Easily share your files
…with Google Drive
Use Google Drive to create and keep all necessary documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. It’s just like your Microsoft Office Suite with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but hyper-shareable. Instead of creating a document, saving it to your computer, attaching it to an email, and sending it your team or client, you simply create it in a Google Doc within Google Drive and click the Share button.
Where this REALLY makes a difference in workflow is when edits need to be made to files. Instead of having a team member or client download the attachment, make their edits, save a new version of the file, attach it to an email, and send it to you, they simply open the same Google Doc you shared with them, make their edits, and Google automatically saves it. Now their edited file is the same exact file YOU have in your Google Drive. No multiple versions of the same file. No attaching and reattaching and downloading and forgetting to CC the right people and forgetting to attach the file in the first place.
It’s all done within Google Drive. Files, streamlined. Boom.
My one word of caution is that Google Drive limits the free storage you can use to 15 gigabytes. But, brilliantly, they offer a storage plan of 100 GB for $1.99/month and 1 TB for $9.99/month. From my perspective, that’s a tiny price to pay to get rid of the download-edit-attachments mess you’d have without it.
Streamline your sales process
…with Hubspot Sales
You want to grow and maintain your business, right? (Well, duh.) Then tracking where your prospective clients are coming from and where they are in your sales funnel is mandatory.
This is true for service-based businesses AND product-based businesses, but your system to track this will most likely differ greatly. Hubspot Sales is designed for service-based businesses working with clients. It’s not built for businesses working with high volumes of customers, so keep that in mind as you’re reading.
In short, Hubspot Sales allows you to track everything you need to know about prospective clients, thinking about working with you – their basic contact and company information, how they heard about you, where they are in your sales funnel, and how you got them there.
This is valuable information for any business, at any stage. If you’re not tracking where your prospects are coming from and how close they are to paying you, you know very little about how to maintain and grow your business. Needless to say, that’s not good.
Here’s a quick example of how Hubspot Sales can help a client-based business like yours:
Let’s say you’ve gotten five clients so far this year with three prospective clients in your sales funnel. Because you tracked how these clients found out about your business, you know that three found your business on Facebook, two found your business through a webinar you co-hosted a few months back, and the final three heard about you through word of mouth. Interestingly, you have yet to earn a client through your continuous efforts on Instagram. This is valuable information when deciding how many more clients you need and how to continue marketing your business.
If you know what’s working now, you have data to tell you what may work in the future.
No data on what’s working, no idea what to do in the future.
I dig the Hubspot platform because, well, it’s free. And its “Deals Board” makes it fast and easy to know exactly where my prospective clients are in my sales funnel.
A bonus feature I also love is the ability to set a reminder task for any deal or contact you have. So for instance, if I speak with a prospective client in November and they say they’d like to hold off on starting a new contract and touch base in January, I can set a reminder in HubSpotSales to remind me in January to follow up! *Brain sighs happily.*
Other tools that have similar features to Hubspot Sales are 17Hats (business management), Basecamp (project management), and Dubsado (CRM + accounting). These three have a lot more bells and whistles than Hubspot Sales. Find which works best for you!
GET STUFF DONE and mark it off on your beast of a to-do list
If you haven’t noticed yet… I’m in love with Asana.
For real, I can’t live without it. Think of it like a to-do list on steroids. A to-do list that can be organized, color-coded, shared, assigned, and put on a timeline in just a few clicks.
I recently showed you one way I use Asana to list and schedule my blog content for the entire year. But as you guessed, I use it for so much more than that.
For every facet of your life, you can create a to-do list, accessible on your main computer, tablet, and phone. For each task on a to-do list, you can assign it to yourself or someone else on your team. You can set a due date for each task, attach files, view all tasks on a calendar, and even message back and forth with your team members to know the status of each project you’re working on.
I admit, there are other task management apps out there – Trello being the other front-runner right now – but nothing that truly compares to Asana. Plus, if you dig Trello’s “board” format, Asana now offers that too.
Everyone’s brain works a bit differently, so finding the task management app that makes the most sense to you is imperative. For me, it’s 100% Asana.
There are many, many tools out there to keep you on task, productive, and sticking to that content marketing calendar you set. The key is to put your plan into action and keep it moving so it produces results.
What tools can you not live without to stay on schedule for yourself and for your team?