With the busy lives we lead, clients often ask how to make their lives easier, how to automate and streamline their marketing, and how to do more with less. I’ve found a suite of core services that tick all the ‘doing more with less’ boxes that I find myself recommending often. So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Tools in my ‘Modern Marketing Toolkit’…..
Click on the sun image to capture screenshots which are neatly converted into jpegs. This is invaluable for a quick cut and paste of an article or image for a swipe file. You can also take screen shots of testimonials and conversations on social media for use elsewhere as images.
Jing also lets you record up to 5 minutes of video. Great for when you’re working with a Virtual Assistant, or outsourcing a task and want to show someone exactly what to do, or what you’ve done. Grab Jing, and make a quick instructional video!
Hootsuite is invaluable for managing your social media accounts in one place. There’s so much you can do with Hootsuite (for the full skinny watch the recording of my recent Hootsuite webinar
In a nutshell, there are 3 main uses for Hootsuite:
- Manage and monitor all your social media accounts from one central dashboard. This saves hours of logging in and out of different accounts, and you can interact live with your social media platforms from your PC, tablet or smart phone using the Hootsuite App.
- Schedule and bulk schedule your posts. I used this when I took most of August off last year to get married. There’s no replacing live interaction on social media but being able to queue posts up in advance is a godsend.
Hootsuite also has an invaluable “Autoscheduler” which posts to your various platforms at the best times for your audience. With Hootsuite there’s a built-in link shortener. As well as shortening links to
something more manageable it allows Hootsuite to track activity on those links and provides a suite of useful reports.
3. Google Hangouts
Hangouts are a great way to chat with clients or colleagues in a small group or showcase your business or run webinars (when you go public these are known as ‘Hangouts On Air’) Hangouts on Air are streamed live through Google+ (so anyone can watch) and then automatically recorded onto YouTube. And they’re free!
Much has been written on Hangouts so I won’t cover them here, other than to say, just try one out for yourself!
AmazonS3 is an online storage facility and provides a cloud-based storage solution for your images, videos and documents. No more worrying about broken links, big hosting charges or where to find your videos and images.
Aweber’s my preferred mailing list provider and is incredibly reliable, easy to use and flexible. There’s a monthly charge (as there is for MailChimp’s autoresponder service) so price-wise there’s not much in it.
What can you do with Aweber? Primarily build your mailing list and communicate with it.
Aweber allows you to send email broadcasts to your lists, blog broadcasts (so your blog posts are automatically emailed to your list) and will show you who has opened/clicked on your emails.
If you’re creating lots of different lists tied to different campaigns, webinars, and online promotions, then I’d definitely opt for Aweber.
Reporting is good and the opt-in (sign-up) forms are brilliant. There are some great templates to choose from, and they’re easily customisable. Aweber links to social media which is another great way to streamline your marketing.
I can’t mention Aweber without mentioning MailChimp. In fact, I use both systems, for very different purposes. MailChimp is free for the first 2000 subscribers – but there is a charge for autoresponders (automated emails). If you’re starting out and want a basic list building service, MailChimp is ideal.
One of my favourite MailChimp features is the integration with other applications, such as CapsuleCRM (a contact management system). When running a campaign through MailChimp just click on the ‘update’ button and any new CapsuleCRM contacts are included.
MailChimp also has a great auto-integration with Facebook and is one of the easiest ways to put a sign-up form on your Facebook page.
7. Google Drive
Another online storage device, but this time, one that you can share. Google Drive is the Dropbox for Google users. Upload documents on Google Drive and they’re then stored on the ‘cloud’. As long as you have your gmail password handy you can access your documents anywhere in the world.
I’ve capped this list at 10 favourite tools but while we’re on Google, I wanted to mention Google Docs. You can use it like a survey or response form to collect feedback. The information can be collated into an excel sheet – stored on Google Drive, of course – so your whole business is automated and integrated.
Images are so important on social media and I use this amazing tool daily to resize images. Just google ‘Irfanview’ for this picture editor and use the ‘Resize Images’ option to change the size and scale of images.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words and it’s true. Use Picmonkey to create bold and catchy images for your social media posts.
However Zapier has some clever features that I haven’t seen elsewhere, in particular enabling you to link from GoToWebinar (for example) to Aweber. If you’re running a webinar on GoToWebinar, Zapier provides a handy way to put attendees’ email addresses on your mailing list.
Zapier connects many applications to each other in this way, including Evernote, Capsule CRM, and almost any application you can think of. Definitely worth checking out.
Which tools do you use? – There are probably many in your toolkit that I haven’t covered here (we all have our favourites!)
Leave a comment below and let me know which marketing tools you’re depending on this year to manage and streamline your business.