Apps, tools, and software can make a huge difference to your business productivity. However, using too many tools at once can become confusing and time-consuming; that’s why, it’s best to focus on those types of tools that actually help you run your business, and not only help you save time, but also help you reach your business objectives faster. That’s why, in this blog post, I’m going to share 4 types of tools to help you run a more effective business.
What types of tools do you need most?
While some apps and tools will differ depending on your particular business, your industry, and your business objectives, there are a number of tools that any business with an online presence will benefit from.
- Business dashboards: for keeping track of your entire business and each department in one place
- Social media marketing software: for managing your social media presence, social media monitoring, and scheduling updates
- Email marketing and marketing automation tools: for nurturing your leads into becoming customers
- CRM tools: for helping you keep track of your leads and customers and help your sales team sell more
Of course, as I mentioned before, depending on your niche and business, you might need other tools too; in this case, though, I’ve tried to focus on those must-have tools that will help any type of business:
Business dashboards: 9 Spokes
Why you need a business dashboard: business dashboards give you a birds-eye view of all of your important business metrics and KPIs, for each of your departments. Basically, you can customize your dashboard to show all of the business information you need in one place, by connecting all of your different apps and software.
One great option for a business dashboard is 9 Spokes; it’s a free app that allows you to connect dozens of different popular business apps and software, in order to help you build your ideal dashboard.
Basically, all you need to do is look up the apps you’re currently using and connect them to your dashboard; next, add the widgets you want so you can see the exact information you need. You can start with the apps that most everyone is using, like Google Analytics, and popular social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and end with accounting apps, CRM software, email marketing tools, and so on.
Or, another option is to use 9 Spokes to find more useful apps to use for your business and connect with your dashboard. In their marketplace, all the apps are separated into categories based on their purpose, so it’s easy to find useful options and quickly check their features and pricing. You can then customize the dashboard as you want, with the exact widgets and information you’re most interested in:
Social media marketing: Agorapulse
Why you need a social media management tool: social media is one of the most cost-effective and successful marketing tools we have at our disposal. However, it can also be quite time-consuming and difficult to keep track of. That is if you don’t have software to help – which is why, if you use social media marketing, this is a very worthy investment. Not only can you manage your social media fully, but you can also improve your results while you’re at it.
Agorapulse is an all-in-one social media management tool that works with all major social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+. Which means that if you’re using several social networks to promote your business, you can manage it all with one tool, thus saving you a lot of valuable time.
You can use it for everything that means social media management: from monitoring all of your mentions in one place and responding to them, to checking your social media analytics and results.
Plus, you also have access to numerous scheduling options to help you save time; not just “normal” scheduling, but also queue categories, meaning you can set up multiple queues for each of your social profiles and have your updates go out automatically at your set times (most other tools only have one queue for all content, so this is very useful to those who post a lot of content).
Plus, you can use a social media calendar to plan all of your social media ahead of time, including drafts and scheduled updates: And you can collaborate with others, assign tasks and updates, and keep track of everyone’s progress.
Oh, and if you YouTube, you’ll be happy to know you can fully manage your channel as well, something that you can’t do with many other tools. Use it to monitor your comments and respond to them, collaborate with others, and to monitor your brand on the popular video platform.
Email marketing software: MailChimp
Why you need email marketing software: email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing tactics, perfect for driving more traffic, as well as for nurturing your leads and turning them into your paying customers.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing and marketing automation options because it’s so easy to set up and it’s built to work with a growing business –the more you grow, the more people you have in your list, so you need a tool that can handle that growth. Another great thing about it? It’s very easy to build beautiful emails with the selection of templates and the drag-and-drop builder.
As you can see above, you can add a plethora of elements to your emails, including e-commerce elements like product images and product recommendations, to help you boost sales and upsells.
Furthermore, you can use MailChimp to create marketing automation campaigns so you can trigger series of emails based on customer behaviour and preferences; for example, you can set up marketing automation to recover abandoned carts, to follow up on past sales and purchases and encourage upsells, or to retarget site visitors as a reminder. To help you optimise your email marketing and marketing automation campaigns, you have access to advanced analytics.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software: Hubspot
Why you need CRM software: CRM tools can help you in a variety of ways; most importantly, they are essential tools for helping you be more organised and keep track of all your leads and customers and all of their information. This then helps you nurture your leads faster, make more sales, and make more upsells. CRM software helps your sales team be more productive and make more sells = an increase in revenue for your business.
Hubspot is well-known and respected as some of the best in the biz – and they even offer a free CRM tool for small businesses.
First off, you can use it to store all of your customer information and see everything you need to know about a lead or customer at a glance, including every interaction between them and your business, and not just personal information like their names and jobs.
Another useful feature is that you can see at a glance your entire sales pipeline, using your Hubspot dashboard. You’ll be able to quickly check what appointments you have coming up, who is ready to buy (and therefore deserves your immediate attention), and what appointments your salespeople have completed.
Hubspot also helps you save time (and never miss any opportunities) by logging every interaction with a lead or customer, automatically: emails between you, interactions on social media, or any calls you’ve made.
Leveraging the right tools and software can make a huge difference to your business productivity and your results. The tools in this list are, of course, simply the essentials – depending on your business niche and your marketing focus, you are likely to benefit from using other tools in addition.
Which tools and software are most important to your business? Which tools do you use the most?